The thing about having a baby is that suddenly your house starts to feel REEEAAAALLL small. No room to store bikes, beach stuff, tools… and suddenly everything is scattered throughout the house because someone lost his workshop. And lets not mention the leftover building supplies that have taken over the new bathroom. The house has become a real mess.
Soon after we bought the house we put a small metal shed in our backyard. It was just big enough to fit a small snowblower and a lawnmower. Not much else. Here’s a picture of the shed during our the build of our addition. (That’s it over there on the left hand side).
Realizing that we were out of space, we decided to move forward with building a shed. The big box stores have pre-built sheds, but they are expensive, even without adding in the floor, and they aren’t built that great. I knew that if I could find the time, I could build something that would last much longer and do it at half the cost. We decided to build a 7’x12′ saltbox. Why 7’? Because 8′ seemed too big, and 6′ seemed too small. And I didn’t want to part with that dear burning bush in the back yard.
The first step was to move the old shed out of the way and start building the base. Fortunately, I had help that day.
I decided to build the shed on a 2×6 pressure treated frame. Working around the roots from a nearby tree turned out to be a chore but I made it work. The final height of the shed sits a bit higher than I had hoped because of it, but not a big deal. I should have mentioned that as a disclaimer, I have no professional training in this, so I’m not saying that the way that I built it is correct. I’m just saying that…. I built it.
The frame went together fairly easily. If you’ve ever built a deck, its essentially the same thing. The floor joists and decking all went on without too much trouble.
With guidance from my brother, I decided to frame the walls laying flat and then stand them up in place. I also sided the back wall at the same time because it was so close to the fence. This saved me from a big headache later on.
Framing walls is fairly straight forward once you get into the swing of things. We’re using 2x4s here where the kits that Lowe’s and Home Depot sell usually are built with 2x3s. I suggest pricing out your lumber wherever you can. I found that I could save a bunch by shopping around and don’t feel afraid to ask for a price match either.
Once the walls were in place and sided it was time to move on to the rafters. A saltbox shed has a more complex roof but I think it adds to the detail. The highest point of the shed is around 8′. That leaves plenty of space for storage and headroom. Rafters are a bit more difficult to figure out and install. It will go much quicker of you have a second person around to help out.
I found that the easiest way to build the rafters was to start off with a top ridge like I have below. This way I can just set the rafters against the ridge and nail them in place.
I’ll offer a word of advice here, and it’s something that I wish I would have done. Before putting the side paneling up, I would get the rafters in place. This way you can run your siding all the way up to the roof line and not have to worry about a seam. If you have 8′ or less for your full height I would do it that way.
One thing I hadn’t put much thought into was being up on the roof. I hate height….even at 10 feet or so. I got used to it after a while, but was glad when it was done.
With the roof in good shape, it was time to move on to the doors. I used leftover 2x4s to frame them, and the same siding that I used on the walls. I’m sure theres a better way to do it, but they feel solid and secure. The final step will be to add the corner trim, build some stairs or a ramp and get some paint on it. The siding is already factory primed so there’s no rush with that. I had electricity running to the old shed, so I wired the new one with an outlet and exterior light. At some point I might wire an interior light. Here’s a look at the inside bike storage I built.
I wouldn’t recommend this project for beginners as there is a fair amount of details that go into it, but it’s definitely a money saver to build it yourself. I think my total was somewhere around $1k, where the big box stores are much more than that with a floor. Probably the $2k range. Plan on a good week to get it built if you move as slowly as I do. The final detail that I added to the outside was this garage sale find window. I attached some leftover black felt paper to the back to make it look more realistic.