Easy and Effective Shed Foundation

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The foundation is the base of the shed and the essential is to be level, firm and the right form. Without it your shed has not any chance to be stable and will ruined in no time. Planning your project properly and accomplish with care will make your shed to last for a long time. The best known method is to use a concrete slab. To realize such slab is a subject to a competent do-it-himself person or a professional builder.

More simple and yet effective is to use piers and beams. This method for base construction allows the shed to be moved if necessary. An easy but non-permanent solution is to simply clear the place, level the area and use treated wood runners for foundations.

The type choice of foundations is quite significant for the final result. The shed that is over should be firm, stable, leveled and square.

Lumber Foundation

Let us outline the type that is most commonly used for shed foundation with lumbers. We are going to construct it for 8x8 feet (approximately 2.5x2.5 m) shed.

As beams we will use 4x4 inches (approximately 10x10 cm) cross section and 8 feet in length (approximately 2.5 m) lumbers with three concrete pads situated along each member length on both sides and the middle.

First step involves laying and leveling nine 1x1 feet (approximately 30x30 cm) concrete paving stones as a support for the lumbers. As this blocks will be hidden in the construction the most important is not the beauty but the compression strength.

  1. Level the ground keeping a slight slope for draining the water under the shed. Remove any grass or ground-cover.

  2. Lay down a layer of crushed rock and tamp it. This is a strong base for the shed and an aid in drainage.

  3. Lay outline of the foundation by using strings and stakes, allowing about 6 inches excess from each of your measurements for the some overhang of the foundation blocks. The batter boards, H-shaped stakes made from scrap lumber, are outside the actual corner lines and allow for adjustments that define the square corners.

  4. Squaring the foundation

    The Pythagorean theorem comes to help us. This is so called 3-4-5 rule and serves quite well for the purpose to lay out the foundation squarely. Use your tape measure for marking the guide points. The goal is to bring the angle between any two adjacent sides to a perfect 90 degrees. Mark the string corner at a 3 feet (or 0.90 m) on one side, 4 feet (or 1.20 m) on the other side. Bring the diagonal distance between the two marked points on each side exactly to 5 feet (or 1.50 m). Accomplish this operation for each of the four corners.

    You can use an alternative method to square the foundation. The diagonals between every two opposite corners should be equal.

  5. Lay down the concrete paving stones inside the string enclosed area positioning correctly to the 90 degree angels.

  6. Level each pad with a leveling instrument first east-west, then north-south adjusting the fill under each block to ensure the right leveling.

  7. Next, use the level to determine which of the nine pads was the lowest. Designate this one the King Pad. Now level the two adjacent perimeter pads in reference to the King Pad. Remove a little crushed stone or dirt from under each pad until it is level with the King Pad. This can take some time as you have to lift up the pad, remove some crushed stone, put the pad back and tap it solid, then re-measure the level and, if necessary, do it all again.

  8. From here level each successive pad around the perimeter. Go both directions around the perimeter until you get to the pad diagonally across from the king pad. Level this last block from one side and check its level from the other side.

  9. Finally, level the middle pad from one side and, as a final check of the entire process, checked the level of the middle pad from the other three sides. This procedure if carefully done should give you a very level base.

  10. Here are some tips that will help you with the slab or concrete foundation. The principals remain the same for layout and squaring the forms that will be required to pour the concrete into.

Inside the batter board and string outline the soil will have to be removed so that the concrete can be poured to a prescribed depth for your local codes and conditions.

Your local building supply store can provide information concerning materials required for a given slab. Many of the larger warehouse operations offer clinics and free handout materials that can help you get started on pouring your own concrete foundation.

Now you have a solid foundation on which to lie out your floor joists and flooring. Let's take a look at the Plans.



Nikola Meranzov

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