How to build a shed plan

Updated February 21, 2017

A shed can prove invaluable to store all those tools and equipment that you just don't have room for in your house or garage. You can build a shed yourself, but it will take time. David Stiles, author of Sheds: the Do-It-Yourself Guide for Backyard Builders, dispels the popular marketing myth that people can build a shed in a weekend. The time it takes to complete a shed depends on your carpentry skills and the complexity of the shed that you plan to build. According to Stiles, take the time that you expect to build a shed and double it. Still, having a plan can help you avoid mistakes that will cost you money in the long run.

Call the local planning department to determine whether you need a building a permit. Some communities have strict zoning laws that dictate where a shed can be located and how it is to be constructed. Owners pay a fine, move or dismantle sheds that are found to be in violation of these laws.

Get the site ready. Clear trees and shrubs as needed. Make sure the land is level by excavating soil out of high areas or filling in low spots. Ensure electricity is at the site to operate power tools by running a heavy duty electrical cord from the house.

Prepare to build a shed. Go to the lumberyard or DIY supplier and order the lumber, siding and roofing. Pick up the materials or have them delivered to the site. Mark off the exact location of where you plan to build a shed with stakes. Make the site accessible to delivery trucks if materials are to be delivered.

Complete the groundwork. Put the foundation blocks in place. Build a frame out of joist stock that is the same size as the shed's perimeter. For larger sheds, attach a girder or horizontal beam to the centre for extra support. Cut and install joists then lay and nail 2 cm (3/4 inch) sheets of plywood for the floor.

Frame the shed walls. Lay out the top and sole plates, or the top and bottom of the walls and studs. Nail the pieces together and make sure the structure is square. Cut and nail the wall studs -- 40 cm (16 inches) apart -- that go between the top and bottom plates. Brace and raise the walls one at a time. Cover the studs with 1.3 cm (1/2 inch) plywood sheathing. Remember to cut a door opening in the sheathing that is 5 cm (2 inches) larger than the door.

Construct the roof. Install pole supports for the rafters, 1 vertical pole at each end of the shed topped by 1 horizontal ridgepole. Cut a master rafter to use as a template for the remaining rafters. Build and attach the trusses. Cut and install plywood roof sheathing.

Trim out and side the shed. Cut then pre-paint or stain the trim boards on sawhorses before applying them to the shed to save time. Glue then nail the rake board, the horizontal trim piece nailed to the ends of the rafters, immediately below the roof edge. Add the corner boards, trim that covers the space where any two walls meet. Tack a board along the base to act as a straight edge guide, then nail the siding and cut off any protruding edges.

Cover the roof with asphalt shingles. Secure eave drips to the bottom edge of the roof to protect against water infiltration. Tack roofing felt to the sheathing. Install drip edges to the gable edges. Nail a course of roof shingles upside down with the tabs facings toward the peak. Cover the start shingles with a row of three tab shingles with the tabs facing down. Stagger the next row of shingles and continue until one side is finished, then repeat the process on other side.

Install pre-hung doors. Cut out the bottom plate inside the rough opening. Set the door into the opening. Insert a shim behind each hinge, between the hinge jamb and the framing. Connect the doorjamb with the framing by nailing through the moulding and the shims with casing nails.

Clean up the work site around the shed. Gather tools and scrap materials to clear the site of debris.

Things You'll Need

  • Lumber
  • Trim
  • Siding
  • Shingles
  • Door
  • Hardware
  • Tools
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About the Author

Renee Vians has been writing online since 2008. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English and journalism and language arts certification from the University of Nebraska-Kearney. Her articles have appeared on various websites.