The humble garden shed is a common sight in gardens and yards across Australia. This simple structure is usually made from wood and can be used to store a myriad of items including a workbench, tools, gardening equipment, and large, bulky items that aren’t suitable for storing in the home. The building of a shed is a relatively simple process, but a little planning and some precautions are required if it is going to stand the test of time.
Choosing the Right Shed
The purpose of the shed should be given some careful thought in advance. Not only does the shed need to be large enough, its door must be wide enough to accommodate the various items that will pass through it. Other factors to consider include whether an electricity supply is required and whether a window is needed. The aesthetic benefits of a shed should not be forgotten either, as a carefully chosen model can enhance the garden or yard in which it is located.
Choose Between a Concrete and Wooden Floor
If the land under the shed is uneven or unstable, a concrete floor may be the only viable option. A concrete cast should be laid in place at least a day before the shed is built. It’s always a good idea to make the base 150mm longer than the shed’s dimensions in every direction. For the best results, the concrete base should be set 150mm into the ground on 100mm of hardcore. Wooden panels can be used to keep the concrete that is above the ground in place until it sets. The shed can then be bolted down into the concrete at each side.
Depending on the shed design, there may already be a wooden floor included. In many cases, the weight of the shed itself is designed to hold the structure firmly in place. However, homeowners can choose to submerge a 4-inch concrete slab in the ground, leaving about an inch above the surface. Extra stability and security can be ensured by bolting the entire frame to the concrete.
Erecting the Walls
Laying foundations and preparing the ground is the easy part of shed construction. Prefabricated sheds come with detailed construction guides. The easiest way to build a shed is usually to start with two adjacent walls, and bolt or screw them together as directed by the manufacturer. Once all the walls have been firmly fixed into place, the entire structure can then be bolted to the ground if necessary.
Securing the Roof of a Shed
The roof of a shed normally comes in two sections that must be fitted together to create a pitched design. The roof sections of a shed are normally screwed into place. Spax screws are ideal for the job, as they don’t require pilot holes. Then all that’s left to do to finish the roof is to apply a felt covering for waterproofing. Roofing felt can be attached with bitumen or galvanised clout nails.
Protecting a Shed
It’s usually necessary to add at least two coats of wood preservative to prolong the life of a shed. There are some excellent products available through online retailers such as eBay that protect the walls of a shed from the elements, whilst adding a splash of colour. Depending on the shed’s purpose, it may be a good idea to insulate the walls and roof with brown polyurethane. However, if power is needed in the shed, a qualified electrician should be hired to install the necessary wiring beforehand.
Whether a shed is intended for storage or use as a work space, it’s important to remember that it will become an integral feature of the garden or yard in which it sits. While practical considerations are important, the aesthetic benefits a shed can deliver should not be ignored.