Monday, 8 June 2015

Building a (big !) Shed


Ever since we bought the piece of land a few years ago to extend our garden, we'd been thinking about building something at the south end under the tree canopy.


the area in question, in a photo from 2013....

We'd considered a summerhouse, or a half-shed half-decked area, but in the end decided to go for a full length shed.  




The first job was to demolish the old metal shed that we'd inherited with the house purchase, and which had been a good servant.   I quite like these things and I think they're exceptionally good value to buy new, but the problem is the lack of height and headroom - the door opening was only just over 5' and it was barely 6' under the apex beam.  Since I'm six-foot tall I always had to venture in there with care.

Anyway it had to go, so it was disassembled into its component parts and readied for disposal.

The inside dimensions of the new shed are 16' x 7' (4.8 x 2.1 metres), so it's a bit of a monster.  The inside height is 8' (2.4m) at the front edge falling away to around 7' (2.1m) at the rear, so there's bags of headroom in this one.

We could have maybe even squeezed in another foot of width, but decided that 7' was best because it gives us more space behind to work during the construction and will also provide an accessible hidden storage area for oversized panel materials etc.

The metal shed had sat on a paving slab grid, but this wasn't practical for the whole 5 metre length under the tree canopy, since there are exposed tree roots to contend with.

So we opted to stand the new shed on a raised deck, with only nine footing positions, for which we re-arranged the existing paving slabs.  

Armed with the layout drawing I'd prepared, it was off to the timber yard to order the materials.   After parting with over five hundred quid, we managed to get the materials delivered early the same afternoon, at which time we immediately set to work.

Apologies for the lack of photos of the initial stages of the build, but I didn't get the camera out until the end of that first day, by which time we'd actually completed the deck and skeleton frame !


deck and skeleton looking south-west....
and south-east...

The floor comprises standard decking boards fixed to a full-length base frame built of 6"x2" joists.  This gives the stiffness necessary to span the relatively large distances between the footings.  The frame elements were screwed together, measured across the diagonals to check for squareness, and then levelled by packing under the beams at the footing locations.

We fitted the decking boards upside down, i.e. with the ribbed face downover.   This was simply because the flat surfaces will be much easier to brush clean.

The verticals are attached to the insides of the baseframe joists, and are 4"x2" timbers.  The roof beams are also 4x2s all around the edges, plus a 6x2 on the longitudinal centre, spanning the full 4.8m length of the shed.  The rest of the framing is a mix of 4x2s and 3x2s.  

All the timber was already pressure-treated for preservation and so the south and west sides of the shed will remain unpainted because they're hidden from our view - over time, they'll gradually fade to a dull neutral grey.

On Day 2, it was time to commence cladding of the building, for which we'd bought eighty 8' x 6" fence boards.  The boards on the rear and both sides were simply laid edge-to-edge horizontally, because they're not visible from the garden and any gaps opening between the boards when they dry out are not important.


the first of the rear cladding boards in place....

The uppermost boards all around the back and sides needed trimming to fit snugly under the roof beams.   The sides were particularly tricky since they needed accurate measuring and cutting to follow the fall of the roof.


feathered boards under the side roof beams...

The boards on the front face of the shed have been lapped, which is time-consuming but visually much more pleasing.


almost fully clad....
inside....
The window opening in the front is sized to suit an old etched glass bath panel we'd had lying around for years.


front face and window opening....

So, that was enough for the second day.  Day 3 was much more leisurely, and I first completed the design of the door so we could accurately frame the opening after our usual run out for Sunday lunch.


door frame in the late evening sun.....

We also completed the window framing and installed the glass panel.


window....

This next photo gives an indication of how well the shed sits in its environment under the tree canopy.  We've only trimmed a very few branches, and by the minimum amount necessary.




So that's what we've done so far.   There's still the door to construct and the roofing sheets to source and erect, and a lot of finishing trim and hardware etc to find.

I'll update with further progress as it happens....



Update 10-Jun-15

The roof's on !    However, I had quite a job finding the steel roofing sheets I was after.  There are no manufacturers or distributors in our region, and although there was plenty of choice available from elsewhere in the country they all seem to undertake group regional deliveries using articulated lorries, and we just can't get an artic near to our home.

So instead I looked around for 8' long by 2'6" wide sheets that I could carry in the car, the old 8/3 corrugated steel profile that's graced many a garden and allotment over the last hundred years or so.   Even so, it was a 275 mile round trip yesterday to collect a batch, but they were at the great price of £96 for ten brand new, 1.0 mm thick galvanised sheets.

Armed with a box of Tek roofing screws and several packs of foam eaves fillers, the roof was fitted this afternoon, starting from one end and working methodically to the other, with screws into the three roof beams forming the purlins.   

Each sheet is held down by 9 screws, three at the overlaps to each end and three at an intermediate position.   These roofing screws are wide headed with a 16 mm rubber sealing washer underneath, and I've only fitted them on the crests of the corrugations, so there shouldn't be any leaks.


loose trial fit, to check the overlaps and determine the starting point...


the finished roof from above....
and from the rear....
the front showing a joint overlap and the eaves fillers....

The door will be next to fit - I've already built it from seven lengths of 31mm thick decking board glued together along their edges and screwed to three cross rails.  The glued construction effectively produces a solid wooden door, and therefore diagonal bracing between the cross rails isn't necessary.   The hinges and lock have been ordered and I'm awaiting delivery ....


Update 13-Jun-15

The door hardware arrived and the door was fitted.    We also put in a few shelves plus hooks etc for the garden tools.

So, job's just about done for now.  I was thinking of painting it but the wife quite likes the treated wood finish, and so this job can wait until at least the autumn.

inside of the door with rim lock fitted...

So here's the finished article, tucked away nicely under the trees in the evening sun.....



The total project cost, including £110 to hire a midi-skip to clear all the old rubbish away, was just shy of £850.


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