No, your garage is not actually shrinking, even though it may seem like every night there’s less and less space to park your car. As life moves on and tools and toys are collected, storage space starts to get thin, and this is especially true once you add a couple of kids to the equation. But rather than feel the pressure to constantly be reorganizing the clutter into smaller and smaller portions inside a finite garage, relieve some stress and free up some storage real estate by building a shed for all your excess gear. A shed provides an outlet for all the seasonal items that need to be stored, and keeps the garage space open for things you need to access on a daily basis, like bicycles, cars, and the workbench, of course.
- Laying the foundation: For a traditional garden shed, using concrete blocks as a foundation will work fine because the soil around them will change in uniform fashion. After drafting the dimensions of your shed, stake out points where the four corners will go and dig 8-inch depressions to fill halfway with a crushed rock such as limestone. Place the block on the crushed rock and level, then do the same for the other four corners, making sure to check the height of all blocks with a level and 2” x 4”, adding additional rock if needed to create an even base.
- Something to Stand On: When it comes to the floor, the best wood to use for framing is going to be 2” x 6” sill lumber along with band joists. The strategy here is to lay the sill wood flush along the concrete blocks and then stagger the band joists at the four corners, fastening each sill piece to the bottom of each band joist. From here you can create the floor frame by placing 2” x 6” joists at roughly 16-inch intervals between the band joists themselves. Then lastly, cut and nail tongue-and-groove plywood across the top to create the standing surface of the floor.
- Four Walls and a Roof: Now that the floor is taken care of, it’s time to tackle the framing of the walls and roof. Though the size of the frames themselves will depend on the dimensions of your project, it is always a good idea to start with the back wall and to keep the spacing on your vertical studs the same as the spacing of your floor joists to simplify the measurements. You can also add overall structural security by using triple studs rather than a single at the end of each long wall to act as nailing points for the two shorter walls. If you’ve never framed exterior walls before, invite a friend over who has, or study one of the comprehensive guides to wall framing online. Just don’t forget to frame one wall specifically for the door and any electrical wiring. As far as the roofing goes, you have a wide range of options for the degree of pitch you want to use for the gable. A flat roof might be tempting for ease of construction, but taking the easy way out now will cost you big time down the line when the roof begins to collect rain or snow. Since the angles of roof framing are more complex than those of rectangular walls, refreshing your knowledge on roof building is a good idea before you put that hammer to nail, and planning in advance to have a few strong friends around to help is also a must.
- Opening the door: As you’ve planned for in your framing of the front wall (see above), you should now have a doorframe primed and ready to be filled. Though you can build a door from v-groove pine, buying a premade door can make more sense as they’re inexpensive and tend to last longer. Make sure the door is painted and primed to your liking and then secure it to the frame using the t-hinges of your choice.
From here, all that’s left is a bit of painting and weatherproofing before your blueprint is a full blown shed and you can rightfully reclaim that much needed space in your own garage.
TIP: Use WD-40® Multi-Use Product to loosen the t-hinges before installing the door.