Cheap DIY Shed

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Sheds are a convenient addition to any home, providing space to store tools, materials and other items that need to be put safely out of the way but still be accessible. Sheds also can be expensive. The keys to shed costs are size, purpose and material. A big shed to house garden tractors will obviously cost more than a simple garden shed. A shed to hold big implements or store big quantities will be more expensive than a tool shed. But a major expense is material. A cheap shed will use simple and inexpensive materials and techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Tape measure
  • Stakes
  • Builder's twine
  • Shovel
  • Rake
  • Level
  • Landscape fabric
  • Gravel
  • Hand tamper
  • 4-by-4-inch posts
  • Posthole digger
  • Concrete
  • 2--by-4-inch framing lumber
  • 1-by-4-inch furring lumber
  • Hammer
  • Framing nails
  • Corrugated metal panels
  • Corrgated metal nails (galvanzied with plastic washers)
  • Tin snips
  • Metal roof flashing
  • Circular saw
  • 1/2-inch plywood
  • Hinges
  • Door latch

Find a location for the shed in a a fairly flat area with good drainage that's away from big tree roots or other impediments. Attach the shed to a wall of a garage or other outbuilding to save construction. Plan the length, width and height and measure off the area with a tape measure and mark it with stakes and builder's twine. Excavate the area with a shovel at least 8 inches deep.

Level the surface with a rake and use diagonal measurement with a tape measure to square it; if distances from corner to corner are equal, the shed is square. Put landscape fabric and 4 inches of gravel over the area. Compact the gravel with a hand tamper. Make a cheap foundation and floor by laying 4-inch concrete blocks on the gravel over the whole shed area. Use a level to keep the blocks level.

Set 4-by-4-inch square posts at the outside corners of the shed and in the middle if the outer wall is longer than 8 feet. Move the corner blocks and use a posthole digger to dig a hole 1/3 the height of the post (2 feet for an 8-foot post). Set the posts in concrete, using a level to make sure they are plumb. Replace the full blocks with 4-inch half-blocks to complete the floor. Use half-blocks if needed to fit the floor to the shed area.

Nail a 2-by-4-inch ledger board, a brace, to studs on the existing wall to support a roof. Nail another 2-by-4 across the tops of the posts at least 1 inch lower than the ledger board. Use a hammer and framing nails. Nail two more 2-by-4s to the building wall at each end of the shed. Cut 1-by-4-inch boards to fit horizontally across the outer wall and a back wall and nail them to the posts and upright boards spaced 2 feet apart from bottom to top. Make sure one board is at the floor level and another at the top.

Make a roof frame with 2-by-4s placed horizontally between the ledger board and board on top the posts. Add one or more such rafters inside the shed, depending on the shed length; put one at least every 4 feet. Slope these slightly to the outside wall. Don't bother to notch them to fit precisely; just nail them to the ledger and post cap.

Install corrugated metal siding and roofing. Overlap these panels the width of one corrugation and nail them to the 1-by-4s with nails that have a plastic washer on them. Cut panels with tin snips as needed to fit. Let roof panels overhang the outer wall by about 4 inches. Fasten roofing to the existing wall with metal flashing, bent at 90 degrees so one side attaches to the wall and the other goes over the roof panel. Run corrugations vertically on walls.

Leave the front of the shed open or make a basic door. Frame a door with a 2-by-6 board nailed between the side posts across the shed opening. Cut 2-by-4 bottom plates with a circular saw to fit between the outsides of the door opening and the walls and nail them to the concrete blocks with concrete nails. Toenail vertical 2-by-4 studs between the 2-by-6 and bottom plate. Make a simple door with a frame of 2-by-4s to fit that opening, cover it with 1/2-inch plywood and install it with hinges and a latch. Cover the rest of that wall with metal siding.

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