Converting shed to living space

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Topic by Furnitude posted 12-29-2017 02:42 PM 24771 views 0 times favorited 6 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1 post in 1362 days

12-29-2017 02:42 PM

This is the pole barn/shed in my backyard. For historical preservation and sentimental value reasons, I don’t want to tear it down. However, I would like to make it into habitable space to potentially rent out or serve as an in-law apartment. I understand that the cheapest/most efficient thing to do would be to tear it down and build from scratch. But…what I’m considering is the following:
1) lift the structure
2) build a foundation including plumbing/electrical
3) build a 3’ high stone/brick wall
4) set the structure on top of the wall and anchor it so it could be framed and insulated.

The footprint of the structure is 22’ by 26’. The roof is in awful shape and needs to be replaced. The poles inside are either cobbled together or notched, so the structure isn’t terribly safe as is. One of the sides has no wall. there is a dirt floor—no foundation. The poles are set into the ground. I consulted a structure moving company that lifts buildings to repair foundations or moves them altogether.

This is a fun brainstorming project at the moment. Again, I understand it is more expensive and difficult to lift it rather than just tearing down and building from scratch. If you have any experience of this kind of thing, I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Mitch (typically hang out in Lumberjocks…)

View dbray45's profile


157 posts in 1801 days

07-10-2015 02:10 PM

If it was used for animals and most barns were, you have a little more cleanup that you think. If it has a dirt floor, you will have to remove at least 12”, put new, clean fill, put ground cloth (plastic), and then cement.

If it has cement, it was probably not sealed and may have to be removed – don’t know. Wood floors will have to be removed and then deal with what is under that.

What I might do, is turn it into a garage and build a new building next to it. The last thing you want is many years of animal soil, including bacteria and smells, leaching into a living space.

-- Love woodworking and fixing most anything

View Dan Lyke's profile

Dan Lyke

331 posts in 4006 days

07-13-2015 02:06 PM

I’d give some serious thoughts to how the space is going to be conditioned. If you dig out the inside and pour a slab, you probably want some good insulation under that slab. It looks to me like that wall assembly is just siding, and I’d want modern sheathing underneath that, with some sort of drainage plane, rather than having siding straight to insulation…

And are you going to try to do a directly insulated roof (with all the pitfalls of trying to get all of those insulation spaces sealed), or do a ceiling and an attic space and a roof?

How hard would it be to knock the siding off it, build a new modern frame, and put the siding back on? That’d let you use modern sheathing and wall assembly techniques, square up the whole building, be easier than lifting the whole building, might be an easier way to get another two feet or so to give you an attic space above that shorter area on the right…

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

View Jeffison's profile


4 posts in 993 days

07-03-2016 10:23 PM

It seems as though whatever Furnitude does, it will probably be awesome! I want to know what you eventually do!

View JCamp's profile


1 post in 613 days

07-18-2017 03:10 PM

You should post this on lumberjocks.com since there is so much spam here.
To answer ur question tho.. Take it all down. Run ur wire and pipe then pour a slab of concrete and rebuild the building on top of it so that all the old rotted pieces can be replaced as you are building. This will be much safer than trying to fix an patch on it as is. You might be able to use the wood for the rafters in ur walls and then put new trusses on it. If it needs to be taller then put a couple layers of block on it and set ur walls on it.

View Diyjunkie's profile


33 posts in 312 days

05-18-2018 01:41 PM

Hey Mitch,

This a really cool home project!! I’ve never done something like this before. It seems as though you have a solid plan on how to fix your shed. Have you started the project yet or are you still in the planning stages?

View blakeluby's profile


1 post in 9 days

03-14-2019 10:03 AM


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