How to Build an 8 x 16 Shed takes you step by step through the process of building small outdoor buildings. Includes information on tools, materials, and building.
If you can drive a nail, measure and cut, and climb just a little bit, then you can build your own shed. There are countless variations in construction techniques. We will focus on the pole barn method. This will yield a strong building with minimal materials. It is also the easiest and fastest way for us to show you just how to build a shed!
How to Build a Shed – Framing
These free shed plans include important information about how to build a shed foundation, how to build a shed roof, how to build a shed door, and how to build a shed ramp that will work for with any of our do it yourself shed plans.
The construction method focused on in How to Build a Shed is the post and beam or polebarn method. The backbone for a polebarn type shed is its posts. They are set in holes with concrete poured around them which is the shed foundation. The posts extend up so other framing members can be attached to them. They can range in size from 4 x 4 x 8′ to 6 x 6 x 24′. If you are building a tool shed, then you will want the walls covered so it is even more important that the post be straight. These simple steps are how to set posts:
- Layout the building with a small stake at each corner. Make sure your layout is rectangular. The posts should be spaced on the center of an even number (8′ oc 10′ oc 12′ oc). The measurement from the outside corner to the center of the next post needs to be the same way. The rest of the post are spaced center to center.
- Mark the holes with orange marking paint by painting a square the same size as the posts. Paint another 12″ square equal distance around the smaller square for 4 x 4 sized post. Go 14″ – 16″ for 6 x 6.
- For a more accurate layout use batter boards. This simple process is covered in How to Build a Barn.
- Dig the holes so that 20% of the post will be underground. In other words, if you need 8′ for your post height, then dig your hole 24″. Your post will be 10′ with 2′ buried and 8′ usable.
- If you hit rock or some other impenetrable layer, there are some adjustments you can make.
- Try and move the hole if at all possible. This may involve moving all of them.
- If your are building a lean to shed, then the holes will work at half depth.
- The corner posts are the most important ones. As long as you get them full depth, the you can cheat a little on a couple of the others if you have to.
- If you have to cheat, then you can make the hole a little wider. Go a little deeper on the neighboring holes for extra compensation.
- Stand the posts in their hole. Brace then with two 2 x 4’s each. One for each axis. (left and right, back and forth)
- Drive a stake until it is firmly near the end of the 2 x 4.
- Plumb the end posts and use a string to brace the others while maintaining the proper distances apart.
- Pour concrete around the posts. Make sure you fill the holes to the top.
- Never pour bagged concrete around the post without premixing with water
Your next step is then band. The band nails on at the top of the posts on the outside. 2 x 8 is a minimum size if your posts are no more than 10′ apart. While it is possible to do the next steps alone, we highly recommend against it.
- A level mark must be established first. An optical level works best, but a line level or a level and a straight board will work.
- Saw the post off with the mark as evenly as possible. Use a chainsaw if you are skilled enough. You may want to do some practice cuts above the cut off mark.
- Start on one end and nail on the bands with 3 16d coated nails or four 12d with a nail gun. You can also bolt them.
- Nail a 2 x 4 flush with the outside of the band. This is the top plate.
- It will need layout marks for the rafters. 24″ oc is good spacing for rafters on sheds.
How to Build a Shed – The Roof
At this point you should have the posts set with the bands and top plates nailed on. You should have the top plate laid out on 24″. The top plates should also be parallel. There are three options for framing the roof.
- Roof Rafters are sloping beams that support the weight of a roof. Detailed instructions and images for laying out, sawing, and installing.
- Wood trusses are structural components that come with the shape of the roof and ceiling in there shape. They are the way to go for long spans (anything over 20′). They are also the way to go if you are stumped with the whole rafter thing.
- Steel trusses provide an economical alternative. They are strong and relatively easy to work with.
How to Build a Shed – Walls
With this type type of pole building design, your option for walls is totally up you. At this point, if you have followed the steps in How to Build a Shed, then you have a shed standing with open sides. It it fits its needs the way it is, then you can certainly leave it the way it is! Many of the larger polebarn structures designed for hay storage begin their lives with no sides and eventually evolve into a building with sides and an entirely different purpose. This is perfectly fine if you choose to do the same with your shed.
If you choose not to have walls, then you need some type of corner bracing. In engineering terms, it is the shear force you will need to counter. Outside walls typically handle this force easily. Without these walls this force can cause a building to topple in high wind if not properly accounted for. The only thing right now holding the shed steady is the concrete around the posts. While this is good, it does not replace a shear wall. Corner braces are the next best thing to shear walls.
You may have something suitable for the braces laying around. 3 feet 2 x 4’s will serve fine for most walls. Remember that the taller the walls are, then the longer the brace needs to be. How to Build a Barn covers all of this in detail.
How to Build a Shed – Closing Thoughts
Depending on the size and purpose of your shed, you can add a floor at any point. For most applications concrete is the best option. Barn Loft | Floor Construction has detailed instructions for framing a floor or loft in any size building.
If the purpose of your shed dictates that you need a ramp then you can Build a Shed Ramp with these simple instructions.
The material for your shed does not have to be treated. But since it is exposed to more elements than your house because it is not climate controlled, you will get a longer life from your shed if you use treated. Number 2 treated pine is an excellent choice. Rough sawed oak is an economical alternative, but will have to treat it yourself. This is a hazardous process and should be done with extreme caution.
We hope you have found some or all of this material useful. If you have anything at all you would like us to know about, simply contact us. Good luck with your project and thanks for reading How to Build a Shed.