What Should I Know About Sheds?

This is a discussion on What Should I Know About Sheds? within the Off Topic & Humor Discussion forums, part of the The Back Porch category; I would really like to have a place of my own where I can work on various projects. I'm finding myself envying men that have ...

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Thread: What Should I Know About Sheds?

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    What Should I Know About Sheds?

    I would really like to have a place of my own where I can work on various projects. I'm finding myself envying men that have a garage/workshop. It would be nice to have a suitable area where I can clean my guns, build an AR or two,work on my RC cars as well as any other project that might not be suitable for the Kitchen table. I don't work on cars or build furniture or anything like that, so I do not need a large area to park a car or a large area to house floor sized tools/machinery, etc. Basically, I want a workbench, ample lighting, shelves as well as floor space that can be used for storage. I also want the ability to run a window A/C unit in the Summer as well as use a small gas stove in the winter.

    I don't have the funds to do anything right now but I am hopeful that things will turn for the better in the next year. I don't know if I'll have the funds to build a full size garage but I do think I'll be able to get a 12x16 (or a little bigger) shed.

    I've recently been doing some research on sheds. I'm absolutely embarrassed at what little I know about them. I thought maybe you guys could give me some pointers on things I should consider as I compile list of what I want to look for in a shed. I know sheds are generally made out of wood, metal or vinyl. The wood sheds look nice but I'm thinking that a small metal building might actually last a little longer. I've read that sheds made out of cedar will have longevity but they are also more expensive than average wooden sheds. I've read about wind being able to blow a metal shed away but someone was telling me today that if you have a concrete slab floor, you can anchor the building to that and this will dramatically increase the integrity of the structure. This sounds great to me because I have been thinking lately that I would prefer a concrete floor over a wooden floor.

    What are your thoughts about sheds? You don't know what you don't know so is there anything that someone should tell me to look for when buying a shed? I would hate to spend thousands of dollars on a shed only to find out later that I should have went about it another way.

    For now, unless you have other things to add, I want to know;

    Should I get a wooden or metal building? I've read that vinyl doesn't hold up as well. I have also gotten the impression that a metal building will far outlast a wooden one. I'm not sure how much longer a cedar building would last and if the extra cost is offset by considerable longevity.

    From what little I can tell about some research I've done, I can expect to pay about $75/cubic yard when calculating the cost of a concrete slab floor. Does this sound reasonable to you? I'm assuming this estimate includes labor.

    From looking around on the internet, a circa 12x16 wooden shed can cost between $2,000-$4,000 but a metal one should cost much less. Does this sound somewhat accurate? These prices do not include a concrete floor.

    Any tips or advice is greatly appreciated. I plan on using any info gleamed here as a part of my research and not rely on it as a sole source, etc.

    Thank you in advance for your help!

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  3. #2
    Ex Member Array apvbguy's Avatar
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    be aware of local or hoa zoning issues before getting in too deep.

  4. #3
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by apvbguy View Post
    be aware of local or hoa zoning issues before getting in too deep.
    Gotcha. Good idea. Thanks for the heads up. :-)

  5. #4
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    I currently don't have a shed, but I'd really like to have one. (HOA )

    But, I have built a few. If you are at all handy (hey you want a shed, so you must be, right?) I suggest picking up a few books at your local Lowes or Home Depot on how to build your own. You'll save some money, and get exactly what you want if your willing to put in the time and effort. They really are not hard to build at all.

    I suggest using 2x4 16" OC construction for the walls, but beef up your flooring with treated 2x8 16" OC if you do not use a concrete slab. (incidentally, if you put it on a slab, its a permanent structure, subject to more stringent code in a lot of areas) You'll also want to beef up your rafters. I'd use 2x6's 16" O.C. I know a lot of people will say its overkill, but I'd rather spend a little more and have a lot more options in the future. For example, a friend of mine built his with 2x4 rafters 24" OC. He hung two duck hunting canoes from them, which was fine until we got a snow storm... he had to rebuild the entire shed- all to save something like 50 bucks in added lumber costs.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Member Array tqu9047's Avatar
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    Go wood, not metal. Metal will begin to rust after a few years.
    Shop I got now is a 15 x 15 two story shed. It is fully wired with a solid concrete foundation.
    It came with the house, but a good shop was one of the qualifications for my wife and I while looking at houses.
    And yes, I do have a woodworking business. One corner of shop is set up for reloading, rest has assorted tools,
    drill press, table saw work benches, wood storage and other tool storage. I also have a separate insurance policy on shop
    and contents. I will try to find and post pictures soon.

    Tim

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    Member Array mrjam2jab's Avatar
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    Get as big as you can up front....you will run out of space.

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    Member Array violinjim's Avatar
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    I built a 10 x 12 in 2006 with very little to no experience (I have a Masters in Violin playing) by using the blueprints and directions provided free from 84 lumber. I had them deliver the lumber to my driveway, tarped it and went to work. It's amazingly simple, just go for it. I moved the cars to the driveway and used my garage as a workshop. Basic carpenter's tools were needed: circular saw, miter box saw, cordless drill with extra battery, corded battery, hammer, nails, screws, etc. I ordered extra lumber (like if they called for 12 8' 2x4's, I ordered 14) knowing I'd likely make a bad cut eventually. Mine is wood, sits on some stone blocks, isn't perfect and not counting the tools, cost me $1500 and a few weeks of my time. my siding is T-111 and my advise is to SPRAY on a stain, not roll on primer and paint, that was a real pain.
    Do check your codes, mine had to be 15 feet from the property line and as long as I didn't run electrical (that they know of) didn't need a special permit. My advise is to frame it now and add the electrical and heat in secret later. You can always use extension cords for now.
    And go bigger than you think you'll need. I should have done 12x16. I have to cram the bikes, snowblower, yard equipment, etc. Really would have liked more room.
    Jim
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    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    What should you know about sheds?


    They're never big enough
    exdee40 and thephanatik like this.
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  10. #9
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    Seconding several ideas already posted, and adding my own (and pardon me if I state the obvious - that's a personal specialty):

    - Go as big as you can. I never heard a guy complain his shed was too big.
    - Use wood. Metal rusts and plastic - well, it's plastic.
    - Be careful of zoning laws. If you build it on a slab, that's a "permanent structure" and side lot-line setbacks may be a consideration. Homeowner association rules may be incredibly restrictive. In your county/village/town/parish, a building permit may be required. That means it may be taxable as an "improvement."
    - For lots of reasons, I like my sheds to be above ground. Too close to the ground and the under-shed area becomes a home for critters like woodchucks. My 8x12 sat on 6 concrete blocks (after it was rebuilt) which in turn sat on poured concrete pilings which didn't extend above ground level.
    - If you do build yours close to ground level, pour about 3 inches of coarse gravel underneath before you build it. That's enough to discourage the 'chucks.
    - For floor joists and flooring, use pressure treated lumber, unless you live out in the desert. Ground moisture, like rust, never sleeps.
    - Consider a double door or a wide single. You never know what you're going to want to get in and out of there some day.
    - Put in a window (or windows), preferably one that opens. You need the natural light and you'll like the moving air in warm weather.
    - Be smart about adding an electrical line if that's in the plan. Run at least a 20 amp line and use the proper gauge wire for the length you're running it. Put a breaker or service disconnect inside the shed. Use GFI outlets or a GFI breaker.
    - I was lucky and had a local source of rough-sawn,wide ship-lap boards for my siding, but Tex 1-11 is sure economical. You might also consider 'novelty siding' which affords the same sealing as ship-lap siding but may be cheaper.
    - Roofing - don't skimp here. You won't need a lot, less than 2 squares for an 8x12 with a peaked roof, so you might find a deal on some broken bundles of high-quality shingles at the local building supply place.
    - It's a shed, not a house, so although you don't want it flimsy you also don't necessarily need to frame it like a house, with studs on 16" centers. Keep an open mind - there are lots of different ways to skin that cat.

    Good luck with your project!
    Smitty
    NRA Endowment Member

  11. #10
    VIP Member Array zacii's Avatar
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    You can get relatively cheap 4 or 8 space, outdoor breaker panels from Lowe's or Home Depot.

    It's the wire that's expensive.

    Depending on your situation, you can get direct burial wire, so you don't have to run it in conduit. That is, unless you prefer conduit.

    I don't know what kind of snow you get. You may want to keep that in mind, for your roof pitch.

    I concur with the advice to get a book, and would suggest checking out YouTube. When I built my chicken coop, I found a lot of ideas with Google and YouTube.


    ETA: feel free to pm me if you have electrical questions, that's what I do on the side, when I'm not fighting crime as a superhero
    Trust in God and keep your powder dry

    "A heavily armed citizenry is not about overthrowing the government; it is about preventing the government from overthrowing liberty. A people stripped of their right of self defense is defenseless against their own government." -source

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Thanks for all of the advice guys. I agree with going bigger than you think you need because I'm sure I'm going to run out of room. I live in the country and have plenty of land so limited space should not be a problem for me as long as I don't run into some weird zoning law. I'd plan on building on a medium sized garage if I knew I was going to have the funds to pay for it. Right now, in my mind, I'm tying to come to a realistic compromise.

    Thanks, Sixto, for all of the advise on how to construct a shed. I really like the idea of beefing up the rafters so I don't have to worry about a collapsing building. I read a story the other night where a guy talked about his building collapsing per too much snow on the roof.

    It sounds like you can build a shed for a very reasonable price if you do the work yourself. I'll have to investigate and see if I can come up with some options.

    tqu9047, I will look forward to the pics. ;-) Thanks!

  13. #12
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gasmitty View Post
    Seconding several ideas already posted, and adding my own (and pardon me if I state the obvious - that's a personal specialty):

    - Go as big as you can. I never heard a guy complain his shed was too big.
    - Use wood. Metal rusts and plastic - well, it's plastic.
    - Be careful of zoning laws. If you build it on a slab, that's a "permanent structure" and side lot-line setbacks may be a consideration. Homeowner association rules may be incredibly restrictive. In your county/village/town/parish, a building permit may be required. That means it may be taxable as an "improvement."
    - For lots of reasons, I like my sheds to be above ground. Too close to the ground and the under-shed area becomes a home for critters like woodchucks. My 8x12 sat on 6 concrete blocks (after it was rebuilt) which in turn sat on poured concrete pilings which didn't extend above ground level.
    - If you do build yours close to ground level, pour about 3 inches of coarse gravel underneath before you build it. That's enough to discourage the 'chucks.
    - For floor joists and flooring, use pressure treated lumber, unless you live out in the desert. Ground moisture, like rust, never sleeps.
    - Consider a double door or a wide single. You never know what you're going to want to get in and out of there some day.
    - Put in a window (or windows), preferably one that opens. You need the natural light and you'll like the moving air in warm weather.
    - Be smart about adding an electrical line if that's in the plan. Run at least a 20 amp line and use the proper gauge wire for the length you're running it. Put a breaker or service disconnect inside the shed. Use GFI outlets or a GFI breaker.
    - I was lucky and had a local source of rough-sawn,wide ship-lap boards for my siding, but Tex 1-11 is sure economical. You might also consider 'novelty siding' which affords the same sealing as ship-lap siding but may be cheaper.
    - Roofing - don't skimp here. You won't need a lot, less than 2 squares for an 8x12 with a peaked roof, so you might find a deal on some broken bundles of high-quality shingles at the local building supply place.
    - It's a shed, not a house, so although you don't want it flimsy you also don't necessarily need to frame it like a house, with studs on 16" centers. Keep an open mind - there are lots of different ways to skin that cat.

    Good luck with your project!
    Thanks for all the advice gasmitty ;-) I never even thought about critters and woodchucks. I'm really liking the concrete slab idea, it sounds like this might solve the critter problem also.

    Thanks for commenting about the material. I really like the A-Frame Board & Batten wooden buildings but I don't know how much that will affect cost. Also, do you think that cedar is worth the extra cost considering its reputation for offering longevity?

  14. #13
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by zacii View Post
    You can get relatively cheap 4 or 8 space, outdoor breaker panels from Lowe's or Home Depot.

    It's the wire that's expensive.

    Depending on your situation, you can get direct burial wire, so you don't have to run it in conduit. That is, unless you prefer conduit.

    I don't know what kind of snow you get. You may want to keep that in mind, for your roof pitch.

    I concur with the advice to get a book, and would suggest checking out YouTube. When I built my chicken coop, I found a lot of ideas with Google and YouTube.


    ETA: feel free to pm me if you have electrical questions, that's what I do on the side, when I'm not fighting crime as a superhero
    Wow. I never thought about Youtube having anything about this but why not? I've gotten all kinds of other things from it, so it stands to reason.

    Thanks for the tips!

  15. #14
    VIP Member Array Eagleks's Avatar
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    I have had one just like this (only mine is 14 ft X 16 ft) :

    Sutherlands Garden House Package:

    and it's been there for 20 yrs on a cement floor and I've had to paint it once. It just got a new roof due to hail damage.
    It looks a lot better than it does in the picture.
    I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. --- Will Rogers ---
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  16. #15
    Distinguished Member Array DefConGun's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eagleks View Post
    I have had one just like this (only mine is 14 ft X 16 ft) :

    Sutherlands Garden House Package:

    and it's been there for 20 yrs on a cement floor and I've had to paint it once. It just got a new roof due to hail damage.
    It looks a lot better than it does in the picture.
    Very cool! You have definitely gotten your money's worth.

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