How to Build a Shed How to Build a Shed

What You'll Need
Hammer/Nail Gun
Circular Saw (optional hand saw)
Chalk Line
Measuring Tape
Safety Glasses, Work Gloves and Ear Protection
16 penny galvanized and ungalvanized nails
8 penny nails
1-1/2" roofing nails
Pressure treated sub flooring
2 x 4 Wall Studs
2 x 6 Rafters material
1/2 plywood and/or wood siding
Siding material
Tar paper
Shingles or roofing material
Proper Brackets per code

Building a shed isn't as difficult as its often made out to be. A little hard work and help and often you can complete the job in as little as a day. But before you start there are a few things you need to know and do.

Step 1 - Check with codes

The most important thing to establish before you nail the first nail in your new shed is what are the municipal requirements for adding out buildings and sheds. Some areas require a permit for anything larger then a doghouse and the last thing you want to do after building your new shed is tear it down. Once you are have finished the red tape requirements you can get started.



Step 2 - Get a plan

Have a plan, whether it’s from a book or one you have laid out on your own get one and stick to it. Sticking to a plan allows you to measure and accurately estimate how much materials you need, what your next step is and how you intend on completing the project. The hardest work is the paper work, generally speaking.



Step 3 - Site Planning

By the time you ready to build you should have your site picked out and your materials ready to go. The first step here is critical in a quality finished product; leveling. If your floor framing and ground are not level then everything else will be out of square and level and can result in a collapse.

Step 4 - Flooring

The flooring should be made from pressure treated material to protect from moisture and is better slightly off the ground whether on a concrete pad or foundation or as simple as patio blocks. This allows either an already level floor or at least a solid place to jack from to level your shed precisely.  Having it off the ground will also keep moisture away from you shed prolonging its life. 



Step 5 - Framing and Squaring

Even though most code allows for two foot on center, (which means when you pull your tape measure from the end of your layout the center of the stud or joist is exactly two feet)  16" on center adds extra support and strength and helps with any bowing of the plywood from weight on the roof.   Flooring layout is simple with only studs there are no holes for windows or doors so there is no extra pieces or parts just joists. With layout done it is now important that your floor is square. There are two quick methods to square your corners to ensure a perfect shed.  First, you can pull your tape from diagonal to diagonal. These two long measurements should, in the end, equal each other. If they don't then take your sledge hammer and tap the long measurement towards the short one to create four equal angles. You can also use the 3-4-5 triangle, this measurement is a little simpler if you are by yourself. First, measure from one corner out three feet and then from the same corner measure four feet and make a mark. The distance from your three foot mark to your four foot mark should equal five feet if not adjust the corners again with a sledge. Walls are built in the same fashion keeping your layout on center and everything squared. As you frame out for windows and doors make sure put headers of at least 2x6s with a piece of plywood sandwiched in between them; to pack them out to 3.5 inches. This gives support to the roof where gaps will be larger than sixteen or two feet depending on layout. 


Step 6 - Rafter Cutting

When you get to the roof framing, cut a template that you fits how you want it and then cut the rest of your rafters from it (whether shed-style, a-framed, or another variety). This takes the guesswork and remeasuring out of the rafters. Also, when you cut a bird mouth (the V notch that allows the rafter to rest on the wall) try to cut it close with a circular saw and then finish with a hand saw. Often times bird mouths are over cut for speed but that can take away from the strength in the rafter.


Step 7 - Sheathing

If there is a situation where there is a second row either on the roof or on the wall stagger your plywood to eliminate long seams and to add strength.  Also when putting sheathing on the roof check to see if "H" clips are recommended. These clips space the plywood.

Step 8 -  Siding and Roofing

If you start your first row straight life is easy; make sure that you have a level line to start from and check periodically as you proceed. And always stick to manufacturers recommendations to ensure proper installation and to maintain the warranty.

Step 9 - Finishing Up

Install any specific hangers (i.e.: Joist hangers, rafter hangers or corner brackets). Make sure any exposed wood is painted or wrapped in aluminum. If you are skilled run your electircal wiring or consult a professional. Finish your interior to taste and enjoy.

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