I • ..

, r I
CONTEMPORARY
Complete Plans for 12 Sheds, including:
• Garden Outbuilding
• Storage Lean-to
• Playhouse
• Woodland Cottage
• Hobby Studio
• Lawn Tractor Barn
by Philip Schmidt
Creative Publishing
international
MINNEAPOLIS. MINNESOTA
www.creativepub.com
Creative Publishing
international
Copyright © 2008
Creative Publishing international, Inc.
400 First Avenue North
SUite 300
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55401
1-800-328-3895
WINW,creativepub,com
All lights reserved
Printed at R.R. Donnelley
10987654321
Li brary of Congress Cataloging-in-publication Data
Schmidt, Philip.
The complete guide to contemporary sheds: complete plans for 12 sheds,
including playhouse, garden outbuilding, storage lean-to, lawn tractor barn,
hobby studio, woodland cottage / by Philip Schmidt.
p. cm. -- (Complete guide)
At head of title: Branded by Black & Decker
Summary: "Provides practical information for planning and building sheds
of ali types" --Provided by publisher.
Includes index.
ISBN-13: 978-1-58923-335-5 (soft cover)
ISBN-l0: 1-58923-335-2 (soft cover)
1. Sheds--Design and construction--Amateurs' manuals. 2. Toolsheds--
Design and construction--Amateurs' manuals. 3. Outbuildings--Design and
construction--Amateurs' manuals. I. Black & Decker Corporation (Towson,
Md.) II. Titl e. III. Title: Branded by Black & Decker. IV. Series.
TH4962.S532oo8
690.89--dc22
2007039143
The Complete Guide to Contemporary Sheds
PreSident/CEO: Ken Fund
Vice President for Sales & Marketing: Peter Ackroyd
Home Improvement Group
Publisher: Bryan Trandem
Managing Editor: Tracy Stanley
Senior Editor: Mark Johanson
Editor: Jennifer Gehlhar
Creative Director: Michele Lanci-Altomare
Senior Design Manager: Brad Springer
Design Managers: Jon Simpson, Mary Rohl
Lead Photographer: Steve Galvin
Photo Coordinator: Joanne Wawra
Shop Manager: Bryan MCLain
Shop Assistant: Cesar Fernandez Rodriguez
Production Managers: Linda HailS, Laura Hokkanen
Author: Philip Schmidt
Page Layout Artist: Danlelle Smith
Photographers: Peter Caley, Andrea Rugg, Joel Schnell
Shop Help: Dan Anderson, Taml Helmer, John Webb,
Glenn Austin, Scott Boyd, Lyle Ferguson, David Hartley,
Russ Reininger, Syd Thomas, Kevin Weber
Technical Review: Arien Cartrette
Created by: The Edi tors of Creative Publishing international, Inc., in cooperation with Black & Decker.
Black &   e c k e ~ is a trademark of The Black & Decker Corporation and is used under license.
NOTICE TO READERS
For safety, use caution, care, and good judgment when following the procedures described in this book. The Publisher
and Black & Decker cannot assume responsibility for any damage to property or injury to persons as a result of misuse
of the information provided.
The techniques shown In this book are general techniques for various applications. In some Instances, additional
techniques not shown in this book may be required. Always follow manufacturers' instructions included with products,
since deviating from the directions may void warranties. The projects in this book vary widely as to skill levels required:
some may not be appropriate for al l dO-It-yourselfers, and some may require professional help.
Consult your local Buildi ng Department for information on building permits, codes and other laws as they apply to
your project.
Contents
The Complete Guide to
Contemporary Sheds
Introduction . . . . . .. ... . . . . . .. . . .. ..... .. 4
Essential Outbuildings . ................. . . 6
Building Basics . ........... . ... ... .. . ... 20
Choosing a Site for Your Shed . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . .. . . . . .. 22
Worki ng with Construction Drawings. · . . .. 24
Anatomy of a Shed. · .. .. 26
Lumber & Hardware. · . . .. 27
Building Foundations . . .... . . . . . . . · .. . . 28
Framing the Structure . . . .. 40
Siding & Trim ................ .. ......... . ........... 62
Doors & Windows .. .. . .. . .. . . . . • . .. . . .. . .. . . . .. . . . . .. 70
Ramps, Steps & Decks ... . ..... . . ... . ..... . •......... . 74
Shed projects . . ..... . . ... . . ... . . . .. . .. . 84
Clerestory Studio . .. .. . 86
Sunlight Garden Shed · . . . 100
Lean-to Tool Bin ... .. . .. . • . .. .. 114
Convenience Shed . · .. . 124
Gambrel Garage. . .. . . .. .... . . .. . . . . . 138
Simple Storage Shed . . . ....... 154
Gothic Playhouse .. .. . .. . .. . . ... . .. . . .. . ... . . .. . . . . . 166
Timber-frame Shed . .. . .. . .. . . . . . . .. . . .. . . . . . . .. . . . . . 180
Service Shed ................. .. ......... .. ......... 192
Metal & Wood Kit Sheds . . .. .. .... . 202
Shed with Fi rewood Bi n .............. .. .. .. ... 220
Additional Shed Plans . ..... . , . . .. . .. ... 230
Resources & Credits ....... . ... ... ..... 236
Index .. . ............................ 238
Clerestory Studio . .. .. .. . 86 Sunl ight Garden Shed . . . . 100
Lean-to Tool Bin .... .. ... 114 Convenience Shed ..... .. 124
Gambrel Garage .. .. .. . . . 138 Simple St orage Shed . .. .. 154
Timber-frame Shed . .. .. .. 180
Service Shed . ....... . ... 192 Metal & wood Kit Sheds . .. . 202
I
Introduction
T
he contemporary backyard shed is much more than a place to park the lawnrnmver. Sheds are st ill grea t for
storage, of course, but many homeowners are flnding added va lue in their sheds' less tangible qual it ies-
privacy, personal expression, a connection to t he outdoors. Perhaps mos t of all , people like the separation from
the main house. A shed is the perfect place to forget you r duti es or your day job and spend a fe w hours absorbed
in a hobby. For mclllY, it's an open invi tation to come out and play in the dirt.
Keepi ng in mind that every s hed ca n have a nmge of uses, the custom buildings in thi s book are designed
to be versatil e, practi cal, and adaptabl e. They' re a lso designed for good looks. In terms of prope rty val ue, a shed
can be either an asset or a li abi lity. Everyone ca n pi cture the fa mili ar di lapidated t in shed \,vith doors hanging by
one wheel and propped shut with conc re te blocks . T hi s is a worl d apart fro m a handsome building with solid
proportions and fitting a rchi tectural details . A well -built shed ca n evoke t he cha racter of a miniature house or
a small, private cabin or playhouse. A shed can be an appealing outdoor retreat and a solid compleme nt to yo ur
home's landscape.
You can acquire a DI Y shed in one of t\VO ways: bui ld it from sc ratc h or buy a kit shed made for easy
assembly. Thi s book covers both opt ions. Eac h of the 10 custom shed projects includes a compl ete set of
constructi on drawings, a detailed materials list, a nd step-by-step inst ruct ions and photos for building the shed
from the ground up. For those who prefer the easy-assembly route, there's a full discussion of c hoosing a ki t shed,
plus two projects shm'ving the bas ic steps for asse mbling popular kit buildings .
If you don't have a lot of experie nce wit h carpentry, don't worry- the Bui lding Bas ics section of the book
wa lks you t hrough the entire construct ion process . It wi ll a lso help you c hoose the right foundation for your s hed
and give you t he knowledge to make custom subst itu tions to t he projects as shown. Many shed kits involve a fair
amount of freehand \vork, as \ve ll , so you're covered even if your kit comes wit hout roofing or a floor.
One of t he best aspects of building a shed is that it does n't di srupt da ily life in your home. This makes the
project infinitely more pleas urable than, say, a complete kitchen remode l. So take your time, enjoy t he process , und
look forward to years of getting away from it all. You' ll find that getting even a fe\-

yards away is something special.
• 5
I
Essential
Outbuildings
A
sk <1 dozen people what they would do with a
bas ic shed in the ir backyard and you're bound to
hear as many di fferent answers. Some would certai nly
usc the outbu ilding for storage- yard and garden
supplies, play equ ipment, bicycles, clll d ot her spi ll over
items fro m the garage. Others would claim the shed
for more specific pursuits: raising exot ic flowers,
turning pottery, wa tchi ng sports on a big-screen TV.
Some may eve n imagine the shed as a fu ll y equipped
home office Of, going in the opposite direct ion, a
simple, quiet retreat for reading and medi tat ion.
Regardless of the answers you get, one note \vou ld
ring true: Eac h person could picture himse lf in t hat
sa me buil ding, doing his own thing and Il lling the
space with personal stuff. That's v,fhat sheds are all
about. Like a house, a good shed offers more t han
shelter and square footage; it's a lso an opportuni ty for
self-express ion . Perhaps best of a ll , a shed offers t he
addit ional advantage of privacy. You don't have to c lean
it up for guests or worry about tracking mud on the
carpet. And if you set it up just right, you v.,ron't even
hear the doorbell ringing in t he house ("Sorry, I must
have been out in my works hop .... ").
The foll owing pages feat ure backyard sheds of
all descri ptions a nd for any number of personal uses.
See if you can pi cture yourself in some of the m. Then
try to identify features that make those s heds special
to you. Chances arc, you can apply those same ideas
when bu il ding your own backyard getaway.
Whether it's perched at the water's edge or tucked away
in the trees, a well -appointed outbUilding can feel a lot like a
vacation home.
• 7
Believe it or not, this graciously ornamented shed is easily built from a panelized kit special details like the dormer appear to be
the work of a highly skilled carpenter but can actually be assembled by the average do-it-yourselfer.
Door placement impacts a shed's appearance and Its
interior layout This centralized door flanked wi th windows
transforms an ordinary shed into a quaint cottage.
8 • THE   GUIDE TO CONTEMPORARY SHEDS
No need to get fancy. This humble shed has plenty of charm
and blends perfectly With its surroundings.
Designed to suit the setting, this
shed's rustic materials and antique
windows add an air of timelessness and
easy country living.
Garden folly, playhouse, or work of art?
Any of those would be an accurate
description. And you can bet the owners
had fun building this one.
EsseHlialOulhui ldillgs • 9
While kit sheds are based on efficient,
modern building concepts, you can still
find them in traditional styles With nice,
custom details, such as this metal roof.
Shed kit seliers offer a range of accessories and details for adding a custom touch to your shed, Including practical add-ons like
window flower boxes and decorative trim.
10 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
,
Not everyone wants a large, freestanding building In
the backyard. Plenty of kit sheds are designed for discreet
placement against a house wall or a tall fence.
A deep roof overhang adds character
but also shelters windows from hot
midday sun- an important consideration
for working sheds.
Integrating a shed into a patio plan can help define the
space, block unwanted views, and provide shade and handy
storage for patio items.
EsseHlialOulhuildillgs • 11
A traditional saltbox shed may
look complicated but is nothing more
than a simple gabled building with a
shed-style addition.
This handsome shed demonstrates how a little trim and some custom details, such as window boxes, shutters, a dutch door,
and a chimney, can turn a basic gable structure into something extraordinary
12 • THE COMPLETE GUI DE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
In this abundant garden setting,
two gambrel-roofed buildings
evoke the farming traditions of the
American landscape.
Knotty pine paneling and roof sheathing
were given a diluted whitewash to create a
rustic yet elegant backdrop for this inviting
country shed interior.
EsseHlialOulhui ldillgs • 13
The most beloved sheds tend to fill
up over time, reflecting the passions and
philosophies of their owners.
Cedar shingles and open eaves create a seaside-cottage feeling in this shed, even in the middle of a wooded lot.
14 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
The tranquil and graceful character of ASian garden structures has inspired countless western designers.
EsseHlialOulhuildillgs • 15
16 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
On the outside, this artist's retreat displays the proud utility
of classic New England architecture (left), while the lovingly
decorated interior (this page) bears the personal mark of
its owners. With the finished ceiling, fireplace, and double-hung
windows, this furnished shed functions as a guest house.
EsseHlialOulhui ldillgs • 17
Because sheds are relatively small,
materials upgrades, such as cedar
shingles instead of asphalt roofing or
plywood siding, can stili be affordable.
used as a sun room in cooler weather, this shed greatly enhances the function and beauty of this outdoor gathering place.
18 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Greenhouses have inspired many versatile shed designs. Windows on the roof bring in plentiful light for growing.
EsseHlialOulhuildillgs • 19
I
Building Basics
A
lmost everything you've ever \'anted to kno"v about
building a shed is in this section. Each element
of the construc tion project is covered in detail- from
selecting a site to buil ding the foundation to framing
t he Aoor, \Ved is, and roof. You' ll also learn <Jbout buying
lumber <:I nd hard\vare. After your shed is built, return to
this section for help with adding a ramp, deck, or ste ps .
Because the vari olls elements are presented a la
carte, you can pick and choose t he designs and materi als
you like best. For the foundat ion, it makes sense to
choose a type based on the shed's location. Several
drawings in this book call for a \vooden slUd foundation
(which is the easiest to bui ld), but a concrete bloc k
foundation may be a better choice for a sloping site.
Be Slife to have your project plans approved by the
local building department before starting construction.
This is especially important if you're making substit utions
to the plans featured in t he Shed Projects section.
In This Chapter:
• Choosing a Site for Your Shed
• Working with Construction Drawings
• Anatomy of a Shed
• Lumber & Hardware
• Building Foundations
• Framing the Structure
• Roofing
• Siding & Trim
• Doors & Windows
• Ramps, Steps & Decks
• 21
I Choosing a Site for Your Shed
T
he first step in choosi ng a site for your building
doesn't take place in you r backya rd but at the
local building and zoning de partments. By visiting the
department s, or making calls, you should determine
a few things abollt your project before making any
dennite plans. iVlost importantly, find Ollt \.vhether
your proposed building will be a llowed by zoning
regulations and what speci fi c restri ctions appl y to your
situation. Zoning laws govern such matters as the size
and he ight of the bUilding and the percentage of your
property it occupies, the building's location, Clnd it s
position rel ative to the hOllse, neighboring propert ies,
the street, etc.
From the building s ide of things, as k if yo u need
a permit to build your st ructure. [f so, you' ll have to
submit plan drawings (photocopied plans from this
book should suffice), as wcll as specifications for the
foundation and materia ls and esti mated cost. Once
your project is approved, you may need to buy a
permit to display on the building site, and you may be
required to show you r \-vork at scheduled inspections.
Because outbuildings are detached and
freestanding, codes typica ll y govern them loosely.
Many impose restrictions or require permits only on
st ructures larger than 100, or even 120, square feet.
Others drmv the line \,vith the type of founda tion
used. [n some areClS, buildings \vith concrete s lClb or
pier foundati ons are classifi ed as "perma ne nt" and
thus a re subj ect to a spec ifi c set of restri ctions (and
taxation, in some cases), while buildings that are
set on skids and can- in theory at least- be moved
are cons idered temporary or accessory and may be
exempt from the general building codes.
Once you get the green light from the local
authorities, you CCln tromp around you r yard vv ith
a tape measure and stake your claim for the new
building. Of course, you' ll have plenty of personal
and practical reasons for placing the building
in a particular area, but he re arc a few ge ne ral
cons iderations to keep in mind:
Soil & drainage: To e nsure that yo ur foundation
will last (whatever type it is), plant you r building on
sol id soil , in an ClreCl that vvon't coll ect \vater.
Access: For trucks, vv heelbarrovvs, kids, etc. Do
you want access in a ll seasons?
Utility lines : Contact loca l ordinances to find
out where the water, gas, septic, and e lectrical lines
22 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
run through yo ur property. Often, local ordinances
and utility compani es requi re that lines a re marked
before digging. This is an essential step not only
because of legalities , but also because you don't
\vant your building si tting over lines that Illay
need repair.
Setback requirements: Most zoning laws dictate
that all buildings, fences, e tc ., in a yard must be set
back a specifi c distance from the property line. T hi s
setback may range from 6" to 3 feet or more.
Neighbors: To prevent civil unrest, or even a fe\'
"veeks of ignored greetings, talk to you r neighbors
about you r project.
View from the house: Do you want to admire
you r handi\,vork from the dinner tabl e, or would
you prefer that you r outbuilding blend in with t he
outdoors? A pl ayhouse in plai n view makes it easy to
check on the kids.
Setback
l   n ~ s
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
,
:
,
,
:
,
,
"
"
"
"
"
I Siting for Sunlight
Like houses, sheds can benefit enormously from
natura l light. Bringing su nli ght into you r backya rd
ofnce, workshop, or garden house makes the i nterior
space brighter and warmer, a nd it's the best: thi ng fo r
combati ng CI boxy feel. To make the most of natura l
light, t he gene ral rule is to orient the buil di ng so its
long side (or the side wit h the most \,vindows) faces
sout h. Hmvever, be sure to consider t he sun's pos it ion
at all times of the year, as wel l as the shadO\,vs your
shed might cast on su rrou nding areas, suc h as a
garden or outdoor si tt ing a rea.
SEASONAL CHANGES
Each day the sun crosses the sky CIt a sl ightly different
angle, moving from it s high poi nt in summer to its low
point in \,vinter. Shadows change accordingly. In the
summer, shadows fo\l m·v the east· \vest axis and are very
short at midday. \A!inter shadows poi nt to t he northeast
and nort hwest a nd arc relat ively long at midday.
Generall y, the south side of a buil di ng is exposed to
sunlight throughout the year, whil e the north si de may be
shaded in fall, winter, and spring. Geographical locat ion
is <:I lso <:I factor: <:IS you move nort h from the equator, the
changes in the sun's p<:lt h become more extreme.
Summer
afternoon
Summer
morning
Summer
evening
:x:
Shadows follow the east-west axis in the summer.
June 22
,.
,
• ,
Mar/ Sept 22
,
\
\  
\ ""
.,'
. ,
y. .. '

I
, .
, ..
L-o--.--.. , . ' I
I
I
,
,
,
Dec 22
, -----..
., ... ,..'" ..
. .. • .. . ..•. .., .. I .....•...
I
I •
,
,
,
"
,
,
I
I
I
,
The sun moves from its high point in summer to its low
pOint in winter. Shadows change accordingly.
Winter
afternoon
Winter
morning
Winter
evening :x:
Winter shadows point to the northeast and northwest
and are relatively long at midday.
BlIihii llg Basics • 23
I Working with Construction Drawings
T
he projects in t hi s book include complete
construction drawings in t he style of arch itectural
blueprints. If you're not fa mili ar wi th reading plans,
don't worry; they're easy to use once YOLI know how
to look at the different views. Flipping back and forth
benveen t he plan drawings and the project's
photos \vill help you visua li ze the actua l structure.
Note: TIle drawings i-It this hooh are accurately
proportioned, but they are not sized to a specific scale.
Also, di1llensio'Hs specified in the drawings are given
in feet and inches (for exa1/lple, 6'-8"), the standard
jonllot for architectural plan.s. For your convenience, the
written instructions may give dimensions in inch.es so
you don't h.ave to make th.e conversion.
    Wood shakes
_--- Roof hub
2 x 8 Hip rolter beyond
2 x 8 Intermediate rofter beyond
Eave detail
Floor beams
(2)2 x 8 x 8 Treated (enter
pier pad - shim to proper height
Concrete pier
12" Dio . poured (onuete
pier - extend below irostline
The building section is the most comprehensive drawing, giving you a side view of the structure sliced in half down the
middle. It shows both the framing and finish elements.
24 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
r-
I
r - fJ ,..-
~
Q
r--=
1:'---
1'---
r:=i,--
v--
Elevations give you a direct, exterior view of the building from all sides. Drawings may include elevations for both the framing
and the exterior finishes.
        =   d i l ~ ~    
Plan views are overhead views looking
straight down from above the structure.
Floor plans show the layout of the walls
or upright supports, with the top half of
the structure sliced off. There are also
foundation plans, roof framing plans, and
other plan views.
Detail drawings and templates
show a close-up of a specific area or
part of the structure. They typically show
a side or overhead view.
I Anatomy of a Shed
Shown as a c utaway, this shed ill ust rates many
of the s tanda rd building components and how
t hey fit toget her. It can also hel p you u nders ta nd
t he major co nst ruct ion st ages- each project
in thi s book incl udes a s pecific cons truct ion
seque nce, but mos t foll ow the standard stages in
some fo rm:
Common
Roof  
Building
Roof shingles
Drip
26 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
] . Foundation- inc luding preparing t he site and
adding a dra inage bed;
2. Fr"ming- the floor is nrst , followed by the walls,
t hen the roof;
3. Roollng- adding sheathing, building paper, and
roofl ng material;
4. Exterior flni s hcs- inc luding siding, trim, and
doors a nd windows.
overhang rafter
Cripple
stud
King
stud
Floor frame
Foundation skid
Jack
stud
I Lumber & Hardware
L
umbe r types most commonl y used in outbuildings
are pine- or re lated softwoods- or cedar, which is
natura ll y rot- res istant and is less expensive t heln most
ot her rot- res istant "voods. For pine to be rot-res istant ,
it mllst be press ure-treated, typi call y wit h a chemi cal
mixture called CCA (C hromated Copper Arsenate).
Pressure- treated lu mber is cheaper than cedar, but it's
not as attractive, so you may want to usc it only in areas
where appearance is unimportant. Pl yvvood designated as
exterior-grade is made wi th layers of cedar or treated wood
and a special glue that makes it weather-resistant. For
the long fun, though, it's a good idea to cover any exposed
pl)'\,,'ood edges to prevent \vater intrusion.
Framing lumber- typicall y pine or pressure-t reated
pi ne----comes in a fe\' different grades: Select Structural
(SEL STR), Construction (C O NST) or Standard
(STAND), and Utility (UTIL) For most appli cations,
Construct ion Grade No.2 offers the best balance
bet\veen quality and pri ce. Utili ty grade is a lower-cost
lumber suitabl e for blocking and simil ar uses but
should not be used for structural members, such as
studs and rafte rs . You can also buy "STUD" lumber:
construction-grade 2 x 4s cut at t he standard stud
le ngt h of 92%". Note: Treated lU1Itber stwuld be left
exposed for approxiJltately 6 'lIJ.onths before applying
finishes. Finishes will not adhere well to treated lumber
t1wt is still very green or wet. Lumber manufacturers liheLy
have recO'lltJllended ti-III.es for their product.
Board lumber, or fi ni sh lumber, is graded by
qua lity and appearance, with the main cri teria being
the number a nd size of knots present. "C lear" pine, for
exampl e , has no knots.
AJ llumber has a nomi nal dimension (what it's
ca ll ed) and an actual dimension (what it actually
measures). A chart on page 237 shO\,,,s the differences
For some common lumber sizes. Lumber that is greater
than 4" thi ck (nomi nall y) generally is referred to as
timber. Depending on its surface texture and type, a
ti mber may actually measu re to its nominal di mensions,
so check this out before buying. Ceda r lumber also
va ries in size, depending on its surface texture. S4S
(Surfaced-Four-Sides) lu mber is milled smooth on all
sides and follows the standard dimensioning, while boards
with one or more rough surfaces can be over 1,1; " thi cke r.
vVhen selecting hardware for your project, remember
one thing: All nails, screws, bolts, hinges, and anchors
that     be exposed to weather or rest on concrete
or that come in contact wit h treated lumber must be
corrosion-resistant . The best all -around choice for nai ls
and screws is hot-dipped galvanized steel, recognizable
by its rough, dull -sil ver coat ing. Hot-dipped fasteners
generally hold up better than the smoother, electroplated
types, and they' re the recommended choice for
pressure-treated lumber. Alumi num and stainless steel are
other materials suitable for outdoor exposure; however,
alu minum fasteners corrode some types of treated lu mber.
vVh il e expensive, stainl ess steel is the best guaran tee
agai nst stai ning from fasteners on cedar and redw·ood.
Another type of hardware you' ll fi nd throughout
t hi s book is the metal anchor, or framing connector,
used to re inforce v,lood framing connec tions. All
of the a nchors call ed for in the plans a re Simpson
brand (see Resources), whi ch a re avail abl e
at most lumbe rya rds and home centers. If you can't
find vvhat you need on t he shel ves , look through one of
t he manufacturer's catal ogs or visi t the man ufact urer's
\vebsite. You can also order custom-made hangers.
Keep in mind that metal anchors are effecti ve only
if they arc insta lled correctly- always follow t he
manufacture r's insta ll ation instructions, and usc
exact ly the type and numbe r of fastener recommended.
Final ly, applying a finish to your project will help
protect the wood from rot , fading and di scoloration,
and insects. Pine or s imilar untreated lumber must
have a protecti ve finish if it's exposed to the elements,
but even cedar is susceptibl e to rot over time and will
turn gray if left bare. If you paint the wood, apply a
primer first- thi s helps the paint stic k and makes it last
longer. If you want to preserve the natu ral wood grain,
use a stain or clear nnish.
A combination of sheet stOCk, appearance-grade lumber,
and structural lumber is used in most sheds.
BlI i hiillg Basics • 27
I Building Foundations
Y
our shed's foundation provides a level, stab le
structure to bui ld upon and protects the bUi lding
fro m moisture a nd erosion. In this sect ion you' ll lea rn
how to buil d Rve of the most common types of shed
foundat ions. All but the concrete pier foundat ion are
"on- grade" designs, meani ng they are built on top of
t he ground and can be subject to rising and 100vcring
a few inches du ring seasona l freezing and t hawing
of the u nderlying soi l. This usual ly is n't a problem
s ince a shed is a small , freestand ing structure that's
not attac hed to other buildi ngs. Hov,lever, it ca n
adversely affect some inter ior Il nis hes (wall boa rd,
for exa mple).
When c hoosi ng a foundat ion type for
your shed, consider t he spec ific s ite a nd the
performance qua li ties of a ll sys tems in va rious
c li mates; t hen check with the loca l bui ld ing
I Wooden Skid Foundation
A skid foundation couldn't be Si mpler: t",/o or more treated
wood beams or landscape ti mbers (typically 4 X 4, 4 x 6,
or 6 X 6) set on a bed of gravel. The gravel provides a fiat,
stable surface that drains well to help keep the timbers dl)'.
Once the skids are set, the floor fmme is buil t on top of
them and is ml iled to the skjds to keep everythi ng in pl ace.
Building a skid Foundation is merely a matter of
prepari ng the gravel base, then cutt ing, sett ing, and
leveling the timbers. The timbers you use must be
ra ted for grou nd contact . It is customary, but purely
opt ional, to make angled cuts on the ends of t he
skids- these add a minor decorat ive touch and make it
easier to skid t he shed to a new location, if necessary.
Because a skid fou ndat ion sits on t he gro und, it is
subject to sl ight shifting due to frost in cold-wea ther
department to learn what's al lowed in your
area. Some foundations, such as concrete slabs,
may c laSSify s heds as per manent structures,
wh ic h can affect prope rty taxes, among ot he r
consequences. Hes ide nts in many areas may
need to install spec ial ti e-downs or ground
anc hors accord ing to loca l laws . If your building
department requ ires a "frost-p roof' fou ndation (so
the bui lding won't move with the freezing ground),
you s hou ld be ab le to pass inspection by bui ld ing
yo ur s hed on concrete piers (see page 32). Note:
I-nfoflllation for fanning, reinforcing, and bracin.g
deeper foundation. walls is Hot included here. A safe
rnle of thulltb is th.at tile depth required to get below
the frost li.ne in cold climates is 4 feet, though colder
places like Canad" and Alaska can have frost depth.s
up to 8 feet.
cl imates. Often a shed that has risen out of level will
correct itself with the spring thaw, but if it doesn't, you
can lift t he shed wi t h jacks on the low side and add
gravel beneat h t he skids to level it .
Tools & Materials
Shove l
Rake
4-ft. level
Straight, 8-ft. 4 x 4
Hand tamper
Circular sa\v
Square
Treated wood t imbers
Compacti ble gravel
''''ood scaler-preservati ve
I How to Build a Wooden Skid Foundation
STEP 1: PREPARE THE GRAVEL BASE
A. Hemove 4" of soil in a n area about 12" wider a nd
longer than t he d imens ions of the building.
B. Fi ll t he excavated area with a 4" layer of
compactible gravel. Rake t he gravel smooth,
then check it for level us ing a 4-ft. level and a
28 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
straight, 8-ft .-long 2 x 4 . Rake the gravel until it is
fairly level.
C. Tamp the gravel thoroughly using a ha nd tamper
or a rented plate compactor. As you vmrk, check
the surface with the board and level, and add or
remove gravel unt il t he surface is leve l.
STEP 2: CUT & SET THE SKIDS
A. Cut the skids to length, using a c irc ular s;:wv or
rec iprocating saw. (Skids typi call y run parallel to
the length of the building and are cut to the same
dimension as the Aoor frame. )
B. To angle-cut the ends, measure down I Y2 1! to 211
from the top edge of eac h skid. Use a square to
mark a 45° cutt ing line down to the bottom edge.
then make the c uts.
C. Coat the cut ends of t he slcids "'.l ith a wood sealer-
preservative and let them dry.
D. Set the skids on the grave l so t hey are para ll e l and
their ends arc even. Make sure the outer skids arc
spaced accord ing to the \liclth of t he building.
If desired, mark and clip the bottom corners of the skid ends.
Use a square to mark a 45
0
angle cut.
Excavate the building site and add a
4" layer of compactible gravel. Level, then
tamp the gravel with a hand tamper or
rented plate compactor (inset).
STEP 3: LEVEL THE SKIDS
A. Leve l one of the outside skids, adding or
removing gravel from underneath. Set the level
parallel and level the skid a long its length, then
set the level perpe ndi cu lar and level t he skid
along its widt h.
B. Place the straight 2 x 4 a nd level across the erst
and second ski ds, the n adjust the second skid
un til it's level \vi th the fi rst. lVlci ke SLI re the second
skid is level along its vvidt h.
C. Leve l t he re ma ini ng skids in the same fashion ,
then set the board and level ac ross a ll of t he
skids to ma ke su re t hey they a re leve l with
one a not her.
using a board and a level, make sure each skid is level
along its width and length, and is level with the other skids.
BlIihiillg Basics • 29
I Concrete Block Foundation
Concrete block foundations are easy and inexpensive
to build. I n terms of si mpli city, a block foundation is
second only to the wooden skid. But the real beauty of
th is design is its abi lity to accommodate a sloping site:
All you have to do is add blocks as needed to make the
fOllndation leveL
Blocks suitable for foundat ions are commonly
ava ilable at home centers and masonry suppl iers.
Standard blocks measure 8 X 16" and come in 211 and 4
11
thicknesses. Be sure to usc only soli d concrete blocks,
not rcgular buil ding block- the kind with large voids
for fil ling v'lit h concrete. Also avoid t he various types of
decorative block, which may have holes or odd shapes
and probctbly won't be strong enough for th is appli cation.
On a level site, YOLI can lise a Single 41!-t hick block
for each support point. On a slope, a com hi nation of
4" and 2" blocks shoul d get you close enough to shim
Tools & Materials  
Mason's li nes & stakes
Excavat ion tools
Hand tamper
2- f t . level
4-ft. level
Long, straight 2 X 4
Caulkj ng gun
Compact ible gravel
Solid concrete bl ocks
Asphal t shingles or
I X 8 prcssure-
treated lumber,
as needed
Construction
adhesive
30 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
(vvith lumber or asphalt shingles) the foundation up to
level. Sett ing the blocks on smal l beds of gravel helps
prevent erosion or excess water from undermining
the foundat ion. Avoid excavating and rell iling
beneath the blocks other than to create a base for
compactible gravel, as that may lead to settling. Note:
All reinforcing steel (bars, mesh, or anchor bolts) should
have a mini'lltulll of 1 Y2" concrete cover. Without this
cover, steel will likely rust and cause spalling of concrete.
Tip  
A 2 x 8 mud sill adds strength to a standard 2 x 6
floor frame. First, you fasten the side rim joists to
the sill, then you set the assembly on top of the
foundation blocks and install the remaining floor
jOists.
A foundation created with solid concrete
blocks on a prepared base is simple to
build and makes an easy solution to
dealing with low slopes.
I How to Build a Concrete Block Foundation
STEP 1: PREPARE THE SITE
A. Using four mason's lines t ied to stakes, plot the
foundation layout. The foundation exterior should
equal the outer dimensions of the floor frame.
Use the 3-4-5 method to e nsure perfect ly square
byollt lines.
B. l   ~ a r k the bl ock locations onto the st ri ngs,
and t hen onto the ground: Locate t he corne r
blocks at the string inte rsections, and locate the
intermediate blocks at equal interva ls between the
corner blocks. For an 8 x 10-ft. or 8 x 12-ft. shed,
one row of fou r blocks (or block stacks) running
down eac h s ide of t he shed is sufficient.
C. Remove the mason's li nes, but leave the stakes in
place. At each bloc k location dig a 16 X 20" hole
that is 4" deep. Tamp the soi l.
D. Add a laye r of compact ible grave l in eac h hole
and tamp \vell, adding gravel if necessary to bring
the top of the gravel up to grade. Tamp all added
gravel.
STEP 2: SET THE BLOCKS
A. For the first block, rcti e the mason's lines. At
the hi ghest point on t he gravel bcd, squa re up a
4"-th ick block to the layou t lines.
B. Leve l the block in bot h directions, adding or
removing gravel as needed.
C. Tape a 4-ft. level to t he center of a long,
straight 2 x 4.
D. Set lip eac h of the rema in ing blocks or bloc k
stacks, using the level and 2 X 4 spanni ng from
t he first block to ga uge the proper height. Sta rt
eac h stack wi th a 4"-thick block, and make
sure the block itse lf is level before adding more
blocks. Use 2" bloc ks as needed to add he ight ,
or s him stacks ###BOT_TEXT###quot;l ith tri mmed pi eces of asphalt
shi ngles or I x 8 pressure-treated lumber.
E. Use the level and 2 X 4 to make sure all of t he
blocks and stacks are leve l with one a not her.
STEP 3: GLUE THE BLOCK STACKS
A. Glue stac ked bl ocks together with construc ti on
adhes ive. Also glue [lny shi m material to the tops
of the bl ocks.
B. After gl uing, check to make sure a ll blocks and
stacks are level wit h one another, and that they
are on the layout lines, the n remove the stri ngs
and stakes.
create a bed of compacted gravel centered at each block
location in your layout.
Set a block at the highest point on the site, check it with
a level, and adjust as needed. (Inset) Use a level and board
spanning across the blocks to establish the height of each
stack so all the tops are level.
Bind stacked blocks together with exterior-rated
construction adhesive to prevent shifting.
BlIihiillg Basics • 31
I Concrete Pier Foundation
Foundation piers are poured concrete cylinders that
you for m using cardboard tubes . The tubes come in
severa l diameters and are commonl y available from
bu il ding materials suppli ers. For a standard 8 x 10-ft.
shed, a suitable fou ndat ion consists of one row of
three 8
11
-diameter piers funning dO

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VIl the long sides
of the shed.
You can anc hor the shed's floor fra me to the piers
llsing a vari ety of methods. The simplest met hod
(shown here) is to bolt a wood block to t he top of each
pier, the n faste n t he floor frame to t he blocks . Ot her
anc hori ng options involve metal post bases and va ri ous
framing connectors eit her set into t he \vet concrete or
fastened to the piers after the concrete has cured. Be
32 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Slire to consult yo ur loca l building department for
the recommended or requi red anchori ng specifications.
Piers that extend below t he frost line-the ground
depth to which the earth freezes each winter- wi ll
keep your shed from sh ift ing during annuul freeze-
t haw cycles. Thi s is a stclll du rd requirement for
mujor st ructures, like houses, but not typicall y
for Freesta nding sheds (check \,vith your building
department ), Anot her advantage of t he pier foundation
is that you can extend t he piers wel l above the ground
to accommodate a sloping site. Note: All concrete
sh01dd have contpacted gravel utu:lerneath and aga;-nst
bach walls as bachfill. All reinforcing steel shoHld have
a ntinimum of J Y2 " concrete cover.
I How to Build a Concrete Pier Foundation
Tools & Materials  
Circular saw
Drill
Mason's line
Sledgehammer
Line level
Framing squa re
Plumb bob
Shovel
Post hol e digger
Rec iprocating sm

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or handsaw
Ut ility kni fe
Ratchet wrench
2 x 4 lumber
STEP 1: CONSTRUCT THE BATTER BOARDS
A. Cut two 24"- long 2 X 4 legs for each batter board
(for most projects you' ll need eight batter boards
tota l). Cut one end square and cut t he other end to
a sharp point, using a circ ul ar saw. Cut one 2 x 4
crosspiece for each bCltter board at ctbout l 8",
B. Assembl e c<:Ic h batter bOClrd lIsing 2W' sc rews.
Fasten the crosspiece about 2" from the square
e nds of the legs. fvJake sure the legs are para ll el
and t he crosspiece is perpendi cular to the legs.
2 W' scrc\vs
Stakes
Nails
Masking tape
Cardboard
concrete forms
Pape r
Concret e mix
J-bolts wit h washers
and nuts
2 X 10 pressure· treated
lumber (rated for
grou nd contact )
STEP 2: SET THE BATTER BOARDS
& ESTABLISH PERPENDICULAR
MASON'S LINES
A. Measure and mark t he locations of t he four corner
piers wi th stakes, following your project plan.
B. Set two batt er boa rds to form a corne r a bo ut
18" beh i nd eac h stake. Dri ve the batt e r
boards into the ground unti l t hey are secure ,
keepi ng the c ross pi eces rough ly leve l with
one a nother.
(continued)
BlI i hiillg Basics • 33
Cut the batter board pieces from 2 x 4 lumber and
assemble them with screws.
C. St retch a mason's line between t\·vo batt er boards
at opposing corne rs (not di agonall y) and tic the
ends to neli ls dri ven into the top edge of t he
crosspieces; align the nai ls and li ne wit h t he
stakes. Attac h a li ne leve l to the line, and pull the
line very taLlt , making Sli re it's level before tying it.
D. liun a second level line perpendicular to the
first: Tie off the end that's closest to t he first
string, then stretch the line to the opposing batter
board whil e a he lper holds a fr aming sguare at
the intersection of the lines. 'VVhen the l ines are
perpendicular, drive a nail and t ie off the far e nd.
E. Confi rm that t he lines are exact ly pe rpe ndicular,
llsing the 3A -5 method: Starting at the
intersect ion, measure 3 ft . along one st ring
and make a mark onto a pi ece of masking tape.
Mark the othe r st ring 4 ft. from the intersection.
Meas ure diagonally between the two marks;
the distance should eq ual 5 ft. lieposition the
second st ring, if necessary, unti l the di agona l
me<Jsurement is 5 ft.
STEP 3: MARK THE FOOTING LOCATIONS
A. Foll owing your plan, meas ure from the existing
lines and use the 3-4-5 method to add two more
perpendi cu lar lines to form a layout with four
90° corners. Use the li ne level to make sure t he
mason's lines are level. The intersections of the
lines should mark the centers of the corner piers,
not necessa ril y the outside edge of Roor framing.
B. C heck the squa re ness of you r line layout by
measuring diagonall y from corner to corner: vv hen
the measurements are equal, the frame is square.
iVlake any necessary adjustments.
34 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Tie the mason's lines securely to the nails, and level the
lines with a line level (inset, left). Use tape to mark paints on
the lines (inset, light).
C. Plumb down with a plumb bob and place a stake
directly under eac h li ne intersection. iVlark the
locations of intermedi ate piers onto the layout st rings,
then plumb down <Jnd drive stakes at those locations.
D. Untie each line at one end onl y, the n coil the line
and place it out of the way. Leaving one e nd ti ed
wil l make it easier to restring the lines late r.
STEP 4: SET THE FORMS
A. Dig holes for the forms, centering them around
t he stakes. The holes shoul d be a few inches
larger in diameter t ha n the cardboa rd for ms. The
hole depth rn ust rneet the local building code
requi re ments- add 4" to t he depth to a ll ow for
a layer of gravel. For deep holes, use a posthole
digge r or a rented power auger. Add 4 II of gravel
to t he bottom of eac h hole.
B. Cut each cardboard form so it will extend at least
3" above the ground. The tops of all pie rs/ forms
should be level wit h eac h other. Also, the top
ends of the forms must be strai ght, so place the
fac tory-cut e nd up, whenever possible. Ot herwise,
mark a straight cutting li ne usi ng a large piece
of paper vvith at least one straight edge: \J\lrap
the pape r completely arou nd t he for m so t hat it
overlaps itse lf a few inches. Pos ition the straight
edge of the paper on the cutt ing mark, and al ign
t he overl appi ng edges of the paper with each other.
iVlark around the tube along the edge of the paper.
Cut the tube with a reciprocat ing saw or handsaw.
C. Set the tubes in the holes and fill in around them "oth
di rt. Set a level across the top of each tube to make
sure the top is level as you secure the tube \ A   ~ t h dirt.
Pack the dirt fi rmly, using a shovel handle or a stick.
Use a plumb bob to mark the pier locations. Drive a stake
into the ground directly below the plumb bob pointer
Fill the forms with concrete, then set the J-bolts. Check
with a plumb bob to make sure the bolts are centered.
STEP 5: POUR THE CONCRETE
A. Hestring the mason's lines and confirm that the
forms are posit ioned accurately.
B. Mix the conc rete follov,ring the manufact urer's
direct ions; pre pare only as muc h as YOLI ca n eas ily
work \,vith before the concrete sets . Fill each form
with concrete, ll sing a long stick to tamp it dO\vn
and eliminate air pockets in the concrete. Overllll
the form sli ghtl y.
C. Level t he concrete by pulling a 2 x 4 on edge
across the top of the form, using a side-to-side
sawing mot ion. Fill low spot s with concrete so
that the top i s perfect ly Aat.
D. Set a J-bolt into the wet concrete in the center of
the form. Lower the bolt slowly, wiggling it sli ght ly
to eliminate air pockets. Use a plumb bob to make
sure the bolt is al igned exactly with the mark on
Wrap paper around the form to mark a straight cutting line
(Inset). Set the forms In the holes on top of a 4" gravel layer.
Anchor a block to each pier with a washer and nut. If
desired, countersink the hardware (inset).
t he mason's line. Note: You can set the bolt at J Yi ll
above the concrete so it will be flush with the top
of the bloch, or extend it abont 2/1" so the washer
and nut will si t on top of tile block; doing the latter
means you won't have to countersink the washer and
nut. Make sure the bolt is plu'lHb, then smooth the
concrete around the bolt and let the concrete cnre.
STEP 6: INSTALL THE WOOD BLOCKS
A. Cut 8 X 8" square blocks f rom 2 X 10 pressure-
treated lumber that's rated for ground contact.
B. Drill a hol e for the J-bol t through the exact cent er of
each block; if you' re countersinlUng the hClfd\vare,
flrst drill a counterbore for the washe r and nut.
C. Positi on each bl oc k on a pi er, then add a galva ni zed
was her and nut. Use the layollt strings to align the
blocks, then ti ghten thc nuts to secure the blocks.
BlIihiillg Basics • 35
I Concrete Slab Foundation
The slab foundation commonly used for sheds is
call ed a sla b-on-grade foundation. This combines a
3W'- to 4"-thick fl oor slab with an 8"- to 12"- thi ck
perimeter footing that provides ext ra s upport for the
wall s of the building. The whole foundation can be
poured at one time using a s impl e \vood fOfm.
Because they sit above ground, slab-on-grade
foundations arc susceptible to frost heave and in
cold-weather climates arc suitabl e only for detached
buildings. Specifi c design requirements a lso vary by
locality, so c hec k with the local building department
regarding the depth of the slab, the meta l reinforcement
required, the type and amount of gravel required for
the subbase, and whet her plast ic or anot her type of
moi sture barrier is needed under the slab.
Tools & Materials ~
Circular S3

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V
Drill
Mason's line
Sledgehammer
Line level
Fra ming square
Shovel
Wheel barrow
Re nted plate compactor
Bolt cutte rs
Bull floa t
Hand-held
concrete float
Concrete edger
Compacti bl e gravel
2 X 3 & 2 X 4 lumber
I ~   I & 2Y2"
deck screws
lI," A-C pl ywood
Sd nail s
5 X IO-ft. wel ded wire
mesh (W'vVM)
1 Y2 1! brick pavers
J-bolts
2"-thi ck rigid
fO<:lm insulation
The slab shown in thi s project has a 3l;2"-thi ck
interior wi th an 8
11
-wide X 8"-deep footi ng a long the
perimeter. The top of the slab sits 4" above ground
level, or grade. There is a 4"-thick layer of compacted
gravel underneath the slab cllld the concrete is
reinfo rced intermtlly v.l ith a layer of 6 x 6" ''YIo welded
wire mes h (WWM). (In some areas, you may be
required to add rchar in the foundation perimeter-
check the local code. ) After the conc rete is poured
and finished , 8"- long ga lvani zed J-bolts arc set into the
sla b along the edges . These arc used later to anchor
t he wa ll framing to the slab. Note: ALL concrete should
have compacted graveL underneath and again.st the back
wall as backfill. All reinforcing steel should ',ave a
minimum of J Y2 !! concrete cover.
Btl -thick
perimeter
Plywood
form
I How to Build a Concrete Slab Foundation
STEP 1: EXCAVATE THE SITE
A. Set up batter boards and run level mason's lines
to represent t he outer dimensions of the s lab.
Use the 3-4-5 method to ma ke sure your lines
are perpendi cul ar, and c heck your final layout for
squareness by measuri ng the diagona ls.
B. Excavate the area 4
11
wi de r and longer t han the
string layo ut- this provides some room to work.
For the footi ng port ion a long the perimeter, dig a
trench that is 8" wide X 8" deep.
36 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
C. Re move 3Y/ of soil over t he interi or
porti on of the s la b, then s lope the
inner si des of the trenc h at 4 5°. Set up
temporary c ross strings t o c heck the depth as
you wo rk.
D. Add a 4" layer of compact ibl e grave l ove r
t he ent ire excavation and rake it level.
Compact the gravel thoroughly, usi ng a ren ted
pl ate compactor. Note: 1111 areas are to be
level (fiat ).
Measure down from the layout lines and temporary cross
strings to check the depth of the excavation.
Drive stakes every 12" to support the form, using the
mason's lines to make sure the form remains straight.
STEP 2: BUILD THE FORM
A. Cut sheets of %" A-C plyv/ood into six strips
of equal \vidth-about 7'lij 1l, a llowing for the
thickness of the saw blade. To make sure the
cuts a re st raight , li se a tabl e saw or a circular saw
and strai ghtedge.
B. Cut the plywood strips to le ngth to create the sides
of the form. Cut t\VO sides 1 W I long so they can
overl ap t he remaining two sides. For sides that are
longer t heln 8 ft. , joi n t\VO st rips \·vit h a me nding
plate made of scrap plywood; faste n the plate to
the back sides of the strips with I Y.t " screws .
C. Assembl e the form by fastening the corners
toge ther wi th screws . The form's inne r d ime nsions
must equal t he outer dime nsions of the s la b.
STEP 3: SET THE FORM
A. Cut 18"- long stakes from 2 X 3 lu mbe r- you' ll
need one sta ke for eve!), linear foot of form, plus
Assemble the form pieces with 2W deck screws, then
check the inner dimensions of the form. For long runs, jOin
pieces with plywood mending plates.
Layout sheets of wire mesh, tie the rows together, then
prop up the mesh with brick pavers or metal bolsters.
one extra stake for eac h corne r. Taper one e nd of
eac h stake to a point.
B. Pl aee the form in the trench and align it with the
mason's lines. Dri ve a stake near the end of each
side of the form, sett ing t he stake edge aga inst the
form a nd driving dovm to 3
11
above grade.
C. Measuring down from the mason's lines, position
t he form 4" above grade. Tack the for m to the
stakes with part ia ll y drive n 8d na il s (driven
through the form into the stakes). Measure the
diagonals to make sure the form is square a nd
check that the top of t he form is level. Drive the
nails completel y.
D. Add a stake every 12" and drive the m down
be low the top edge of the form. Secure the form
###BOT_TEXT###quot;,' it h two Sd nail s driven into each stake. As you
work, c heck with a string line to make sure the
for m sides are straight and the tops are level, and
meas ure the diagona ls to check for square.
(continued)
BlIihiillg Basics • 37
Screed the concrete after filling the form, uSing two
people to screed, whil e a third fi ll s low spots with a shovel.
STEP 4: ADD THE METAL REINFORCEMENT
A. Layout rO\·vs of 6 X 6" lo/io welded \·vire mes h so
their ends are J V/ to 2" from t he insides of t he
forms. Cut the mes h "v ith bolt cutters or heavy
pl ie rs, and stand on t he unroll ed mesh as you cut,
to prevent it from springing back. Overl ap the
sheets of mes h by 61! and t ic t he m together with
t ic wire .
B. Prop up the mesh wit h pieces of I Yi'-th ick bric k
pavers or metal bolsters. The WWM should be
just belov,r the center of the slab (about 2" down
in a 3V2" slab).
C. Ma rk the layout of the J-bolts onto the top edges
of t he form, fol lowing your plan . (J-bolts typically
are placed 4" to 6" from eac h corner and every
3 ft. i n between, but may vary. )
STEP 5: POUR THE SLAB
A. Esti mate and order concrete (see page 39).
Start ing at one end, fi ll in t he for m with concrete,
using a shovel to distribute i t. Usc t he shovel
blade or a 2 x 4 to stab into the conc rete to
el iminate air pockets a nd sett le it around the wire
mesh and along t he forms. Fill wit h concrete to
the top of the for m.
B. As the for m fi ll s, have two he lpe rs screed t he
concrete, using a straight 2 x 4 or 2 X 6 t hat
spans t he form: Drag t he sc reed board along
t he top of t he form, working it back and fo rt h
in a sawing mot ion. Throw shove lfu ls of
concrete ahead of t he screed board to fi II low
spots. The goa l of screeding is to make t he
surface of the concrete perfectl y nat and level,
if not smoot h.
C. Gently rap the outsides of the for m wi th a
hammer to settl e the concrete along the inside
faces of the fo rm. This he lps smooth the sides
of t he sla b, but too much wil l cause aggregate to
settle a nd concrete wil l "scale" or "spall ."
38 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Float the slab with a bull float, then set the J-bolts at the
marked locations (inset).
STEP 6: FINISH THE CONCRETE
& SET THE J-BOLTS
A. Immediately after sc reeding t he concrete, make
one pass wit h a bull floa t to smooth t he surface.
Add small amounts of concrete to fi ll low spots
created by the fl oating, t he n smooth those a reas
wit h the fl oat. Floating forces the aggregate down
and draws t he water and sand to the su rface .
B. Set t he ga lvanized J-bolt s into the concrete Il-\ "
from t he outs ide edges of the slab (bottom should
t urn in toward the slab). Work t he bol ts into t he
concrete by wiggling them slightl y to eliminate ai r
pocket s. The bolt s should be plumb and prot rude
2Y2" from t he slab surface. After setting eac h bolt,
smooth the concrete arou nd the bolt, using a
magnes ium or wood conc rete Roat.
C. vVatch the concrete carefull y as it cures. The
bull -floati ng will cause water (call ed bleed water)
to ri se, casting a sheen on the surface. \I

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ait for the
bleed water to disappea r and the surface to hecome
du ll. Pressure- test t he concrete fo r fir mness by
stepping on it with one foot: if your foot sinks YI n or
less, the concrete is ready to be fin ished. Note: Air-
entrained concrete may have very little bleed water, so
it's best to rely all the pressure test.
D. Float the concrete \vith a hand-held magnesi um
or wood fl oat, working t he fl oat back and forth
unt il the surface is smoot h. If you can't reach the
entire slab from the sides, lay pieces of 2"-t hick
rigid foam insulation over t he concrete and kneel
on the insulation. \ ~   o r k bac kwards to cover up
any impressions.
E. Use a concrete edging tool to round over the slab
edge, runni ng the edger bet\veen the slab and t he
fo rm. If you wa nt a very smoot h fin ish, work the
concrete \lith a trowel.
F. Let the concrete cure for 24 hours, then stri p t he
forms. Wait an addit ional 24 hours before buildi ng
on the slab.
Estimating & Ordering Concrete  
A slab for a shed requires a lot of concrete: an 8 x 10-ft
slab designed like the one in this project calls for about
1.3 cubic yards of concrete; a 12 x 12-ft. slab, about 2.3
cubic yards. Considering the amount involved, you'll
probably want to order ready-mix concrete delivered by
truck to the site (most companies have a minimum order
charge). Tell the mixing company that you're using the
concrete for an exterior slab.
An alternative for smaller slabs is to rent a concrete
trailer from a rental center or landscaping company; they
fill the trailer with one yard of mixed concrete and you tow
it home wi th your own vehicle.
If you're haVing your concrete delivered, be sure to
have a few helpers on-hand when the truck arnves; neither
the concrete nor the driver will wait for you to get organized.
Also, concrete trucks must be unloaded completely, so
designate a dumping spot for any excess. Once the form IS
filled, load a couple of wheelbarrows with concrete (in case
you need it) then have the driver dump the rest Be sure
to spread out and hose down the excess concrete so you
aren't left with an immovable boulder in your yard.
If you've never worked with concrete, fi nishing a large
slab can be a challenging introduction; you might want
some experienced help with the pour.
ESTIMATING CONCRETE
Calculate the amount of concrete needed for a slab of this
design uSing this formula:
Width x Length x Depth, in ft. (of main slab)
Multiply by 1.5 (for footing edge and spillage)
Divide by 27 (to convert to cubic yards)
Example- for a 12 x 12-ft. slab:
12 x 12 x .29 (3W) = 41.76
41 .76x 1.5 = 62.64
62.64 .,. 27 = 2.32 cubic yards
Tips for Pouring Concrete  
Timing is key to an attractive concrete finish. When
concrete is poured, the heavy materials gradually sink,
leaving a thin layer of water- known as bleed water- on
the surface. To achieve an attractive finish, it's Important
to let bleed water dry before proceeding with other steps.
Follow these rules to avoid problems:
• Settle and screed the concrete and add control joints
immediately after pouring and before bleed water
appears. Otherwise, crazing, spaliing. and other flaws
are likely.
• Let bleed water dry before floating or edging.
Concrete should be hard enough that foot pressure
leaves no more than a %"-deep impreSSion.
• Do not overfloat the concrete; it may cause bleed
water to reappear. Stop floating If a sheen appears,
and resume when It IS gone.
Note. Bleed water does not appear with air-entrained
concrete, which is used in regions where temperatures
often fall below freezing
• DO not overload your wheelbarrow Experiment with sand or dry mix to find a comfortable, controllable volume. This
also helps you get a feel for how many wheelbarrow loads it will take to complete your project
• Once concrete IS poured and floated It must cure. It should not dry. If it is a hot day It IS a good idea to spray mist
from a hose after it has "set" to keep it moist Make sure you have a flat stable surface between the concrete source
and the forms.
• Start pouring concrete at the farthest point from the concrete source, and work your way back.
BlIihiillg Basics • 39
I Framing the Structure
F
raming is one of the most satisfying phases of a
building project. Us ing basic tools and materia ls,
you'll <:Issemble the skel eton of the structure, pi ece by
piece, and in the process learn the fundamentals of
carpentry. The style of framing shown here is standard
2 X 4 framing, also ca ll ed sti c k framing. For an
a lternative style, sec the Timber-frame Garde n Shed
on page 180.
The tools you' ll use for most framing are the
ci rc ul ar saw (and power miter saw, if you have one),
framing square, level, chalk line, and, of course, a
framing hamn1er. Na ils used fo r most framing are
call ed common nail s. These have a larger diameter
tha n box na il s, making them stronger, but also more
like ly to split t hinne r stock. Box nai ls are better
for siding, trim, and other nonstruc tura l mate rials.
I Floor Framing
Floor frames for sheds are simple versions of house
floor fra mes. They have outside, or rim, joists t hat are
set on edge and n<Ji led to the ends of the comlllon
joists. On top of floor frallles , a layer of tongue-and-
groove pl )'\,vood provides the fl oor surface and adds
strength to the frame. To prevent rot , ah'vays use
pressure-treated lumber and galvanized nai ls a nd
hardware for floor frames.
The th ree most commonly used na iling tec hni ques
are shown in the illustrations below. Some framing
con nect ions, suc h as where rafters meet \,vall pl ates,
requi re meta l connectors fo r increased strength.
Nailing Techniques  
Endnailing Facenailing Toenailing
Tools & Materials
Circular saw
Square
Pressure- treated
2x lumber
Sd and l 6d ga lvanized
common na il s
0/.; 11 tongue-a nd-groove
exterior-grade plywood
I How to Build a Shed Floor Frame
STEP 1: CUT THE JOISTS
& MARK THE LAYOUT
A. Cut the two rim joists and the common joists to
length, making sure both ends are square. Note
that rim joists rlln the full lengt h of the Aoor, while
common joists are 3" shorter tha n the floor width.
B. C heck the ri m joists for crowning- arching
along the narrow edges. Pi ck up one e nd of the
board and hold it flat. With one eye closed, sight
dO\vn the narrO\v edges. I f the bO<Jrd a rches, even
slightl y, Illark t he edge on the top (convex) s ide
of the arch. Thi s is the crowned edge and should
a lways be install ed facing up. If the board is
crO\vned in bot h direc t ions, Illark the edge with
the Illost signi flcant crmvning.
40 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Tack together the rim joists, then mark the Joist layoul. Use
a square to transfer the marks to the second 11m joist.
2
-I-
I
- -- --
-.-
---

----
-
--
- - - -
---
I
Measure diagonally from corner to corner. If the
measurements are equal. the frame is square.
C. Lay one rim joist Aat on top of t he other so the
edges and ends are Aush and the crowned edges
are on t he same si de. Tack the joists toget her \lit h
a few 8d nai ls. Turn the joists on edge and mark
the common joist layout on the top edges: Mark
1 W' and 15Yi" from the e nd of one joist. The n,
meas uring from t he J 5V4
11
mar k, make a mark
every 16"- at 32", 48" , 64" and so on, to t he end
of the board (if the plan call s for 24" spac ing,
make a mark at I Y2 " unci 23W', then every 24"
from there). Don't worry if the last space before
the opposi te e nd joist isn't as \vide as the others.
Make a mark I W' in from the remaining end .
Aft er each mark, draw a small X designating
whi ch side of the line the joist goes- thi s is a
handy framers' tri ck to prevent confusion . This
layou t e nsures that the edges of a 4-ft. or 8-ft.
board or sheet wi ll fa ll , or brea k, on t he center of
a joist.
D. Using a square, draw lines through eac h of t he
layout marks, carrying the m over to the other rim
joist. Draw Xs on the other joist, as \,vell. Separate
the joists a nd remove t he nails.
STEP 2: ASSEMBLE & SQUARE THE FRAME
A. Check the (\,vo end joists for crown ing, then nail
them between the rim joists so t he ir outside faces
are flu sh "vith t he rim joist e nds and the top edges
are flu sh. Drive two 16d ga lva nized common nai ls
th rough the rim joists and into the ends of the end
joists, posi tioning the nai ls about   from the top
and bottom edges.
install the plywood perpendicular to the jOists. Start each
row with a full sheet and stagger the end-JOints between rows.
B. Install the remain ing joists, making sure the
crowned edges are fac ing up. Joi sts should be
square to edge of rim joist s.
C. Check the frame for squareness by measuring
di agona ll y from corner to corner: \-vhe n the
meas ure ments are eq ua l, the frame is square . To
adjust the frame, apply inward pressure to the
corners with t he longer meas ure ment.
D. If you're building the floor over s kids, sec ure eac h
joist to the outs ide skids with a metal anchor and
toenail the joists to the internal skid(s) wit h 16d
ga lvanized nails.
STEP 3: INSTALL THE PLYWOOD FLOOR
A. Lay a fu ll sheet of %" tongue-and-groove exteri or-
grade plj'\vood over the frame so t he groove side is
flush a ri m joist and one end is flush with an
end joist. Fasten the pl ywood to the joists with 8d
gdlvanized nail s driven every 6" along the edges and
every 8" in the field ofthe sheet. Do not nail along the
tongue edge until the next row of plywood is in place.
B. Cut the second pi ece to fit next to the first, allowing
for a W' gap between t he sheets. Install the second
sheet with its outside edges flush \vith the frame.
C. Start t he next row wi th a full sheet (ripped to
width, if necessary). Install t he sheet sta rting from
t he corne r opposite the first sheet , so t he joints
between rows are offset. Make su re the tonguc-
and-groove joint is ti ght; if necessary, usc a wood
block a nd a sledgehammer to cl ose the joint. Try
to align factory edges to meet adjacent sheets.
D. Cut and install t he remaining piece of plywood.
BlIihiillg Basics • 41
I Wall Framing
Standard framed wall s have verti cal 2 X 4 studs nail ed
between horizontal top and bottom plates. The top
plates arc doubled to provide additional support for
the roof frame and to strengthen the wall connect ions.
Door and \l indov ..! frames arc made up of king studs;
a header, whic h sup ports crippl e studs above t he
opening; and jack stuel s, whi ch support the header. A
v\rindO\v frame also has a rough sill and cripple studs
belov,l the opening. The opening defined by the fra me
is call ed the rough opening. \I

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all frames gain ri gidity
from ply\vood sheathing, siding, or diagonal I X lumber
braces. If you plan to store automobil es in your shed,
usc #3 or #4 bars 12" on-center (in lieu of WWi\II ).
Building wall s involves three major phases: laying
out and framing the wall s; rais ing the wall s; and tying
the \,valls together and Cldding the doubl e top plates.
Note: If your building llas a concrete slab floor, use
pressure-treated tum.ber for the bottom plates and anchor
the plates to the J-bolts set in the slab (see page 38).
Tools & Materials  
!
Top
plate
V
criPP:'
stud
IV
Studs
Bottom
p\
 
!
/'
Double
!.
top
Header
plate
 
i'-
"'-King
stud
/
Rough
sill
"'.
Cnpple
stud
Broom Square
4-ft. level
Handsaw
2x lumber WI plywood
Construct ion adhes ive Circ ul ar smv or pm,vcr
miter saw
Sd, IOd, and j 6d common nails
I How to Frame Walls
STEP 1: MARK THE BOTTOM-PLATE
LAYOUT LINES
A. Sweep off the fl oor and make sure it's dry. Cut
a short (about 4 to 6") piece of pl ate material to
lise as a spacer. Posi ti on the spacer at one corner
of the Aoor, with its outs ide edge Rush with the
outside of the fl oor fr ame. Mark a pencil line
along the inside edge of the spacer.
B. Use the spacer to mark the ###BOT_TEXT###gt;\,<1 11 ends at each
corner of the floor (eight marks total). Snap chalk
lines through the marks . These lines represent the
inside edges of the bottom plates .
STEP 2: LAY OUT THE PLATES
A. Measure along t he plate layout lines to lind the
lengths of t he plates. Note: Follow your project
42 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
use a block cut from plate material to layout the bottom
plates. Mark at the ends of each wall, then snap a chalk line.
Mark the stud layout onto the wall plates, designating the stud locations with
xs. Through walls have an extra corner stud 2%' frorn each end.
construct the headers from
2x lumber and a y," plywood spacer.
plans to detennine which walls run to the edges of
the building (called through walls ) and which butt
into the other walls (called butt walls ).
B. Select st raight lumber for the plates. C ut a top
and bottom plate fo r t he first wa ll , making sure
their dimensions are the sa me. Use a circular saw
or a power miter saw, but make SlIre both ends
arc square. Lay the bottom plate flat on the floor
and set the top plate on top of it. IVlake sure their
edges and ends arc flu sh, then tack the plates
together wi th a few Sd nails.
C. Turn the plates on edge and mark the stud layout
onto the front edges. I f the \,vall is a through
\va ll , make a mark at I Y2 1! and 2%" to mark the
e nd stud and extra corne r stud . Then, mark at
15 Y/ (for 16" on-center spacing) or 23 W' (for
2411 on-center spaci ng)- measuring from this
mark, make a mark every J 6" (or 24") to the e nd
of t he plates. j\/lake mClrks I Y2
1l
and 2-14 " in from
t he opposite end. Foll ovving you r pl an, draw an
X next to eac h mark, des ignating to whi ch s ide
of t he line t he stud goes. Mark the king and jack
studs with a K and] respecti vel y, and mark the
cripple studs with a C. If the wal l is a butt wa ll ,
mark the p late at] Y2
u
, then move the tape so
the 3 Y2
u
tape mark is al igned ",·,r ith the e nd of the
plate. Keeping the tape at that position. mark at
J 5Y ..." (for ]6" sp<Jc ing) or 23Y ..." (for 24" sp<Jc ing)
t he n mark every 16" (or 24") from t here. The 3Y2"
that are "buri ed" account for the width of the
through wa ll.
D. Using <J square, dmw lines t hrough each of the
layout marks. carrying them over to t he other
plate. Draw Xs on the other plate, as wel l.
STEP 3: CUT THE STUDS
& BUILD THE HEADERS
A. Cut the studs to length, following the framing
plan; make sure both ends are sguare. ( Before
cutt ing. give eac h stud a quick inspection to c heck
fo r excess ive bm·ving or crowning; reserve any bad
studs fo r scra p or blocking.)
B. Select straight lumber for the   studs.
Cut the jack studs to equal the he ight of the
rough open ing minus 1 Y2 " (this accounts for the
thickness of the bottom plate); cut the jack st uds
for the window frame to egual the height of t he
top of t he rough opening minus I WI . Cut the king
studs the sa me length as the common studs.
C. To build the headers , c ut two pieces of 2x lumber
(using the size prescri bed by the pla ns) to equal
t he width of the rough opening plus 3" . C hec k t he
boards for crowning, and mar k the top edges. Cut
a piece of WI plywood to the same dimensions as
t he lumber pi eces.
D. Apply two wavy beads of construction adhesive to
each side of the pl y\vood and sa ndwich the lumber
pieces around the plyv.rood, keeping all edges
flu sh. Na il the header together with pairs of 16d
common nails spaced about 12" apart. Drive the
nails at a slight angle so they won' t protrude from
the other s ide. Na il from both sides of the header.
(continued)
BlIihiillg Basics • 43
Frame the walls with 16d nails endnailed through the plates
into the studs. Toenail cripples to headers with 8d nails.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE WALL
A. Separate t he marked plates and remove the nai ls.
Position t he plates on edge, about 8 ft. apart, \vith
the marked edges fac ing up.
B. Set the studs on edge between t he plates, foll owing
the layout marks. Crown all common and king
studs to the same si de. Before setting the d o o r ~ or
window-frame studs, face nail the jack studs to the
inside faces of the king studs with 1 ad common
nails staggered and spaced every 1211; make sure
the bottom ends and s ide edges are flush.
C. Na il all of the studs to the bottom plate, then
to the top plate. Pos iti on each stud on its layollt
mark so it s front edge is flush \.vit h the plate edge
(stud ends square to lengt h of plates), and nail
through the pl ate a nd into the stud end with two
16d common nails (usc ga lvanized nails on the
bottom plate if you r floor is concrete). Dri ve the
nail s about ~   I in from t he plate edges.
D. Set the header in place above the jack studs and
n<:li l t hrough the Izjng studs <:I nd into the header
ends \vith 16d nail s- use fo ur n<:l iis on eac h end
for a 2 X 6 header, and six for a 2 X S header. For
a windmv fr ame, measure up from the bottom of
the bottom plate a nd mark the top of t he si ll on
the inside faces of the jack studs- t his defines
the bottom of the rough open ing. Cut two si ll
44 • THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO CONTEMPORAIW SHEDS
Install a diagonal brace to keep the wall square. Make sure
the brace ends won't interfere with the construction.
pi eces to Ilt behveen the jack studs and na il them
together with IOd na il s. Toena il the si ll to the jack
studs wit h 16d nai ls.
E. Cut the crippl e studs to fit between the header
and t he top plate (a nd the si ll and bottom plate,
for windO\v frames). Toenail the cripple studs to
t he plates and headers (a nd sil l) wit h two Sd nai ls
on one side and one more through t he cente r on
t he other si de.
STEP 5: SQUARE THE WALL FRAME
A. C heck the \va ll frame for squareness by measuring
di agona ll y from corner to corner: \thcn the
meas ure ments are equal , the frame is square. To
adjust the frame, apply inward pressure to the
corne rs wit h t he longer measurement.
B. When t he frame is perfectly square, install a
temporal), I X 4 or 2 X 4 brace diagonall y across the
studs a nd plates. Nai l the brace to the fra me with
8d nails. Use t\vo nails on the plates and on every
ot he r st ud. To stabi li ze the st ructure, leave the \-1/<:111
braces in place until the \,

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all s are sheathed or sided.
C. At each end of the

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