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New Garden Shed Build

Discussion in 'Garden Projects and DIY' started by DevonPhil, Jun 4, 2021.

  1. DevonPhil

    DevonPhil Gardener

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    With the weather looking good for the next week, I've decided to take the plunge and dismantle the old rotten shed from the bottom of the garden.

    The current shed is a good size at approx. 3x2.5m, however there is so much wasted space around it, I'd like a much larger 3x4m or 4x4m workshop (man shed), something sturdy and insulated rather than a traditional shed.

    Today, I've dismantled the old roof, with intent to fully demolishion tomorrow. Once the ground is clear, I hope the size/shape of a new shed will become clearer.

    shed1.jpg

    As a guide, I looked at the local shed companies who's prices for this size range between £1.5-£3k. Never afraid of a challenge (famous last words), I'd like to think I could build my own and to a higher spec for around £1000 (or less?)

    The location is the darkest and wettest part of the garden - the ground is also very uneaven, has a large tree lined bank to the rear, and accessible only by foot. Considering these attributes, I wish to design and build something capable of better withstanding the elements than the old timber shed.

    Question 1:
    The base will need to be raised, but undecided on the most appropriate method. I was wondering if anyone could share some pearls of wisdom in this regard. So far I have watched videos with sheds built direct onto leveled blocks (with varying degrees of success), an interesting solution from a UK garden room building firm using steel rods set in concrete, and an unrealisticly expensive solution using something called Groundscrews.

    Question 2:
    As the location is so wet, instead of timber cladding and a felt roof, I'm considering alternative longer lasting / low maintenance methods of roofing and cladding. Featheredge timber aside, what methods are worth considering? I'm currently looking into coated box profile metal sheeting - however costs could become a deciding factor.

    Thanks.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2021
  2. JWK

    JWK Gardener Staff Member

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    The easiest base is concrete footings with breeze blocks which will support your floor bearers. Remember to use a DPC membrane. That way you get ventilation under the floor. Block off the void with chicken wire to keep out vermin.

    I would avoid metal as I get terrible condensation issues inside my metal shed although insulation could prevent that. Good quality felt will last 20 years or more.
     
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    • Loofah

      Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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      Concrete base will last forever and nothing to nest under. Concrete pads plus decent size bearers also a good option. Roofing wise you could look at corrugated bitumen. I still prefer sturdy wood and felt.
      You can pick up some bargains on Facebook marketplace; I did this and it took a lot of effort out of the shed build
       
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      • Fat Controller

        Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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        I agree wholeheartedly on the advice so far - I tried the metal shed route as it was a cheaper option than wood, but it turned out to be an expensive disaster as it leaked, suffered condensation and then the floor rotted out.

        Price up your wood carefully if you are going to build your own to your own specs - I think you might be surprised as to how expensive wood has become. I did look to do the same when I was replacing the metal shed but the cost of the materials coupled with the fact that I have a similar level of carpentry skills as I do ballet dancing skills..... in the end, I bought a shed from Project Timber and am very happy with it. I upgraded the roof felt as the stuff supplied (basic stuff) was rubbish, but that and a good coat of Ducksback and it is spot on.
         
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        • Fat Controller

          Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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          WhatsApp Image 2021-03-27 at 07.30.54.jpeg
           
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          • DevonPhil

            DevonPhil Gardener

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            Update:
            Because the access is tight I couldn't remove the side panels complete, I've had to remove the cladding, back to the framework. It took so long, I only managed 75%. So today, I should get the last off and take up the floor.

            shed3.jpg

            Base Questions:
            @JWK @Loofah - I've started researching how to best lay dense concrete blocks and have to agree, it seems the most sensible / cost effective. A full concrete slab is not really viable in this location.

            You mention concrete footings or pads. Are you suggesting I dig deeper holes - fill each with concrete up to the same level… then place a concrete block onto each + DPM before any timber work? (I expect there to be a considerable height difference between the highest and lowest parts).

            Most examples that I find (via good DIYers on YouTube), are situated on reletively level ground. They generally dig holes to approx 6" depth, back fill with gravel and site the blocks on top. Blocks are raised with either a little more gravel or additional blocks or slates to find the level. I've rarely seen examples of poured concrete - and when I have they seem to be for larger heavy constructions.

            Roofing and panelling:
            Thank you all for steering me away from metal panels. Keeping the contents of the workshop dry is highly important, so definitely don't need any unwanted condensation.

            If cladding in wood, what would you recommend as the best / cost effective option?… Should I be relooking at Featheredge boards?

            As an alternative roofing option, I remembered yesterday that I have 40 x (600x300) roof slates and roll of breathable membrane left over from our previous house. I'm wondering about finishing the roof with these instead? (I'm really not a fan of felt - even good quality ones).

            @Fat Controller I heard the price of wood has increased over lockdown. Fortunately I will be utilising a garage full of timber from previous projects, but will still need to buy most of it. I'd rather pursue the self build route as I enjoy a good challenge and that sense of achievement from building something.
             
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            • Loofah

              Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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              Lots of ways of doing the pads if that's the route you've chosen. For each pad you can dig a shallow hole and create an aggregate base (gravel, mot1 etc) for the block to sit on. Concrete in place or not but if using pads make sure there's space for ventilation.
              A lot of people also use patio slabs in a similar method but I'd bed that in and build direct onto it
               
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              • JWK

                JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                Pads and footings depth depend on your soil type, in my garden it's solid chalk and I have my wooden shed built directly on that, just used some concrete to level and stop vermin burrowing under. On my allotment it's much deeper clay soil so I used 6" footings. Then dense blocks on a mortar bed to level it up. My allotment is on an exposed windy site so I put in metal straps under the blocks and a couple of foot up the shed corners. Other plot holder's sheds have been blown away in bad gales!


                My greenhouse is on lightweight thermal blocks, they are much easier to work with and can be quickly sawn to size, plus the fixings through the aluminium base to the thermalite blocks don't need drilling and plugging like with dense blocks.
                 
              • JWK

                JWK Gardener Staff Member

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                Would look good. The only thing is slates need a higher pitch than you normally see on sheds to ensure they remain watertight. If they are modern slates you should be able to find out the minimum pitch. In really exposed places you have to use felt underneath rather than breathable membrane.
                 
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                • Fat Controller

                  Fat Controller 'Cuddly' Scottish Admin! Staff Member

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                  Regarding your question about cladding - featheredge in my experience tends to warp and leave open gaps so even where you have overlapped each strip, one can bow outwards leaving a considerable gap for moisture and/or rodents to get in.

                  Shiplap is much better, especially if you go for decently thick boards. T&G was also mooted as being the best 'upgrade' when I bought my shed, but I was unsure about water getting into the grooves and sitting there
                   
                • Loofah

                  Loofah Well used member Staff Member

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                  Both t&g or shiplap are deeply satisfying to install by the way but do go for the thicker boards
                   
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                  • pete

                    pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                    I've just had my conservatory reroofed with Tapco slates.
                    They are plastic and light weight.
                    Minimum pitch for these is 14 degrees.
                     
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                    • DevonPhil

                      DevonPhil Gardener

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                      I was hoping the site would be clear, but it took all day to fully removed side panels and take everything to the tip. I still have the old base to take up, which I hope to do today/tomorrow with a view to having the ground clear.

                      Thanks again for more advice. I’m positive, the block pads is absolutely the right solution. I’m sure the weight of the proposed workshop will be significant, so think using dense blocks is the right in this instance. While it can be wet and rainy here, the building is well sheltered from the wind by surrounding trees etc.

                      Beneath the shed, I will also be installing a suitable weed barrier and suitable preventative mesh designed to stop badgers borrowing under (neighbours told me this has happened in the past).

                      I researched the useable pitch of the tiles - unfortunately they require a minimum angle of 17.5º to be effective. I’m planning a pent roof design (highest edge at the front, sloping down to the rear), so drew a rough side elevation to better understand the pitch and effects . Assuming the shed has a depth of 3.5m and max legal height of 2.5m, it will need a 5º pitch (max) to provide a decent internal head room (2m at the front - 1.75m at the rear).

                      As for the side panels - 20mm timber shiplap seems to be the way to go.
                      shed-roof.jpg
                       
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                      • Graham B

                        Graham B Gardener

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                        Another vote for shiplap instead of featheredge. The end result is simply better in every way - looks neater, takes wood treatments better, lasts longer, and doesn't give big gaps between planks as it ages. It costs a bit more, but it sounds like you're more concerned about quality than price.
                         
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                        • pete

                          pete Growing a bit of this and a bit of that....

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                          Surely feather edge is fencing material???
                           
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