If this is your first time building a shed, you may feel a little intimidated. There are hundreds of different types, designs, and sizes of sheds. Some are very conventional in their look, while others are somewhat unique. There are several questions you need to ask yourself prior to starting your building project. The first question to ask is what is the primary purpose of my shed?

Will it only be used for storage, or is it a specialized building to meet a specific need? If it is a storage shed, what kind of things will I be storing? This could help determine the construction of the floor, the thickness of the walls, and whether it needs to be insulated or not. Do I want a concrete floor or a wooden one? Will my shed need windows, and will I need to run power to the building? Will I be storing lawn equipment or perishable goods? Do I want shelving or cabinets inside the shed? Where would my shed best fit in the space I have, and does it need to blend with other buildings nearby?

Are there any building ordinances that would keep me from having the shed I want? Sheds larger than a specified square footage often times require a building permit. If your home is part of a Home Owners Association (HOA), you should carefully examine your covenants, codes, and restrictions (CC&Rs). Your building may need to be approved by the HOA board, prior to beginning your project. Some things they may consider are aesthetics, including but not limited to color, size, roofing material, and landscaping surrounding the shed. When deciding on where you want to build your shed, consider its function.

Will you need a large door or a double door or special access to the door, including a sidewalk or stepping stones? Will you be moving things in and out of the storage area? How heavy are these items, and will you need to roll them or carry them when moving them? What kind of tools will I need in order to build a shed? How much time to I have to devote to this project?

Types of sheds:

The most common shed is a storage shed. However, there are a variety of storage sheds. Here are just a few: tool sheds, toy sheds, wood storage sheds, bicycle sheds, household storage sheds, garden sheds, lawn sheds, grain sheds, a combination storage shed and playhouse.

Sizes of sheds:

Sheds come in a wide variety of sizes. One of the smallest size is a 4 x 4. One of the more popular size sheds is an 8 x 10, which has 80 square feet of storage space. Larger sheds can be as big as 20 x 30 or larger. The size of your shed may depend on the available area in which you have to build. This can be a challenge in smaller yards or in yards that have severe slopes. It may be that you need a total of 100 square feet of flooring, but you have a long and narrow area to build on. Rather than building a 10 x 10 building, you may have to go with an 8 x 16 shed. Also due to available space, you may have an unusual 7 x 4 or an 8 X 5 shed.

Roof styles and pitch:

There are three main styles of shed roofs. The type that carries the name “shed roof” probably isn’t the most popular, although it is less complicated, and easier to build, than the other two. This type of roof only has one side that slopes, normally from the front side down to the back side. Occasionally, it will slope from one side to the other. The hipped roof has four sides of the roof all sloping down, with eves all the way around the bottom side. The gable style roof has a more open look. With this style of roof, you will see the shape of an upside down V. Other types of roofs are the gambrel, or barn style, a Dutch hip roof, a flat roof, and a mansard or French style roof.

The pitch of the roof describes how steep it is. The pitch of a roof is measured in vertical rise, in relation to the horizontal span. This is also known as the slope in geometry. In the United States, slope is typically shown in inches per foot of horizontal span. So if a roof rises 4 inches for each foot of surface, the pitch would be a “4:12 pitch”. If you live in an area of the country that receives a lot of snow, you may want to increase the pitch of your roof, so the snow will slide off the roof more easily. A flat roof in that environment could potentially collapse, if enough snow was to collect on it.

Roofing materials:

Materials for a shed roof can be as simple as a roll of asphalt roofing. Occasionally, you will see clay or tile shingles, but due to their high cost, those aren’t used very often. Your roof can also be covered with a special corrugated metal. Wood shake shingles were at one time very popular, but due to fire danger, have been outlawed in many parts of the country, and cannot be used in new construction. The most common type of shingle used on a shed is the composition, or asphalt shingle. There are different styles, and different thicknesses of asphalt shingles. Based on their composition, these shingles are generally rated by years of warranty. You can purchase shingles with a 20 year warranty, 30 year warranty, or even higher.

When buying shingles, they are purchased by the square. There are three bundles of asphalt shingles in a square. Each bundle contains twenty-seven shingles. A square of shingles will typically cover 100 square foot of roof. So, when measuring the total square feet of roofing, you can divide that by 100, and know about how many squares of shingles you will need. A modern green approach may be to also apply solar panels, if the roof is facing South East to South West.

Siding materials:

The siding you put on your shed, in addition to determining the final look of the building, will also determine how well it holds up in certain parts of the country, and weather can be a big determining factor. There is a fiber cement siding that holds up really well. It can break more easily when cutting, but is molded to look just like real wood. Paint holds to it really well and it doesn’t need painted as often. Aluminum or vinyl siding also holds up well. If your house is stucco, you may choose to match your house. However, one problem you will encounter with stucco is cracking over time. There is also a fiber board which is made up of pressed board with exterior resins and adhesives pressed or molded to resemble wood. If this is kept sealed and painted, it holds up fairly well in most climates. However it may not do well in extreme cold weather. You can buy this material in a 4 x 8 foot sheet. It also comes in 16 foot lap planking 8″ wide or 16 ft. x 14 in. wide. The fiber cement can also be purchased in the above mentioned horizontal sizes.

Buying a Good Set of Shed Plans:

Once you have decided what kind of shed you want to build, and what materials you want to use, choose a good set of plans to use that will match what you have in mind. There are a lot of shed plans on the internet to choose from. Make sure you read through the plans thoroughly and carefully prior to beginning your project. The set of plans will probably list all the tools you will need along with, all of the materials needed. Take your list of materials with you to your local lumber company to save you from too many return trips. You should enjoy doing your own do it yourself project. When it is complete, you can feel a real sense of accomplishment. Good luck, and happy building!

If this is your first building project you will need a good set of shed plans to complete your project. These plans should give you step by step directions to complete your shed. Building your own shed will save you a lot of money even with the cheapest shed plans you can find. Good luck, and happy building!

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