Before your storage shed arrives at your place, you will want to make sure that you have a good foundation ready for its arrival.
Why is this important?
If the foundation is not properly built, you can run into problems such as rotting materials, doors and windows not shutting or closing properly, water drainage issues, and other possible workmanship issues. Before long you can be running into maintenance issues and hurting the life-span of your shed, while a properly built base can avoid many of these future headaches.
Building the base yourself will take some preparation, materials, and manual labor; but following the 8 tips outlined below will make it easier to get it done in good time and looking neat.
So let's get started!
Determine the highest point of the slope
If the ground isn’t level, you will want the top of the pad to be at the highest part of the slope. The goal is to prevent dirt and other debris from mixing with the base, so you want to avoid the base being in a “bowl” of dirt.
Over-extend the base
As a general rule, it is a good idea to plan for the base to extend an extra 2’ in every direction. This will help keep the base firm and gives you some freedom in the shed’s final placement.
Use pressure treated lumber for the border
Because the border will be exposed to dirt, rain, and other weather; make sure you use quality pressure-treated lumber. 4x4 or 4x6 usually works well. If you are dealing with a large slope and find yourself needing to build a mini retaining wall, you may want to up-size the lumber on the outside walls.
Make sure the perimeter is square
This is important so that the shed can sit squarely on the base, especially if you don’t have the base extending much further than the shed’s actual footprint. If the base is not square, you may find yourself with some of the shed corners off the base.
One important thing to remember is that the perimeter remains the same even if it is not square. Making sure the perimeter is the correct length is important, but don’t use that as the gauge that you have a square base! Use the 3-4-5 rule or a carpenter’s square to make sure each corner is square.
Use ¾” clean stone
Use clean stone for the base. This allows water to drain, and it also lets the shed settle as needed so that the whole bottom of the shed is resting on the stone base.
Plan for 4-6” thick after compaction
Even though clean stone won’t compact as much as modified stone, you still want to make sure you compact it. This will fill all the cracks along the border and help prevent future shifting of your storage shed.
Make sure the base is level
Hopefully this is assumed, but your stone base needs to be level after compaction! A non-level base probably won’t ruin your shed, but it can cause future headaches such as windows and doors having trouble closing or latching properly.
Backfill any exposed outside areas with dirt
If you had to do any significant digging to get your border in, make sure you backfill any empty areas with dirt. If you have to put in a significant amount, then you may also want to do some compacting since dirt will settle more than stone.
By the way, if you aren’t comfortable with building your own base, please contact us. We would love to assist you in finding a contractor who will do an excellent job!