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To build a shed #1: Devil is in the details

Blog entry by Becky posted 05-09-2014 01:01 PM 5944 reads 0 times favorited 32 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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I’m being ‘evicted’ from my half of the garage where my workshop is in the next year or so to make room for a new car that will require being ‘sheltered’. I have however been given permission to build a decent sized (still fairly small) shed in the back yard. Currently I am leaning towards building it myself since I can get exactly what I want…. but it doesn’t include my time and effort in the budget. Yeah I know – that’s something we all deal with… So right now I’m weighing my options. I’m leaning towards DIY’ing but contracting out for specific parts – like the roofing. I can’t seem to find a kit that includes all of the options I want and having one custom built blows the budget. Here’s some of my details that I’ve started with…. feel free to add comments or thoughts…. I’m new to the whole pier foundation but it seems more cost effective than a concrete pad and I definitely don’t want this resting on the ground. I’m sure there’s something I’m missing…luckily I have a bit over a year before we can even start this project!

Budget: no more than 7k all inclusive
Size : 14×16 or 16×20 (pends on what zoning says since anything over 168 sq feet requires a zoning person to visit)
Foundation : Piers
Transom windows around three sides, double door on side facing wall (possibly with screen door so it can be open in the summer for air flow
Insulation in the walls so I can work during the winter
would like a loft for wood/misc storage
two skylights for light / ventilation

That’s the short list at least. I know I could add a lot of bells and whistles but I’m mostly concerned with having enough interior space and being comfortable enough to work in the winter (since I can’t right now)

-- aspiring jill of all trades



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Becky

81 posts in 3732 days

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4593 days

posted 05-11-2014 03:47 PM

First off, go down to your planning department and get their list of what you need in terms of setbacks and maximum heights. That’s what having the zoning person visit will entail. Also, talk with your building department about what you need to do to run electrical, in California some combination of that and my build quality triggered “habitable structure” which meant I needed to do Title 24 energy calculations and climate control and all sorts of annoyance.

Go with 16×20. I totally should have gone for an extra few feet on my shop. Do the work yourself, because that way the $7k goes towards the cool bits.

My shop build was 19x16 exterior, 20’x18’ roof size (should have gone at least 21’ on the long dimension), slab and grade beam foundation, 6” thick walls with staggered studs for noise reduction, and a living roof. That last part was the hard bit. The plans are here, you could do something similar with a lot of scaling back:

  • You don’t need the living roof, so you tell the truss company to go with a real slope and 15 lbs/sq.ft, and if you Google “prescriptive code rafter joist” you can probably just build your own superstructure.
  • you can scale the seismic protection way way back, probably don’t even need engineering clearance on any of this stuff in most locales.
  • Depending on rules for set-backs, you may not need the fire protection, so you don’t have to have the exterior layer of gypsum board. Heck, you might even be able to just go with T111 for the exterior sheathing and siding.
  • You can drop back to a 4” thick wall assembly, maybe even get away with 2’ stud spacing (though saving those few bucks hardly seems worth it). I’d stick with 2×4s rather than the 2×3s or whatever that Tuff Shed would give you.
  • I do really like my wood rack system, though, worth springing for the 4×4s to use as studs along that wall to include that feature.

Roll roofing is easy to put down, and yes, never buy Harbor Freight, but just include an HF roofing gun in your budget and throw it away when you’re done.

Are you going to have a perimeter foundation? Use the AWC Span Calculator to figure out how beefy your floor joists need to be.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4593 days

posted 05-11-2014 03:51 PM

Oh, and if you:

  • don’t need the climate or noise control.
  • have a solution for the floor with piers rather than a slab.
  • can figure out the electrical.

Steel buildings are cheap.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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Becky

81 posts in 3732 days

posted 05-11-2014 10:26 PM

Thanks Dan! I tried calling the zoning board on Friday to see how much it would cost to have the ‘zoning review’ done, buuut nobody answered (surprise!) guess they could’ve been at lunch since it was near noon. Will keep trying since zoning will determine a big part of this process. Luckily we don’t have a homeowners assoc. on top of it! Here’s hoping having electric and insulation doesn’t deem this habitable here in Ohio!
I’d go with steel but I want to be able to work year round – I can hand the heat for the most part but when its below about 40 degrees in the garage I draw the line. I would like to be able to keep it about 65 in the winter and less than 85 in the summer if possible just with insulation and good ventilation. If I can keep the foundation to gravel/skid/piers, I can DIY. adding a slab adds about 2-3k here I think which severely cuts into my 7k max budget. I can’t remember if that included concrete for another patio or not. The spot is pretty level where it is going to be, so there won’t be too much there to do… I figured at minimum I would dig out three inches down and put in gravel but I wasn’t sure that would be far enough. I really don’t want to have floor issues any time soon to deal with! I was hoping I could buy the roof trusses but yeah -looks like I’ll be DIYing those too… my most recent thought was that I might be able to build it in two separate parts since my transoms will run around the top foot of three walls – I’ll have to have 2×4 support around those and then the top plate for the wall itself – then the roof on top of that… Think I’ll go have a look at your plans!

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4593 days

posted 05-12-2014 04:23 PM

Note that there are a few things missing from those plans because they were spec’d on the engineering drawings, mostly the seismic hold-downs (which aren’t an issue if you’re building piers). Mostly the seismic anchors (The appropriate Simpson devices screwed to key studs and bolted into the foundation, and the nailing schedule for the shear panels, which I think was 6” and 12”, but might have been bigger than that, and in practice I probably ended up closer to 4” and 8”. Nails are cheap, the gun makes it easy to spew them, and I wanted to impress the inspector with my over-diligence to build quality.

Looks like 2×12s will handle the full 16’ span for your floor. You could pour it on grade beams, or, as you say, if your ground is stable enough do some sort of alternate sill. You could definitely do your own grade beam or foundation pour, especially if you can get a truck to the site. I had to hire a pump to get into the back yard, and I hired my contractor neighbor to do the slab finishing because big expanses of concrete scare me. I don’t remember what code said about gravel and underlayment for footings, whatever I wrote on those plans was justified for those plans, but…

Where in Ohio? I’ve got family up in northwest Ohio, near Toledo, and I’d be thinking about insulation and climate control as part of the process. Even if it’s insulation and a propane heater (and don’t forget the CO detectors!). I ended up with a heat pump, but we only have a few frosts a year and I’ve only turned it on 4 or 5 times in two years.

And I haven’t looked at what it takes to smash on those plates they use to join commercial trusses, but building a basic rafter structure isn’t too scary. Especially if you figure that you’re going to want a vented attic anyway (keep it cooler in the summer), so you get to cover all of that carpentry up with insulation and drywall. I think a bolted truss structure could look really sexy (especially if you did your decking on top of the trusses with T&G decking), but only if you’ve got some sort of insulation structure above the sheathing, like my roof has, and for me going with the bolted truss would have cost me an extra $500 in engineering fees alone.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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Becky

81 posts in 3732 days

posted 05-14-2014 10:25 PM

Yeah – I’ve had a few people ask me why I feel the need to put in piers – I really just think that’s the best way to keep the moisture out! My dogs do a decent job of keeping the critters out – my beagle may even want to be able to hide under there in the summer – we’ll see though :)

I’d probably have to do a pump to get it to the backyard or find a bunch of helpers to barrow it to the back and neither option is one I’m really liking the thought of. I don’t have any contractor neighbors unfortunately nor any concrete experience except for doing fence posts :\ I do know a guy who does concrete but I still don’t think I could get away with less than 2k. I’ll have to do the math and see how much piers are going to run but I’m still trying to do those and the gravel for $500 if I can.

Central Ohio – west side of Columbus :) so probably a bit warmer than your folks in Toledo :)

ooooh that’s a good thought… I hadn’t gotten to thinking about the roof much – more than wondering if i could build it in a separate part since I’m going to have transom/slider windows at the top of three of my four walls – probably a bit too heavy to build on the ground and move up though :)

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4593 days

posted 05-14-2014 10:44 PM

6” thick foundations, 2’ high (figuring 18” down) is only 72 cubic feet of concrete. Depending on your ground you might want thicker footings, but… You could, if you have four helpers (so you could start the pour and work both ways around the perimeter), almost pour that from bags… If you’ve got a beefy truck, you might also be able to pour that from a trailer; the cement companies in my area will sell you concrete in a trailer that carries a few yards.

And foundations aren’t hard, just slabs.

But if you can make piers work, go for it! You could definitely pour those from bags.

I can tell you from difficult experience that you do not want to try to lift a roof.I tried to do this with a bike shed a few years ago; it involved ropes tied to bumpers of cars and all sorts of… yeah. Asphalt is freakin’ heavy. Turns out.

-- Dan Lyke, Petaluma California, http://www.flutterby.net/

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DylanC

8 posts in 2833 days

posted 05-20-2014 12:04 AM

I built my 24’ x 32’ for ~ $10K-$12K. That was 6” walls, concrete slab, OSB wall/roof sheathing, vinyl siding, two 2’ x 3’ double hung windows, two insulated overhead doors (10’ and 5’), and shingles. Did everything except the concrete and overhead doors with the “friends and family” plan. That was 2008 in MN. Completely unfinished/uninsulated on the inside. Since then I’ve finished it out with insulation, electrical, and heat.

I’m not a pro, but I can offer a few pointers. If you order trusses, that loft will cost you. I think it might also complicate the overall build (steep pitch to roof, harder to insulate, etc.). Ditto for the skylights. Both could also increase your heating cost in the winter. That can get to be expensive…especially if your winter gets as cold/long as this last one. This was the first (and maybe last) I heated my shop all winter long. I use natural gas and thermostat set at 40F and the bill was still a bit hard to swallow. That said, I would never build a heated shop with 2×4 walls. That extra 2” of insulation in the walls really does help.

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Becky

81 posts in 3732 days

posted 05-20-2014 01:42 AM

Good thoughts, Dylan!

I checked out my cousin’s 10×16 shed this weekend and it wasn’t bad… he’s got a gabled shed with a loft – prebuilt by oh one of these companies… want to say tuff sheds or durabuilt sheds or something. Metal insulated roof… head clearance was enough for me -at least it didn’t make me nervous about hitting my head (but I’m only 5’8). Makes me think I ‘might’ be ok in a 12×16 – but ceiling would definitely need to be taller since I really don’t think my bandsaw would fit with a loft unless I had it in the middle. I think I can nix the skylights if I end up with as many windows as my plan is showing… I won’t need the extra light. might have to rethink the windows too! I think I’m going to see about doing a small wood/pellet burning stove for heat but I dunno. I haven’t made it past the foundation and needing to have a zoning review to make sure I can build a big shed even!

-- aspiring jill of all trades

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