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Old 02-21-2011, 05:28 PM   #1
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Building a Shed


I want to build a shed in my backyard. I am looking for some advice regarding the foundation.

Originally, I was thinking of using the "skid" type of foundation but I worry a little because the location of the shed is at the lowest grade in my yard. Because of this, I was thinking I would put 6 concrete pillars in the ground and build my frame on those.

My questions are:
1. Is it still possible to use a skid type of foundation if I use 6 x 6 pressure treated?
2. If I do go the pillar route:
for a 5 by 16 shed is 6 Pillars sufficient?
My frost line is @ 36 inches, how deep should I go.. and how thick should they be?

Any other advice is much appreciated!!!!

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Old 02-21-2011, 06:44 PM   #2
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Building a Shed


I am not familiar with the term "skid foundation", perhaps this is local to your region? You can certainly build a shed on concrete posts, check with the local building inspector as to required depth for the post, minimum size, required stickup above ground. If there is no building inspector, and no permit is required, you can obtain shed plans at any big box store, they will probably have options for the foundation. My shed is built on rock pillars, not the best construction, but it has held up for over fifty years.

Generally speaking, you do not want any lumber, even pressure treated, in direct contact with soil. You can use cast in place concrete posts to elevate the sill beams, or you can use concrete planks (if permitted by local jurisdiction). As to sizing the sills, that will depend on the load you plan to place in the shed, obviously if you want to park a car in there you are going to need heavier framing than if you want to store some gardening tools.

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Old 02-21-2011, 08:00 PM   #3
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Building a Shed


Thanks Daniel... Skid was some terminology I saw in a book that had the pt wood on the ground... Another option they had was putting the shed on concrete block... Since my shed will be at the lowest elevation, I thought it would be best to use the piers..

The shed will be used for garden storage so nothing serious.

Thanks again for the input!!!

Last edited by FKampf; 02-21-2011 at 08:13 PM.
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Old 02-22-2011, 09:08 AM   #4
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Building a Shed


I have built a shed at a low point in my yard - basically is becomes a swamp/small pond for a short time during the spring.

I did a skid type of foundation on top of a layer of gravel. The shed is a 12 by 16. I used 3 16' 6x6's drilling four times each for rebar to anchor the shed in place.

The gravel keeps is dry - allows air to pass under the shed and discourages the critters from taking up residence.

It took 7 tons of gravel to get the grade I needed, about 4 inches at high point to 6 inches at low point.

It has worked very well.
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Old 03-01-2011, 01:32 AM   #5
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Building a Shed


my recently built 8'x12' shed sits on pressure treated 4x6's with 8-10" of compacted gravel underneath the 4x6's,so it is ground contact.the 4x6's are anchored with 24" rebar placed evenly into the 4x6's.again my 2x4 framing sits on the 4x6's.it works well here in Tucson Az.,not much moisture and the roofline has 18-20" overhangs to keep water away from the foundation,which does help during our monsoon rains.the flooring has compacted sand with red brick on top.not sure i answered your questions but my shed design has worked great with the skids/ground contact ect.
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Old 03-01-2011, 04:14 AM   #6
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Building a Shed


Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post

Generally speaking, you do not want any lumber, even pressure treated, in direct contact with soil.
Really? Huh, better tell that to the folks building homes on pressure treated wood foundations, and the power companies, burying pressure treated poles in the ground, or any of the many, many folks putting wood in direct contact with the soil.

The reality is, if you use pressure rated wood which is rated for ground contact (not just the cheap stuff at Home Depot) it will last a long, long time. Probably longer then the rest of the shed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Daniel Holzman View Post
I am not familiar with the term "skid foundation", perhaps this is local to your region?
He's talking about using two timbers parallel like runners on sled. Very common shed construction. One of the advantages is that if it is built on skids, it is not considered a permanent structure, so in many jurisdictions you don't have to comply with codes, get a building permit, or a building inspection. Another advantage is that you can put it in an easement or a setback area, because, again, it's not a permanent structure. Worst case scenario, the power company wants to dig a trench trough the easement, right where you have your shed, you don't have to tear it down. You hook a come-along to the skids and drag it out of the way. When they're done, you drag it back where you want it.
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Old 03-01-2011, 07:19 AM   #7
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Just build the shed slab on grade, I have built many this way for forty years for relatives and friends. Just get some 2x4s make a level frame the size you want, get some concrete anchor bolts , pour concrete install anchor bolts and start your shed frame with pressure treated lumber bolted down. Who cares about the frost I have never had a problem with that. If it heaves a little bit who cares it's only a shed. Now additions and decks and porch added on to an existing structure that's a different story. Another point you never have to worry about critters moving in under your floor.
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:28 AM   #8
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The previous posters gave good answers.
The foundation depends on your individual situation.
Grade issues, property lines, function... etc.

The skids we use up north here are usually 6x6 PT
Piers, sonotubes and slabs make your shed a permanent structure and will be under the rules of setbacks, codes and Property Taxes
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Old 03-05-2011, 08:35 AM   #9
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There IS PT lumber that IS made for ground contact, and is the only thing that should be used for anything in contact with ground or concrete, which can wick moisture to untreated wood.

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Old 03-05-2011, 09:38 AM   #10
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You should find this informative. Sorry, it was too long to just post here.

http://ohioline.osu.edu/hyg-fact/3000/3300.html
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Old 03-05-2011, 10:10 AM   #11
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I would consider 6 pillars to be enough for a 6x16 foot shed.

If I had to do it over again I would consider putting the pillars of a not-too-deep shed in from the corners although still under the rim joists. This would reduce the distance between pillars and therefore reduce the problem of sagging between pillars. There would be just a foot or two of cantilever out to the end walls which is not enough to sag. Some special treatment is needed to keep the end joists, that support the end walls, from falling off.
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Old 03-07-2011, 07:28 PM   #12
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Building a Shed


I am also interested in building a shed on skids. Not only do we get strong winds here but we are in an area prone to earthquakes so securing the skids would be an important detail.

For those that use rebar as anchors - is this just spiked straight through the skid into the ground with the top bent over? John
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Old 03-11-2011, 12:29 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FKampf View Post
I want to build a shed in my backyard. I am looking for some advice regarding the foundation.

Originally, I was thinking of using the "skid" type of foundation but I worry a little because the location of the shed is at the lowest grade in my yard. Because of this, I was thinking I would put 6 concrete pillars in the ground and build my frame on those.

My questions are:
1. Is it still possible to use a skid type of foundation if I use 6 x 6 pressure treated?
2. If I do go the pillar route:
for a 5 by 16 shed is 6 Pillars sufficient?
My frost line is @ 36 inches, how deep should I go.. and how thick should they be?

Any other advice is much appreciated!!!!
Why don't you call to some constructor and ask for some advice. It would be fine as he would suggest you with some other suggestions too.

Last edited by Watson63; 03-12-2011 at 03:54 AM.
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Old 08-15-2011, 09:02 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by john001 View Post
I am also interested in building a shed on skids. Not only do we get strong winds here but we are in an area prone to earthquakes so securing the skids would be an important detail.

For those that use rebar as anchors - is this just spiked straight through the skid into the ground with the top bent over? John
Without structural engineering I would put 3 pieces of rebar through the ends of the skids at angles to each other like a "tee-pee". Drive them into the ground through the skids. A roto-hammer will drive them very quickly. You will not need to bend over the tops because the opposing angles of the rebar will not allow the skids to come off the rebar. Again, if you are really worried about holding a shed to the ground you should consult a local structural engineer or sometimes your local building department will have standard engineering for things like building sheds and retaining walls.

A lot of sheds are not permanently attached to the ground and are small because that keeps them from needing a building permit.
Hope this helps.

Most of the damage from earthquakes will occur from the shed rocking itself apart, but if it is built really solid and the sheeting on the walls is nailed off properly and the roof is attached to the walls well a shed on skids should "float". Rigidly attaching it to the ground may cause more damage to the shed during an earthquake.
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Old 08-16-2011, 06:40 PM   #15
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I built an 8' x 8' chicken coop -- a really nice chicken coop ;-) It was modelled after a storage shed I had seen sitting in the parking lot of a local grocery store. I put it on two 4x4 PT skids. Atop that I built 2x4 flooring spaced 24" apart with a 1/2" ply floor. I should have used 3/4" ply, but it's a coop afterall. 16" oc spacing would have been nice as well. Then I framed up the walls and a gambrel roof (barn style). Doors, siding, shingles, etc etc.

All in all, I like the skids. I can move it if I want. I built it next to the shop and pulled it to it's final location (which we are thinking to change after 2 years now). But I have no earthquakes here to even consider. Of course it's a shed, so not sure EQ is a major consideration. For a garden shed, skids might be nice -- if you tear up more soil, need to move the shed, etc. I'm thinking to build a couple more -- water gear shed (fish, swim, etc) and garden shed (near the garden). There is close to $1000 in materials I suppose. Siding is 25/sheet for the cheap stuff. I bought left over shingles from craigslist, etc. It was a fun diy project. I had never built a "building" before. It took me forever (months) working a couple good weekends and procrastinating with the door details, siding, and roofing. I need to prime/paint. Otherwise, I think it should last many years.

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