My house does have a great utility garage in the back, a space perfect for storing bikes, a mower or outdoor supplies. The problem is that I turned that space into my wood turning shop and I had to store my bikes under a tarp outside! There is a large unused spot in the back of my house that looked perfect for a shed. I don't have any carpentry skills so I figured I would buy a metal shed. The more I looked I realized that the sizes available wouldn't fit my spot and they were really expensive.
My parents visited for the weekend so I decided to put my dad to work and build a custom wooden shed using my house as two of the walls. I figured this way I should be able to cut costs and have a more efficent use of my space. The common rule of thumb is that you will need to visit the hardware store 3 times for any project, I beleive I at 6 trips so far and I still have a few finishing touches to add.
Step 1: Plans and Materials
Between my dad and I we laid out plans for an 8x8' shed resting on cement blocks. I wen with an 8x8' shed to minimize extra cuts and to maximize the 4x8' sheets of plywood and 2x6' boards. Listed below are the initial materials I thought I would need (the list grew later when I was talked into adding another 4 feet).
- 2 4x8' sheets of flooring plywood
- 5 4x8' sheets of siding plywood (4 for the sides and 1 for shelves inside)
- 9 concrete slabs (My entire backyard is on a slope so I figured I would need more under the back of the shed to make it flat)
- 5 2"x6"x8' Walminized boards for the shed base
- 5 clear plastic roof sheets (The roof will end up being more than 8 feet long so I plan on using the fifth sheet to span the extra length)
- 1 boxes of tin roof screws (I ended up using an extra half box I had left over from a tree house roof)
- 2 lbs of 3" screws (Go with a hex bit, it is way easier. I had a hard time driving in the 3" screws into walmanized boards with the standard philips bit)
- 1 lb of 1 1/2" plywood screws I think (I had salvaged several lbs of screws from an old fense so I'm not really sure how many I used)
- 9 1"x4"x8' boards for the trim around the doorway and corner
- 3 2"x4"x10' boards for the roof
- about 57 2x4x8' boards for the walls
- Hinges, handle and latch
- Clear silicon caulk
The tools that used for the base prep were:
- Spade shovel
- pickaxe (I have a lot of stones and clay where I put the shed)
- gravel rake
- 4' level
- 2 high tech 4"x4"x6' old fense posts that were used to hammer the ground
Tools used for the rest of the shed were:
- circular saw
- electric drill
- tape measure
- 4' level and 8" level
- hand held planer
- Miter saw
- Tin snip (for cutting the plastic roofing)s
- A lot of on the spot problem solving
Step 2: Building the Foundation
Remember when laying out the base that the inside boards will be 3" shorter than 8'. Don't worry about the base being square yet because it is very flexible and will change a lot as you progress. We set the base in place so we would know where to set the cement blocks and remove the extra dirt. I didn't want the wood to be resting on the dirt so we also cut trenches where all of the boards would pass. Using our high tech dirt tamping tool we beat down the soil where ever we were going to place a corner block. Once we go close we set the blocks in place and tamped on the base to bring all of the base boards into level. Be careful how much you strike the cement blocks, we put some nice cracks in a few.
We placed 2x4s between the house walls and the base so we could have consistant gaps and get it close to square. To finish squaring the base simply measure the distance from each set of diagonal corners, once they are the same it is square and it is time to add the floor. Simply set the floor on the base and line up the edges of the plywood with the base edge. I added a screw every 18" or so to hold the floor down. I was able to jump on the base repeatidly without and creaking or cracking, I'm sure the Instructables shirt helped!
Step 3: Simple Wall
The side wall is a very simple stick wall with the vertical 2x4s being 16" center to center. I couldn't make it too easy so I cut the top of each vertical board at 15 degrees and made the final outside edge be 6' tall. I plan on extending the plywood above the top edge so I used my hand joiner/planer to make the horizontal edge flat with the rest of the wall. It is much easier to do this before the wall goes up!
Step 4: Roof Supports
My roof is going to have a 1' drop for every 4' so the high point of the roof is 8'. I mounted support boards to my house so the roof boards can rest on it and be anchored to it. Once we had two joists mounted we had to worry about where to mount the support board on the chimney bump out. We solved this by resting a board across the mounted roof joists and measuring where that board rested against the siding. It was at this point that my dad talked me into increasing the size of the shed by 50%! We didn't have to change anything with the design and it made the shed a much more useable size. I also attached hurricane straps to further secure the roof to the walls.
Step 5: Adding the Roof
To aid in attaching the roof panels I added horizontal board on the joists every 2 feet. I started at the lower right hand side of the roof. The roof panels I used were only 8' long so I had to have an extra piece at the stop of the roof to allow the roof to overhang slightly. I used 29" lengths on the top and mounted a L shaped drip flange against the house. This extra flange piece was need because it would be next to impossible to seal the wavy edge of the roof to the vertical side of the house. Silicon was applied to the top edge of the flange to further water proof the top edge of the roof. Any where the roof panels didn't aligns with the wall very well I added a flange and a healthy amount of silicon. Thankfully I had a lot of rain after the roof and walls where added so I was able to see right where all the leaks where and add extra silicon before I started storing anything in the shed.
Step 6: Putting on the First Wall
I think the walls for the long side of the shed where the easiest to do. Since the bottom of the roof was supposed to be 6 feet I extended the wall up past the joist supports. All I had to do was notch where each joist would hit and cut the wall to the correct height. With one person holding the wall in place the other person started screwing in the plywood screws. Only several were needed to hold the wall in place with a screw added every 1 foot or so later on when I had more time. We also found that our wall board edges didn't perfectly align with every set of studs so we did have to add one double stud to insure a stable wall. Beyond the one extra stud this step went quickly and was straight forward.
Step 7: Framing the Doorway and Adding Plywood
I knew I wanted a 3' wide door and I wanted it 6' tall. I also knew that I wanted to put 1' deep shelves against one of the walls. With that in mind we began to by adding a stud 1' in from the right side wall and framed the door in from there. Most of this wall was a figured it out as you go because the standard 16" stud spacing wouldn't work. You can see from the first picture above that we finished framing after the sun went down and had to use flashlights to do the final cuts and placement. This wall was not load baring so we weren't as concerned about having extra structure around the door frame.
When it came time to adding the siding I started from the left side and worked my way left adding small pieces as needed. Each piece was custom sized to fit it's spot. Due to the 50% expansion of the shed I didn't have enough plywood to finish this wall right away or the door. We had very heavy rains in the forecast so I did my best to seal up the shed until the rain past and I could borrow a truck again to get more material. In can you were wondering the tarp didn't do too well against heavy rain and strong winds.
Step 8: Building the Door and Painting
Once the sun returned and I made another trip to the hardware store I was ready to continue work on the shed! First I finished up putting the last few pieces of siding on and then was ready to tackle the door. I cut the piece for the door 1/2" smaller than the opening both vertically and horizontally. I could have cut it smaller but its worked. Using the 1x4" boards I added a frame to the door that extended 1" on all sides. This way the door body would sit flush with the walls when it was closed. I set the door in place and pushed it tightly against the right edge of the door frame. While it was pushed to the right side I added the right side of the door trim. Again rain came rolling in but this time I was able to prop the door shut and my shed stayed much drier.
The door was fairly light so I went with only two door hinges mounted on the top and bottom of the door. Once the door was mounted I was able to mount the remaining door trimming and attached the door handle and latch. I also added trim to the corner of the shed for looks and to prevent water from soaking into the edge of the exposed wall siding. Now it is ready for paint!
Step 9: Finishing Touches
My wife was kind enough to use extra house paint that we had sitting around the house to paint the outside of my new shed. Between the grey wall and the white trim the shed really blended in well with the house and is a great addition. Additional details we added where several knock out roses to the long side of the shed, improved downspouts and putting wood chips around the rose bushes. I still need to add some steps and add grass seed to the area in front of the shed but for now I have already started utilizing my new space. I've added several long shelves for storing my drying bowl blanks and extra wood from this project. As mentioned earlier, I normally work only on small round pieces of wood so building a large outside structure was a big learning experience and am so glad I had my dad there to lend a hand and bounce ideas off of. Thank you very much for checking out my shed build and I wish you the best of luck in your next project. My best advise would be no always buy more material then what you think you will need because when you are new to building you always use more than you planned!