diycoder's shed project
I thought I would document the building of my shed to help other future
shed builders with their own project. I do software development for a
living but have always enjoyed doing carpentry work.
I had no interest in purchasing a pre-fab shed but I've had one friend
suggest that I go that route. For a 16x12 shed, it seems that they range
from $4K to $6K depending on the quality/options used.
I purchased the plans for a 16x12 plywood colonial from betterbarns.com website and will modify it slightly to use beveled cedar siding instead of plywood and only 1 door instead of two. Here's what it looks like:
I contacted my local building dept to see if needed to pull a permit.
None was needed since the size of the shed was under 200 sf. The next
step was to contact the Conservation Commission to have them mark the
location of the nearby wetlands.
Since the planned location was within the 100ft buffer zone of the
wetlands, I had to attend a Conservation Commission hearing to get a
project waiver which I received.
The shed location has an issue where the property has a 3-4ft slope from
the back right corner to the front left corner. If I used blocks or
piers, the shed door would be 3-4 ft off the ground which is kind of
ridiculous. So I decided to take the approach of digging out the
foundation to make it more level. I also went with blocks on gravel
approach since it's a shed and I didn't want to dig a bunch more 4ft holes
since I encountered a lot of rocks in the area.
After I had the area roughly cleared out and leveled, I setup batter
boards to help me roughly place the foundation blocks. Under each
foundation block, I dug a hole and filled it with 5-6" worth of crushed
stone to help with drainage and to make it easier to level the blocks.
The next step is align the blocks with the string lines I have setup and
get them level with each other. I started with the back right corner since
that is my highest point.
I used 8" x 16" x 2" patio blocks since I had a bunch of these from when I
removed an existing patio area. For shims, I used: 3/4" pressure treated (PT)
1x4 wood cut to 16" length, 1/2" PT plywood, and 3 tab roofing shingles.
I would use any combination of them to get the blocks level with each
The foundation blocks are set every 4ft. The plan calls for 4 rows of 3
blocks. I added an extra row and column (5 rows of 4 blocks) for extra
I place a block on the gravel bed and used a plumb bob to align it with my
string lines. Then I used a bubble level to make the block level. A
bubble level is well worth the $3 to quickly level a block. Prior to
that, I would use a small torpedo level and would have to constantly move
& rotate to check...a royal pain.
After getting the initial block leveled, I would add more blocks and some
shims to get it to level. Here's a picture of the blocks leveled &
The plans calls for 2x8 PT sill plates that rest on the foundation
blocks. The floor consists of 2x6 PT joists that sit on top of the
plates. The first step was to assemble a rim joist and plate. Basically
attaching a 2x6 to the 2x8 plate.
With lumber, it's rare to find perfectly straight and untwisted wood so
you have to deal with situations like this:
So as I was nailing the wood off, I would use a bar clamp to force the
wood into proper position:
After making the two sill plates/rim joists combos, I set them on the
blocks to see how it layout.
Continuing from the previous post since I was limited to 10 images.
Uh oh, it seems that the plates are about 2-3" shorter than the
foundation. How did that happen? I did measure everything multiple times
and was careful in laying the foundation.
The blocks were supposed to be 1/2" inward from the joists. I figured out
my mistake was that the plans did not call out an overall length of the
sill plates. They expected you to total up the number of 16" OC joists to
arrive at an overall length. Instead, I took the number from the
Anyway, I'm stuck with this this so I ended up moving the front blocks
back 4" to adjust for everything.
Next post will be installing all of the joists.
Nice work. What is your location? (add it to your profile for future references) Those are some huge rocks you have there.
Yes, I had to remove some large rocks when I was digging. A couple were too big to remove so I dug a bigger hole next to it and pushed it using a long bar into the new hole. If you look in the middle, you can see the one boulder.
I will be following this for sure!!! Just wondering why you didn't choose to pour a slab and build off that?
About 8 years ago, I had a concrete guy remove part of my garage floor (22' x 6' ??) and pour a new floor attached to the remaining old floor which was still in good shape. I think it cost me $2K in 2005. So by doing this foundation, I saved myself at least $2K through my own sweat equity.
Believe me, I thought about renting a small Bobcat or excavator to make the work easier but no, I did it all with a shovel, pick axe, pry bar, and wheelbarrow.
Do you have a barrier (foam seal) between the concrete block and the wood? Not really sure if its needed...
Sent you a PM
I tried responding to the PM but I don't have enough posts yet. I do java/c++/perl development.
Aw................ C'mon! You could have dovetailed those joist corners if you had only applied some effort. :eek:
Nice work. :thumbsup:
Very cool... I was more concerned with moisture wicking from the block to the wood. That seal / barrier would give a break and prevent moisture from getting to the wood.
Watching this one closely, very cool.
I ordered my plywood, studs, cedar siding and some other materials yesterday. Should be delivered tomorrow. It was $2K worth with the 1000 lf of cedar siding being the largest cost. So far, I'm in about $2300 worth of materials on this project.
Two nights ago, I put in all of the joists and will post pictures of that effort. I need to go back and remove two of the joists and rip them down since they're actually 5 3/4" wide when the rim joists are 5 1/2". The rest of the joists are 5 1/2" or 5 5/8". 5 3/4" seems to sit a bit too proud of the rest that I don't want to just cover up with plywood.
I also need to install ground anchors. So my goals for tonight and this weekend are:
1. Rip down a couple of the too wide joists
2. Install the 6 ground anchors
2. Install the 3/4" T&G ACX plywood
3. Fabricate the roof trusses and store them (the idea is that the large floor platform is a good place to assemble them)
4. Start building the walls
I still need to buy:
1. roof shingles
2. wood & hardware for shed doors
3. Azek trim boards
4. Barn sashes (windows)
5. electrical wiring, outlets, lights, and underground conduit
Looks good so far, I'm glad to hear you're going to install anchors. I would however rethink your choice of the plywood shims especially on the perimeter, they're just going to delaminate and rot out.
The plywood doesn't look treated to me but even if it is you still don't want water to stand on it. Treated plywood (unlike marine ply) only uses water a resistant glue that will break down and the chemicals used for the treatment will leach out and fail over time in wet conditions.
I know this is just a shed but plywood (treated or not) wouldn't be my choice for a shim in that spot.
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