They laughed when I told them I was going to build my own shed but when they saw it...

You can build your own shed successfully,
even if the only thing you have hit with a hammer is your thumb.

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Tuesday, May 25, 2010

DIY Shed Plans - What you need to know - Part 3

Just like the site preparation work it is important to do your homework first. Read the blueprints many times, make notes if you need to and be absolutely sure that you understand all parts of the construction and the order in which it has to be done. Treat it like a big jigsaw, lego construction set or similar.

Often a prefab shed can be built by only two people and sometimes three. If you are building from scratch and a stack of materials you can do it by yourself if you are experienced but you are always better off to have an assistant unless you are constructing a pretty basic storage building or shelter like a lean to, small potting shed or wood shed.

In general the procedure for using a shed kit the build your shed or barn would be to construct the framework, stand it up with the help of your assistant and bolt it to the footings. This is done one section at a time. When you have the second frame in place you put the horizontal joining rails in place as it keeps them rigid. Keep moving until you have the full framework up and the horizontal rails fixed. Your diy shed plans will also give you the step by step process to construct your new shed, make sure you follow them rather than my sequence here as they know their product better than I do and the best way to put their kits together.

Once you have the frame work constructed and the horizontal rails in place you will need to put the roof supports in place. These may be metal or wooden. Next you will put the door and window frame(s) in position. These are often boxed structures and just bolt,screw or nail in place. Your plans may call for corrugated iron roofing or wall cladding or it may be one of the many different patterns you can get in metal sheeting. Perhaps you have a more traditional type barn and you need to nail the wooden planks on the wall frame individually. You might even have a wooden tiled roof.

Often a fully wooden structure will be made from cedar or treated timber to resist termite attack. If you need to cut material to size you need to make sure you have the right piece before you cut and make sure you measure twice before the cut, it isn't possible to un-cut material and mistakes can be expensive.

If you have followed the shed building plans, the step by step instructions or the blueprints correctly you should have a solid, dependable and water proof shed, barn or cottage in the style you wanted, looking just the way you planned it.

Congratulations, you have successfully constructed your own shed in your garden. Take some photographs and show them off at work. You can proudly call it your do-it-yourself garden shed.

Monday, May 24, 2010

DIY Shed Plans - What you need to know - Part 2

I am assuming that you have now purchased either a shed kit, a diy shed plan and purchased all the materials on the list and are ready to go. Check your dimensions carefully, depending on where you got the design the measurements could be feet and inches or metric they'll be marked as ft, in or mm respectively. The rest of these articles are not relevant to you if you have contracted a builder to do the whole job. Wait for it to be built, pay the bill, and enjoy your new shed.

This article will cover site preparation which is the phase you will need to consider next if you want to get a good solid construction. This is true if you are going to get a full service job, it's a diy project, kit or full construction. I'll assume that this is a full build-your-own shed construction project. There are several different types of foundation you can use. There is a full concrete slab, concrete footings, wooden posts, skids or no footing at all. Whichever your shed plan requires the site layout procedure is the same.

Begin by pegging out the base of your new shed. You can use standard garden stakes for this as they will probably get broken or lost and they are really only there to assist with the initial alignment. It is crucially important that you do this job as carefully as you can. Remember that you need to begin with good preparation. Like everything you do, the quality of the completed job is determined by the accuracy of the design and the quality of the preparation.

The way you peg out a site is to determine the first corner and then use that peg as the reference for the other three pegs. Do not use your fences as the alignment of your site preparations because they may not be square. Always measure your site independently of the surrounding structures.

So you have the key corner stake in place, how do you determine the location of the next stake? You can't just measure the distance from the key stake to the next one by using the dimensions on the shed blueprints. But that is exactly where you must start. What you do is tie a length of builders twine between the other stakes which are the correct length for that side. But that's not all, to get the shed square you will need to also add a diagonal string between the opposite corner stakes. By setting the stakes where all of the strings are evenly tight you will have the base of your shed site square and correctly aligned. Yes this takes time and is fiddly but well worth the time and effort.

How do you work out how long the diagonals should be? Remember you old friend Pythagoras from math class at school? Yep, that stuff finally becomes useful and with the calculator on your computer this is easy stuff. But here's a sneaky little trick you might not know, Google can do this for you. Type this "sqrt(width^2 + length^2)" (without the quotes) into the Google search field and hit the enter key. Replace the width and length with the width and length of your shed and Google will return the length that the diagonal needs to be. How cool is that?

With the space pegged out you can now see what you need to do to level off the area. You may not need to level it off. If you are building your shed on a post system off the ground or concrete footings then levelling the site may only need to be minimal. If you are building on a concrete slab you will need to get the site level and then dig out the footings for the vertical supports.

Even for a diy shed project this part of the job will be done best by using a Bobcat or similar front-end loader. If you have not used one of these before save your sanity by hiring an operator to do the job for you. In fact it is best to get a professional to pour the concrete slab as well but you could do that bit yourself if you have had some experience with working concrete. A big slab needs to be worked in a timely manner because once concrete is poured it begins to set and you have a limited amount of time to get it spread evenly and smoothly.

If your shed design calls for services in your construction you will need to put them in place now. At the very least you will need to put conduit in place with pull-through cord for electrical wiring, and or the piping in place for any plumbing.

If you are building on posts or just installing footings for the uprights you will need to dig holes for each post or foot and pour the concrete for each of them taking particular care that they are all the same level. Use a long board and a spirit level. Get them even before you pour the concrete or you will have several at the wrong height. Check often as you pour the concrete as the posts often move when you settle the concrete in. Many builders nail a cross board on the supporting posts to locate them at the correct height prior to pouring in the concrete.

It doesn't matter whether you're using a shed kit, building direct from diy plans, constructing a storage building like a shed or barn or something much smaller than either like a potting or garden shed.

That pretty much sets up the site preparation and now you are ready to build you own shed.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

DIY Shed Plans - What you need to know - Part 1

You need to determine exactly what it is that you need your new shed to provide for you. Rushing into a shed project will almost certainly result in you not getting the design that you need, you might need a barn style shed and end up with a potting shed or a cottage. Well that is a bit of an exaggeration but you do know what I mean.

To avoid the disappointment and angst which results from poor choice of blueprints it is best to take the time to prepare. Here are some of the things you need to consider for your shed plans, you may have others due to your particular location or circumstances.

Before you even choose a style from the available designs or settle on a size you need to decide on all of the ways you want to use your new shed. As an example, I have recently had a shed built, I have space restrictions but I wanted to have three distinct uses for my new shed so I drew up a rough floor plan of how this should be laid out before I even approached a builder.

The first question you need an answer to is "What am I going to do in the shed?" Once you can answer that one you are actually well on the way to settling on a shed plan. From that answer you can then decide how much space you'll need for each of the activities.

That then sets the desired size of the shed. I wanted a two story shed to minimize the footprint in my yard. Unless you have unlimited space the desired size may not be possible meaning some spaces may have to do dual duty or be left out entirely.

Now is the time to measure out the space requirements and juggle the location and position around to find out if you can fit the shed in your yard in a way that is pleasing to you. Often in our modern housing blocks there will be insufficient room for your desired shed.

For me the space was fine but the two stories plan was rejected by the local planning authorities so I had to maximize the floor area for the shed but I still lost overall floor space. Not by much but some of my activity area will now have to be shared and become dual use. I reduced the storage building component and decided between a shed or barn style and chose the shed style.

More decisions, do you want to buy a shed building kit? Get a contractor to do it all? Do it yourself from DIY shed plans? Perhaps a combination of some or all of these. The biggest restrictions for most of us when it come to deciding diy or pre-built is time and money. I didn't have the time for this to be a diy project so I contracted a local contractor who designs custom sheds and then builds by using a shed kit. Their factory makes the shed from the design and flat-packs it for easy transport.

Building your own shed from plans is an extremely satisfying thing to do and you can do it because there are thousands of plans and kits available but you will need to allocate sufficient time for the project. Any DIY project can save you significant money and you always learn new skills but we are usually quite time poor these days. For some very busy people some kind of DIY shed building project might give you a different focus and provide some balance in your life.

At this stage you have a good idea of what style of shed you want, where you want to build it in your yard, whether you are going to do some, all or none of it yourself. If this is going to be a DIY shed project you need to get blueprints drawn up so you can submit them for building approval, if that is something that you need to do for your area. If you don't need building approval, lucky you, but you will still need properly designed blueprints so you can construct your new shed to last. You can buy these online or get a local architect or draftsman to do them for you. Sometimes you can get these done from a template at your local hardware store.