Spring and fall are the traditional times to take on major home-building projects. If you're thinking a shed might be the answer to your storage problems this winter-what you need to do is ensure it's built on a strong base or foundation that won't sink or shift-and will last a long time. Here's how to build a long-lasting base for your new shed.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Digging spade
- Measuring tape
- Wooden stakes cut from 2-by-2-inch lumber
- Framing square
- spray paint
- crushed stone
- landscape cloth
- pressure treated 4" x 4
Choose a location for your shed well clear of fences, shrubs and trees, and where you will have easy access.
Consider that you want your shed base to be at least 2 inches larger on all sides than the bottom of your shed.
Begin by marking the corners of your shed base. Use wooden stakes cut from a piece of 2-by-2-inch lumber, then sharpened on one end.
Drive one stake into the ground at a corner of your shed base, then measure over the required width and drive in a second stake. Now, measure along the length and drive in the third stake, then finally measure over the width and drive in the fourth stake. Use a framing square to guide you on the direction and angles when driving in your stakes.
Ensure that your layout is square by measuring diagonally between the stakes from corner to corner on each side. If the measurements are the same, the layout is square; however, if the measurements on the two diagonals are different, the layout isn't square and you need to adjust your stakes until the measurements are exactly the same.
Once the layout is square, drive a nail into the top of each stake and loop a string around each nail to provide an outline for your shed base. You can either use the string itself to guide your excavation or spray paint or even flour spread along the line to show the outline.
Using your digging spade, first remove the sod on top of the base area, then dig down to a depth of about 2 inches. Check the depth as you excavate the shed base to ensure the shed base will be level.
After totally excavating and leveling the base, spread landscaping cloth across the entire opening. This will help prevent the stones from gradually sinking into the dirt over the years.
Pour 2 inches of crushed stone into your excavation. Use a garden hose to wet it slightly, then pack it tightly with a tamper. Be sure the packed stone is level (you may need to move stone around as you tamp it in place).
Finish building your shed base by laying the 4-by-4-inch pressure treated boards perpendicular to the direction the floor joists of your shed will run.
Tips and warnings
- Pressure-treated lumber resists moisture and rotting for many years, so it will provide a solid base for your shed.
- Leave an air space between your 4-by-4-inch, so that air can circulate under your shed base.
- You can use a hand tamper or rent a mechanical one (to make your job easier) at a home or tool rental store.