With all of the home upkeep and DIY projects you do, you may find yourself running out of space to store all of your home equipment and tools. If your home didn't come with a shed out back, it might be time to build one. Unlike a house, a shed is simple enough that you can probably manage all or most of the job by yourself. Follow these tips to make sure that your shed is solid now and for years to come.
1. All good things are built on a solid foundation
First of all, make sure you've selected the right location to build your shed. Water is the mortal enemy of wood, and since you probably plan to build your shed out of wood, it's important that you choose a location that is dry and ideally a little bit above the immediately surrounding area.
Assuming that your shed isn't going to be massive, you can probably build an 'on-grade' foundation. This is made either with solid concrete or skids, which are pressure-treated wood timbers. You can set your foundation directly on leveled ground. If you are going with concrete, it's important that you remember not to use standard cinder blocks. The hollows in these mean that they will not stand up to the pressure and elements.
2. Ensure good air circulation
As we said above, water will erode wood in no time, so make sure that your shed will have good air flow. Build your mudsill - the lowest wood member of your shed - at least half a foot above ground level.
Joseph Truini of Popular Mechanics also recommends that you leave about three feet of space on all sides of your shed, if not more. This will keep the shed exposed to wind and sunlight which will help remove moisture and clear away mildew. It also will help you later on when you want to paint your shed.
3. Make your floor frame sturdy and weather-resistant
Your floor frame is going to take a beating. No matter what you do, it will definitely get wet from time to time, plus you'll be walking on it every time you go into your shed. That means that your floor frame has to be up to the task. Use pressure-treated lumber at least two inches thick for your floor frame, because anything else will eventually fall apart from exposure. For the floor deck, Truini recommends that you use Â¾-in. exterior-grade plywood, because anything thinner will flex in between your joints.
4. Use roof trusses
The roof is one of the most complicated parts of building a shed. Every other element - from the walls to the floor and door - are pretty easy to get your head around, but how do you build a roof that won't leak? Popular Mechanics suggests roof trusses, which you can build on your shed deck and simply raise up when your walls are finished. Each truss is installed above a stud, and you can put the shingling on afterward with significantly less hassle.
5. Consider low-maintenance alternatives
Because a shed is going to stay in your backyard and isn't as permanent as your home, you can get away with a few things that would look ugly on your house to save money and time spend on repair later on. Using PVC trim boards will save you time painting and will virtually never need attention. The same is true for faux-slate roof shingles, a fiberglass door and composite decking for the steps leading up to the shed's door.
6. Get a property inspection
Once you've completed your shed, consider getting a qualified property inspection professional to make sure that everything is in order. A property inspector will be able to ensure that your deck isn't going to collapse on you - which is very important - and see any problems that will become apparent down the road. He or she can even suggest ways that you can save time and money the next time you have to repair your shed.