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Old 06-11-2013, 01:52 AM   #1
NewShockerGuy
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Arrow Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Welp after getting many quotes for a shed around the price range of $2200-2700 I have decided I'm not going that route and having someone build an 8x10 in the back yard.

I decided to get this shed from Costco:

http://www.costco.com/Aston-10%27-x-...100003338.html

Couple reasons why we got the shed from them is because mainly above I wasn't about to spend that much for a shed... that's just crazy. We love costco and we got it on sale for $999 shipped to our front door. Plus all the reviews seems to be very good about it which was a deciding factor and it looks different from all the sheds in the neighborhood.
EVERYTHING comes with this minus the shingles and paper, and drip edge, paint.. No biggie can pick that up, still coming in way cheaper than the guy building it.

This came with several boxes of nails (that I have to manually pound in), screws, etc... all lumber is pre-cut, and it's all sitting in our basement now and honestly I would say there is only one piece that is slightly warped, everything else is honestly true... which I am quite surprised about because I figured there would be so much of it warped or just shitty quality... it's not, which is a relief!

So I have many questions and I hope these aren't dumb, but I'm asking anyways.

The majority of the shed is going to be nailed together. Is it WORTH my time to get a framing nailer and using that instead of manually pounding in what appears to be 1000 nails or so... OR which would make more sense to me is why instead of nails which will probably come loose after some years would I not use screws to screw everything together? I had the painstaking task of putting screws in my deck after the previous owner had them use nails and they were all coming up... I don't want to run into that and figure the shed is going to be out 100% of the time in weather good and bad.. wouldn't screws be better? Again if this is something silly that is just "we use nails in the industry because it's been done for 100 years" that's cool with me, just figured I want something to last and be of quality.

Second question I have is the foundation, it came with all the 5/8" pt plywood floor, and pt 2x4's to make the foundation 16" on center. What do I need to do for ground prep?

My back yard is relatively level, it's not huge slopes or anything like that.

Picture:



If you can see that area rug in the rear right of the picture that is where I plan on putting the shed or roughly back a little further up against the fence. The rug is exactly the same size as the foundation of the shed being it's 10' wide by 7.5' in depth. The shed itself highest part is about 9' at it's front peak and slopes down to 6' in the rear.

What I planned on doing was digging about 4-6" deep in the back yard and filling that area with gravel. Making sure then it's level to put my 18x18" concrete pavers. From what I have read here to extend the gravel by at least a foot all the way around to avoid the dirt ring on the shed after it rains on the base.

Looks like these:


I was planning on putting the foundation ON the pavers and the pavers on top of the gravel. I don't want the shed TOO high off the ground honestly and feel that putting 4x4 pt fence post would raise the shed too much, I'd prefer not to have to step up too much or if my wife does either. Is this a good plan?
We DO have left over deck 6x6 posts that I assume are PT because they have been outside for a year now with no rot, but they are not 7.5' in length, some are 6' some are shorter and some are longer. We could I guess in corporate these somehow just to get them out from under the deck but again I don't want the shed high off the ground? Would it be silly to put these in the gravel about half way IE: If they are 6" in depth, bury them in the gravel 3" so only 3" are above the gravel, then put the foundation on top of that? Instead of using pavers?

I've NEVER done any site prep so I want to do it right the first time and not have the shed sink... What is to stop the gravel from sinking into the soil after I put paver stones on top and then the 1100lb shed? I feel like it would sink after time especially if it rains?

Most of the yard is SUPER hard clay.. hardly nice dirt or anything like that... chalk that up to the builders being cheap and just moving crap around when they built the houses 6 years ago...

Is there anything I need to look out for or things that will make this go smooth?

I've read the directions step by step on the shed and it seems pretty straight forward, this will be my first carpentry project so to speak.

But my main questions are using a nailer compared to pounding the nails in that they gave me? Is there a specific nail I need to use IF using a nailer for PT lumber vs the normal lumber for the interior of the shed.

Would screws be better than using nails?

And site prep...

I've read NUMEROUS things on how to prep a site and it seems like all are different. Some say build on top of pt 4x4 directly on the ground and that's fine, others say pour concrete (not doing that because then I get taxed on it plus don't want the expense of it), others say just put gravel and level the foundation on it..etc. Any help on the proper way would be great.


Thanks :-)

-Nigel
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Last edited by NewShockerGuy; 06-11-2013 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:05 AM   #2
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

I'd use screws because you may want to disassemble it in the future. And I'd use the square 12X12X8 solid concrete blocks for the footings.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:16 AM   #3
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

I too have hard clay and never dig, always just gravel fill level and run over w/ truck or hand tamp. You will be digging a swimming pool for water to collect.

In addition, I always use a quality weed block fabric under the gravel, so weeds don't grow up through gravel base.

In this case, I would just use blocks as footer as well, b/c the underside of shed floor will need to breath, maybe a 4" lift or so. I would probably use preformed "footer" blocks that already have the notch to lay into, or flat would be fine as well.

Thing will need to be staked down.

I don't use nails for much anymore, have a nailer and still drive screws, just a better hold and won't pop up.

Like a minumum of 3/4" base for floor. 5/8 is almost enough but can give - thus nails would start to pop up.
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:17 AM   #4
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Lots of questions, so I will break it up

I think e nails are fine. Houses are built with nails and that is different than the deck where the wood get more exposure giving it more age, rot, and shrinkage.

You could strategically screw the wall sections together at the corners so you could dismantle the roof and walls from the floor to relocate the shed if you ever wanted.

Foundation. You have a good plan but to make it better I think you should lay the gravel and use a plate compactor so you avoid any settling that could happen later. Also if you do this you will have a nice flat surface that would negate the need for the pavers.
Spread some additional loose gravel around the shed as loose gravel to me looks better than the compacted surface.

You also want to allow some air circulation below the shed so if the timbers get wet they will dry in a reasonable time.

Another option.
Railroad ties. Dig down a little, spread some sand/gravel and lay railroad ties down. Ones that are not good enough for decorative use they will often give to you. Just lay them side by side to make a flat foundation and put the shed floor on that. Whatever is in those they will last 100 years with no trouble

Bob
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Old 06-11-2013, 10:57 AM   #5
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

My 2 cents after building / placing a few sheds over the years:

Not enough nailing in a shed to warrant the "need" for framing nailer. Either use a hammer or go to screws and a battery powered drill / screwgun (you get more other uses out of that tool versus a nailer).

I have used these deck blocks with good results on a few projects and gotten by fine with no other prep than placing a grid of them and leveling them with each other:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_19070-1662-D...7C1&facetInfo=

A gavel base is better, though, in that it also deters the local wildlife from moving in to live under the shed (I know I have groundhogs under both of my portable buildings).
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:45 PM   #6
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Arrow Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by pattenp View Post
I'd use screws because you may want to disassemble it in the future. And I'd use the square 12X12X8 solid concrete blocks for the footings.
I think we have roughly 20 of them which I think is fine. They are not 8" in depth though, I believe they are only about two inches high but 18x18 square.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Automatic Slim View Post
I too have hard clay and never dig, always just gravel fill level and run over w/ truck or hand tamp. You will be digging a swimming pool for water to collect.

In addition, I always use a quality weed block fabric under the gravel, so weeds don't grow up through gravel base.

In this case, I would just use blocks as footer as well, b/c the underside of shed floor will need to breath, maybe a 4" lift or so. I would probably use preformed "footer" blocks that already have the notch to lay into, or flat would be fine as well.

Thing will need to be staked down.

I don't use nails for much anymore, have a nailer and still drive screws, just a better hold and won't pop up.

Like a minumum of 3/4" base for floor. 5/8 is almost enough but can give - thus nails would start to pop up.
What do you mean I will be digging a swimming pool for water to collect, I thought the gravel would prevent it from doing that? Perhaps I'm looking at this wrong but figured I'd ask.

So you are saying no gravel and ONLY use the cement pavers that I have?

Quote:
Originally Posted by rsanter View Post
Lots of questions, so I will break it up

I think e nails are fine. Houses are built with nails and that is different than the deck where the wood get more exposure giving it more age, rot, and shrinkage.

You could strategically screw the wall sections together at the corners so you could dismantle the roof and walls from the floor to relocate the shed if you ever wanted.

Foundation. You have a good plan but to make it better I think you should lay the gravel and use a plate compactor so you avoid any settling that could happen later. Also if you do this you will have a nice flat surface that would negate the need for the pavers.
Spread some additional loose gravel around the shed as loose gravel to me looks better than the compacted surface.

You also want to allow some air circulation below the shed so if the timbers get wet they will dry in a reasonable time.

Another option.
Railroad ties. Dig down a little, spread some sand/gravel and lay railroad ties down. Ones that are not good enough for decorative use they will often give to you. Just lay them side by side to make a flat foundation and put the shed floor on that. Whatever is in those they will last 100 years with no trouble

Bob

Good advice! Not sure if I can get railroad ties though, could I use the 6x6 deck posts that I have and perhaps bury them a little bit in the ground or is this a no no?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavy Metal Doctor View Post
My 2 cents after building / placing a few sheds over the years:

Not enough nailing in a shed to warrant the "need" for framing nailer. Either use a hammer or go to screws and a battery powered drill / screwgun (you get more other uses out of that tool versus a nailer).

I have used these deck blocks with good results on a few projects and gotten by fine with no other prep than placing a grid of them and leveling them with each other:
http://www.lowes.com/pd_19070-1662-D...7C1&facetInfo=

A gavel base is better, though, in that it also deters the local wildlife from moving in to live under the shed (I know I have groundhogs under both of my portable buildings).
I like those deck blocks and they are cheap... roughly how many should be used for a foundation that is 10' in width and 7.5' in depth?

Can you place those on TOP of the gravel? From the link it looks like those are 12" high? That's a pretty large height step up no? Can these also be burried in the ground a little bit or is that not recommended?

Thanks all for the help so far!

Can I use NORMAL deck screws that are weather proof? Or should different screws be used in the PT wood and the non PT wood?

-Nigel
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:48 PM   #7
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

if your soil is clay, get yourself some round up and spray the area a few weeks before you bring in the gravel...

railroad ties are a good idea...

it looks like one side is gonna be a little lower than the other, so after the "round up" the only digging you'll need to do is for the trenches for the 3 or 4 railroad ties, fill in with gravel and build on top of the level ties.
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Old 06-11-2013, 12:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

i think what he means by digging a swimming pool is that if your soil is heavy clay it will not absorb water, right now the water runs down hill. if you dig a hole in the clay the water will collect in that hole, even if it's full of gravel (it'll be like a glass of water with ice cubes, but the ice cubes will be the gravel)
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:31 PM   #9
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Thx BB - what I was trying to say.

I always build up on the clay for drainage to get level or, LOL, just build up to get some kind of drainage. My wife has murdered some fruit trees digging a hole and they drowned (per her HGTV specs). Bulbs love it, I can lightly step down on a bulb and have it take it in the clay & got a cypress tree that is happy as a lark. But after a heavy rain it looks like Minnesota (land of lakes) from satelite view.
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Old 06-11-2013, 01:47 PM   #10
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

I would use nails and hammer them in by hand, it's not that many. If you do decide to use screws for some reason, don't use drywall screws...they're cheap but they have no corrosion protection and they aren't strong enough, use coated deck screws instead.
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Old 06-11-2013, 03:20 PM   #11
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

The block you have are patio blocks. They may work fine but I think they are too thin and don't give you much height for adjustment to get the shed off the ground. The 12X12X8 concrete blocks are sold at Lowes, at least here they are, and are in the store where the slotted top pier blocks are located. You can bury the block to what ever height you need. Depending on the shed floor structure you may only need 4, one at each corner. I assume the shed instructions indicate how the shed is to be supported.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewShockerGuy View Post
I think we have roughly 20 of them which I think is fine. They are not 8" in depth though, I believe they are only about two inches high but 18x18 square.
-Nigel
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Old 06-11-2013, 04:01 PM   #12
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Around here the railroad ties are pleantifull. If they are not there then scratch that.

Yes you can use the PT posts you have but I don't think I would. Seems like a waste of good material and the PT is not as good over the long term with direct burial than some other things.
It used to be that people would use old motor oil to soak the timbers in but that is not environmentally friendly to do anymore.
Those concrete pillar blocks work great. In a former house I build a shed on them using 9 evenly spaced as the foundation. Never moved an inch.
Yes you can dig and burry them with no problems. I didn't think about that or i would have recommended that as well. You can fill the area around the pillar blocks with the gravel and around the shed for a margin area. It looks like the property slopes down so you can just deeper bury the front ones to make the shed level.
Listed to what the others say about drainage and digging out an area in clay. The water will collect and stay there. On the lower back side dig a channel out for the water to drain and fill with gravel. The water will percolate through the gravel

Be sure to beep the shed up off the soil just a little. You can use the stepping stones to make a pathway with a slight ramp up at the door so you don't have a step

Bob
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Old 06-11-2013, 05:06 PM   #13
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

When I had our shed moved, the guys that did it came in with a dumptruck load of crushed limestone. They dumped it and leveled it. The shed I have, has a 4" x 4" framework for the floor, then has tongue and groove car siding for the floor. They set the shed directly on the mound of stone (after it was leveled). That was 7 years ago and the shed has not moved at all. The crushed stone was only leveled and never tamped. I've never had any problems with frost heave, settling, or anything else. The stone was dropped and leveled right over the top of the grass. But that is what I have and ended up with. No guarantees for people in other areas. I'm in West Central Ohio and we can , and have got below zero in that amount of time.
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:10 PM   #14
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

That makes sense about the glass with icecubes then. Never really thought about that! There are a couple spots in the yard where water just sits there and pools and it's quite annoying. So putting gravel ontop of the soil is fine after killing the grass/weeds and laying down a good weed sheet.


I just found out my wife actually bought this for me:

http://www.costco.com/Freeman-5pc-Na....11759095.html

I'm not going to complain. Perhaps she felt sorry that I have to do the entire process by myself since she states she isn't helping at all...lol Shit, free tools are cool with me any time!

What is the recommended type of nails for a framer nailer? I saw these on amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/Eagle-A3X120HD...k+framing+nail

I noticed that all my nails in the shed kit are 3" and 2 1/2"... does it matter if I get the 3.5" nails for the nailer, as it seems like it cheaper than the 3" ones? Does one want the round head for these types of nails? I'm excited to use the tools now to put it together. I think more now for the toe nailing since I can only imagine me bending the nails in and this would make it much easier.

So should I take the top layer of grass off, then compact the rocks to make the pavers level, then put the foundation on the pavers?

Sorry if these questions are silly, but just want to make sure I do it and after a season not walking out to a shed that's all lopsided...haha


EDIT: Welp actually then I think I am going to take everyone's recommendations and get those concrete pillars at Lowes. Since they can be burried a little bit that makes it nice so that it won't be a foot off the ground. Would you recommend putting gravel Under them first on top of the soil after I take the grass off or can I use those directly ontop of the soil? What is to prevent them from sinking I guess after 1100 lbs is on top of it?


Thanks,
-Nigel
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Old 06-11-2013, 06:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewShockerGuy View Post
EDIT: Welp actually then I think I am going to take everyone's recommendations and get those concrete pillars at Lowes. Since they can be burried a little bit that makes it nice so that it won't be a foot off the ground. Would you recommend putting gravel Under them first on top of the soil after I take the grass off or can I use those directly ontop of the soil? What is to prevent them from sinking I guess after 1100 lbs is on top of it?


Thanks,
-Nigel
Those deck blocks are about a foot tall and about 12" square at the base, so a grid of them every 3 to 4 feet apart should be fine for a smaller shed - but that depends of the shed floor framing. The height of them is just enough to allow for leveling while keeping a decent gap under the uphill side where you dig them in a good bit. I have used them in "no prep" situations before - just dropped them on the ground and only messed around to level them. A couple small items have been sitting in place for ten years...but then I live on top of a rocky ridge line, not a swamp where the stuff would shift / sink. I'd say if you have pretty stable clay soil, then it should be fine just to only level them up - start with the lowest one on bare ground and then dig the others down to level off that.
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Old 06-11-2013, 08:08 PM   #16
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Arrow Re: Need help on my backyard shed build... many questions, foundation...etc.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heavy Metal Doctor View Post
Those deck blocks are about a foot tall and about 12" square at the base, so a grid of them every 3 to 4 feet apart should be fine for a smaller shed - but that depends of the shed floor framing. The height of them is just enough to allow for leveling while keeping a decent gap under the uphill side where you dig them in a good bit. I have used them in "no prep" situations before - just dropped them on the ground and only messed around to level them. A couple small items have been sitting in place for ten years...but then I live on top of a rocky ridge line, not a swamp where the stuff would shift / sink. I'd say if you have pretty stable clay soil, then it should be fine just to only level them up - start with the lowest one on bare ground and then dig the others down to level off that.
Excellent! Thank you!
I was just about to ask what is the recommended way to start and level!

Can't wait. Hopefully if it doesn't start pouring rain this weekend I can start.


This is going to sound silly as well. Since I brought ALL of the wood in the basement can I start on the framing inside the house and get the general shape (rectangle) and then bring it out side once I level the blocks or should the building and framing of the foundation be done outside on the blocks? Figure I can at least start building little bit inside since it's raining now rather than having to get caught in the rain?

Thanks again!

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