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How to Build a Shed (Step-by-Step Instructions with Blueprint)

Red garden storage shed

Welcome to our detailed instructions setting out how to build a shed.  The plans and instructions below were drawn up by Marie-Jo Tabet, Master of Architecture (MArch) with extensive architectural experience.  You can get all of our free shed plans here.

Red garden storage shed

How to Build a Shed

Active Time: 20 hours
Total Time: 20 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate

Step-by-step details for how to build the garden shed pictured above (gable-roof shed with windows). The plans below are for a 12' x 10' shed.

Tools

  • Tape measure
  • Marking paint
  • Level
  • Drill
  • Sledgehammer
  • Circular saw
  • Screw gun
  • Staple gun/hammer tacker Shovel
  • Rake
  • Tamper
  • Wheelbarrow
  • protective equipment
  • optional: Laser level, Mini skid steer, Plate compactor
  • Pliers
  • Saw
  • Knife
  • Chisel
  • Spirit level
  • Spade
  • Electric Screwdriver
  • Measuring Tape
  • Drill
  • Hammer carpenter's square ladder
  • Tin snips
  • roofing nailer

Instructions

Overall Design

Let's get going. Here's how to build a DIY shed on your own.

1. Ground and Foundation

how to plan shed foundation

a. Gravel

Pros:

  • Great drainage: the bottom of your shed will be protected from rot and moisture damage. Crushed stone supports the shed structure equally.
  • Good for sloped sites.
  • Cost is lower than concrete.

Cons:

  • May require the addition of concrete footers for frost protection requirements in some locations.

Steps:

  1. Get your perimeter exactly level.
  2. Dig out a strip of topsoil and add 4”x6” with the 4” side turned down the whole way around the perimeter.
  3. Add bracing to your gravel shed foundation.
  4. Anchor the foundation lumbers with1/2” rebar every 6’ to 8’.
  5. Backfill and level the dirt inside the foundation.
  6. Add Stabilization fabric/geotextile/weed barrier to your foundation.
  7. Add crushed stone, not actual gravel.
  8. Tamp the gravel in a circular pattern.

b. Concrete footings

Shed footings

Pros:

Can be installed on sloped sites.

Great drainage: the bottom of your shed will be protected from rot and moisture damage. Concrete will last forever: durable.

Cons:

More expensive than some foundation options.

More labor-intensive than other shed foundations.

Steps:

  1. Get your perimeter exactly level.
  2. Dig the Pier holes.
  3. Prepare the Fiber-Form Tubes: 1’ diameter and 2’ depth.
  4. Install the tubes.
  5. Pour the mixed concrete.
  6. Smooth the top with a trowel.
  7. Place a post down into the center of each pier while the concrete is still wet. 10-
  8. Place gravel to close the gaps.
  9. Cure the concrete.
  10. Fix the post cap to the pressure-treated post or you can use Ready-Made or handmade Piers:
  11. Soak the piers and then place them on the footings after the footings have been poured and hardened. level the piers in both directions.

2. Building the Floor Frame

a. Skid spacing

Fix the 4" skid to the post cap with 20 post cap screws for every pressure-treated post.

Floor frame for shed

b. Joist spacing

First, install the frame and secure the beams with 5" wood screws.

Second, use a carpenter's square to check that the corners are square.

Shed floor joist spacing

3. Shed Flooring

  • Screw the sheets of plywood to the joists and leave 3/4" to allow for expansion.
  • Fill the gaps with silicone sealant to prevent them being filled with tile adhesive when afixing the tiles.

Placing plywood on shed floor

4. The Shed Layout

The shed layout

5. Front Wall Frame

a. Use 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber to construct the front wall frame using the drawing below as a reference.

  • studs: 8 boards cut to 7'-3"
  • sole plate: 2 boards cut to 2'-1"
  • top plate: 1 board cut to 10’
  • double top plate: 1 board cut to 9’ -4”

door opening:

  • header: 2 boards of 5“ cut to 6’ -2” and 1 sheet of 1/2“ x 5” plywood cut to 6’ -2” glued in between.
  • trimmer: 2 boards cut to 6’-10”.

b. Connect the beams with 3" wood screws.

c. Check that corners are square.

Shed front wall construction

6. Back Wall Frame

a. Use 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber to construct the front wall frame using the drawing below as a reference.

  • Studs: 11 boards cut to 7' 3"
  • Sole plate: 1 board cut to 10'
  • Top plate: 1 board cut to 10'
  • Double top plate: 1 board cut to 9' 4"

b. Fasten the beams with 3" wood screws.

c. Ensure corners are square.

Shed rear wall construction

7. Shed Side Walls

a. Use 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber to construct the front wall frame using the drawing below as a reference.

  • studs: 10 boards cut to 7'-3"
  • sole plate: 1 board cut to 11’-4”
  • top plate: 1 board cut to 11’-4“ double top plate: 1 board cut to 12’
  • bottom cripples: 4 boards cut to 3'-1 1/2"

window opening:

  • header: 2 boards of 5“ cut to 3’ -4” and 1 sheet of 1/2“ x 5” plywood cut to 3’ -4” glued in between.
  • trimmer: 2 boards cut to 3’-4 1/2”
  • sill: 2 boards cut to 3’

b. Fasten the beams with 3" wood screws.

c. Ensure corners are square.

Shed side wall construction

8. Shed Roof Construction

Building a shed roof

a. Trusses

Use 2" x 4" pressure-treated lumber to construct the roof frame using the drawing below and the truss details as a reference:

  • rafters: 14 boards cut to 6'-6 1/2"
  • ridges: 2 boards cut to 1’-9 1/4" and 4 boards cut to 1‘-9 3/4”
  • ceiling joist: 2 boards cut to 9’-7 3/4”
  • gables: 2 boards 10 3/4“, 2 boards 1’-8 1/4” and 1 board 2’-2 3/4“
  • gussets: 14 boards of 1/2” plywood

Connect the beams with 3" wood screws and the gussets with nails.

Roof truss blueprint

Truss blueprint details

b. Roof purlins

Purlins are the frame for the sheathing on the roof to rest on.

Use 2" x 2" pressure-treated lumber to construct the purlins using the drawing below as a reference:

purlins: 10 boards cut to 13'-8"

Connect the beams with 3" wood screws and the spacing should not be more than 2' - 0" apart.

Shed roof purlins plan

c. Roof surface (plywood)

Use 96" x 48" sheets of 1/2” plywood for the roof sheating using the drawing below as a reference:

plywood: 6 sheets cut to 4’ x 6’-6 1/2” and 2 sheets cut to 1’-8” x 6’-6 1/2”

Connect the plywood with 2" wood screws

Shed roof purlins plan

9. Front wall surface

1- Use 96" x 48" sheets of 1/2” plywood for the roof sheating using the drawing below as a reference:

plywood: 2 sheets cut to 9’ x 2’-1” , 2 sheets cut to 3’-9” x 2’-11” , 2 sheets cut to 2’-11” x 9” and 1 sheet cut to 6” x 5’-10”

Fasten the plywood to studs with 2" wood screws.

Shed front wall

10. Constructing the shed rear wall surface

Use 96" x 48" sheets of 1/2” plywood for the roof sheating using the drawing below as a reference:

plywood: 2 sheets cut to 8’-8 1/4”x 4’, 1 sheet cut to 8‘-8 1/4” x 2’, 1 sheet cut to 4’x 2’-1/2”, 1 sheet cut to 4’ x 2’-6 3/4” and 1 sheet cut to 2’ x 1’-1/4”.

Fasten the plywood with 2" wood screws.

Rear shed surface wall

11. Constructing the shed side walls

Use 96" x 48" sheets of 1/2” plywood for the roof sheating using the drawing below as a reference:

plywood: 2 sheets cut to 8’x 2 1/2”, 2 sheet cut to 8‘ x 4’, 1 sheet cut to 3’x 6”, 1 sheet cut to 3’x 3’-4 1/2” and 1 sheet cut to 4’-1 1/2”

Connect the plywood with 2" wood screws.

Shed side walls

12. Roof Shingles (Layers)

  1. Begin with first row of tar paper from the bottom of the roof. Cut it to fit your roof using a knife.
  2. Tack the tar paper in place with a staple gun on the roof sheathing. Alternatively,
  3. you can use a hammer and galvanized nails.
  4. Lay a second strip of tar paper above the first strip, overlapping it by about 5 inches.
  5. Add a roof drip edge on the tar paper. Leave a gap between the drip edge and the fascia to break water surface tension and improve drainage.
  6. Use 1 1/2” nails to secure the shingles in overlapping rows that covers seams and nails. Any exposed nails should be sealed to prevent roof leaks.

Roof layers on shed

13. Roof Drainage

  • Install fascias (1” x 8“ x 13’-8”) to the purlins.
  • Install soffits
  • Lay a second strip of tar paper above the first strip, overlapping it by about 5 inches.
  • Add a roof drip edge on the tar paper. Leave a gap between the drip edge and the fascia to break water surface tension and improve drainage.
  • Use 1 1/2” nails to secure the shingles in overlapping rows that covers seams and nails. Any exposed nails should be sealed to prevent roof leaks.

Roof draining system - gutters, soffits etc.

14. Fascias and soffits

Use 1" x 8" pressure-treated lumber to construct the fascias using the drawing below as a reference:

  • 4 boards cut to 6'-8 1/4"
  • 2 boards cut to 14’

Connect the beams with 2" wood screws.

Cut the corners to a 45 degree angle to close the corners 4- Install the soffits.

Attach the Vent to the Soffits.

Fascias and Soffits for shed roof

15. Siding

  1. Cover the walls with building paper. You will need in total 375 sq ft. of building paper for the four walls.
  2. Install the exterior siding using horizontal siding boards.
  3. Provide opening for door.

Front wall:

Front wall siding for shed

Rear wall:

Shed rear wall siding

Side walls:

Side wall siding

Side wall siding

16. The Shed Door

Use 1” pressure-treated lumber to construct the door using the drawing below as
a reference:

door casing: 1 board cut to 6’-6” x 6” and 2 boards cut to 6” x 6’-10”.

trim: 2 boards cut to 6’-10” x 2” and 1 board cut to 5’-10“ x 2”.

door leaf: 2 board cut to 2’-9”x 4”and 4 boards cut to 4”x 6’

  • 4 boards cut to 2’-1” x 1” and 2 board cut to 1’-10 3/4” x 1”
  • 6 boards cut to 2’-1” x 1’-1/4” .
  • 4 boards of glass cut to 11 1/4” x 1’-10 3/4”.
  • The shed door

17. Shed Windows

Use 1” pressure-treated lumber to construct the windows using the drawing below as a reference:

casing: 4 board cut to 3’-3” x 2” and 2 boards cut to 2” x 3’-4 3/4”.

shades: 2 boards cut to 1’-5 3/4” x 3’-4 3/4” .

window leaf:

  • 4 boards cut to 1’-5 3/4” x 2”
  • 4 boards cut to 3’-4/4” x 2“
  • 2 boards of glass cut to 1’-2 1/2” x 3’-1/2”.

Shed window blueprint

18. Shed interior

Up to you. You can leave wall studs exposed or use drywall. You can go with a plywood floor or add some durable flooring such as vinyl.

19. Detailed Materials List

Detailed shed materials list

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