Build Your Own Storage Shed!




About: I am a fourth year Architecture student who is interested in art, design and engineering. I am always looking for new projects and new ways to build things, and always enjoy Instructables because it is a gr...

Hello Instructables!  This is my entry into the Shopbot Contest.  This Instructable will show you the steps to building your own shed.   We decided that our shed would be for storage because we wanted to get some stuff out of the garage so we can use it as a shop.  One of the challenges of building a shed in our backyard was that the ground was sloped in the area that we wanted to put it, so we had to find a way to get around that.  Another was that we are building beside some well established trees, and we didn't want to harm their root structure.  This is why we went with cinderblock and mortar rather than poured concrete.

WARNING:  In our town we do not need any permits to build a shed as long as it is under 10x10.  Please check your area for regulations on building structures with/without a permit.

Step 1: Ground Breaking

We decided to construct the foundation of our shed out of cinderblocks.  This will help keep out any rodents, and doesn't risk harming the trees beside the shed.  In order to lay a good foundation, we first had to level out the ground. We didn't need to level out the middle of the structure's base because that was later filled with limestone screening.  We made channels for the cinderblocks with spades and a pickaxe, and made sure to create a channel for the electrical as well.  The electricity comes from our house, which is about 10 feet away from where the shed stands.

Step 2: Materials for the Foundation

For the masonry of the foundation we went out and bought 15 cinderblocks, and suplemented these with clay bricks that we got for free off of kijiji and some concrete pavestones from a neighbor's old patio.  Clay bricks can only be used above ground, other wise they will erode.  Looking back, it would have been easier to simply use cinderblocks and we strongly recommend it if you don't have other materials to get rid of.  Also, buy more mortar than you think you will need.  We ended up using a lot of mortar and if you have any extra you can always return it or pour it in the cinderblocks like we did to make the foundation even stronger.

Step 3: Lay the Foundation and the Electrical

Now we can actually start building!  Before you start putting down cinderblocks, lay limestone screening down in all of the channels and run and burry your electrical.  Make sure that your electrical wires are clearly marked (we used caution tape) so that nobody digs them up accidentally in the future.  Once your all set, you can start putting down some cinderblocks.  You may need to break some cinderblocks in half, and this is easily done with a chisel, a hammer, and a bit of time.  Tip:  Set Rebar posts in each corner and tie strings across to help you keep the walls straight.  You need to check every single block for level, especially on this layer as the base of the foundation will affect the rest of the foundation and in turn affect the main structure.

Step 4: Framing and Roofing: Materials and Tools

The framing is the most important part of the above-ground structure because it stiffens up the plywood boards and supports the roof.  You will need a lot of 2x4's, and a way to attach them.  We used this as an excuse to buy some new air hammers from canadian tire.  We were able to get the lumber for the entire project delivered by a company called Tamrack Lumber.  They brought out a truck and dropped off all the supplies.  For the roofing you will need little plates with groups of nails sticking out of them which I believe are called joist plates.  These are used on the angles to keep them from shifting.  The last thing you will need is a way to cut all of the 2x4's.  To do this we borrowed a very nice miter saw from a friend for a few days.  It is much easier if the cutting tool can cut on angles, otherwise you will be left to improvise when cutting the peices for the roof.

Step 5: Creating the Walls

The next thing that we did was to put together all of the walls.  The 2x4's were spaced apart 2 feet from each other once cut to the appropriate length and then permanantly attached with the framming hammer.  We then leaned the four frames, after marking which side they went on, against the wall of the house until the foundation was finished.

Step 6: Finishing the Foundation ( + More Electrical)

Before we can finish the base we need to get the electrical ready.  Put a peice of conduit over your electrical wire to protect it from any damage it could receive while you are finishing the base and to give the shed a more finished look.  Make sure the pipe and wire inside are pointing up perpendicular to the ground and are preferably going straight to the location where your first outlet will be.

The walls of the foundation have been created and the electrical is all set, now all that needs to be done is to fill the gaping hole in between them with limestone agrigate.  We also threw in some concrete paving stones that we had lying around because we don't plan on using them and we had already tried to give them away.  After the limestone is in place tamp it down by jumping on it and keep filling up any places that are no longer level.  After the entire base is filled with as much limestone as you can fit put a sprinkler on to soak it and set it for the next hour or so.  You may need to add a bit more limestone after this is done as well.

We now need to create a base that we can nail the frames for the walls into.  We did this with four 2x8's and some bent i-bolts along with a lot of mortar.  The basic process was that we bent the bottoms of the i-bolts after heating them with a blow torch, and then anchored these in some of the holes in the cinderblocks with a lot of mortar.  Then we drilled holes in the 2x8's where the i-bolts were and put these on top and screwed them in.  The frames can now be solidly attached to the base with the framing hammer.

Step 7: Attaching the Wall Frames to the Foundation

The next step is to attach what will become your shed's walls to the 2x8's that were attached to the foundation in the previous step.  We did this by first attaching all four wall frames together and THEN attaching them to the base.  This ensured that we could make sure that the frame was square before we put it in it's final position.

Step 8: Creating and Attaching the Roof Trusses

The roof trusses support the plywood and shingles that make the roof waterproof.  They are very important to plan carefully because they require strange angles and they have to fit the structure below them.  We gave our shed a slight awning and this had to be accompanied by the trusses, which overhang the walls of the shed by about a foot on each side.  When constructing your joists it is important to use joist plates otherwise the angles that you so carefully planned will not remain true for very long.  We used a 2x4 to support the joists while we were attaching them to the walls.

Step 9: Siding

We used fake board and batten to make our shed asthetically pleasing.  We put white trim on the edges to make them more pronounced as well.

Step 10: The Doors

As you can see, I have no pictures of the doors being created.  This is because they took way too much trouble to make, and I didn't really have the patience to take pictures of them being built because they were tested and redone about 3 times.  Lesson to be learned:  leave the tolerances bigger than you think they will need to be, you can always use weather strips to help close them up later.  After 3 attempts, we finnally got the doors to work properly.  The one door is held in place with sliding dead-bolts to the floor and ceiling frames and the second door is attached to it with another dead-bolt.

Step 11: Painting and Finishing the Roof

Now we get to paint the entire shed.  As you can see, the mischevious doors were painted seperatly from the rest of the structure because they took so long to get finished.  We used a light brown stain that was semi-transparent because we still wanted to see the wood grain, and a bright white paint to accent the trim.

Finishing the roof was done by putting down 7/16 inch boards and placing down brown asphalt shingles on top.

Step 12: The Finished Shed

Now you have finished your shed!  Once your doors are on, you can add latches and locks.  The windows on our shed are made of 1/4 inch thick plexiglass held in with white silicone to match the trim.  The floor was finished with concrete tiles. You can now choose to leave the inside of your shed barren, to say, store a few larger items, or you can add shelves like we did.  We added the shelves because we had a lot of small boxes and things that we wanted to move out of the garage.  They are made from 7/16 inch thick oriented strand board and 2x2s.  The shelves in the middle have some spare 6x6 chunks keeping them up, which is suitable because they are the deepest and are designed to hold the heaviest items.  They are so strong that you can climb on them, even jump on them!  We also added a bike rack on the right hand side that can hold our five bikes.  The finishing touch on the shed was to add an electrical outlet and a flourescent lighting fixture with a switch.  There is a vent in the back wall for warm summer days but it is probably unneccesary.  Hopefully you can build your own storage shed and de-cluterize your life as well.  Thanks!



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39 Discussions


10 months ago

Im using stodoys instructions to make it and I do it already :)


1 year ago

Your shed looks awesome! And everything is so organized inside! Good job, thanks for sharing! :-)

1 reply

1 year ago

Was wondering if you put plastic sheeting down under the rock for a moisture barrier?

Don't you think the tree roots will grow and move the foundation, I put up a shed 20 years

Ago and a tree growing near the shed, not as close as the trees you have it lifted one side

quite a bit, and with all the weight in the shed it made the sheeting buckle!

Good luck, good looking shed!

1 reply

Reply 12 months ago

I believe we just put down the garden tiles, no moisture barrier. We weren't super concerned with the moisture when we built this as there is a significant amount of airflow to the exterior with the clearance of the doors and the space under the eaves.


1 year ago

Some people put tar paper between the lower beam and the foundation wall to prevent possible moisture from rising into the wall structure.Even if they have the pressure treated lower beam.

Another cool "quick and dirty" way to attach the lower beam to the foundation is put some pieces of rebar rod vertically into the concrete, then drill the hole into the lower beam and after threading it through bending the rebar with a sledge hammer... its a very common way to do it in the country I live. But on my own house I also used bolts ....


Tip 1 year ago on Introduction

an easier way to do the door is to screw on the inside bracing THEN cut the 'door' panel out of the 'wall' panel. you can even attatch the hinges first;if you carefully cut the panel around them ( to avoid hitting the metal with your saw).using this method means the door HAS to fit the hole;as theres no way that it can't! 80)


Question 1 year ago

Nicely Done! Where I live if you build or place a shed on a foundation such as you have constructed it is considered a permanent structure and increases the property taxes. Is this so where you live?

1 answer

Hello spalbers2015. All I know is that in the municipality where we built this shed you were able to build up to a 10'x10' structure without a permit. I don't know if it resulted in an increase in property taxes.


Question 1 year ago on Step 12

I have a question. Where did you get the bike rack? I've got a similar need to want to store bikes vertically like that as well. Have been looking for a rack that would allow that.

Thanks in advance for any help.

4 answers

Answer 1 year ago

Hey roybrew! I believe we were using the Rubbermaid Fasttrack system:

I think that we had to purchase some additional hangers that were built especially for bike tires. This system worked pretty well, one comment that I have is that they don't hold up to the weight of several combined bikes as well as I would like. You need to make sure that the track is anchored very often, as having hooks in between anchor points starts to flex the main rail and can result in the hooks popping off.


Answer 1 year ago

Thanks very much. Just needed a brand name. Last time I went to my Home Depot they didn't have these.


2 years ago

Looks like you've got an amazing amount of space with that new storage shed put in! Anything that we might need to consider about the placement of such a storage shed on our property that you might be able to share with us before we start on a project like this? Did you do anything for insulation or keeping out humidity in there?

2 replies

Hello Cameron,

One of the main things that you will want to check before building a shed is whether it requires a permit in your township. We were able to build a 10'x10' shed on our property without a permit, however things may be different where you live.

Our shed isn't insulated, we weren't too worried about what we were storing in there. If you need to protect what is inside your shed from humidity, insulation may be a good idea, or leaving spaces for lots of ventilation and filling the gaps with mesh so that insects can't get in.

Best of luck with your project!

oky jimNathanaelScheffler

Reply 1 year ago

A thing you might want to check is if regulations require a minimum setback from the property line. This is often overlooked and come back to bite you. A silly thing I found out when I built my shed, my jurisdiction in California treats buildings differently depending on what they are called on the permit. I called my shed a barn because I built a gambrel roof and it looked like a barn. My surprise....A barn must be 50 feet away from any structures occupied by humans. A shed can be almost against the house.....same size, same shape,,,just different names.


1 year ago

Nice shed! Great build.

You talk about building permit :

But you should also check if you need a license electrician
and if so for what parts… In canada in each province it varies what you can or
cannot do (pass cable; plug in the breakers box; plug your electrical outlets)

Remember also that your insurance company could be against
you making electrical work, or covering you afterwards…

1 reply

In Ontario, all one needs to do is to pull a permit from ESA and call for inspections as the work progresses. Electrical work is not difficult and you can obtain a copy of the electrical code at your public library.


1 year ago on Step 12

Very nice project. Seems to be well built. When I built mine we went with a full basement and made it tall enough for a 4 ft. attic as well. We maximized our footprint in storage capacity. Electricity in the shed was also a must with its own breaker panel. We needed the space because I even have stuff to fix stuff and there is no such thing as a bad piece of junk.