We could all use extra space and a great way to add some storage without taking up valuable square footage within the home is by building an outdoor storage shed. Building a shed is a fun DIY project that any DIYer can accomplish. All you need are the steps to construct it yourself. Let’s get to work.
Get the Permit
Before you begin, you’ll need to get a permit for the storage shed. Details of this can be obtained through a homeowner's association, if you have one, or your county's building department. The cost of a permit varies depending on the square footage of your intended project, but small outbuildings or sheds can be permitted for as little as $100.
Decide on Material
Shed materials have come a long way over the years. Steel used to be quite popular, since it’s easier and cheaper to construct. However, over the years, homeowners are moving away from the cold design of steel and migrating towards wood or vinyl. If properly constructed, wood or vinyl can hold up against the most severe weather. They also give you a certain flexibility when it comes to design.
Start with the Base
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You must first choose a location for the shed. Certain regulations may restrict you from building a storage shed too close to your fence or property line. Mark the location on your grass with spray paint.
If you want to use pavers instead of a wood base, remove the grass as you start to form an even ground. Throw down some paving sand and even it out. This sand is great if you choose to use pavers as your base. If you’re going with an all-wood shed, just add an extra frame below the shed to make sure it’s straight.
Line up all your pavers and make sure they are evenly distributed.
Add the Support for Paved Base
Skip to next step if you’re building an all-wood shed.
If you’re using pavers as your base, you’re going to need something to hold up the shed. We recommend four stirrups at each corner of the shed. You may need to cut the corners of your pavers (can use a handsaw) to make sure they fit within your shed base and not show on the outside.
Dig a hole and add some concrete. Place the stirrups in the concrete and make sure they are level. This way, no matter the weather, your storage shed won't be moving anywhere and you'll cut down on repair costs down the road.
With all pavers down, cover the rest of the paving sand with sand cement. This will keep the exterior of your shed clean when it rains.
Bonus Tip: You can use a mix of recycled and new materials to keep costs down.
Build Base for All-Wood Shed
Measure out your shed. Make sure you don’t go over the assigned square footage that was permitted. Line it up on the grass and mark all locations for the frame. Remember, if your ground is not level, add small pieces of wood below your frame.
Make sure center frames are evenly distributed and mark with a pencil. Get your nail gun and put the base together.
Construct and Attach the Wall Frames
Wood or steel works great for storage shed walls. Measure out the frames to the desired and permitted height and width. Attach three frames for the two sidewalls and the back.
After completed, stand them up on your stirrups. Do not stand on your pavers. With some help, align all three walls and make sure they are plumb. This is very important. If they are not perfectly plumb, inclement weather could enter the shed. Nail the walls together.
After all three walls are up, nail a few frames across the roof of the shed, as you will need a base for your roof.
Attach the Outer Walls
You can use a wide array of materials for your outer walls, like wood, vinyl or steel. If you used a paver base, you should have some room in between the stirrups and the wall frames. It will look much cleaner if you do. Slide the walls right in and screw or nail them together. If you are building an all-wood storage shed, just nail the walls into the frames. The same needs to be done to the back wall, regardless of your base.
Connect the Roof
Before we move onto the roof, take a step back and examine your shed. Make sure the height in the front is taller than the back. You want your shed to slope backwards so the roof directs water away from the door. If the height is the same, add a small frame above the future doors.
For the roof, you can use wood, vinyl, fiber cement, iron or steel. Whatever material you use, slide it on and drill them into the top frames. Make sure there are no holes or water will enter.
Add the Doors
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Now it’s time to move to the front of the shed. We need to add small frames on each side of the front. This way, we have two frames to attach the hinges. Make sure frames are plumb.
With storage shed doors, you can save a few bucks by buying recycling doors. A good cleaning or sanding, depending on material, will make them look as good as new.
Before you attach the doors, make sure they are level with the shed. You can use small pieces of wood below to hold them into place.
Screw in the hinges as you attach the doors. Then, add a small frame above the door, in between the top frame. This way, the door will have something to close against and no rain will seep through.
Finish It Off
Your shed should be up and ready to go, however, it’s probably not looking its best. If you can, paint the exterior to match the color scheme of your yard or home’s exterior. Then, head inside the shed and add some shelves. After all, it is a storage shed.
Watch It Live
If you’re more of a visual learner, watch Rob Palmer of DIY Network as he constructs his own storage shed.
Building your own storage shed is a great way to declutter your home. You may need help lining up the walls or nailing the shed together, but building your own shed is a fun and inexpensive way to organize your home.
As always, there are local pros ready to do the project for you. Check out our shed building cost estimator to see what it will cost to hire a professional contractor in your area.