If you’re looking for a place to store all the items you don’t want to put in your garage, or you want to set up your own separate workspace, a shed is the next best option. Taking the time to build it is a challenge, but once it’s done, not only will you have the extra space to do what you want, but you’ll have a healthy sense of accomplishment.
Before starting any building project, check to see if you need a permit. It’s important to know what updates require approval according to your homeowner’s association regulations and local laws. You also need to understand the covenants regarding the maximum height and roof pitch of your shed. Associations usually require style uniformity and definitely have a say about location and zoning.
Deck piers create the foundation for your DIY shed, so they need to be properly positioned and installed. Before installing these one-foot-square-one-foot-deep holes, ensure you’re dealing with flat ground. Any unevenness will cause the deck to sag. Once you dig each hole, put about one inch of sand or small-grain gravel at the bottom. Compact the bottom and install the piers.
Lay support beams across the piers. Make sure they’re lengthwise so that they give the foundation a bit of height and strength. The best way to steady the beams on the piers is by using a metal strap with screws to connect the piers to the beams. The straps have built-in holes, so it’s just a matter of drilling and securing each section.
Along the edges of the two outer support beams, attach the rim joists. Each should be the exact length of the beams, but it needs to be a little thinner. This creates a little ledge on the inside. Once these rim joists are secured, add floor joists at even intervals across the longer beams and between the two rim joists. These should fit comfortably on those inner edges left by the rim joists. When it’s done, the joists will look like a bed frame. Stabilize them by installing blocking pieces in-between that sit atop the middle support beam.
Lay plywood sheeting across the joist frame and check for any gaps. If there is too much space between the sheets, you may need to use H-clips, also known as plywood clips. These are metal support pieces that will lock the wood sheets together. Nail the boards to the frame. Remember that you’ll want to deliberately misalign the boards because to have a continuous seam running through the middle of the floor creates structural weakness.
Now that the floor is done, you can use those dimensions to plan your walls. The front and back wall studs, which run along the longer edges, are almost the same, except that the front wall will have a door frame and any window cutouts you need. The frame for the side walls needs to fit between the front and back walls, along the shorter edges. Assemble all four walls to complete the rectangle. Nail them into the joists and all the way around.
The rafters for the roof use almost the same method as for the floor joists. The main difference is that the rafters are longer so that the shed has an overhang, which increases weather protection. Add the rafters so that they match up with the front and back wall studs. Once they are nailed down, add blocking between the rafters and along the top edges of the front and back wall frames.
Now it’s time to cover the shed. Add sheets of plywood over the rafters without nailing them, to check their size. Ideally, you want the broader sheets to cover the entire structure. But if they don’t, you have to add a few pieces of plywood to the sides to ensure the rafter overhangs are covered. Once everything is properly sized, secure the sheets with nails all around.
Give the shed a more finished look by adding some siding. You have a few options, depending on the level of maintenance and the type of aesthetics you want to achieve. Vinyl shed siding is made from PVC and can be customized quickly. It’s also resistant to moisture damage, rot, and bugs. Engineering wood siding is more durable and resists rot and termites better than it’s untreated counterpart. Fiber-cement is made from cement, sand, and natural fibers can be made to look like wood. Then there’s metal siding, which is usually made from recycled materials. It won’t rot or twist, is extremely durable, and can be cleaned easily.
To keep your DIY shed weatherproof, start with adding tar paper sheets. Layering these sheets ensures that rain doesn’t seep through and if you want to go a step further, add some extra tar to cover the nail heads. Fiberglass fleece is also an option, as it stands up to extreme weather and is waterproof. Whatever you choose, make sure you measure for the exact amount you need, plus a little extra for the overlaps.
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