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Craftsman storage shed.

Engineered for simplicity--do-it-yourself trusses and complete framing plans.

Who says a yard shed can't be beautiful? This shed would grace any yard because it's well designed and built to last. The foundation is concrete, and the 2x4 walls are skinned with 1/2-in. plywood followed by cedar siding. And the roof is factory-painted steel screwed to heavy-duty trusses that you make yourself.

This solid shed has a 10 x 10-ft. lower storage area, and nearly 17 x 4 ft. of storage in the attic. This long, narrow space above is great for storing an extension ladder, planks, a kayak, a canoe--or all the above!

I'm not gonna sugarcoat this and tell you it'll only take a week to build. It's obvious from the details that this backyard project can take four to five full weeks of work. But when you're finished, you'll have something to be proud of.

You can easily break the project down into manageable steps and pick up where you left off at a later date. In fact, we've divided this article into two parts, with Part 2 coming in July/August.

This article (Part 1) covers setting the forms, pouring the slab, and building the basic wall and roof framing. These framing techniques apply to any wood framing project, even a big project like building a garage or an addition. We'll walk you through the step-by-step framing process, plus the drawings will give you accurate measurements to use as a cutting guide.

If you've built a deck before, you can tackle this job. Beyond basic carpentry tools like a circular saw, level, tape measure, drill and screw gun, you'll need some concrete finishing tools and 8-ft. and 10-ft. stepladders. A pneumatic stapler is a great help but not essential.

A grand project like this is naturally going to cost more than a shed kit available at home centers. You'll spend about $460 for concrete and forms plus $3,500 for materials, including the metal roofing.

Pour your slab on a level site

Our site sloped 5 in. from front to back. If yours slopes more than that, you may need to do some excavating and grading.

Remove the turf from the site (this is a must) plus at least 6 in. around the perimeter to allow for fastening the forms. Use 2x8 forms and screw them into 1x3 stakes that you can buy at a lumberyard.

Start by cutting the forms to length, then set them along one side and square the other sides to it. Drive a support stake 10 in. into the ground about every 4 ft. and near every corner. Measure the diagonals of the forms to check squareness and use a 4-ft. level to ensure that the forms are perfectly level. Cut off all the stakes even with the tops of the forms. This fussing over maintaining square and level is important: If your foundation is off, you'll fight a host of problems all the way to the roof. See Fig. A for slab details.


Calculate the volume of concrete you'll need and order an extra 1/4 cu. yd. for insurance. For our 10 x 18-ft. slab, we ordered 3 cu. yds. of concrete two days ahead of time. Be sure you've got at least two strong people to help when the concrete arrives. If it looks like rain that morning, call and cancel the concrete delivery, then reschedule.

If possible, pick a clear 75-degree day to pour the concrete. The slab will turn out better if it's not too hot, and you won't wear yourself out from heat exposure. Wear eye protection, gloves and boots. Concrete can burn your skin with too much contact, so rinse your skin with water immediately if it splashes on you.

Before you pour, lay No. 4 rebar (Photo 1) around the perimeter of the slab to reinforce the edges. Lift the rebar to center it in the slab. Set your anchor bolts and the post anchors nearby so you won't forget to push them into the wet concrete. For more details on pouring and finishing concrete, see "Building a Concrete Pad," July/Aug. '96, p. 80, or "Pour a Concrete Sidewalk," May '00, p. 96. (To order copies, see p. 108.)

Note: If concrete work is not your idea of fun, you can have a pro do the job for you, but expect to pay about $1,400. If you do it yourself, you'll only have to pay about $375 for the concrete plus $85 for rebar, anchor bolts and forms.

Build strong roof trusses

Once the slab has cured for a couple of days, you'll be champing at the bit to get the walls built. Resist the urge and build the trusses first while you've got a clean, flat slab as a workspace. Study Figs. C and D for the truss dimensions and refer to the Materials List on p. 37 for the materials you'll need. Don't build the trusses on a surface that isn't flat; irregularities can throw off the trusses just enough to cause headaches later. Follow Photos 3 - S for instructions. Note: Rent a 1/2-in, crown pneumatic stapler to fasten the gussets to the trusses, and rent a 1/4-in, crown stapler to fasten the gable shingles. Use a minimum of six staples per gusset (and don't forget the construction adhesive). The pneumatic stapler will really speed up the process. You'll probably save a few hours on this phase of the project. If you choose to hand-nail the gussets, use 6d common nails (eight nails per gusset).


Establish a front and back side for each truss when you use the pattern method described in Photo 5. This will ensure that your trusses are uniform along the whole structure and that your metal roof won't kink because of dips from one truss to the next. After the trusses are built, find a spot away from the slab to set them flat while you build the walls.

Frame the walls and tip them up

It's best to snap lines on the slab that correspond to the inside edges of each wall, then cut your sole (bottom) plate and your top plate from 10-ft. 2x4s. To use the chalk line, just measure in 3-1/2 in. from the edge of the slab near the end of each wall section, pull a chalk line tight over your marks and snap it. You'll appreciate the lines because they'll help you accurately position the walls, even if you have a straight slab.

Follow the steps in Photos 6 and 7 for drilling holes in the sole plate for the anchor bolts. Sometimes you'll find that an anchor bolt falls right under a stud location. If this happens, you can move the stud off the layout as long as it doesn't affect window or door placement. If it does, simply cut off the anchor bolt flush with the slab and install a drive-in-type concrete anchor after the wall is positioned.

Line up the top and bottom plates to mark your stud locations along with door and window header openings. Marking both plates at the same time will make layout mistakes less likely. Follow the wall dimensions in Figs. E, F and G. Build the back wall first and tip it up and brace it while you frame the side walls. The stud spacing is measured specifically to accommodate 4- or 8-ft. wide sheathing plywood so the seams will always land on a stud.


Lay out and build each wall section

Make the window headers from two lengths of 2x6. Cut and nail (use 16d sinker nails) these pieces together, then drop them between the king studs. Nail them to the king studs and the top plate. Next nail the trimmer stud to the king stud and then install the sill and the cripple studs (Photo 8) below the sill. After you've framed the walls, tip them up into position (Photo 9), brace them, then fasten the sole plates to the anchor bolts.

Before you nail the wall corners together, climb up your stepladder and hammer along the top plate above the stud locations. This is necessary because the studs can work loose a bit from moving the walls and tipping them into position. Hammering down on the top plate will close any gaps so that the walls end up all the same height before you nail the corners together.

Tie the walls together, then plumb the corners

Cut tie plates from 2x4s and nail them (with 16d sinkers) to the top plate near the stud locations. Don't use tie plate material shorter than 3 ft.

Add braces (Photo 13) to the walls as you plumb the corners. The braces are necessary to keep the walls straight and solid while you install the trusses and nail the sheathing to the studs. Nail the braces from sole plate to top plate and into the studs. Then use a 4-ft. level to check the walls for plumb. Check both ends of a wall and split the difference to give the best possible corners. It's unlikely that all wall corners will be perfect. You may have to compromise and get each corner "nearly perfect."

Set the front posts and beams square to the main shed

Once you've got the front wall sheathed with plywood (Photo 13), measure from the outside corner and then down from the tie plate on each side to mark the position for the double joist hanger (Photo 14). These hangers will cradle the side beams and connect them to the main structure. (The side beams are structural.) Because the nailing pattern of joist hangers varies by brand, you may need to add another wall stud to be sure your nails hit solid wood. Lay the extra stud flat behind the plywood and nail it to the plates.

Next set the front posts into the anchors you installed when you poured the slab. Use special Simpson Strong-Drive steel fastener screws plus two 1/4 x 1-1/2 in. lag screws per post. If your anchor is slightly off position, you can slide the post forward or back to compensate. Just make sure the base position of each 4x4 post is exactly the same distance from the front wall. Note: Cut the top of the 4x4 posts 5-1/2 in. shorter than the wall height.

Nail the beams in place as shown in Photo 16. Screw the beam-to-post anchors on top of each 4x4. Bend down the arm of the anchor to secure the beam to the post. The beams should be flush with the outside edges of the posts. Plumb the posts and add a brace (Photo 18).

Set the trusses and anchor them

Mark the locations for the trusses onto each tie plate and double side beam. Start at the back wall on each side wall; place the first mark at 15-1/4 in. and the rest every 16 in. all the way to the front. Get help to lift the trusses onto the top plates. Start with the gable trusses. Make sure the gable end trusses are positioned so the gussets face the inside of the structure. Nail temporary braces to the back wall and the front beams and posts to hold the gable end trusses in position as you fasten them to the tie plate. Use special steel anchors (Photo 18 inset) to connect the trusses to the walls. Make sure the trusses are centered over the outer walls.

Once the gable end trusses are set, drive a 16d nail halfway into the top of each truss and tie a string tightly from one end to the other (Photo 18). Center each truss under the string and check the overhang distance from the wall on each side. Screw each truss chord to the tie plate (Photo 18 inset). Use a 1x3 board to support the trusses near the top and maintain the proper spacing there as well (Photo 19). Position this support 24 in. down from the top so it can be used as a purlin to later support the metal roofing. Before you set the last four trusses, lift two sheets of plywood over the chords to use later for the flooring of the storage loft.

Nail a 4-ft. cleat to the chord of each gable truss (Fig. B, Detail 1) to support the plywood floor on each end. The gable window frames will butt into the floor later as they are nailed to the opening of each gable truss (Fig. B). Nail the plywood to the chords and then crosscut a partial piece of plywood to complete the floor. Note: Nail an 8-ft. diagonal brace from each gable truss (Photo 20 and Fig. B) through the floor of the loft and into a block positioned between the truss chords. These braces are necessary to add rigidity to the roof.

Nail the rest of the purlins to trusses. The purlins that extend past the gables must overlap at least two trusses because they, along with the brackets you'll install later in Part 2, help support the fly rafters. Don't trim the purlins to length yet. Leave them long until you measure the steel roofing panels and see how they'll lay out.

Nail the plywood sheathing to the walls to give rigidity and strength to the building. Nail 1/2-in. plywood to the exterior of the gable trusses as well. Once all the plywood is nailed off, remove the 2x4 braces from the inside walls. Now the framing phase is complete.

In our next issue, we'll make window frames and doors and add trim, siding, roofing and faux stonework to complete the project.

What you get:

* 10 x 10-ft. lower-level storage

* Spacious 4 x 17-ft. attic storage

* Wide double-door access

* Covered porch workspace

* Low-maintenance finish

* Bright interior

* Steel brackets for no-split fastening

1 REMOVE all vegetation within 6 in. of the slab site. Roughly level the soil and dig the perimeter to a 7-in. depth (Fig. A). Set the 2x8 forms straight, square and level with 1x3 stakes. Coat the inside surface of the forms with vegetable oil so they'll be easier to remove. Lay two levels of No. 4 rebar around the perimeter (Fig. A).

2 POUR the concrete and screed it level with the forms. Be sure to have your anchor bolts and post brackets ready to set into the fresh concrete. Mark the locations on your forms. After the anchor bolts and post bases are positioned, finish the surface with a steel trowel. Cover the concrete with plastic for three days.

3 RIP strips from 1/2-in. CDX plywood to make the gussets for the trusses. Cut them into the shapes shown in Figs. C and D. Also cut the members for the first common truss.

4 GLUE and staple the gussets to the common truss members using construction adhesive and a pneumatic stapler loaded with 1-1/8 in. staples. Once you've finished stapling the gussets to one side, flip the truss and attach the gussets to the other side. When this truss is completed, mark one side "front" and the other "back" to maintain consistency in the trusses. Note: The two gable end trusses (Fig. D) have gussets on the inner sides only. Measure the struts of this truss and cut the same length for the other trusses.

5 USE your first truss as the "pattern truss" for the other common and gable end trusses. Screw 2x4 blocks to the pattern truss as shown, then lay each truss piece over the pattern truss to ensure they're all a uniform size and shape. Remember: Mark front and back sides for each truss to maintain consistency. Assemble all the trusses and stack them flat and away from the slab.

6 SNAP lines onto your slab 3-1/2 in. in from the edge of the slab to establish the layout for the walls. Cut the pressure-treated sole plates for the 2x4 wall assemblies, then set them inside the line and measure the anchor bolt distance as shown.

7 TRANSFER the measurement for the bolt location onto the topside of the sole plates. Drill 1/2-in. diameter holes with a spade bit so the bolts will slide through easily after the wall is built and positioned. Tip: Set a block under the plate to prevent your drill bit from hitting the slab as you penetrate the other side.

8 NAIL each 2x4 wall assembly together using two 16d cement-coated nails at each connection. Nail the studs to the sole plate and the top plate. Do not nail the tie plates (2x4s above the top plate) to the top plates at this time. See Fig. E for window opening details to make your header and trimmers and cripple studs. Note that the side walls fit against the back wall.

9 TIP the walls up and drop them over the concrete anchors. Start with the back wall first. Temporarily brace the walls to keep them from falling in the wind, and tack the corners together with 16d nails. Don't drive the nails home until the plates are fastened and you're sure the top plates line up. Hammer the top plate from above if the tops of the walls aren't flush.

10 MAKE SURE the walls line up with the chalk lines you snapped earlier on your slab. Tighten the nuts on the anchor bolts. Align the corners and nail the wall sections together with 16d nails.

11 NAIL the tie plates to the top plates of each wall near each stud location. Drive two nails over each corner to lock the walls together.

12 CUT OUT the bottom plate (your toes will appreciate this) for the doorway once the walls are secured to the slab. Note the undercut on the sole plate made before the wall was nailed together. This cut saves on saw blades!

13 NAIL diagonal braces across the wall once you've got each corner perfectly plumb (a helper is a must). Nail the brace at the sole plate, top plate and near the center of the wall. Nail 1/2-in. plywood sheathing to the front walls with 8d nails to brace them.

14 NAIL the double joist hangers to the front wall on each side so the top of the 2x6 beam will be flush with the top of the tie plate (Fig. B). Add another stud to the backside of the plywood if necessary to catch the joist hanger nails.

15 SCREW the 4x4 posts to the steel anchors using special screws designed for steel connectors. Be sure the post is close to plumb as you drive the screws.

16 NAIL together the 2x6s that make each beam. Use a pair of 16d nails every 16 in. Set the two side beams first, then tack them to the joist hangers. Fasten them to the front posts. Notice how the beams interlock in the inset. Nail each end of the front beam into the side beams with three 16d nails. Each steel anchor for the top post and beam must have one side flange bent down to fasten under the beam.

17 MARK the truss layout on the top plates, starting at the back wall. Measure 16-in. centers. Tip up the rear gable end truss first, making sure it's centered on the wall. Use temporary braces nailed to the wall framing to help support the truss until the roof framing is completed. Set the front gable truss as well using temporary supports.

18 SET each common truss after you've set the gable end trusses. Tie a string tightly between the gable trusses (about an inch or more above them) as a centerline guide for setting the common trusses. Check the overhang of each truss against the side wall as well, to ensure consistency. Fasten the trusses to the top plates by using the steel brackets shown in the inset. Be sure to align the truss chords on your marks on the top plates. The trusses are placed 16 in. on center, measured from the far side of the back wall framing. Use a horizontal brace to fasten the trusses and maintain spacing near the top.

19 SLIDE two sheets of 1/2-in. plywood onto the 2x6 chords before you set the trusses over the front porch section of the shed (see Fig. B for details). Fasten them permanently with 8d nails to make the storage floor once the trusses are positioned. To complete the floor, you'll need an additional partial sheet, which you can set in place later. Nail the plywood loft floor to the top of the chords with 8d common nails (see Fig. B, Detail 1, for exact spacing near the gable end windows).

20 NAIL the purlins to the tops of the trusses with 8d nails (see Fig. C for correct placement). The purlins will support the metal roof that gets screwed in place later. Let the purlins overhang the gables by about 18 in. and trim them to exact length later.

21 NAIL the 1/2-in. plywood sheathing to the wood framing with 8d nails. Space the nails every 6 in. along the studs. Nail around the window opening and into the header as well.

Next issue: Roof and finish detail
Materials List

ITEM                                                QTY.


1/2-in, CDX plywood                              1 sheet
2x4 x 10' spf (spruce, pine or fir)                  40
2x6 x 10' spf                                        15


1x3 x 10' spf                                        12
1x3 x 8' spf                                         12

Walls, beams, posts and plates:

2x4 x 7' spf                                         38
2x4 x 8' spf                                          4
4x4 x 14' spf                                         1
2x6 x 10' spf                                         1
2x6 x 7' spf                                          1
2x4 x 10' treated                                     4
2x4 x 10' spf                                         4

Wall sheathing and loft floor:

1/2-in. CDX plywood                                  15

Brackets and fly rafters:

4x4 x 10' cedar                                       2
2x8 x 10' cedar                                       4
1x2 x 10' cedar                                       4


3ft. wide x 102" steel roof panels                   14
10-ft. 12/12 pitch steel roof caps                    2

Roofing panels can be ordered
at most home centers.


No. 2 cedar shingles
  for gable ends                               4 bundles
1/2" x 5-1/2" cedar siding                   800 In. ft.
  (4-1/2" exposure)
15-lb. and 30-lb. roofing felt            1 roll of each

Trim (corners, windows
and doors, gables):

2x6 x 10' cedar                                       2
2x8 x 12' cedar                                       2
1x4 x 10' cedar                                       7
1x8 x 8' (beam wraps and ceiling) 5
5/4 x 6 x 8' cedar (ripped for
  door and window trim)                              18
2x4 x 8' cedar windowsill                             1


1x6 x 8' cedar window jamb and stop                   6
22" x 41-1/4" window barn sash                        6


36" solid-core birch exterior doors                   2
22" x 29" window barn sash                            2
1/2" x 5-1/2" x 8' cedar door facing                  2
1/2" x 5-1/2" x 7' cedar door facing                  6
1x6 x 7' pine door jambs                              3
Pine shims                                       4 pkgs.

Front posts (except 4x4s):

1x12 x 10' cedar tapered post wrap                    2
1x3 x 8' cedar post trim                              2
2x8 x 10' cedar base caps (miter to fit)              2
2x4 x 10' cedar column capitals                       1
2x4 x 10' treated column base framing                 1
2x4 x 7' spf framing for column bases                 5
1/2" exterior treated plywood                         2
Wire stucco mesh                              30 sq. ft.
Roofing felt (see siding)
Cultured stone column facade                  30 sq. ft.
Dry mortar mix (60-lb. bag)                           2


16d sinker nails                                 10 lbs.
8d sinker nails
6d common nails                                   5 lbs.
  (if hand-nailing gussets)
10d galv. casing nails                            5 lbs.
PB44 Simpson post brackets                            2
A23 Simpson steel anchors                            40
Simpson Strong-Drive screws                      4 pkgs.
BC4 upper post-to-beam brackets                       2
Double 2x6 joist hangers                              2
No-mortise hinges for windows                     8 pair
Lid supports (for upper windows)                  2 pair
No. 4 rebar                                       72 ft.
COPYRIGHT 2001 Home Service Publications, Inc.
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
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Author:Radtke, David
Publication:The Family Handyman
Date:Jun 1, 2001
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