Here are some important things to think about when taking on the project of building a tool shed or storage shed, regardless of whether you're an experienced carpenter or not. Making these decisions now, before you break ground, will save you a lot of time and headaches.
1. What will you be using this shed for? Are you thinking of primarily storing garden equipment? Will you be storing a riding or push lawn mower, or both? Will you be allowing your kids to put their bikes in it? What about your Christmas decorations, do you have a good place for them already? It would be great to right down all that you could potentially store in your shed and then rate each one on a scale of 1 to 5 with five being the highest, as things that will definitely be stored in your shed.
2. What size of building will it take to hold your stuff? Remember that you will need to get in and out of the shed, and be able to get to your stuff rather conveniently if possible. If you plan to use shelves for storage, you might visit your local hardware store and see what sizes of shelves would be more appropriate. Then, draw a rough sketch of your storage plan, considering your stuff, and see how you might make it fit well so that you can reach things without having to move too many things out of the way.
3. Ok, now where is the shed going to go? You have an idea of the size for your shed and what you will want to Now, think about how you will best gain access to it. Consider the aesthetics of your shed. Where will it look good, and fit best into your landscaping and the layout of your yard and be accessible? Sketch out your yard, and consider each thing you want to put into your shed, and place the shed on your sketch. It would be good to use a scaled drawing if you can take the time to do it. Consider the water drainage patterns for your yard. You do not want to put your shed where water stands when it rains.
4. Will the stuff you will be throwing in your shed be harmed by the hot or cold temperatures? If so, then you should consider insulating your shed. It has a given that you will want to make it watertight. Nobody I know likes a river of water flowing through his or her shed, or water leaking into the shed, as it rather defeats the purpose.
5. Does your town require a building permit? Cities and towns require building permits for most improvements to property. This is so they can increase your tax value, but also to insure that your structure is built to the building code. Building up to code is not a bad thing, as the building codes are typically going to insure you are building a quality project. However, it is a headache for the uninitiated, let me tell you! You may need to check with your local town about this project. The worse case is that they could make you tear it down if you do not get a permit, so you had better check with them.
6. What is your budget for this project? This is where the “rubber meets the road”, in that you have to be diligent here in making good estimates of cost so that your shed comes out somewhere close to your expectations of cost in the end. There is a lot of planning to get to the point of a good estimate. There are “rules of thumb” that may help. However, even the rules of thumb are greatly affected as to whether you are hiring the shed built, or are you tackling this project yourself. In addition, the cost of materials plays a great part. Then, there is the site preparation costs to consider.
7. Where should you get your plans from? If you are getting your building inspected, it is usually required to deliver a set of plans to your town for approval. They also want an estimate of the value of the finished project. If you are not getting the shed inspected, then really the same rules apply but only for yourself. You will want to know the same things that your town wanted to know about cost, added value, and how to build a quality project. You can look for plans at your building supply, from a local architect, and of course from the internet.