Saturday, May 9, 2009

A small home-made storage shed

Everyone who owns a home needs additional storage space, right?

Maybe not? But I did.

I wanted to store 10 new green stackable plastic lawn chairs but I had too much stuff already in my garage. With crowded narrow aisleways, it was a hassle to get to anything in my garage. I needed a permanent place for seasonal items so I designed and built a storage shed.

Where to place the shed was my first consideration. Since I already had great plans for the rest of the yard, I decided that the new shed could be placed under an existing deck. The shed would displace a canoe that I'd have to find another spot for, but under the deck was underutilized space.

I usually start projects with existing materials to save money. I had some leftover scrap wood (from rebuilding the back deck and from a downstairs remodelling project). I also had a supply of 2 by 6's (free for the hauling) that had been used as concrete forms--these I used for the floor joists and flooring. I set the flooring on six bricks so the wood would stay high and dry during inclement weather.

Floor framed and back wall in place. (Note: the floor is resting on six bricks to keep the framing dry.)

I spent $50 on my 6- by 8-foot shed. The priciest part was the roofing. Since the shed was to be located beneath the deck, I opted for clear corrugated vinyl panels in 12-foot lengths ($16 each at The Home Depot). These I cut in half by reversing the blade in my portable power saw and running it across the panels (supported top and bottom with 2 by 4's). Friction sawing is the easiest way to cut through plastics. It leaves a smooth cut and there is minimal chance of fracturing/chipping the panels. (Just remember to put the blade back in correctly or you'll burn wood with it next time you use it.)

I laid out the walls on the sport court and had my son help me lift them onto the floor platform. Most of the walls were made from recycled 2 by 4's and recycled interior plywood. I did use a pair of 2 by 6's for the long window header, but 2 by 4's in this circumstance would have been plenty (there is virtually no load on the roof). Since I planned to paint the outside, it didn't matter these materials weren't new.

In-process framing. Always use a framing square!

Note the overhanging portion of the plywood on the frame. It will be attached to the floor framing. That is my youngest son working the pneumatic nailer. I'm prepping him for a lifetime of handyman fun.

The roof is a shed-style roof (higher in the back than in front) and I used 2 by 4's for that short span (about 63 inches) and tied them to the walls with metal hurricane anchors (right-angle metal ties) and screws. The vinyl roof covering doesn't weigh much and snow will never accumulate under the deck. If this shed were designed to be out in the elements, I'd use 2 by 6's for the rafters, just to be safe. I spaced the rafters two feet apart to allow for direct fastening of the corrugated panels and placed purlins between each rafter at each end and another one staggered in the center between rafters for additional panel fastening surfaces and held the center ones with decking screws.

Roof framing detail with clear panels in place.

Using a portable drill and decking screws really speeds the framing process.

I did leave a foot clearance between the shed roof and the bottom of the deck joists, for maintenance. However, repainting the bottom side of the deck will be a hassle in future (I'll have to cover the shed roof with a tarp to keep drips off the clear vinyl panels and probably have to use a long-handled roller).

Three walls up and braced. I filled that hole with a pick-up canopy window.

To maximize the available space inside the shed, the only door opens outward and is on one end. I also used one old pick-up truck canopy window I had for additional interior lighting. I simply framed the sides for that size of window and screwed it in place using existing window frame screw holes. I installed a screen door "removable" storm window (aluminum-framed glass) into the endwall opposite the door and held it in place with ripped-down lath strips (inside and out).

Rear window salvaged from a screen door "storm" window. Note: this is not a load-bearing wall so all framing shown was for the convenience of nailing surfaces for the outside panelling

To finish off the project, I added 1 by 4 trim around the windows and around the outside of the roof and to cover all four corners. An air-powered nailer or a screw gun make this a fast process.

Shown below is one simple door latch.

Latch to hold door closed (there is another closer to the bottom)

─I tried to leave enough clearance between the shed roof and the decking joists above it for maintenance (cleaning, painting, repairs).

I painted the shed to match the house and added a mini-shelf outside beneath the window to hold little 4" potted plants.

Shown are the window trim and the plant shelf drilled for 4" pots

I added shelving to the inside on both long walls to hold canning supplies and kindling and balls used on the sport court. The shed is full now and a convenient dry place to store our lawn furniture.

You probably won't need a permit to build a small shed like mine, but you should check with your local authorities anyway. Normally, if you can purchase a kit from the Home Depot that is 120 square feet or less and it's located at least three feet from any property line, you will be okay. You may want to check with your neighbors first if you're going to obstruct their view in any way.

I'll probably build another shed soon, because my storage needs continue to grow. I have a spot picked out for it on the shaded north side of our house. I also want to build a potting table in that same area (maybe I'll build a combination of the two? or change my mind completely?), an entry archway is also in the planning, plus a side-gate archway, and a "secret garden", and...


  1. i'll have to show you how to make your blog visually appealing. and i'll walk you through how to move the pictures throughout the blog entry so that they go along with the writing you're doing.

    good start, and p.s. you sound so. darn. handy!

  2. Could you tell me what the name of the wavy plactic panel is? Is it plastic or fiberglass?

  3. Recently i bought a very good Portable Garage in reasonable price.

  4. Hay Nice...

    Thanks for sharing this great information with us. This will help a person to prepare a perfect & easiest plan for them Shed.

    So, please keep updates in it.

  5. Hi good day ! nice post you have . It's very nice , I have plan to setting up my garden can you give me an idea or steps on how to make it beautiful. i have heard some garden accessories such as garden spinner , wind chimes , wind spinners and many more . I want to try this things in my garden but i don't know how to get the right accessories . I hope you can help me . thank you .