One of our main jobs this summer has been to put up a new shed in Nick’s garden. It was bought from a reputable online supplier but, as with all such sheds, there was still a considerable amount of self-assembly required.
After clearing a space for the delivery, we studied the instructions and did some planning ahead to make sure the construction went as smoothly as possible. The day we chose to build the shed turned out to be a scorcher and a team of three (Nick, Rich and another mate, Chris) gathered in Nick’s back garden to begin the construction task.
For anyone else in the process of getting a new shed, here are the top ten things you need to consider before the building work begins…
Prepare a shed foundation
Before putting up any shed you need a sturdy, level foundation to put it on. With small sheds, you can sometimes get away with hard, flat ground, but in most instances, it’s advisable to put down something specifically for the task. The most common, tried, and tested options are concrete or paving slabs, but you can also buy an interlocking plastic base specifically for the task. They are becoming increasingly popular with shed owners.
Set aside a lot of time
Even if your new garden shed comes with pre-made panels, you’ll still need plenty of time to build it. Plan to start early, give yourself a whole day to get the job done and assume you may even need to finish it off the following day.
Rope in several people
It’s practically impossible for just one person to put up a decent-sized shed on their own. Two people are a minimum, three are ideal. With three you can deploy two people to hold the ends of wide panels while a third drills and screws. Or use a third person to hand over tools and screws while one person holds and another does the work. We also found that having three people poring over instructions meant we were less likely to make basic errors.
Read instructions thoroughly
It’s worth studying the step-by-step instructions in full before you begin any kind of work. If there’s a bit you don’t understand, then it’s better to fathom it out while you’re calm and before any mid-build frustration sets in. Suppliers will often provide video tutorials which can also give you a clue of what to expect.
Check your tools
Make sure you have all the necessary tools for the job and they’re all in good working order, with batteries charged to the max. If you’ve got mates helping you, get them to bring their tools too.
Get some spare screws
Sheds tend to use a lot of screws and although your package will probably contain enough for the job, with some extras thrown in for good measure, it’s useful to get a few more yourself. This will cover the ones you inevitably drop and lose, and if you have a few timbers that you think need an additional bit of fixing then you have some spares for the job.
Mark up every piece
When you unpack all the parts to your shed, check them off against the instructions and mark them up. You should expect to have the following parts:
- Shed walls
- Roof panels
- Shed floor
- Door frame
Depending on the type of shed you may also have:
- Window frame
- Roof frame
Our shed had lots of parts that initially looked the same but, on closer inspection, had slightly differing lengths for different positions and purposes. Cross-referencing codes in the instructions and constantly measuring timber is time-consuming – mark up each timber before you begin, and the process will be much easier.
Check the orientation
It’s also essential that you work out the orientation for each panel and mark it up. In the midst of a build, it’s easy to get things upside down or back to front without noticing, but there will be a time later on when the correct orientation becomes vital as fixings often only work one way.
Take your time
Less haste, more speed really is a good adage for shed construction. It can be tiring work so if you overdo it early then you’re more likely to make mistakes later. Stay calm and work steadily through the instructions in the correct order.
Check the weather
Learn from our mistakes! Keep an eye on the weather forecast and don’t choose to build on the hottest day of the year!