18 Key Questions You Must Ask
Before You Build Any Shed

Here are 18+ key frequently asked questions you must ask yourself and consider before building your shed.

If you don’t read this and don’t have any carpentry experience, I promise that you will fuck something up.

Don’t worry, by the end of this guide you’ll be 100% informed and avoid being a schmuck that makes stupid mistakes that cost money!

How large should my shed be?

Make sure you design the size of the shed to hold everything you want to keep dry. I always recommend going bigger than you think. Consider adding a lean-to on the side or back of your shed to store things like firewood.

What materials should I use?

Determine early what you want to build your shed out of. It will help you down the road when you want to get quotes. For instance, what type of siding or roofing?

But overall, you should plan to build your shed out of wood. It’s most economical, easiest to work with, and when built correctly last a long time. Shingles is the go-to for a shed roof, but if you invest a little more a metal shed roof is almost always worth it.

Where should I build my shed?

You need to consider the terrain. Are there any trees or roots? Is the ground level? You also need to consider accessibility factors. Are you going to need to rope up? If so you may want to pick another spot for building a shed.

Not only picture yourself carrying all of the building supplies to and from the spot you choose but also getting stuff out of it and putting it back. Will it be easier for you to just let stuff pile up in your garage?

Don’t pick a spot in your yard for your garden shed where water is going to collect and sit. This point is especially true if your shed is going to sitting directly on the ground.

How much direct sunlight is going to hit your shed? Is the afternoon sun going to be beating down broadside turning your shed into a kiln?

It will heat up the insides as well as unnecessarily age and weather your structure. If one side of your shed gets torched by the full sun, you’ll probably be chipping and scraping paint more frequently.

Do you want windows or skylights?

Personally, I am not a big advocate for windows since they are easy to break into and limit your wall storage. However, that being said windows and skylights can be nice for lighting if you don’t plan on running electricity.

How big does the door need to be?

If you need to roll a lawnmower or quad through the opening, make sure you account for that in your design. Basically, look at the biggest item you need to regularly get in and out of your shed and add a few inches for clearance.

What jurisdictional requirements are needed?

Check with your city officials to see if there are requirements for property line setbacks, size and height restrictions or even fire codes.

In some cases you may have to pull permits. Some jurisdictions may require permits based on whether or not it is a “permanent” structure, plan your design accordingly.

What's the most economical choice for decking a shed?

CDX plywood is the most economical choice for decking your shed. For those of you that don’t know, CDX means that the plywood has a C face and a D face (A being the best).

The X means that is has exterior grade glue. As long as this plywood doesn’t see any long term moisture it should work just fine.

Foundation - Slab or Framing?

Pouring a slab definitely makes for a more solid foundation. Although, depending on how big it is you may have to pull permits and supply an engineered plan for your building.

If you aren’t building a second garage than the easiest thing to do is frame a joisted floor on footings and deck it with plywood. It is also easier to build by yourself and more cost effective.

Foundation - Pier Pads or Poured Footings

Pier pads are an inexpensive and easy way to build off the ground. If you are worried about your building from sinking into the ground you may want to consider pouring footings.

You can dig down below your frost line and use cardboard form tubes to make a clean and stable footing.

Pressure Treated Lumber or Standard Lumber

The best material for building the floor of your shed is pressure treated lumber.

You can certainly use regular non PT but it won’t last very long being that close to the ground.

How high off the ground?

Think about how high off the ground you want your shed. If you live in an area that can flood you may want to build it a little higher to protect your stuff.

Keep in mind though that you might have to build a heavy duty ramp or stairs to get into it. If you want it close to ground for easy access, consider pouring a slab.

Framing - Green or Dry?

In the Pacific Northwest we have the choice of buying green lumber (wet from the mill) or dry lumber. Dry lumber offers the advantage of being lighter since water weighs about 8lbs. a gallon.

Typically dry means less than 19% so you will also limit your chance of getting mold growth…. Although, you may not care since it’s a shed.

Framing - 2x4 or 2x6 walls?

Typically speaking 2×4 construction is more than adequate for the shed walls unless you’re planning on storing a SHIT load of stuff in the rafters.

Framing - Manufactured Trusses or Handcut?

There is something satisfying about taking raw lumber and hand cutting a roof. With a little time you can easily frame a roof by yourself.

However, if you don’t feel confident with it you can order manufactured trusses from your local Parr Lumber. Depending on the size of your shed you should expect to spend a few hundred dollars.

Gable, Gambrel Roof, Hip Roof, Shed Roof or Eco Roof?

A shed roof is the easiest way to frame a roof. You basically frame one wall taller than the other and run your roof rafters at an angle to create slope. This is also a great starting point for building an eco roof.

A gable roof is probably the most common style and is somewhat easy to frame for a DIY’er. Gambrel roofs are the classic “barn” style with a double pitch.

Composition, Metal, Polycarbonate or Eco Roof?

Composition architectural shingles over felt paper is the most common roofing out there. Metal panels are another option and can be ordered to the inch so cutting isn’t necessary.

You can work with your Parr Lumber salesperson to make sure you get all of the right trim and flashing.

An Eco Roof is probably the most interesting of all. You start with a flat roof with a waterproof membrane similar to what you would use for a pond liner.

Drains and parapets are also required but in the end with a little bit of time and money you can have your own rooftop garden! .

Prehung Door or Homemade Door?

I prefer to build my own door out of 2×4’s and plywood. However, you can certainly buy a prehung door and install it for a couple hundred dollars.

Siding choices – T1-11, Hardie, LP or Cedar?

The most economical and easy siding is the good ole T1-11. It comes in grooved patterns 4” & 8” on center or even without grooves. You can build your walls “single wall” which means that the T1-11 acts as the siding and the sheathing.

Fiber cement and LP siding are durable options as well. LP was run through the mud a few years back due to some product failure. However, they have done a great job re-engineering their siding and now offer a 50 year warranty.

Brought To You By:


The 12,000 Shed Plans Package

60 Day Money Back Guarantee

Your purchase is backed by Ryan’s’ “Rock Your World or Cost You Nothing” 60 day money back guarantee!

Build Sheds
Faster & Easier!

Brought To You By:


The 12,000 Shed Plans Package

60 Day Money Back Guarantee

Your purchase is backed by Ryan’s’ “Rock Your World or Cost You Nothing” 60 day money back guarantee!

Build Sheds
Faster & Easier!

Brought To You By:


The 12,000 Shed Plans Package

60 Day Money Back Guarantee

Your purchase is backed by Ryan’s’ “Rock Your World or Cost You Nothing” 60 day money back guarantee!

Build Sheds
Faster & Easier!

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