Handyman Helper: DIY Shed-Building Tips And Tricks

With the popularity of HGTV shooting into cosmic heights, do-it-yourself projects are becoming more and more commonplace. Homeowners everywhere are taking it upon themselves to re-tile their bathrooms, re-paint their living rooms, and even upgrade their kitchen countertops — all without the help of a professional (and expensive) remodeling service.

One area that gets sorely overlooked, however, is storage. As families grow and households expand (even without the addition of children), space starts to run thin; clutter builds up with surprisingly subtle ease until you can no longer find anything you’re looking for in your own home. To fix this problem, we recommend taking a page out of HGTV’s DIY book: construct a shed to house those pesky extras.

The Tools Of The Trade

As any handyman will tell you, each job has its own set of necessary tools. The ones you choose for your shed depends on your previous experience: have you always had a knack for working with wood and your hands, or are you a closet handyman taking on your first big challenge? How comfortable you are with power tools (and what you have in your garage) determines whether you’re going to purchase your wood pre-cut or go the extra mile and cut it yourself.

When it comes to the basics, you’re going to need a few essentials: nails, screws, a hammer, a screwdriver, and wood. Plywood is the least expensive and easiest material to work with, and it holds up pretty well provided your structure has a solid foundation. You’re going to need nails for the framing — their shear strength is excellent at keeping structural pieces where they belong. Screws will be used for finishing, a.k.a. the sheathing and subfloor, because screws have a strong enough grip strength to keep plywood tightly joined. Did you know that screws were made by hand before 1928, so no two were ever alike? That could cause some pretty big problems during use, so be thankful we have screw thread standards now!

Begin At The Beginning

Creating a sound structure, no matter how small, takes more than just four pieces of wood, a floor, and a roof. Consider the following tips that can make your project a lot easier and of higher quality.

  • Plan it out ahead of time. We know this is an exciting project and one that provides a lot of satisfaction (as well as space) upon completion. However, it shouldn’t be rushed! Take the time to figure out every detail before getting to work: the size, materials, budget, and any other pertinent information need to be hammered out before you go swinging your hammer. Don’t forget to add an additional 25% to the expected space to account for future storage needs.
  • Focus on the foundation. Successful construction relies on more than just skill and know-how. If you don’t have a solid foundation, your shed will collapse before you get the chance to put anything in it. Consider the environmental conditions — like how much rain your region sees each year — and look into suitable bases. Concrete, either in solid block or slab form, is a good choice for sheds as it lasts a lifetime.

Your shed doesn’t need to be perfect — or HGTV-worthy, for that matter — to be effective. As long as you follow the basic rules, you’ll have a new storage unit to help unload some of the stuff from your house. Of course, don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you’re feeling overwhelmed or confused; a number of establishments that sell concrete and plywood are well-versed in DIY construction and would be happy to offer some tips of their own.

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