How to Build a Storage Shed

Everything you need to know to build your own shed. Building codes, designing the shed, blueprints, materials and more.

| July/August 1976

Click on the article's Image Gallery for referenced figures and diagrams.

Almost everyone has a storage problem of one sort or another. And that used to include John Frost of Grafton, Massachusetts . . . until two years ago, that is, when John found a way to come out ahead in "the race for space".  

Nothing beats having an honest-for-real barn when you're in need of a sheltered place to park the old Farmall or stash 20 extra bales of hay. Unfortunately, though, many back-to-the-landers—myself included—don't have a barn, and can't afford the investment of time and money necessary to build one. (Which helps explain why most of us have more tools and machinery sitting out in the open, exposed to all kinds of weather, than is right and proper.)

' Then again, if you're "fresh out" of storage space—and if (like me) you can't see your way clear to construct a genuine barn—it may interest you to know that you can come by all-weather storage space for slightly over $1.00 per square foot . . . if you'll just do the building yourself.

My new "did it myself" storehouse (see accompanying photos) contains approximately 500 square feet of floor space, took me six weekends to erect, and set me back only $528 for materials. The structure is functional, attractive, and sufficiently spacious for my needs (it holds—with ease—two cars, a tractor, and a canoe). And the shed meets all local construction codes . . . which means [A] it can handle the substantial snow loads of a typical New England winter, and [B] no building inspector can ever "throw the book at me" for non-compliance with The Rules.

Check Your Local Building Codes

The very first thing you should do if you decide to build a shed like mine is trek on down to your city clerk's office and obtain a copy of the local building code. (Some municipalities sell the book, others give the manual to anyone who asks for it, and still others yet have no copies of the guide for distribution in any manner. If you run into the last situation, however, there is an easy way to find out exactly what you'll have to do to keep the building inspector happy: just apply for a construction permit.)

12/25/2013 9:01:10 AM

When you publish an article that is "old" like this, please add a note about updating building material costs in the article. People without this type of knowledge would be getting a disservice otherwise.

5/25/2007 8:38:08 AM

"storage space for just a little more than $100 per square foot" i think that should be $1 per square foot...

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