Introduction: Better Than My House Shed

About: Like inventing, woodworking, tractor gadgets, gardening, making Youtube videos, wind turbines, ham radio, making instructables, etc

I needed a shed suitable for year-round use. The "Better than my house" shed described here in pictures and video fits the bill. The wall studs are 2x6 and the spaces between are fully filled with fibre glass insulation. The ceiling insulation meets the R40 specification. The shed is mounted on a pressure treated skid foundation. Additional foundation support is achieved with blocking between the floor joists and a concrete walkway that runs under the shed.

I started out with a 12x16 floor and decided to add an extra four feet to get 12x20. Now I wish it was 12x30.

Other features include pressure treated sill plates, pressure treated plywood floor deck with solid foam insulation between it and the plywood interior floor, roof underlayment, roof ridge vent, and sealed double-paned windows and insulated doors. Because we almost always end up getting the tail end of hurricanes coming up the eastern seaboard I also included galvanized hurricane brackets between the top plates and the roof structure.

The Steps that follow consist of photos taken during the construction phase of the shed. The Steps are more or less arranged to show construction from foundation to roof, and then on to some frills.

I made up a video My shed building story that includes most of these photos and many more related shots.

Step 1: Foundation and Floor

I went with pressure treated skids for the foundation with one skid under each side of the floor. I first dug out the existing sods and soil and replaced it with runs of 3/4 inch gravel. I then set the skids in the gravel. An existing concrete walkway running right under the middle of the shed gives substantial extra support by means of blocking between the walkway and the floor joists.

The last photo in this step shows how I used the shed floor to design and size the roof rafters. Playing around with the roof pitch and notching, etc. is a lot easier at the floor level rather than working on it from the top of the erected walls.

Step 2: Erecting the Stud Walls

2x6 studs and pressure treated sill (sole) plates are featured in the wall construction. I wanted to have the shed easy to heat with thick walls, and good sealing to reduce air infiltration. The pressure treated sill plates should prevent any wood rot due to any standing water on the shed floor (mainly from tracked-in snow).

Step 3: Rafters and Roof Sheathing

A few sheets of 1/2 inch plywood temporarily laid on the ceiling joists gave a good working platform to help with the installation of the ridge board, rafters, and eventually, the roof sheathing.

Step 4: A Simple Scaffold for Safety and Convenience

Even if I wanted to use a regular metal scaffolding to work on the roof I didn't have space enough between the shed and the fence to erect one. The temporary wooden scaffold worked just fine and was not a big deal erecting in terms of time and materials. I first installed the aluminum fascia and then got to work installing the roof underlayment. The roof underlayment will prevent water damage from any ice dams and provide a good leak prevention backup for the asphalt shingles.

Step 5: Shingles and Ridge Vent

It's common practice around here to glue down asphalt shingles with roofing cement. The underlayment, cement, roofing nails, along with the built-in shingle adhesive, should give a long lasting, windproof and waterproof, roofing system.

I went with a plastic ridge vent on the roof rather than louvered gable vents. Ridge vents are generally less inclined to let horizontally travelling snow and rain from getting in. I nailed the roof vent in place and then covered it will nailed on, overlapping, shingle sections.

Step 6: Exterior Wall Sheathing, Windows and Doors

I picked up the two doors and two windows early on as I found good deals. That approach also made sense in terms of sizing, laying-out, and building the stud walls. The two doors have lots of glass and they are double-paned sealed units that have foam insulation between the metal/wood cladding. (I wanted a shed brightened with as much natural light as possible). Both vinyl windows are double-paned horizontal sliders.

Step 7: House Wrap and Vinyl Siding

House wrap and associated tape keeps the shed air and water tight so I took a lot of care with that part of the project. Vinyl siding is by far the most used siding around here (and in all of North America) so that is what I went with. It's the same siding I installed on my house, so now I have a perfect match.

In the process of installing siding on my house (that was before the shed project) I came up with a "siding hammer" invention. It was so good :) that I applied for and received a Canadian and US patent. My Vinyl siding hammer inventionInstructable gives more details.

Step 8: Strapping, Insulation, and Interior Sheathing

Fibre glass insulation in the ceiling and walls and solid foam insulation on the floor combine to make an easy to heat and comfortable shed setup. I laid the solid foam insulating boards over the pressure treated plywood floor deck. I topped that with 1/2 inch exterior grade plywood. I installed the same plywood on the walls and ceiling because I wanted to nail, screw or drive whatever I wanted, without having to worry about not having a solid surface to work with. I installed plastic vapour barrier between the insulation and the sheathing on both the walls and ceiling.

I made up a four legged wheeled working platform to help me install the plywood sheets for the ceiling. A simple system of plywood support brackets and a car jack mounted on the platform held the sheets securely while I nailed them in place.

Step 9: Shelves, Shields, and Finishing Up

I made simple built-in shelves to take care of my hoarded junk. Outside the shed I built a couple of high-backed garden chairs to give some extra privacy and wind shielding. I was working on my front and back decks and a garden pond in the same time frame as the deck - the photos give a glimpse of those projects too. Overall I am very pleased with the final outcome of it all.

Step 10: Wintertime

A cozy shed at wintertime!