How to Build a Shed

Building Supplies Portland

Getting Started on Your New Outdoor Project

If you’ve ever thought about building a shed in your backyard, now is a great time to start planning your design and buying the tools and building supplies needed. Most homeowners wait until the warmer months to do outdoor projects. However, if you start planning in the winter, your local building supply center will be less crowded and fully stocked. Prices might be lower this time of year as well. There is less demand for materials needed to build a shed in the winter than in the spring and summer.

Buying a Shed Kit

Before getting started, you will want to consider whether to build a shed from scratch or buy a shed kit. Shed kits are a great choice because almost everything you need is included. There are also different styles and sizes to choose from to suit your needs.

Building a Shed From Scratch

Building a shed from scratch could be the better option if you have a low budget and want a little more creative freedom with the design. Buying all of the materials you need separately, as opposed to in a kit, is often less expensive. However, if you aren’t very handy, you could end up needing to hire a contractor to build the shed for you, which will add additional costs to the project.

Building Permits and Zoning

Whether you are going with a shed kit or building from scratch, you should check with your local municipality to see if there are any building restrictions. Most sheds do not require a permit, but it is always best to check first before spending time and money on any outdoor building project.

Steps to Start Building Your Shed

If you opt for building a shed from scratch, the steps below can help you get started. It may require a little extra research on your part, but it is not impossible to achieve. A good idea before starting your project is to talk to a contractor or the experts at your local building supply center. They can give you tips and have the knowledge and expertise to set you on the right path for your project.

Gather the Necessary Tools and Building Materials

Depending on the size and specifications of your shed design, the tools and supplies needed could vary. The lists below will give you a basic idea of what you will need to get started on your outdoor shed.


  • Circular saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Hammer
  • Screwdrivers (a power screwdriver would be very helpful)
  • Level (both a laser and bubble level are good to have)
  • Step ladder
  • Shovel
  • Tape measure


Building Supplies

  • Lumber
  • Plywood or OSB sheets
  • Concrete mix, gravel, or concrete footer blocks
  • Nails
  • Hurricane ties
  • Metal strips
  • Joist hangers
  • Pre-built shed door(s) or you can build your own


Build the Foundation

The foundation of your shed is one of the most critical factors. If the ground or your foundation is unlevel, it will throw the rest of your build off and can result in an unsound frame. You also don’t want to build your shed directly on the ground, especially in the Pacific Northwest, where the soil is often wet. If the shed is placed directly on the ground, not only can the shed itself wear down from moisture in the ground, but the soil beneath it will also erode and become waterlogged. Below are three good options for a shed foundation:

  • Concrete: pour a concrete slab that is slightly larger than what your shed’s frame will be. Make sure it is level and allow it to dry completely before building on top.
  • Gravel: laying down gravel is the easiest option, just make sure the area you are choosing is flat. If the area you want to build on is sloped, you will need to level it first.
  • Wood platform: building a wood platform is the most common type of foundation. If you choose this method, you will still need to place the frame on concrete footer blocks, so the wood isn’t just sitting on the wet ground.


Build the Frame

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Once you have your foundation built and everything is level, you can start making the frame of the shed. The framework will consist of a base for the floor and four wall frames. Don’t forget to leave an opening in one of the walls for the door.
Once the base is constructed, cover it with plywood or OSB for the flooring. You can install nicer flooring on top of the plywood or OSB if you’d like, but it isn’t necessary, especially if the shed it just being used to store tools and yard equipment. From here, you can raise the wall frames and attach them to the floor. The walls can also be covered with plywood or OSB, or you can use another type of siding to give the shed a more polished look.

Build the Roof

At the start of the project, you will likely have decided whether you wanted a flat roof or a gabled roof. A flat roof is easier but has a more simple and rustic look. For this method, you will lay rafters across the top of the shed frame and then again nail plywood sheeting over the top. Since you won’t be able to see the roof with the flat design, you can cover the plywood with tar paper to keep water from leaking in.
If you choose to do a gabled roof, there will be a few extra steps involved, but the concept is essentially the same. The difference with a gabled roof is its visibility, and thus you may want to add additional roofing on top of the plywood to give the roof a more finished look.

Add the Door

The last step is to add your door. You can build one yourself, but many lumber and building supply stores carry pre-built doors for easy installation.

Shur-way Building Center

If you need supplies or expert advice for your building project, Shur-way Building Center in Portland are specialists in outdoor living and remodeling. Our shed kits are the best value on the market, using quality materials suited for the Northwest environment.  We also carry a variety of other building supplies and materials to fit your project needs, whatever they might be.

Aside from our unsurpassed selection of building materials, Shur-way Building Center is a family-owned business where you can expect to be treated like one of our own. We take pride in what we do and are happy to help you with all of your outdoor projects and remodeling needs.




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