Building A Shed

Written by Elisabeth Forsythe
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For the average homeowner, building a tool shed is the perfect project that requires both skill and imagination. Maybe it's because we all wanted to build tree houses or clubhouses as children, but the chance to build our own special place for our "toys" can bring out the kid in us all. However, there are several very grown-up issues to investigate before you get out the circular saw or start browsing through kits.

First off, check your local zoning laws and building codes. You may need a building permit before you build any shed, whether it's a 10' x 17' garage-like structure or a 5' x 3' plastic tool shed. Your shed must be up to code, or you're just going to have to remove it and start over. Your local official can also advise you on "setback" requirements--how far from the property lines your shed can be. Many neighborhood associations or preservation societies also have strict rules and regulations regarding detached structures, including size and design requirements.

Your next thing to think about is what kind of foundation your shed will sit on--if any. A solid floor over a good support system is especially important if you are storing large, expensive equipment that you want to keep dry, and you want your shed to enjoy as long a "life" as possible. Some plastic models come equipped with heavy-duty raised floors. These can generally sit right on dirt or grass. But larger or more perishable wood or metal sheds can greatly benefit from a foundation of pressure-treated wood attached to the ground, or even a concrete foundation.

Building Blocks for a Better Shed

The most important thing to consider when you are thinking about building a shed is your own requirements. What are you going to use the shed for? How much money do you want to spend? How much space do you have available in the yard? Answering these questions honestly can help you build the shed you really need.


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