How to make a lean-to off a shed

Written by damon hildebrand
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How to make a lean-to off a shed
You could make a lean-to greenhouse. (moodboard/moodboard/Getty Images)

When storage space in the old tool shed is at a premium, it's time to plan for expansion. The lean-to has been a popular option for adding extra space for as long as storage buildings have been around. Sometimes called "wings" in some areas, the lean-to can be enclosed for dry storage or left open as a handy parking space for the tractor or other equipment.

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Things you need

  • Metal roof material
  • Post hole digger
  • Tape measure
  • Cement
  • Posts
  • 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) studs
  • 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) studs
  • Framing nails
  • Lag bolts

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  1. 1

    Fasten a stud along the top of the shed's exterior wall where the lean-to will be built. The stud must be placed below the overhanging roof on the shed. Fasten the stud to the shed's frame using lag bolts.

  2. 2

    Measure the distance from the shed's wall to mark the width for the lean-to. Measure the distance from the front corner, the middle, and the back corner of the shed to establish a square.

  3. 3

    Dig holes for the corner posts at each corner. Holes should be one-quarter as deep as the post is long. A 3.6 m (12 foot) post should end up with 90 cm (3 feet) buried in the hole. Set the corner posts and cement them into place. Secure the posts upright using 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) studs. Depending on the length of the lean-to, set intermediate posts between the corners in a straight line. The type and weight of the roofing material to be used will determine how many additional intermediate posts will be needed. Typically a post should be set for every 3 m (10 feet). These posts should also be cemented into place.

  4. 4

    Determine the desired pitch of the roof being placed atop the lean-to. About 15 cm (6 inches) of drop for every 3 m (10 feet) is usually adequate for a lean-to. If the width of the lean-to is 3 m (10 feet), attach a stud along the outside of the posts, 15 cm (6 inches) lower than the stud previously attached to the shed's wall.

  5. 5

    Cut the rafters from 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) studs and fasten them in place between the shed and posts to the headers. Evenly space the rafters along the entire length of the lean-to between 40 ans 50 cm (16 and 20 inches) apart.

  6. 6

    Attach the metal roof material to the rafters using self-tapping roofing screws with rubber grommets. The rubber grommets will help to prevent leaks. With the roof installed, the lean-to can be left open for parking equipment under, or enclosed to provide a dry storage area.

Tips and warnings

  • For a small lean-to, 5 x 10 cm (2 x 4 inch) rafters and studs are adequate. For larger sheds, 5 x 15 cm (2 x 6 inch) rafters and studs should be used.
  • Pressure-treated lumber and creosote posts will last much longer than untreated posts and timber.

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