Shortcuts to a Shed
Time-saving tips about planning, materials, and construction that will get any outbuilding up in a hurry.
Synopsis: A shed can be a perfect complement to a house, providing storage space for lawn equipment and yard gear. By using basic techniques and taking advantage of the power of a construction calculator, contributing editor Rick Arnold has a plan for building a simple shed in a weekend. This article includes a sidebar about the Redi-Footing, a plastic pier that can replace a traditional concrete foundation.
Magazine extra: Watch a video where Rick demonstrates how he uses a construction calculator to figure out the angle and length of the rake wall studs for this shed.
I’ve always enjoyed projects that let me step back and see a completed, weathertight structure in just a short period of time. Building a shed like the one shown here is just this type of project. From foundation to roof, it involves nearly all the framing components of a house, yet it can be completed by one person in a weekend.
When homeowners hire me to build a shed, it’s usually because they want it to match their house. The materials that are used to build a shed from scratch typically cost only about half of what you’d pay for a shed made in a factory and trucked to your site. Also, a custom shed that matches the house enhances the property value rather than detracts from it.
Smart framing saves time and materials
I give myself a couple of days to build a shed like this, but careful planning is key. First, I write down all the measurements, then create a cutlist. From the cutlist, I make a buy list that I can give to the lumberyard for a materials delivery.
To save time and money, I design the shed’s framing so that there’s a direct load path from rafter…