When watching movies and TV series, we enjoy seeing beautiful images of castles. Most of them have halls, secret rooms, and magnificently burning fireplaces. But in fact, life in castles was not at all romantic as we are used to believing. Castles were built for protection, which implies the presence of thick walls, heavy gates, observation towers, and defensive moats. These were huge, cold buildings, and it was also dark all the time. Light came from small windows, often without glass: in those days, not everyone could afford this luxury.
But today you can build your own castle with all the commodities and facilities specific to modern life.
What makes a castle a castle?
Originally, a castle was a fortress built to protect strategic locations from enemy attacks or to serve as a military base for invading armies. Some dictionaries describe a castle simply as “a fortified dwelling”.
The oldest design of the “modern” castle dates back to the Roman legionary camps. The medieval castles we know in Europe were built from earthwork and timber. Dating back to the 9th century, these early structures were often built on ancient Roman foundations.
A castle built as a military fortress may be called a fort, a fortress, a citadel, or a stronghold. A castle built as a house for nobility is a palace.
So, the main difference between a castle and a fort is that a castle is a fortified residence of a noble or a king, whereas a fort is a fortified building. You may have noticed that both definitions contain the word “fortified”. This is why many people believe that these two words can be used interchangeably. But it’s not like that. A castle is a place where nobles or royalty live, but a fort serves a more military purpose.
What is the Cost to Build a Castle?
The cost of building a castle is not a low one. You should plan on spending anywhere between $320 and $850 per square foot for the construction alone. The overall cost will be also affected by fluctuating government regulations.
Not to forget that before finishing the construction of the castle, inspectors will have to come to the site several times.
What is the cost of building a castle based on size?
Expect to spend around $3 million for building a small castle, while for a medium-sized castle, you will have to budget anywhere between $3 million and $10 million.
But there are no limits when it comes to the size of a castle. A large castle may cost around $10 million or more than this. The cost of building a large castle such as Malbork would be billions and billions of dollars.
In conclusion, if you are dreaming about building your own castle, you should be prepared to spend a minimum of half a million dollars.
Factors affecting the cost of building a castle
Before starting to build a castle, you will need various permits from the local authorities. You will have to follow strict building regulations and it’s better to hire a lawyer to help with all this paperwork. Both the lawyer and the permits will cost you money.
You must have a piece of land where you can legally build the castle and depending on where it is located your overall costs would be lower or higher. For instance, remote land, outside of the city, will result in higher transportation costs for the materials.
Engineering and planning
You will definitely need an engineer, unless you are one, to help you with the construction of the castle. In order to get a permit to build a castle, you will have to prove that it is not a liability and that the construction is safe.
As you would expect, a larger castle will cost you more than a smaller castle because it will require more liability, more laborers, more materials, and more expenses.
Time and labor costs go hand in hand, but it can be more economically achievable if the castle construction takes more years. In other words, it would be cheaper to build the castle little by little during a longer period of time, instead of building it as soon as possible.
Cost of labor
A castle cannot be built by a single person and you will have to hire an entire team for this project. Depending on who you choose, the costs will vary. For instance, it will be cheaper to sign a contract with a professional company.
The labor costs will depend on the team you’re working with, their specialty, and their reputation. As building a castle is a niche for some professionals, it can be more expensive.
Cost of materials
High-quality materials will not be cheap. For instance, stone will be more expensive than bricks or mortar.
Also, you can make a castle of timber and earth but it will not be as resistant as stone.
The weather is an important factor to consider when building a castle as this will make a great difference in whether the construction can be done in a specific time frame or has an irregular schedule.
For example, if you are building a castle in northeastern America, the construction has to be done during summer, fall, and spring because during winter it is cold and hard to work outside.
On the other hand, in Norway, a castle should be built during the dry months because the rain will affect the construction.
Once the castle is built, you will have to properly maintain it in order to enjoy this fairytale building to its fullest.
Maintenance of such a building is not a one-person job and you will need to hire a staff to help you with all the daily work.