Many homeowners crave more storage space, particularly for outdoor items. A shed can be the perfect solution to your storage woes. While prefabricated units can be costly, with a little preparation and construction know-how, you can build a shed yourself.

Fenced backyard with small shed
credit: irina88w/iStock/GettyImages
How To Build a Shed

Getting Started

Before purchasing any supplies, browse shed designs in books or online. Get a sense for the look you would prefer for your shed. Would you prefer a door on the front or side of the shed? Do you want to leave the structure unfinished, or would you prefer to paint it or use siding? Knowing how you want the finished product to look will help as you move forward.

In addition, determine what you hope to store in the shed. Calculating an estimated storage space that would suit your needs will help you to plan the size of your shed. For example, bikes will require more space than just gardening supplies.

Lastly, select a location for your shed. Would you prefer to have it located in close proximity to your house for ease of access, or will it contain tools you'll be using near the edges of your property? In either case, seek a location that is level. If you have very moist soil or a lot of groundwater runoff, you could opt to build your shed on cinder blocks to maximize the longevity of its base. You can also add a layer of gravel to the ground beneath the shed to help with potential groundwater issues.

What You’ll Need

To build a shed, you will need lumber, heavy-duty outdoor screws of 1 ¼, 2 ½, 3 and 5 inches, a saw, a drill, gloves and safety goggles. You should work on this project with another person at all times for safety reasons.

The instructions below apply specifically to a shed that is 8 feet by 8 feet in size. You can tweak these as needed depending on the size of the structure you plan to build.

For the frame, you will need two strips of two-by-four lumber that are 96 inches long and seven strips of two-by-four lumber that are 93 inches long.

For the skids, you will need four pieces of four-by-four lumber that are 96 inches long.

For the floor, you will need two pieces of ¾-inch plywood that are 48-by-96 inches.

For the front wall, you will need eight pieces of two-by-four lumber that are 80 inches long. You will also need one piece of two-by-four lumber that is 96 inches long, one piece that is six inches long, one piece that is 54 inches and two pieces that are 36 inches long.

For the back wall, you will need seven strips of two-by-four lumber that are 80 inches long and two pieces that are 96 inches long.

For the side walls, you will need four pieces of two-by-four lumber that are 89 inches long and 10 pieces that are 80 inches long.

Lumber lengths for your roof will vary depending on how high you wish the peak to be. You will need at least one truss for every wall stud, so you should calculate accordingly. The base of your roof truss triangle will be the same length as the width of the shed (eight feet).

To prepare the area where your shed will stand, start by laying down gravel if you have decided to do so to prevent issues with groundwater. If you are using cinder blocks beneath your shed, position those next. The blocks should be evenly spaced. Use a level to be sure that the blocks are flush with the ground.

Building the Base

To build the frame of your shed, cut your lumber as outlined above. Lay the two 96-inch pieces on the ground across from one another. Create a square using these and two of the 93-inch pieces. Fill in the square by evenly spacing the other five 93-inch strips.

Connect the frame by drilling holes through the joists and using 2 ½-inch screws to attach them. Be sure that your joists are evenly spaced and that all corners are perfectly square.

Next, lay the four pieces of four-by-four lumber on the bottom of the frame you have created. Using 5-inch screws and your drill, attach the skids to the frame. Once you have completed this step, have a helper assist you in flipping the base over.

To create a floor for your shed, line up the two pieces of ¾-inch plywood so that they cover the entirety of your base. Be sure that the edges of the plywood are perfectly aligned with the edges of the base. Using 1 ¼-inch screws, secure the plywood to the base. Be sure to only drill into parts of the base where joists are to avoid exposed screws.

Building the Walls

Using your two-by-four lumber, frame the front wall of the shed. Cut the lumber so it will stand 80 inches in height. Leave space for a door opening, and use a two-by-four header board above the door for stability. Fill in the empty space with evenly spaced studs. Use 2 ½-inch screws to secure the boards of the front wall.

Using the cut components as outlined above, frame the back wall of the shed. Use 2 ½-inch screws to secure the frame. Fill in the back wall frame with evenly placed studs.

With assistance, attach the front and back walls to the shed. Be sure the walls are plumb and level. You may wish to use angled braces to temporarily hold the walls in place while you secure everything with 2 ½-inch screws.

Use two-by-four lumber as outlined in the materials list to build the side walls. They should be 80 inches in height by 96 inches in width. Once you have a rectangular frame constructed, fill in framed side walls with evenly placed studs.

Lay the side walls next to the shed and ensure they are properly aligned. Next, raise the walls into place and attach them to the base joists with 2 ½-inch screws.

Building the Roof

To build the roof, you will need to construct triangular roof trusses with two-by-four lumber. The trusses should be 96 inches in length to span the length of your shed. In addition, you should have one truss for every wall stud. Once you have cut your lumber, attach the truss pieces to form a triangle and use triangular corner bracing for stability. Raise the roof trusses atop your shed and attach with 3-inch screws. Finally, attach plywood, siding or another roofing material to your trusses to complete your roof.