15 Shed Building Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
The Family Handyman editors have decades of experience building sheds. Here, they share their top lessons learned, so you can achieve the ultimate DIY shed.
Buying a Kit
Why spend money on a shed building kit when you can build your own shed for the same amount of money and get exactly what you want? When you build your own shed, you can also better match it to your house.
Neglecting to Contact the City
It’s better to be safe than sorry! Remember to contact the building or city planning department to get shed regulations, and make sure you follow them. And knowing how to find your property lines is just one of many things every homeowner should know.
Forgetting to Have Buried Utilities Marked
Prevent major problems by having buried utilities marked before digging for the foundation of your shed. Always call before you dig.
Hauling All the Materials…
In several trips, on the roof of your car and into the backyard. Consider having materials delivered, it’s so worth the small fee. But if you insist on hauling stuff yourself, we’ve got tips for you.
Choosing a Foundation That Will Settle
Be mindful of the foundation that you build your shed on. Setting it on a few concrete blocks, for example, will no doubt cause problems down the road when the ground freezes, thaws and settles differently than when you first built the shed.
Choosing a High-Maintenance Exterior
Mostly, this means don’t make the mistake of using solid wood, which requires a lot more upkeep and has the potential to deteriorate much quicker than better materials available today.
Everything takes longer than expected, and building an outdoor structure is certainly no exception. Plan for weather delays, a sore back, etc. Get plans for this metal-roof shed, one of The Family Handyman’s most popular projects ever.
Installing Untreated Wood Too Close to the Ground
Untreated wood siding or trim installed too close to the ground will likely rot. If you want your shed to last longer, opt for treated, durable materials close to the ground.
It’s Too Small
No matter how big you build your shed, you’ll inevitably wish it was bigger. Get plans for building the massive shed shown here.
Ceiling is Too Low
Oftentimes DIYers build a shed with too low of a ceiling, which will cause problems when you want to store large items inside. If you’re planning to use your shed as a woodworking shop, the ceiling should be at least 9 ft. tall for dealing with sheet goods. If you’re adding an overhead door, the ceiling should be at least 16 in. above the opening. Get to know about these different types of wood for sheds.
Skipping the Soffits and Rakes
Overhangs not only look better, they also protect the siding and doors. Build and finish them to look like the ones on your house. Get plans for this DIY shed here.
Forgetting About Power
In the age of cordless yard tools, don’t forget about a power source to recharge batteries. You’ll appreciate this feature time and time again. Check out what you need to know about cordless outdoor power equipment here.
Not Providing Enough Ventilation
Sheds can get really hot inside, so make it more comfortable by installing ventilation such as a cupola. Follow this step-by-step guide to build a cupola for your shed.
Building Your Own Doors
Unless you really know what you’re doing, you’re better off buying a prehung steel door than constructing your own. Poorly constructed doors will warp and sag over time and won’t stand up to the elements. Learn how to replace any exterior door here.
Forgetting About Lighting
Without a window or lights, a shed is a dark cave where you can’t find your stuff! Be sure to incorporate both of these helpful lighting elements, so you can work comfortably inside your shed. Learn how to run power to your shed with this step-by-step guide.