Q&A / 

How To Build A Shed

How To Build A Shed

Framing the walls of a shed require minimal carpentry skills. © Copyright 2017 Tim Carter

How To Build A Shed TIPS

DEAR TIM: I need to know how to build a shed. As I looked for leaf-raking tools in the debris field formally known as my garage, I realized I need a storage shed.

I went out and looked at different outdoor storage sheds at dealers and home centers, but I want to build my own.

Are wood sheds the way to go? Brian F., Lancaster, PA

DEAR BRIAN: It is going to be very difficult in this short column to teach you how to build a shed.

Many Small Steps Add Up

There are hundreds of individual steps involved and some of the most important are in simply planning your storage shed. For example, you may want to talk with your wife and build both a combination storage shed and garden shed at the same time.

I did this two years ago, and it has turned out to be a huge success with my wife.

Free & Fast BIDS

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local companies that will build a shed for you in no time.

Great Shed Planning Video

The biggest mistake I see homeowners make is they don't think about how big the shed should really be. Watch this simple video to get an idea how SIMPLE it is to calculate the size you really need.

Excellent DIY Shed Plans

I built my entire shed without any plans. I was able to do this because I've built so many things.

You'll not be able to survive without plans. I had a fantastic architect draw up the plans of my shed AFTER it was built.

Why? So I could SHARE with you how to do it.

You don't have to build the EXACT shed I have. You can modify the plans to fit what size you want / need.

The plans will help you VISUALIZE what you need to do. I've never ever seen such detailed shed plans in my career.

You can BUY THEM NOW for just $9.95. You print them out on regular paper.

Here are just TWO of the SEVENTEEN pages in these fantastic plans. I know you CAN'T READ them, but you will be able to see all the print and measurements when you DOWNLOAD the real ones.

how to build a shed

This is the floor plan. It shows you where EACH STUD goes!! CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO BUY THEM. INSTANT DOWNLOAD.

How To Build A Shed

This is a page showing a cross section of the shed. There are 17 pages to the set of plans!! CLICK THE IMAGE NOW TO BUY THEM. INSTANT DOWNLOAD

Zoning Issues

The first place to start the how-to-build-a-shed process is with your local government officials. You need to see how your zoning laws deal with sheds as well as your local building codes.

For example, where I live the building department is not concerned with sheds that are under a certain square footage. You may discover you do not need a building permit.

Wood Or Concrete Floor?

Once you have learned you can build the shed in compliance with all laws, then make a decision if the shed will have a wood floor or a concrete slab. I've built sheds both ways, and feel one with a wood floor works well if you build it using the right materials.

If you want your storage shed to be problem-free for years, you need to make sure it has a great foundation that will not move. I prefer working with wood because it is affordable and easy to cut, move and erect.

Be Aware Of Frost Heave

Structures built in climates where the ground freezes must be protected from frost heave. When soil freezes, the water in the soil expands.

This can lift the soil dramatically causing all sorts of structural stresses for those structures built without frost-protected foundations.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local companies that will build a shed for you in no time.

Concrete Turned-Down Slab - Pro Work!

A frost-protected foundation can be full-length poured concrete footers that extend below the level that frost penetrates or round concrete pads that support treated-lumber posts.

I like using the wood-post method as it resembles building a traditional wood deck. For a simple outdoor shed, you may only have to dig four 16 or 24-inch diameter holes for the entire foundation.

Treated Lumber Floor System

The wood-floor system should be made with treated lumber that will resist wood rot and any attack by wood-destroying insects. I also use treated-lumber plywood for the floor of my storage sheds. This way any water that drips from tractors, tools or other things will not cause any damage to the shed flooring structure.

You can get treated plywood at any local lumberyard. Most homeowners have no idea this great product exists. it makes a fantastic shed floor.

Treated Bottom Wall Plate

When you frame your shed walls, use ordinary framing lumber but always use a treated lumber bottom plate. In case water does get into the shed, this treated lumber bottom wall plate helps resist wood rot.

Be sure to use plywood or oriented strand board on all of the corners of the walls of the shed. This makes the walls very strong so they resist racking forces caused by roof load and wind.

Trusses or Rafters?

You can buy prefabricated roof trusses for the roof structure, but cutting simple roof rafters is not that hard. If your budget is tight, you will probably discover that framing the roof without trusses is the better alternative. You will simply have to learn how to cut simple rafters.

CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local companies that will build a shed for you in no time.

Felt Paper Protection

Be sure you cover the exterior walls and roof with overlapping asphalt felt paper before you apply siding or shingles. The felt paper will prevent any wood rot in case a leak develops over time.

Watch this short video about how well felt paper works.

Narrow Overhead Garage Door

When you decide on doors to get into and out of your storage shed, give a hard look at smaller overhead garage doors. Everyone who see the six-foot-wide metal overhead garage door in my garden shed marvels at it. Here's a video of my small shed overhead door:

It provides ample room to get my garden tractor in and out, is lightweight and easy to open and close and it is attractive. It only took me 90 minutes to install this gorgeous overhead shed door.

Get Some Help

Many of the actual tasks that you will do to build the shed can be done alone. You will probably need help lifting some of the longer walls that are framed on the floor. It is dangerous to try to lift and secure the walls by yourself, although it is possible to do.

You may want some help as you apply sheathing to the roof rafters or trusses.

Get Floor & Walls Square

Be sure to take your time to get the floor of the shed perfectly square and level. If you take the extra time to do this, it will pay off in spades as you frame the walls and install the roof. Out-of-square foundations or floors will cause you fits through the entire building process.

Watch this video to see how to square up floors and walls.



CLICK HERE to get FREE & FAST BIDS from local companies that will build a shed for you in no time.

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8 Responses to How To Build A Shed

  1. I would like to know how long it takes to build an easybarn? How much would it cost to pay someone else to do it? I bought a kit from Ace Hardware and would like to know the price and time it would take to do the job, I live in Seattle, Washington.

  2. Thanks for the good advice... the column makes the project seem a lot less overwhelming! Wife and I just bought our first house about a month ago... and it has no garage or basement. I've been wishing for man-space everytime I look at the yard.
    I have a few questions;

    1. How would you recommend keeping the materials dry and protected from the elements during construction if it takes a few days?

    2. Do you have any recommendations for running electricity to the shed?

    3. Any must have tools for this project?

  3. It's been a while for this column, but here's another set of questions: I have a 20'lx8'wx6'h barn-roof wood floor that I would like to add 4' to, (20lx12w). I 'd like to keep the barn roof shape. 1-Could I reuse the portions of the barn roof, and built two more parts? 2-Should I keep part of the old wall, or can I put in permanent supports? 3-Should I get a new hobby?

  4. If I understand that you're trying to make the small barn WIDER, I can't envision at all how you'd salvage and make the roof work. The trusses / rafters are cut for a given width. If you made the shed smaller, you could achieve success. But stretching lumber....? Many a time when I cut something too short I wish I had the ability to make it happen.

    Perhaps it's time for you to invest in this:


  5. I "sat down and counted the cost" yesterday, and decided to agree with you. I will more likely pull it off, and salvage the studs (it wasn't built gambrel, but framed and sheathed) for use in the walls. My guesstimate for the gambrel sections is large anyway, and I'll gain a six-foot attic. So it will be worth it. I may still get the consult, later. I have to gather the pennies from under the couch for now...

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