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DIY Shed Installation

DIY shed installation

Are you considering adding a storage shed to your backyard? It’s a smart choice, since we all tend to accumulate more personal belongings and gardening tools than can fit in our closets and garage. But installing a shed can be difficult if you’ve never done it before. That’s why we’ve prepared a shed installation guide to help you through the process.

Planning and Measuring

cottage shed

Image via Flickr by Naughty Architect

Before doing any construction on your shed, you’ll have to do a bit of planning. The first step is to choose the future location of your building. You’ll want to select the flattest space possible, and there should be no standing water in the area. That’ll save you future aggravation once you’re ready to level the space. An elevated part of your property is preferable if possible.

The other consideration to keep in mind is that you’ll need access to all four sides of your DIY shed kit during the installation. Nearby walls and fences can potentially hinder the process. You’ll also want to choose a spot where you can run electricity or water pipes if needed. Decide whether you’ll need such utilities before proceeding. Also, verify whether you need permits for the applicable development. You should check to see whether your neighborhood homeowner’s association has special rules in place, too. And, you should consider the view from your neighbors’ homes when you choose the front and back of your shed.

Image via Flickr user Douglas J. O'Brien

Image via Flickr user Douglas J. O’Brien

With a site chosen and permits in hand, the most important step is to measure the designated space. Even compact garden sheds will take up more room than you might expect. The clever design of these structures affords a great deal of storage in a tight space, but you still have to check the dimensions to verify there’s enough room. Also, remember to include the doors in your calculations. Few wooden sheds have doors that extend beyond the width of the building. You should check to make sure.

Prepping the Backyard

Image via Flickr by cdanna2003

Image via Flickr by cdanna2003

You’ll need to remove any nearby vegetation which could get in the way. Remove any grass and plants, since they’ll die anyway once the shed is in place. Your affected shrubs also need trimming or removal, depending on how close they are to the planned foundation. Weeds are another concern you must address. Use a weed killer to stop the infestation, and then dig up the offending parts. Next, lay plastic mesh over this ground to prevent the weeds from returning.

Similarly, you’ll want to cut the branches of any tree if they reach over the designated site. Should any trees need removal, you’ll also have to cut out the trunks and fill in these holes. You can buy stump killers at most major hardware stores. Alternately, pour Epsom salt over all the roots, and then dig the tree stump out of the ground.

Finally, if your shed will not stand close to the house, you’ll want to build a walking path.  It doesn’t need to be fancy; it simply needs to be a convenient way for you to reach the exterior building you’ll visit often over the years.

Leveling the Area

Image via Flickr by s58y

Image via Flickr by s58y

If you fail to build your shed installation foundation on level ground, it’ll warp over time. That’ll cause it to look unsightly and offer less utility in terms of storage. Warped sheds are prone to leaks and pest infestation. It’s imperative that you flatten the designated area as much as possible before construction. There are two options for leveling. You can choose concrete or gravel. If you prefer the former, skip to the next section.

Graveling the space where the shed will go is an effective way of addressing potential problems. By doing so, you’ll be able to identify any potential slopes on the ground as well as potential places for water to pool. You can then address those concerns by adding more gravel in the problem spots.

First, you’ll want to measure the shed space once again. Place four stakes to denote the exact dimensions of the shed. You can also place a fifth stake where the door will be if that helps you visualize the construction more accurately.

You now have flat land in your designated area without grass — this is your job site. It’s where you’ll add the gravel. Choose three-quarter-inch gravel that’s coarse as your setting. That way, once it receives foot traffic, it’ll mesh together in a tight formation, creating a functional floor where you’ll add cement.

Aim for four inches of gravel as your base. When placing it, start in the center then work your way out from each edge. That way, you’ll have a flat base you can use as a comparison as you extend the floor. Keep a level handy, and check often to make certain everything is level. You don’t want any chance of the gravel sliding.

Pouring Concrete

Image via Flickr by SteelMaster Buildings

Image via Flickr by SteelMaster Buildings

You may prefer a concrete base. If so, the pouring process might concern you, since it feels more permanent. As long as you’ve followed the steps above, however, it should be fine. This is the only downside to concrete. The other key consideration is the weather. You don’t want to pour concrete when it’s extremely hot outside or when the temperature is below freezing. Any other time is fine.

Building a shed with concrete guarantees its stability. It’s also a bit easier than gravel. Using the same stakes as before, add string to each one to show the entire build space. This is your shed installation foundation. Just dig out the base and then add concrete. You’ll want to cut about six inches into the land and then add plastic mesh as above. Fill roughly half of the remaining gap with gravel.

Take wooden planks and position them where the strings are. These are the edges of the foundation. You now have the designated space and a three-inch gap where you will pour the concrete. Simply keep it level with the surrounding ground, and you’re ready to proceed.

Laying Flooring

Image via Flickr by garethjmsaunders

Image via Flickr by garethjmsaunders

Most DIY sheds plans require floor framing. You’ll want pressure-treated lumber as your base. The ideal choices are 2” x 6” or 2” x 8”. Choose the larger pieces if you’re constructing a bigger shed. Either way, you’ll want ¾-inch exterior-grade plywood to avoid structural issues. Wood with interior ratings won’t hold up well in inclement conditions, so it’s only practical for interior sheds.

The nicer pieces you buy will have an advantage, since they’ll fit together cleaner and stronger, thereby securing the base of the shed. Your support beams are now not only tight and durable, but they’ll also support the weight of additional joists in case your DIY wooden shed requires additional interlocked pieces. It’s easy to add more flooring when you choose the proper base.

By this point, you should have a lot of confidence in your DIY abilities. Putting together the actual shed shouldn’t be a problem for you. Most storage sheds at reliable online vendors include detailed manuals and online tutorial videos. You can simply read the instructions and then watch the accompanying videos, using them as a guide to how to build a shed to complete your backyard.

Got any shed related questions? We’re happy to answer them! Just share them in the comments section below.

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