How to Build a Shed

Lead Image
  • 10-20 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 100-1,000
What You'll Need
Hammer/nail gun
Circular saw (optional hand saw)
Measuring tape
Safety glasses, work gloves and ear protection
Nails or screws
Metal sheets
2x4 wood sheets (8-10)
Wood pallets (4)
Wire shelving (optional)
Polyurethane (optional)
Hooks (optional)
2x4 wall studs

Sheds can be incredibly useful outbuildings. They can store gardening and landscaping supplies, protect seasonal items like outdoor furniture or boating equipment, and even function as little studios and offices, or playhouses for kids. The best part is that sheds can be built with your own two hands without prohibitive expense or complex labor.

Usually small buildings used for storage in a back or side yard of a residential property, sheds can be homemade or prebuilt. Here are the basics you need to know to set up a simple, solid shed.

Step 1 - Prepare the Foundation

Choose a spot for your shed, preferably one that's level. If the spot you choose isn't level, dig it out and put gravel in the trench to level it off. If it is level, lay down four wood pallets so that they make a square, which will act as the shed’s foundation. You can modify the size of your shed by taking away two pallets or adding two additional.

If you want to get more serious about things, you can lay a cement foundation.

man building the floor and walls of a shed

Step 2 - Add the Floor

Now, add the floor over the pallets you laid down. Use plywood that you trim to fit the area, placing it on the pallets. Use a hammer and nails to secure the plywood in place. Plywood is a good choice for a shed floor—it holds up well to moisture and is, in most cases, termite resistant. If desired, you can add a coat of polyurethane to the plywood to protect it from the elements.

If you started with a concrete foundation, you'll want to anchor the flooring of your shed to this base.

Step 3 - Add the Frame for the Walls and Roof

Your shed will now need a frame for its soon-to-be walls and roof. Measure the length of the sides of your new shed. Once you have the measurements, cut a two by four to the correct length, laying it so that the slim side of the board is supporting it. Nail the board into place and repeat the process on the other side.

frame of a shed roof

Now think about how tall you want your shed to be. Add two more two by four panels to each side to suit the desired height. Do so by standing them vertically on the board that you just nailed into place to frame the side. Do this on each side.

Next, use four two by fours cut to the right length to connect the framing of the walls that you made. This should come out to a rectangle shape to act as the frame for the roof. Cut additional two by fours to support the roof material, measuring them so they'll run vertically.

Don't forget to frame a space for a door. A standard exterior door will be 80x36 inches, so plan an opening for that accordingly.

Step 4 - Add the Siding and Roof

Siding and roofing can be made from a wide range of materials. Wood and metal are two of the most popular. Use work gloves during this step—cutting metal in particular can be dangerous.

Cut your siding sections and use a hammer and nails or your favorite screws to adhere these to the sides of the frames, creating the walls.

man building the front walls of a small wooden shed

Now cut the sheets of metal remaining to match the length of your shed’s roof. Screw or nail them into place on the wood pieces you created to support the structure. As you place these on the roof, overlap them slightly to help weatherproof your structure.

Some sheds use an open design, but for protection from the elements, and wandering wildlife, it's probably a good idea to add a door to your shed at this point.

As you finish up your building, you can start to add organizational elements inside your shed, such as wire shelving and hooks to easily store tools and other garden and yard supplies. If you're planning to use the interior as a workspace, you might want to consider insulating the walls, too.