How to Make a Small Plywood Shed

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Premanufactured, flat-pack sheds are available in all shapes and sizes from home improvement warehouses, and fully assembled versions are typically on display in the parking lot. Before arriving at any decisions on making your own shed at home, take a trip to a couple of stores and learn how their sheds are put together. Decide on your ideal size, roof style and layout by comparing all the examples. Taking a digital camera and making notes on a pad of graph paper is a great way to come up with your plans.

Things You'll Need

  • Digital camera
  • Graph paper
  • Ruler and pens
  • Carpenter’s toolkit
  • Electric drill and bit
  • Circular saw
  • A-Frame supports
  • Pressure-treated lumber
  • Plywood
  • Windows and frames
  • Door and frame
  • Unfinished 2x4s
  • Galvanized nails
  • Nut/bolt /washer assemblies
  • Nails
  • Screws (optional)
  • Paint
  • Metal roof covering (optional)
  • Rubber roof covering (optional)
  • Decide on the size of shed you require, trading off available space with what you need to store. Determine whether a single door in the middle of one wall will be sufficient, or if double doors that open up an entire end will work better. A window makes a good, free light source, but decreases security. A roof with a single pitch is easier to build, but one that is gabled in the middle provides greater storage space and allows more air movement. With all these factors in mind, transcribe the notes made at the home improvement warehouses into a neat plan, made with a ruler, and complete with all measurements.

  • Build a grid of support timbers to raise the plywood floor away from the ground, because dampness wicks into plywood very swiftly and the wood will rot. The floor must be supported on a grid of pressure-treated lumber, which is readily available from the decking aisles of home improvement warehouses. Two-by-2-inch lumber will work, but 6-by-2-inch timbers, set on edge, give the floor a better air gap. Nail the grid together using galvanized nails, then fasten the floor panels in place using electro-plated deck screws.

  • Construct the framing from sturdy lumber; 2-by-4-inch unfinished beams are readily available and relatively cheap. Wear protective gloves when working with unfinished lumber, because the risk of splinters is considerable. Have an associate assist in raising the frame; one person can hold two timbers together while the other fastens them. Using an electric drill with a correctly-sized bit to make holes through the adjoining pieces, then fastening with a nut-bolt-washers combination, is usually the most convenient method this stage of the proceedings.

  • Use 2-by-4 unfinished lumber again to construct the roof frame according to your plans. It is usually easier to make the frame -- or the two halves of the frame, if building a gabled roof -- on the ground, and then lift the work into place on top of the wall framing. Once more, nut-bolt-washers combinations are the quickest and strongest fasteners.

  • Build frames for the windows and doors. Work to your plan, and refer frequently to your digital photographs to confirm how professional shed-builders frame out. At this stage, it is usually possible to get two jobs done at the same time; the uprights and horizontal beams used to frame the windows and doors can also serve as the cross-members and stretchers that reinforce the wall frames.

  • Install the plywood with as much attention to detail as possible; it is the sheet material that adds real strength to the structure. Use the thickest plywood that is practical for your strength and tools, and do not skimp on the fasteners; a screw or nail every 10 inches will make for a good, sturdy shed. Cut the sheets to size using a circular saw and a firm, steady A-frame support. Draw grids on the outside of the sheets that mark where the framing timbers are, then use “pocket cuts” to make the voids for the windows and doors. Have your assistant hold the sheets in place, working one sheet at a time, while you drive in the fasteners. Once the roof is in place, prioritize getting a sheet-metal or modified rubber roll outer skin in place.

  • Finish up by installing the doors and windows, then paint the outside of the shed with at least two coats of oil-based gloss or the weatherproofing treatment sold for wooden decks. For a really professional look, cover the outside of the walls in tar paper then finish with siding. Use off-cuts from the framing and sheets to make a ramp up to the doors if storing a motorcycle or wheeled yard-care equipment. If there are enough off-cuts, make some shelving or a work bench for the inside.

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  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Polka Dot/Getty Images
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