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Build a simple backyard tool shed
Dear Ms. Builder: We have a two-car garage, but it is filling up with mowers, garden tools, etc. My husband scratched my Accord twice last week. Could you please give me some tips for building a simple storage shed? - Pat D.
Dear Pat: It is amazing how quickly a garage becomes full of garden and yard things. It is as if the shovels, rakes, string trimmers, etc. reproduce on their own. With the prices of auto body work today, those scratches are costly.
Building a simple backyard storage shed is your best option. First you will have more space for your cars and your tools. Second, a tidy garage looks much better. You won't have to be embarrassed and feel like a pig if your neighbors drop by when the door is open.
Third, it is safer to use a storage shed. Many lawn and garden tools have gasoline engines. The small gasoline tanks on these power tools are potential fire hazards when stored in an attached garage. Dangerous lawn chemicals can also be stored in the shed with the door locked.
There are several options when building a storage shed. You can have it built by professionals. This is expensive and it may not be built properly. You can buy precut kits that you assemble in your backyard. These are fairly easy to build and give you control over the quality of the job.
If you are handy with tools, you can order building plans and build a shed from scratch. You should be experienced with basic construction techniques before attempting this. If the angles are not all cut precisely, it will not be strong and it will look like a homemade shed.
Also consider a new product, Fast Framer (800-621-7433), that makes building a shed a simple project. The framer kits retail for about $60 to $70. Buy the lumber and materials and start building. There are many decorative siding options and colors for finishing the shed. Let your creative juices flow.
These kits include all the angle and stud brackets needed for a 7 ft. by 8 ft. shed. The brackets are made of galvanized steel with all of the nail and screw holes included. By the design of the brackets, the angles are precisely set. Use 2x4 lumber to assemble the sides and roof.
Whether you are using a framer kit or building a shed from scratch, building a strong and level base frame is imperative. The base frame is often just mounted on level concrete blocks. In cold climates with the possibility of freezing, use a concrete footer or posts in concrete.
Use 2x6 floor joist lumber to build the outer band of the base frame. It is important to square the frame. If each of the corners are perfectly square, the measurement across the diagonals will be equal. Lay a sheet of plastic film over the joists before laying the floor to block ground moisture.
If you are going to have a lot of heavy items in the shed, place the floor joists on one-foot centers. Attaching them with metal joist hangers is better than just driving nails in the ends. Also be sure to use structural nails, not roofing nails, for strength. The sides attach to the base frame.
Don't forget to fix the entire structure to the ground somehow. If it is just resting on concrete blocks or posts, it can blow over in a stiff wind. Use an anchor at each corner. The bolts should be attached to metal bars or concrete blocks buried in the ground.
Tools and materials required: hammer, circular and hand saws, screwdrivers, level, drill, ladder, shovels, framer kit, joist hangers, lumber, plywood sheathing, nail, screws, door and hardware
Send your questions to Ms. Builder, 6906 Royalgreen Dr., Cincinnati, OH 45244 or visit www.dulley.com/msbuilder.