Dec 14, 2018

Shed Building Essentials

A garden shed is a necessity for anything more than the smallest of gardens. It provides somewhere to store your garden tools, chemicals and, if the shed is big enough, perhaps even bikes and summer furniture. You may even be looking to build a shed as a home office or reading room!

Although it may seem that there are endless possibilities for different sizes, shapes and materials to make your shed, when it comes down to it building a tiny potting shed is pretty much the same as building a shed big enough to be a garage or home office.
The base

Before you build your shed you need to make sure you have a level base. Building a shed on an uneven or sloping base will do nothing but create problems for the future. A sloping base will encourage water to pool against one wall, which will cause it to rot prematurely. An uneven base will place strain on the joints and it will be impossible to make the corners square.

Shed bases perform two main functions: they raise the shed off the ground which prolongs the life of the shed, especially if you are erecting a wooden shed, and they allow uneven patches in the ground to be smoothed out ensuring that the shed is erected square. The base you choose will depend on where you are placing your shed, its size, weight, and the planned contents.

A concrete base is the most time-consuming type of base to install and usually needs to be done by experts. You need to leave enough time between pouring the concrete and erecting the shed that it is fully hardened. For smaller sheds concrete paving slabs may be used, although they can shift and distort the shed as the structure settles.

A quicker to install system is to use wooden bearers to support the floor of the shed. These have the disadvantage that there are voids under the floor which can attract vermin, and they cannot support larger sheds.

Plastic shed bases offer a real alternative to wooden ones and are far faster to install than concrete bases. They can support several tonnes of weight, allowing larger sheds and cabins to be supported. Weed proof membrane is laid underneath to discourage growth and the base is filled with angular gravel, packed down to provide rigidity.


Wooden sheds need to be coated in preservative, and if this has not been done by the factory it is best to cover the entire structure in a suitable coating before building. This ensures the joints are protected as well as the exterior façade of your shed.

Before you begin, make sure you have at least one willing helper to support the structure while you screw it together. For larger sheds, you may even need two extra pairs of hands.

You will need a screwdriver (an electric one is very useful!) and drill to first screw the floor, then the walls and roof together. Roof panels are usually nailed rather than screwed, and felt tacks need to be hammered in so you will need a hammer as well. Running a layer of mastic along the outside corners can be a good idea to prevent water ingress – you’ll need exterior grade mastic and a sealant gun.


Avoid fitting the windows until almost last. A mistake can easily distort or crack the glazing. You will need your hammer again to fix the beading in place - you may prefer to use a slightly smaller one if available.


Finally, ensure you fit doors with internal hinges, so they cannot be unscrewed, and remember that a padlock is only as good as the fixings holding it onto the shed!

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