Having a storage shed for all those tools, bicycles, lawn chairs, and other odds and ends strewn around the yard can make your property look much neater. It also adds value to your home and protects your things from the elements. Building a simple storage shed is not too difficult, it just takes a little planning and some elbow grease.
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Things you need
- Pressure-treated 4 x 4 posts that are 10 feet long
- 2 x 4s
- Wooden stakes
- Measuring tape
- Post hole digger or gas-powered auger
- Ready mix concrete
- Corrugated metal or plastic roofing
- Closure strips
- T111 plywood or corrugated metal siding
- Circular saw
- Electric drill
- Door hardware
- Windows if desired
- Caulking gun
Measure out the sides of your shed, making them 9 feet, 9 inches (the width of the 2 x 4s will bring the overall measurement to 10 feet). Place wooden stakes in each corner. Measure the diagonals between the stakes, adjusting them until each diagonal is equal. This will ensure your shed is square.
Dig a hole at each stake using a post hole digger or a power auger, which can be rented at most rental or home improvement stores. The holes should be 8 to 10 inches in diameter and 28 inches deep.
Put 4 inches of gravel in the bottom of each hole. Place the 4 x 4 pressure-treated posts in the holes. Use the level to make sure the posts are plumb and then brace them in position with 2 x 4s driven into the ground and nailed to the posts.
Mix the concrete and pour it around the posts, checking as you go that posts are still plumb, that the outside edges are 9 feet, 9 inches apart and the diagonal distances are equal. Fill the holes until the concrete is slightly above ground level. Use the back of the shovel to smooth the concrete and make sure it slopes away from the posts. Allow the concrete to set for 48 hours.
Create a frame for your shed by nailing 10 foot 2 x 4s horizontally to the outside of the posts. Start at the ground, using pressure-treated 2 x 4s. Make sure each is level. Measure up 6 feet at each post and add untreated 2 x 4s all the way around the top, again making sure each is level and that the ends meet. Decide which side of the shed will be the front, how big you want your door to be (one that's 3 feet makes it easy to get things in and out) and whether you want to centre it or have it offset. Mark the width of the door plus a 1/2 inch on the top and bottom 2 x 4s on the front. Place a 2 x 4 vertically on the inside of the shed at each mark and screw them into place, using the level to make sure each is plumb. Cut 2 x 4s to fit in the gap between the top and bottom 2 x 4s. Place them so they are flush both ways and screw them into the vertical 2 x 4s on each side. Measure up 2 feet from the bottom at the front corner posts and at each side of the door. Nail a horizontal 2 x 4 between the marks. Measure up 4 feet and repeat. Finish the other three sides by nailing the horizontal 2 x 4s at the 2-foot and 4-foot heights at each post. If you want a window or windows to let in light to help you see in your shed, adjust the gap between the uppermost 2 x 4s to match the height of the window. You can buy new ones, but since they don't need to open you can use an old one you have laying around or find by the curb. Mark the width of the window and add vertical 2 x 4s as you did for the door frame.
Make a door by nailing 2 x 4s into a rectangular frame that is a 1/2 inch less than the width and height of your opening. This will allow room for the hinges and clearance for the door to open and close. Choose which way you want the door to swing. Place two hinges on the door frame a foot from the top and bottom. Mark the holes, drill them and screw the hinges in place. Brace the door frame by adding a diagonal 2 x 4 from the bottom of the hinge side to the top of the latch side.
Using a helper, put the door in the opening and mark where the hinges hit the vertical 2 x 4s. It is best if the door swings out of the shed. Drill the holes and attach the door to the vertical 2 x 4s, screwing through the hinges while your helper holds the door in place.
Create a roof frame for your shed with 2 x 4s. Nail a 12-foot 2 x 4 on each side of the shed so that it rests on the top horizontal 2 x 4 at the back and is 1 foot above the top horizontal 2 x 4 at the front. This pitch will allow water to run off the roof. Center the 12-foot 2 x 4 so that the front and back overhang are the same. Nail 2 x 4s between these rafters at 2-foot intervals parallel to the front and back of the shed. Use the handsaw to cut the posts off flush with the roof frame.
Attach the corrugated metal or plastic roofing to the framework. Plastic is translucent and will let in light, again making it easier to see what's in your shed. Install closure strips (they match the pattern of the corrugated sheets) along the 2 x 4s parallel to the front and back. Install the roofing sheets from front to back, overlapping the pieces and screwing them down through the closure strips and into the 2 x 4s. Predrill the holes if you are using plastic roofing.
Put the siding on your shed, using either T111 plywood or corrugated metal. Cut the pieces to fit with the circular saw, use a metal-cutting blade for the metal siding, and nail them into the horizontal 2 x 4s on each side of the shed. Cut a piece for the door, as well, adding 3 1/2 inches to the height so it covers the top horizontal 2 x 4 when it closes. Install the latch.
If you are using windows, screw them into place and caulk around the perimeter to keep water out.
Tips and warnings
- Use your level for every step of this project. A door will not work properly if it is not plumb. Be careful when cutting the corrugated metal. Wear gloves to handle the sheets after they are cut because the edges can be very sharp.
- Wear eye protection when using power tools.
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