Thursday, September 8, 2011

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

Before beginning the construction of any shed project you should make sure a permit isn’t required to build a shed. Be sure to know your local laws and the municipal codes before you start building. You should use pressure treated wood for your storage shed if you want a sturdy shed that is built like a house.

That being said, more and more people have been building alternative sheds. There are sheds being built out of pallets and recycled material. One person even built a very sturdy storage shed with recycled countertops from the local ReStore. The end result was a very successful and unique looking storage shed. Others have built sheds out of straw bales. The frame work for sheds are all very similar in the floor and walls.

The Floor Plan
You should use pressure treated wood for the frames of the floor. For the floor of an 8x8 shed, you will need the following materials:

- 2 2x4, 8 foot long wood pieces
- 2 4x4, 8 foot long wood pieces
- 7 2x4, 93 inches long wood pieces

The 2x4s that are 8 feet long are for the frame. The wood frame will be put on the two 4x4 wood pieces. The remaining five 2x4s should be either nailed or screwed into the frame, approximately 16 inches apart. You should measure the floor diagonally, from the northeast corner to southwest corner and northwest corner to southeast corner. If both measurements are the same, your floor frame is square. The image below is what the floor frame should look like.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

You can install two sections of 5/8 inch, 4x8 plywood on top of the frame, creating the floor of your shed. Another alternative is recycled materials that will fit, such as recycled counter tops.

The Wall Frame
Building a wall frame is the next step. See the list for supplies you will need for the walls:

- 8 2x4, 8 foot long wood boards for the frame.
- 20 2x4, 78 inch long wood boards for the wall studs.

The 2x4, 78 inch long wood boards should be 24 inches apart.

For a traditional 8x8 shed, you can use regular T1-11 exterior sidings in 4x8 sections. In this particular example, walls were constructed out of recycled counter tops with a laminate surfacing. Each piece of counter top was cut to a standard size of 78 inches for placement on the wall frames. A skill saw and table saw were used in cutting the counter top panels to correct size.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

The picture above shows the floor already built and the walls are ready to be erected on one side. The door was also recycled, found at the local ReStore and nailed in place, secured to the wall frames and floor. The floor frame was constructed out of pressure treated, quality wood. There are two recycled counter tops covering the floor frame; very thick and sturdy. When building a shed out of recycled countertops, the weight of the walls can be an issue so install 2x4 foot long blocks along the bottom frame of the floor, where the top of the blocks are even with the floor as you can see in this picture below (the white board at the bottom of this picture). With the wood blocks, the counter tops would sit on top of them and not add any strain to the walls. Each counter top panel was secured with a series of screws into the frames of the wall. Power tools are essential when doing this kind of work as the counter tops were very dense and required that extra power to drive the screws successfully.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

All of the walls have been erected and the roof has been set up. The construction of the roof frame is essentially a wall frame but installed atop 3 foot risers at one end to create a slope. The person went with a sloped roof that has a longer back end so tools could be hung up on the back side of the shed and be sheltered under the long end of the roof. Plywood is still being installed on the roof. Once the plywood has been installed, tar paper will be installed next. The creamy colored board leaning against the shed is a piece of recycled cardboard that is going to be used for this shed. Recycled roof shingles can be relatively easy to find utilizing resources such as Habitat for Humanity's ReStore facilities or Craigslist. Shingles are nailed atop the tar paper and into the roof frame.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

This is close to what the finished product looks like. Shingles have already been added to the roof. There was spacing left between the walls and roof to allow for ventilation. In each corner of the joined wall frames, a bracing board was secured to further stabilize and hold the structure together.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

Caulk is applied to each seam to prevent water from seeping into the pressed material of the counter top. Caulk comes in a variety of colors but in this instance, recycled caulk was used so different colors were available. All caulking is applied with a caulk gun and a steady hand.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

This shed is ready for things to be stored in it. Since this shed was built out of mostly recycled materials, the total cost of this shed was approximately $300. Most of the cost was in getting pressure treated wood for the frame work. The recycled materials cost very little. The aesthetics of this project can be improved by installing wood shingles on the walls or by roughing up the laminate surface and applying a latex paint to the entire exterior. With recycled materials, imagination and innovation are key to creating a look that suits your preferences.

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

How to Build a Storage Shed Out of Recycled Materials

Some construction tips before beginning your shed project:

  • Try to ensure you have most of the supplies on hand and ready to be used.

  • Power tools can save a lot of physical strain and effort but it is important to know how to use them correctly to prevent injury. Powerful tools such as skill saws can be very dangerous if used incorrectly.

  • When performing any kind of roof construction, make sure all surfaces are dry and you are wearing slid resistant footwear. Falls can lead to death or serious injury and should not be taken lightly.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Backyard Storage Sheds

If you are in need of storage and are lucky enough to have a back yard, a storage shed is a logical choice for you. Storage sheds are available in a wide variety of styles and materials and they range in size from the miniature heavy-duty plastic lean-to all the way to the two-story, wood-sided yard barn.

You can purchase a shed at your local home-improvement or hardware store as a pre-built unit, a ready-to-assemble kit, a prefabricated building package or a basic building package composed of raw materials. You can also have a shed built for you off-site and delivered to your back yard or have one built to your specifications on your lot by a contractor.

Only a few years ago, if you were looking for backyard storage space you basically had two choices: settle for a one-size-fits-all 6x6 aluminum garden shed or hire a contractor to design and build a custom storage shed to suit your needs. Although both of these options are still available today, modern materials and manufacturing techniques mean that you can easily find a backyard shed that fits your unique storage needs.

The simplest storage sheds are small, weather-resistant storage trunks meant to fit easily beneath a deck or unobtrusively next to a pool. Often constructed of pressure-treated wood or heavy duty, impact-resistant plastic, these sheds are excellent for small yards or for storing specialized equipment. One of the oldest types of storage shed is the lean-to, which is typically a closet-sized, three- or four-sided plastic or wood shed with a slanted roof that is designed to fit snugly against an exterior wall of your home. These units easily accommodate long-handled tools such as rakes and weed eaters.

Larger sheds that allow you to walk into them are often made of aluminum, wood or high-impact plastic. These are ideal for storing larger items such as lawn mowers, generators and holiday decorations. Some larger units have work areas or tool benches built into them, and one popular design is the potting shed, complete with a work bench, sink and greenhouse window.

Although all of these designs can be found in a variety of materials as pre-assembled or ready-to-assemble units, if you want a larger unit, or one with a second floor, you will probably have to have your shed built. Sheds built according to standard plans are often available from local landscaping companies or lawn structure specialists. These are typically built off-site and the completed unit is then delivered to your site. Custom designs or very large sheds will generally require the services of a general contractor, unless you have the skills and time necessary to tackle such a large project on your own.

Size, materials and features are not the only things to consider when you are thinking about adding outdoor storage space. Some additional things to bear in mind are local building codes, homeowner's association rules, if applicable, and how your new shed will fit in with the existing architecture and materials of your home and back yard.

In many areas, sheds with a footprint, or floor area, under a specified size do not require either a permit or a foundation. Some areas do require that all sheds be "tied down" with hurricane straps or similar devices, however, and some areas require permits and foundations for all but the smallest sheds. Be sure to check with your local zoning board about the specific regulations in your area.

Homeowners' association rules may have regulations that restrict whether or not you can have a backyard shed, and, if so, dictate the design and materials that may be used, as well as minimum and maximum square footage. Some types of storage sheds, particularly smaller bench or trunk-style units, may be classified as outdoor furniture for homeowner's association purposes and may be exempt from rules that restrict outdoor structures.

In addition to homeowner's association and zoning rules, some areas, especially historical districts, have special rules regarding outdoor structures. These regulations are typically intended to prevent residents from adding anachronistic structures or elements that would disrupt the architectural integrity of the neighborhood. Storage sheds in these areas may have to be designed to resemble carriage houses or antique potting sheds, or to be constructed of special materials such as stone and slate.

There are many attractive and functional options available for the homeowner who requires a backyard storage shed. Whether you are a do-it-yourselfer looking for a weekend project or a dedicated hobbyist in need of a specialized structure, there is a backyard shed to suit your needs.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bicycle Storage Shed Guide

Storing your bike can be a challenge, especially if it is used on a regular basis. It’s one thing to hang a bike from the garage ceiling when you only need it once a year; it’s another thing to have to reach over your head every day. Leaving it parked comfortably in the garage is easy, but this consumes valuable floor space. A far better option is to invest in a bike storage shed.

There are a few things you should keep in mind before you start shopping for your shed. It should be large enough to hold all the family's bikes. You should also take into account how much yard space you are willing to lose. It should look nice in the yard. The last thing you want is a bike shed that doubles as a disturbing eyesore.
Here are some tips on what to look for in any bike shed.

Bike sheds come in plastic, metal and wood. There are advantages and disadvantages to all of them. Metal sheds are the least expensive, making them attractive from a financial viewpoint. They can also be unsightly and condensation will form on the inside of the metal when the temperature drops. They won’t last very long, and your bike might start to rust in the meantime.

The next option is plastic. These sheds can be expensive, but condensation is not a problem. Some are very attractive and will look great on your property. Keep in mind that the sun will cause plastic to dry rot, and you might be looking for a new shed in a few years if it’s placed in a sunny spot. The sun will also fade the colors on the shed. If you go with these sheds, try to choose a shady spot for protection.

Wood is the best option for a bike shed. The wood acts as a natural insulator, so you won’t have to worry as much about rust. They aren’t damaged by the sun, and fading paint can be touched up to keep it looking fresh. It’s the most expensive option, but it can add value to your property rather than being an eyesore.

Temporary Sheds
Another option for bike storage is a temporary shed. Crafted from PVC tubing and covered with a weather-resistant material, these sheds are a good choice if your bike is only used regularly for a few months out of the year. If you are happy to hang it from the ceiling in the garage the rest of the year, then these sheds can work nicely. Moisture will still be a problem, so be sure to use your bike regularly to prevent it from rusting.

Not all sheds are equal and not all sheds feature flooring. However, if you really want to protect your bike flooring is a necessity. Choose a shed with a slightly raised floor made of wood for a nice level of protection from ground moisture. If you are really serious about the bike shed you might consider pouring a small concrete slab on which to put your shed. The concrete will provide the highest level or protection from moisture and it will be easy to keep clean.

Shed Options
There are many different options available for purchase when you are in the market for a bike shed. Here are just a few of the sheds you can expect to find when you begin this journey.

Rubbermaid Bicycle Storage Shed – This shed features 92 cubic feet upon which to store your bikes. The roofs are low when closed, but by opening them you can easily maneuver bikes in and out. Double doors open fully, the grid floor provides protection and the doors are lockable. Easy to assemble and simple to use, Rubbermaid sheds of this size start at about $500 and go up from there.

DuraMax Bicycle Storage Shed – Walk-in sheds are very easy for storing bikes, and this one features a large 5x3 size. This is a modular shed, allowing you to alter the size and get a custom fit that can match any needs. Starting at about $500, they are a popular choice for storing bikes.

Wood Sheds – For as little as $500, you can buy a kit for a wood shed in a 10x8 finished size. These sheds are a durable choice that will help protect your bikes in any weather. You can also find them in a range of sizes and styles, with windows and without windows.

Whatever you choose for your bike shed, you are certain to be pleased with the ease of storage and the extra space you will have in the garage. Remember to purchase a lock to secure your bike shed, and then prepare to ride on a bike that is clean, dry and ready to go.