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A garden shed can be a DIY project, but it depends on what you want, how big you want it to be, and what your municipality dictates. While some homeowners may opt for a ready-made shed that only needs to be assembled, a well-built shed is sturdy and can last for years if built well. However, building a shed is subject to restrictions and you may need a permit. So always check with your local building authority.

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Sheds are a terrific solution for storage and make a great home improvement project. It is an ideal place to store your garden furniture, parasols, lawnmowers, equipment and toys. It’s a great option if your garage is too cluttered or you need to make some extra room.

But be warned. I’ve seen many homeowners build beautiful custom sheds from scratch and do what they thought was right, only for city officials to come and force the homeowners to tear them down. Either for maintenance, to check sewers and drainage, or because a neighbor called them. Do your research and figure out what you can and can’t accomplish before you dig. You will save time and money and a lot of hard work.

A shed is only a good idea if it is built correctly, so be sure to waterproof your shed properly. If you want to run electricity or heating, you will need a permit, so hire a qualified electrical contractor.

The first step in the process is to determine if you need a building permit. The current Ontario building code states that any shed over 10 square meters requires a building permit. During your visit to City Hall, it may be a good idea to double-check other aspects such as lot coverage restrictions.

Be aware that there will likely be limits to the depth of the overhang and its proximity to the property line before developing designs. Remember that the shed’s foundation isn’t the only thing that can’t cross property boundaries. Utility lines, power lines, easements and zoning can play a part.

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The next step is to determine the location of the shed. There should be about two feet of clearance around the perimeter of the base of the shed, easy access to essential utilities, and no overhanging branches or nearby tree roots. You’ll also want to make sure the location of the shed is convenient, safe, and logical for your needs.

In addition to the size of your shed, you’ll also want to consider the style you want it to complement the exterior of your home. Will you need electricity or water? Don’t forget to ask your contractor to incorporate the plumbing into the plan – both alternatives will require permits.

Consider snow load when choosing a roof type. While a slightly pitched, freestanding, pitched roof can drain rainfall well, it may not be enough for heavy snowfalls, especially if your shed is unheated. Metal roofs shed snow better than shingle roofs.

The most crucial step is to lay the foundation for the shed. It protects your shed from ground moisture and keeps it solid. The type of foundation you build will be determined by the size of your shed and the climate in your area. Many people try to build a shed slab out of concrete pavers, which is great, provided the shed is modest and the pavers sit on a stable, compact foundation.

A poured concrete slab is a better option, and is what is recommended, especially if your shed is larger. However, it is essential to ensure that the concrete is at least 4 inches thick and poured over five to eight inches of compacted gravel and dirt.

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You can mix the concrete yourself or have a truck pour the concrete slab for you. Place your anchors every three to five feet along the edge of your shed before it attaches and install a sill seal on the anchors so that the wood frame of your shed – if using wood – n does not come into contact with the concrete. (Wood should never come in contact with concrete!) Even in 100-mile-per-hour wind gusts, anchors will keep your shed upright.

You can also insulate the shed the same way you would an ordinary two-by-four stud wall — with batt insulation and a vapor barrier — depending on what you want to use it for. However, your shed must be ventilated to avoid condensation problems.

Sheds are exterior buildings that are part of your property and you should treat them as if they were an extension of your home. Keep your shed in good repair, because a neglected shed takes away from the overall appeal of your home. Moreover, it can also be dangerous, putting any object at risk of damage, especially if water seeps in. Build your shed the first time, and you’ll save time and money and your shed will last for years.

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