How To Build A Shed

This 8x12 is shown with 3 1/2 inches of overhang on all 4 sides.

This 8×12 is shown with 3 1/2 inches of overhang on all 4 sides.

Features Of This Shed Design

  • Roof line: Gable
  • Roof pitch: 3/12
  • Overhang: 3 1/2 inch or 5 1/2 inch option
  • Roof covering: Asphalt shingles
  • Roof structure: 2×4 trusses 24 inch O.C.
  • Foundation: Pressure treated 4×4 skids
  • Floor joists: (8 wide) 2×4 at 16 inch O.C. (10/12 wide) 2×4 at 16 inch O.C.
  • Floor covering: 3/4 inch CDX plywood
  • Wall materials: 4×8 sheets of hardboard siding or T-111
  • Wall stud spacing: 2×4 at 24 inch O.C.
  • Wall framing: top and bottom plates with double corner studs
  • Door style: Out swinging shed door
  • Door location: Can be located any where on any wall
  • Overall height at peak, not including foundation: 8 ft
  • Outside wall height at eaves, not including foundation: 7 ft
  • Door opening: 43 inches by 71 inches
  • Minimum inside height: 77 inches
  • Maximum inside height: 92 inches
  • Inside height under collar beam: 84 inches

This site will show you how to build a wooden storage shed or garden shed in 21 different sizes from 8×4 to 12×20 as listed across the top of Table 1.

Once you have decided what size shed you want to build, purchase the number of items shown below your chosen size in Table 1.

Ask your building supply store for their estimate for fasteners as you are purchasing the lumber.

There are four places where building an 8 wide and a 10-12 wide shed differ.

These details are explained in full in the appropriate step.

I just want to point them out so you will be aware that most of the procedure is the same.

  • 8 wide sheds use 2×4 floor joists, 10-12 wide sheds use 2×6 floor joists
  • You should should add some 2×4 blocking where the large and small pieces of plywood join on 10-12 wide sheds for extra floor strength
  • You will need to splice a 3 to 6 inch piece of scrap siding at the top of the gable end truss on 10-12 wide sheds
  • On a 10 wide shed door you will need to change the spacing and add one additional upright to the inner door frame

Otherwise the differences are the length and number of components you will need, as detailed in Tables 2 and 3.

When a Figure show a letter (“A”, “B”, “C” etc.), you can find this dimension in table Table 2.

Table 3 shows the number of floor joists, wall studs and trusses you will need based on the length of the floor/wall your are building. For example if you are building a 12 foot long floor, you will need 10 floor joists. But if you are building a 12 foot wall you will need 7 studs for that wall.

But first I have several recommendations that will save you time, money and effort.

Buy 2×4 Precut studs if you can find them

The first is to use 2×4 precut studs if you can find them. Precuts are 2×4’s that are 92 5/8 inches long as opposed to the normal 8 ft.Use them for wall studs and trusses and you’ll save 25 to 50 cents per board.

If your building supply store doesn’t carry them then just use full 2x4x8ft lumber.

Use screws instead of nails

The second thing I suggest is to use screws instead of nails. Screws have better pulling power and can pull a twisted board into place better than a nail can. Screws also have better holding power. This means they will hold your 2×4 frame in place tighter and longer time than nails can.

Drill 1/8 inch pilot holes

Whether you’re using screws or nails I recommend drilling 1/8 inch pilot holes when assembling the frame because this will prevent splitting the ends of your boards. Also your nails or screws will not go astray because of the grain of the wood, nor will you have a problem with knots.

This might add a little additional time to your shed building project but it will make construction much easier for the novice builder. But if you have a nail gun then by all means use it. Just be careful to not split the ends of your wood.

Use pre primed composite hardboard siding

Using pre primed 4×8 sheets of composite hardboard siding will allow you to build your shed in the least amount of time and for the least amount of money. And composite siding holds paint much better than natural wood.

This will save you the step of applying a base coat of primer and your paint job will last longer. Which means you won’t have to repaint your shed as often.

Make your own trim

Make your own trim from sheets of composite hardboard siding. You can buy 4×8 sheets of the same siding but with no grooves, and rip them into 2 1/2 inch strips with a table saw.

If your building supply store doesn’t sell no groove siding then just use regular grooved siding. But then you will have to spend a little additional time cutting around the grooves if you want your trim to look its best. Two sheets of no groove siding will give you more than enough trim to build up to a 12×20 shed.

You don’t absolutely need a table saw. You can cut the trim strips with a circular saw but your cuts will not be nearly as clean as with a table saw. In fact I suggest that you borrow or rent a table saw if you don’t have one because it will give you a much cleaner finished shed.


Here’s a list of tools you’ll need to build your shed. If you don’t have some of them likely you know someone who does who will let you borrow them for a week end or two.

Hand tools

  • Claw hammer
  • Tape measure and pencil
  • Speed square
  • Level
  • Chaulk line
  • Tin snips
  • Step ladder
  • Utility knife
  • Hand saw

Power tools

  • Extension chords
  • Circular Saw
  • Electric drill, 1/8 inch drill bits and philips screw driver bits
  • Router with a 1/4 inch bit and a follow collar
  • Table saw

Paint Equipment

  • Caulk gun
  • Brush
  • Roller and cage (or spray gun)


Now before we get started with the actual building I have a couple of disclaimers…

Building Permits

You might need building permits to build a shed in your area so check with your local building department before you get started.

Building codes

The construction techniques in these plans might not meet building codes in your area as they vary around the country. So your building department might ask you to make a few changes to these plans.

But the building departments are usually very helpful and will let you know exactly what their requirements are.

No guarantees

Even though I have build thousands of sheds like this with no problems, I make no guarantees about the structural integrity of this shed.

Now lets build the foundation.

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