How to Build an Insulated Winter Shed for your Water Tank

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If your home has an exterior water tank, cold temperatures in the winter can cause the water to freeze, preventing you from accessing the water. The water also expands as it freezes, which can damage the tank. You can protect the tank from the freezing temperatures and accompanying problems by building an insulated shed for your tank.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Spray paint
  • Shovel
  • Vapor barrier
  • Gravel
  • Rebar
  • Wooden stakes
  • Hammer
  • 2-by-4 boards
  • Nails
  • Concrete
  • Pressure-treated 2-by-4 boards
  • Circular saw
  • Safety goggles
  • Drill
  • Masonry screws
  • Assistant
  • Level
  • Pre-fabricated roof trusses
  • 3/4-inch plywood sheathing
  • Roofing paper
  • Staple gun
  • Staples
  • Drip-edge flashing
  • Rolled fiberglass insulation
  • Utility knife
  • Wooden shingles or vinyl siding
  • Roof shingles
  • Roofing nails
  • Door

Pouring the Foundation

  • Mark off the area for the shed's foundation by spray-painting the ground. Dig a hole inside the trench deep enough to go beneath the frost line. When marking the perimeter of the foundation, make it a foot longer on each side than the length of the shed.

  • Lay a vapor barrier over the ground in the hole. This protects the shed's foundation from moisture seeping up and damaging it.

  • Pour a layer of gravel into the hole and level it out, then place rebar across it. Follow local building codes for the depth of the gravel and how the rebar needs to be set.

  • Construct a form for the top edge of the concrete by driving wooden stakes into the ground around the edge and nailing 2-by-4 boards to them.

  • Pour concrete into the hole until it's over the top edge of the form.

  • Smooth the surface of the concrete by dragging a 2-by-4 board across the top of the form. Allow the concrete to cure for at least 4 days, then remove the wooden form.

Building the Shed

  • Install the sill plates on the concrete with masonry screws. The sill plates are pressure-treated 2-by-4 boards that protect the wooden frame of the shed from exposure to moisture.

  • Cut 2-by-4 boards to fit over the sill plates, using two boards for each sill plate. These boards will be the top and bottom plates, which are the boards on the top and bottom of the wall frames.

  • Nail 2-by-4 boards to the ends of the bottom plates. These are the end studs.

  • Nail studs into the bottom plate between the end studs. The standard spacing for the studs is 16 inches, but follow local building codes when framing the walls.

  • Nail the top plates to the studs across the top of the wall frames.

  • Lift the frames into position on the sill plates, one at a time, with the help of an assistant. The frame should be plumb -- vertically straight; nail it to the sill plate.

  • Install the other wall frames, using the same method, then nail the end studs of the walls together in the corners.

  • Install pre-fabricated roof trusses on top of the wall frames. Follow local building codes when installing the trusses.

  • Nail 3/4-inch plywood sheathing to the outside of the wall frames and roof trusses. Stagger the boards in each row to strengthen the walls.

  • Staple roofing paper over the walls and roof by laying the paper flat against the wood and stapling it every 6 to 8 inches. Overlap the edges of separate sheets by an inch to prevent leaks.

  • Cover the edges of the roof by nailing drip-edge flashing to them. The flashing prevents water from seeping up underneath the shingles.

  • Install the insulation by cutting strips of rolled fiberglass insulation to fit the spaces between the wall studs and roof trusses. Place the insulation into the gaps, and staple the edge of the backing paper to the roof truss or wall stud every 6 inches.

  • Install wooden shingles or vinyl siding onto the shed.

  • Lay shingles onto the roof. Begin along the bottom edge, and nail them to the roof with roofing nails. Stagger the shingles in each row as you lay them.

  • Install the door on the shed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Get the utility lines in your yard marked before you dig the hole for the foundation by calling 811.
  • Follow local building codes when building the shed.
  • Wear safety goggles when sawing the wood.

References

  • Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Creatas/Getty Images
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