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Shed Building FAQ

Q: Do I need a permit to build a DIY shed?
A: In most locations, you do not need a permit to build a shed that’s less than 100 square feet (10’x10′) in area. For larger sheds, it’s always best to check with your local government to see if you need a permit or check this page.

Q: How much will it cost to build my own shed?
A: It depends on the cost of living in your area, but our most recent research found that the average cost of materials is $22.85 per square foot. That means an 8’x10’ shed would cost about $1,828 (10′ x 10′ = 100 sq. ft. x $22.85 = $1,828). More about shed building costs.

Q: How long will it take to build my own shed?
A: It depends on how big the shed is and how much help you have. Our general rule of thumb is that it takes about 3 to 4 days to build an average 8’x10′ shed from start to finish. 

Q: Do I need expensive tools or heavy equipment?
A: No! You can build your own shed with a typical miter and table saw. You’ll also need basic hand tools, including a drill or cordless screw gun, a standard 7-1/4″ circular saw, and common garden tools for preparing the foundation. 

Q: Can I move my shed to another location in the future?
A: Yes — but you’ll need to install a new foundation first. Our all-wooden sheds are quite heavy, so you may need interior bracing, heavy-duty straps and a small crane or front-end loader to safely lift your shed onto a trailer for the move. Because your shed will add value to your property, it may be more cost-effective to include it in the sale and build a new one for your future property — which you’ll already know how to do!

Q: Can I install electricity in my garden shed?
A: Yes! You can run underground electrical wire in PVC pipe from your home’s main breaker box to your shed. You can also use a gas-powered generator for temporary power if you prefer.

Q: Will building a shed raise my property taxes?
A: Probably. In many states, the type of floor determines whether your shed is considered an “addition” or an “improvement.” In general, a shed with a wooden floor will raise your taxes only slightly during your next assessment.

Q: How secure will my storage shed be?
A: Very! Our plans call for pressure-treated framing and wood siding on the exterior walls. The doors are hung with heavy-duty hinges and locking hardware, so it’s quite difficult to break into. If you live in an area where heavy foot traffic or crime is a concern, a windowless design will provide even more protection.

Q: What size storage shed do I need?
A: To figure out the right size shed for your needs, take an inventory of all the items you wish to store. Start with large objects like a riding mower and calculate their footprints. For example, a 6-foot long mower with a 48-inch mower deck will require 24 square feet of floorspace. Factor in wall shelves or standing closets you plan to add, plus how much room you’ll need for tools and sporting equipment. Once you have an estimate, choose the next size up so you have room to grow.

Q: What are the advantages of a lean-to shed?
A: Lean-to sheds require less roofing material and time to build. This can add up to significant savings of hundreds of dollars — not to mention the time you save on trying to figure out complex cuts on the roof rafters. All told, it’s a great choice for beginners.  

Q: Do I need a drainage system with a lean-to shed?
A: You don’t necessarily need a drainage system with a lean-to roof design, since most rainwater will run off away from the door. However, if you live in an area with plenty of rain and/or plan to use your shed regularly, a drainage system will significantly add to your comfort.

Q: How hard is to build a shed?

You may think you do not have the skills necessary to build your own shed. The key to success is utilizing a detailed shed plan that guide you through every step of the way with both words and illustrations. The best shed plans also include a full materials list and cutting list.

Make note that there may be times during the process when you need the help of a few family and friends to help with heavy lifting.

Q: How high should a shed be off of the ground?

The answer depends on the type of foundation you choose to use. For instance, if your backyard shed is going to sit on blocks then it should be at least 4 inches off the ground to allow air to circulate underneath. If you are going with a concrete foundation, the typical thickness is 4 inches which places the shed 2 inches off the ground.

Consider the location of your shed. If your shed site is prone to flooding, you may need to raise it higher off of the ground to prevent water from running into your structure.

Q: Can I put a shed right next to my house?

An outdoor storage building that is too close to a home can be a safety hazard. The almost non-existent gap between the home and the shed does not allow adequate airflow. This results in a build-up of moisture, which can result in the growth of mold and cause rot to both the shed and your home.

Each municipality is different, but most do not allow backyard sheds to be placed right next to a residential home. The exact distance a shed must be from your home will depend on your city or county’s specific rules and regulations. Be sure to also check with your HOA and insurance company, as they often have stipulations in place as well.

Q: Is it worth insulating a shed?

Whether you should insulate your shed or not depends on your geographical location and intended use. If your outdoor storage building is only going to be used to store tools in and you live in a temperate climate, then you may want to consider saving your money.

However, if you plan on using your new structure as a living space, office, workshop, etc. or plan on storing temperature-sensitive items, it will be well worth your money to properly insulate the space. This is especially true if you live in a climate that experiences extreme temperature fluctuations.