How to Build a Backyard Shed
A backyard shed is a great spot for tools, flammable storage, and pool toys. Our house painters have some tips to get you started.
When determining what to build, make sure you overbuild in a few key areas. A concrete floor, for example, reduces portability but greatly increases your storage load options.
Check the Rules
Do you need a permit? Don’t assume you don’t, especially if you’re going to be digging. If it turns out you do need one, it’s much easier to make changes in the planning stages than to have to
- pay penalties
- upgrade an existing shed
- tear down what you just built
As possible, try to sit your shed out of view of the street and any neighbors who may fuss at another structure in your yard. Street views can bring up the curious, lead to theft or invite in vandals. If you’re storing gasoline or any petroleum products in your shed, you could be facing a serious hazard in the event of a break-in.
As noted in the introduction, having a slightly overbuilt shed will be helpful when you start to overload it. Just as projects expand to fill the time allotted, your stuff will multiple when it has a new spot to live.
If you have a family who may contribute to the organization of your new shed, set some ground rules. Will this space be just for yard implements? Put up hooks to hang garden tools, rakes and spades. Consider drawing outlines of rakes and shovels to make sure that folks are putting these tools where you want them to go.
Take special care with the floor of your shed. If you can’t put down a concrete pad, make sure that the decking is durable enough to support your gear and the people using the shed. Consider painting the top and the bottom with UV or moisture protecting sealant to reduce rot.
If you’re storing paint in your shed, create a space to also store
- caulking guns
- spackling tools
- sanding block
- cleaned brushes
House painters know how frustrating it can be when a project runs behind because you can’t find your drywall tools so you can quickly patch a nail hole.
Should your shed just be for yard tools, make sure you also store what you need to sharpen the chain saw, take rust off the edge of a spade, or protect yourself from a splintered rake handle. If you live in an area with dangerous pests, such as spiders, snakes or scorpions, keep gloves in an airtight box.
Allow for Ventilation
Whether you use a single angle shed roof or a peak, you will need to allow air to move in and out of the space. An excessively airtight shelter will build up moisture in cold climates and get extremely hot in the desert. Painting contractors know the best UV resistant paints to use to avoid sun damage, but if you don’t have ventilation for your roof, the shingles will suffer from heat build-up.
This may mean windows, but you can also build a shed with roof vents or a dormer vent. Just make sure the vent is screened to keep out birds, bats and bugs.
Get these easy steps on how to paint the outside of your home here.
Make it Useful for You
If you’re tall, consider adding roll-out drawers to the lower shelves. If you’re short, stop the shelving just the right height for you and fill the top shelves with empty containers turned upside down. Get a ladder that you feel comfortable on and chain it to the wall with a lock so you have it when you need it.
Add a hanging tub to the wall where you can store permanent markers and masking tape so you can add labels to storage bins. Whether your shed is built to match your home or is something you put together out of scrap, make absolutely certain that you can easily get into the space, move around without banging your head, get to what you need without stumbling, and avoid catching heavy things with your face.
If you haven’t run electricity to your shed, you can still have light. Invest in battery operated bulbs that you can turn on by pressing, or get some collapsible solar lights that can be powered by a small panel mounted to the south side of the structure.
Consider also adding motion lights around your shed. Any residential painter can warn you of the potential damage done by an opportunistic raccoon or other wild animal who finds their way into your new shed. With a motion sensor light, you at least have a chance of chasing off pests before they can make themselves at home.
Hire As Needed
Sheds are generally shorter than houses, but if you’re not comfortable on a ladder, hire out the roof. There’s not a project in the world that’s worth wearing a cast. Do a search for roofer, carpenter or painter near me to get the help you need before you get on the ladder or pick up a saw.
Your backyard shed can serve as a craft area, a storage unit, a pool room or a combination of those three. Choose your site with care, put down a floor that will tolerate more than you plan to store, and enjoy the storage!