building a shed from scratchHow To Build A Shed From Scratch

Please note: The pages of this site are a guideline only - Before starting your project please seek appropriate expert advice and check with your local council regulations.

If you need a shed for extra storage or shelter, you have a few options. You can hire a builder/handyman to build your shed for you for a reasonably cheap price as this would be a day or so work for an experienced builder, or you can purchase ready to go shed sets, where you simply follow the instruction manual and put the pieces together yourself. If you're really keen and have the time and patience, you can build a shed from scratch. This is often a good idea if you require a specific size or shape in mind, or if you need to build it to fit in with the existing decor of your outdoor area.

Although you will have your own uses and dimensions in mind for your shed, below are basic plans and instructions for building a shed from scratch.

If you're shed is going to be a permanent fixture, you can look at building it more in the style of a mini-garage, laying a concrete foundation and building around that. For most of us though, the shed will need to be able to be moved in the future. You can either build your shed with a floor or without and simply lay a temporary floor using a sheet of plywood either directly on the ground, or on top of bearers.

Keep in mind how much you want to spend and ask yourself what do you want to use the shed for? Next, have you figured out where you're going to build your shed?

Before you start, you want make sure you've got everything you need - timber, tools, nails, and knowledge.

This page acts as a guide only, to give you an overview of what's involved and what your options are. If you don't really know what you're doing, you need to work off step-by-step plans and diagrams.

Frame Work For Your Shed

You can start by building each wall of the frame individually, we recommend cutting and building each side at the same time, then doing the same with each end, checking your cut lengths of timber before nailing your frame together to avoid any minute discrepancies. Measuring correctly is the most vital factors to how to build a shed from scratch, one of the most common errors is to measure 10cm less or more than where you're meant to. If you do cut a length a millimeter or two out, you can simply pack the framing out with damp proof course.

Before beginning cutting your framing timber, you'll need to think about what style of roof you're going to use, you can either have your roof slanting on an angle down at the back, or a triangular pitched style. The plans below will be for a triangular roof.

Start by cutting and nailing together the two side walls. A good height to build your shed to is the standard 2.4mtrs, but you can adjust your plans accordingly if you want to build yours lower.


First you will need to cut your studs (vertical framing). Cut enough studs to have a distance of 500mm-600mm between each. So if you're shed is going to be 3mtrs deep, you'll need to 1 stud at each end, and at 600mm, 1200mm, 1800mm and 2400mm. Your studs will be sitting on a 50mm bottom plate, and have 50mm top plate, so cut each length at 2300mm (for a 2400mm high shed.)

Likewise for the two ends of your shed, spread your studs at a max of 600mm apart. Wherever you choose to put your door it's recommended you use a double stud on each side (do the same for large windows.) So if your shed is going to be 2.4mtrs wide with a 1.2 mtr doorway you'll need 1 stud on each side plus at 600mm, 1200mm and 1800mm. For the wall without a door you'll need 5 studs, for the wall with the door you'll need 7 studs. If you're door isn't going to be the full height of your shed, add another small stud between the door frame and top-plate.

Top and Bottom Plates

The top and bottom plates are the outside of your wall framing's. Cut your side top and bottom plates at the same time, to the full length of your shed (2400mm in this case.) The end top and bottom plates will butt into the sides of the side plates, so remember to take off the width of your plate timber when cutting the end plates.

Dwangs or Noggin's

These are the horizontal lengths of timber that will go in between each stud halfway up your wall. It's important that you nail these at an accurate height, as you'll need to be able to measure up when securing your outside cladding. If you're stud timber is 50mm thick (check exact measurements as planed timber generally looses up to 5mm), you'll need to take this into account when cutting your dwangs. If you're side wall is 2400mm and you want your studs to be at 600mm centers, then your first dwang will be cut to 525mm (remember to check exact thickness of your stud timber and adjust measurements accordingly,) the following inner dwangs will be cut to 550mm.

A good height to lay your dwangs at is to mark a line 1200mm up from your bottom plate on each stud, line the bottom of each dwang up with this line. When it comes to securing your cladding, you know you can measure up 1200mm up from the bottom of the shed, then you have 50mm (or dwang thickness) to nail in.

Shed Roof Frame

Cut triangular frames for the roof along your stud lines, so if you're shed is 2400mm deep be 1200mm, cut 5 triangle frames 1200mm wide.

Please note: The pages of this site are a guideline only - Before starting your project please seek appropriate expert advice and check with your local council regulations.

Putting It All Together

Before you nail it all together, it's highly recommended you double check your lengths (remember if you're out 1or 2mm you can pack the lengths up with damp proof course or a slither of timber.) Layout your top and bottom plates and mark out where your studs will be nailed. If you are nailing the frames together by hand, it will make life alot easier to set the frame up on the ground against a fence or the side of your house. Nail the outside studs first, then work toward the center, nailing up from beneath the bottom plate, and down from the top plate. Use a nail punch to ensure your nail heads aren't protruding. Once your studs are in place, measure up 1200mm up from the bottom plate and nail your dwangs in place. You can nail every second dwang on a 90 degree angle and nail the dwangs in between on a 45 degree angle.

Once all 4 frames are complete, have someone or a few people help you stand them up and hold them up as you butt the ends into the side frames and nail the studs together.

Once your side walls are secured, nail the triangle roofing frames onto the top plate. You may want (you may be required to) to bolt these onto the top plate. If you're building a more heavy duty shed, you can also use 'Z' nails and nail plates to further secure the roofing frames.

Cladding - Building a Shed From Scratch That Looks Good

One of the best things about building your shed from scratch is that not-so-tidy work can easily be concealed with cladding.

Cladding your shed is a quick, simple task and can be basic if you're simply looking for functionality, or you can go to lengths to customize your shed to fit in with the surroundings of your home.

There's a wide range of choices when it comes to exterior cladding, the two more popular, simple options being plywood and corrugated iron. In this example we're using treated plywood.

Plywood sheets come in 1220mmX2440mm sheets, cut each sheet down to 2400mm. For the side panels you'll want to have the joints meeting on a stud, so cut your sheets down to 1175mm or the appropriate size for your shed dimensions. Remember that 600mm is the maximum distance between your studs. If need be, add an extra stud in to reduce wasted plywood.

Once you've cut your sheets to size, nail them onto your framing with 30mm galvanized clouts. Don't nail the sheets too close to the edges as this will cause them to split. You may also want to nail lengths of 30mm batten vertically along the shed to cover your joins, this is also a good finishing touch to the look of your shed.

You can lay treated plywood or corrugated iron as a roof, being sure to go slightly past the walls so that rain will drain off. We recommend using corrugated iron as it goes will with the plywood look, and you can overlap and seal the sheets to avoid leakage. If using plywood, be sure to cover the joints with lengths of batten.

Finishing Touches

Now that you've completed the structural side of your shed it's time to add the finishing touches. Start with a swinging door, make this with your excess plywood and framing timber and attach a few galvanized hinges and a lockable bolt. If you want your shed to have a floor, you can either lay a sheet of treated plywood directly on the ground (this will begin to rot over time,) or you can measure up and build another frame and secure an 18mm sheet of plywood. You can either build your frame in pieces to fit inside the walls of your shed, or you can build it to the external measurements and bolt your bottom plate on.

Although the materials used in making this shed are rather heavy, you may want to consider knocking a few pegs into the ground and nailing or bolting them to the studs.

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