Build It

How to build a shed base

When I moved into my house I inherited a very sad looking shed. It was jammed inbetween the house and the side fence, and sitting on dirt. Part of the shed had rusted, and it leaked. Now I could have paid someone $1000 to put down a concrete pad, but I already had sleepers, gravel, and some old pavers – more than enough for a shed base!

###One Sad Shed###

I literally picked up and carried the shed to a new spot, and left it there, looking a little sad.

What can a shed do to get a little love?

I felt bad for the poor little guy, so I cut the rust out of the sides, and pop riveted in some new panels. I even cut out a section of the roof, and put in a skylight using laserlight panels and a metric ton of silicon. The shed looked a lot happier, but still needed a solid base. To build my base I needed the items on my shopping list, and the following tools:

  • drill/driver
  • circular saw
  • shovel
  • level
  • mallet

Building the new base

1- First things first. Get your shovel, and level the spot where the base is going to go. Make sure you clear an area at least 30cm (1 foot for Dinosaurs or our American friends) wider than the size of the shed – so you have enough space to work.

2- Measure your shed. You will need to cut your sleepers so that two are the same width as the shed, and 2 are the same depth. Lay them out so that each sleeper end buts against the side of another sleeper. See the diagram showing how to layout the sleepers, and where the screws are going to go.

3- Using the diagram from step 2, use a drill and pre-drill a hole for each batten screw. For each location shown in the diagram, you should use 2 batten screws (one above the other). Drive the screws in with a driver if you have one, or drill if you don’t.

box filled with rocks

4- Fill the box with gravel. It should about 2/3rds of the way up. Take a sleeper off cut, and use it to compact the gravel.

5- If you have road base, put about an inch over the gravel and compact it. If not, put a layer of sand over the gravel (about an inch), then compact it. Once done, put another inch of sand over the top and then use your spirit level to smooth it out and level the surface. Now you can start laying pavers!

6- When laying pavers, keep in mind that these will sit inside a shed. They do not have to be perfect. Lay a test row of pavers on the sand, and see if they will fit without too big a gap on the side. You can adjust the gap between each paver to try and get a good fit. If you cannot find a good spacing, you will need to cut or break some pavers to fill the final gap – see the note at the bottom of this page.

Once you are happy, lift the row back up and re-level the pavers. Take your first paver, lay it down, then whack it with a rubber mallet. Repeat this until all pavers are in place.

Once all the pavers are laid out, spread a few cups of sand over the pavers, then sweap the sand into the gaps with a soft broom.

7- Now you can lift the shed onto the new base. It’s handy if you have a friend to help. If not, bad luck, but you should still lift the shed up. Once the shed is in place, use the L-Brackets to secure the shed to the base. They are best placed as close to each corner as you can. Drive a screw through the bracket, into the timber base. Drive another screw into the shed itself through the bracket (self tapping metal screws work best). The idea is that your shed won’t blow away in a cyclone.

If you are feeling creative, you can build a small ramp or steps going into the shed. If you’re lazy like me, just stack a couple of bricks in front of the door and call it a day.

All done! You can stop reading here, unless you need to cut some pavers…

###Note – Cutting / Breaking Pavers###

So, you need to cut/break some pavers to finish the job?

You could google it, and some nice chap on google will tell you that you can use a Brickie’s Bolster to do it. That is pretty much a huge ass chisel… and it’s crap. I don’t know if I just have really horrible pavers, or I’m just uncoordinated – but I could never get a clean break. For the inside of a shed, by all means you can try a brickie’s bolster. It’s probably just as easy to hurl the paver onto a piece of concrete, and use the fragments. Sure it’s not neat, but if you’re paving inside a shed, who’s gonna care?

If you really want to cut a paver properly you need a BLOODY BIG ANGLE GRINDER. Because I don’t need much excuse to buy power tools, I took off to Bunnings and got myself an Ozito 9” angle grinder and a diamond tipped blade. Yes, Ozito may not be the top brand, but Bunnings are happy to swap them when they break (unlike Aldi who get very suspicious when you have not one but two rotary hammer drils catch fire).

A 9” grinder with a diamond blade is literally a death machine. If you do try one, be aware that if you come in contact with the blade you will not just scratch yourself, you will probably take half the limb off. I won’t go near mine without safety glasses, a face shield, and steel cap boots. On the plus side, you feel tough and manly when you are holding a 9” ANGLE GRINDER. You can slice through pavers like butter, cut bricks with ease, and it won’t take long before you look at the neighbours cat… back at the 9” ANGLE GRINDER then back at the annoying cat.

Stupid cat.

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