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How to line up shed so it's perpendicular to house

How to line up shed so it's perpendicular to house


Old 11-27-05, 04:57 AM
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Location: Los Angeles County, California
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How to line up shed so it's perpendicular to house

I'm setting out concrete piers for a 12x10 gambrel roof shed, and I want to line them up so that the walls are perpendicular (and parallel) to my nearby house. The house is about 10 yards away but about 10 feet higher and also ofset by about 5 yards. Because of a not very straight old concrete wall(the shed will be on a ledge below this wall) that is not quite parallel to the house, I'm having trouble eyeballing the three concrete piers (with a 4x6 beam) to be perpendicular/parallel to the house.

Is there an easy way or a device I can use/build to sight down one of the sides of my house and get an accurate line that I can use to set up the beam and the three piers?

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Old 11-27-05, 12:33 PM
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Not sure I totally understand the layout, but what you are doing is often acomplished with a string line. Attach one end of the string as far away as possible on the house side, run the string out past the shed and then slowly bring it in until it just touchs along the wall of the house. You now have an extended line of the side of the house. Bang a stake into the ground and tie off the string, making sure it stays in the proper contact with the side of the house. May have to adjust the stake. When doing construction layout this is usually accomplished with 2 stakes and board run between them. This way you have a wide tie-off area to use and can move the string slightly one way or the other on the board to get to the proper positioning. If there is a significant drop making it difficult to line up the string, you could run the string line way up high, anchor it solidly and then hang a plumb bob off the string to locate the corresponding locations below.
Old 11-27-05, 01:20 PM
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First, do the easy part. Using the stringline that the_tow_guy mentions, layout your line that is parallel to the house. If the edge of the shed is 30' away, have someone hold the tape measure level with where your stringline will be so that you have an accurate measurement (get them on a ladder if you need to).

Once your stringline is running between the "batter boards" closest to the house, and parallel to the house, you have a straight line to square off of. The easiest method to make a perpendicular line is the 3:4:5 method, where 3 and 4 are side ratios and 5 is your hypotenuse. So if your shed is 10x12, you might use 9:12:15 or 12:16:20 as your triangle to establish a square corner from your straight line.

So as the_tow_guy suggested, in that way you can make an outline of where your shed will be using batter boards a few feet beyond the corners of your new building, with the string lines outlining the exact locations of the building edges.

For more detailed instructions on laying out these lines, you might try Googling "batter boards".

Last edited by XSleeper; 11-28-05 at 11:29 AM.
Old 11-28-05, 05:58 AM
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Old 12-24-05, 12:04 AM
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I did this by making a big 14Ft square out of 1x4s. A transit gets very handy for doing this especially if you havea grade to deal with. I had a similar project, Building a utility building while keeping it square with the house and off the Power company right of way. center of the R/W had to be located and then a line paralell with it and 32 ft away contstucted. After I layed it out wife said it didnt look right and she was right. This is because we live off the side of a cul-de-sac.

Solution was to pull a string from the center of the cul-de-sac. The end of the string represented the front center of the utility building. A line laid out perpendicular to this became my building line that the foundation of the building was laid out from.. This looked much better(from the street) than building it square with the house but not so great from the back yard. This was corrected by laying out hedges, flower beds, ect also in an arc around the center of the cul-de-sac.

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