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Dave_Wagner's picture

I am planning on building a backyard shed this summer, most likely a 12X12. I saw "84 Lumber" offers kits for various sheds/barns, but am a little concerned about the quality of the kits. Does anyone have any experience with kits such as these? Would I be better off building one from a plan (I'm a novice, but enjoy making sawdust)?

Any ideas where I could find plans for sheds/outbuildings? Thanks, Dave Wagner

(post #171080, reply #7 of 21)

You guys are a wealth of information. Thank you all for responding. I will be checking back to see if there are any additional posts.

A number of good issues are mentioned above, seems you are steering me away from the kits. I do want something that will last - large enough to house my mowers, and other yard equipment. My goal is to clean my garage out so I can devote it entirely to a wood shop :^) Dave Wagner

(post #171080, reply #12 of 21)

Does anyone else here remember the old Monty Python skit about Ian "Two Sheds" Jackson? Mike's post reminded me of it. LOL

But seriously, life is better if you stay at/below 120 square feet, because you can then build as you please. If you understand basic framing, why not just design your own? Something that mirrors the house and neighborhood makes a lot of sense, and the neighbors will love you for it, too. Avoid the mistake of placing the door where snow (if you get snow where you are)will block it or ice will collect.

Above all, have a blast! Sheds are fun because they are simple and small.


(post #171080, reply #13 of 21)

I helped a friend who bought a kit from "84" lumber.
the lumber yard was about an 1 1/2 hr drive from
his lot in the country. when he went to the yard
he looked at their demo shed , all plywod sheathing
and decking. when his kit was delivered the
the sheathing and decking were 3/8 OSB. and of course
when you see their model shed at the home show
it is all plywood.


(post #171080, reply #14 of 21)

Good Thread. I have been looking at building a yard barn this spring. So far I have been having execlent luck discussing my ideas (at odd hours) with the folks at both 84 Lumber and Carter Lumber in my area (central OH). They have been very helpful in design suggestions and costing info.

Be sure to check with your local taxing authority and see what they will consider a taxable improvement. I found that I can get to 168 sq feet (12'x14') prior to requiring a building permit, and without a permit, it is not a taxable event. If I run the electric out to it, it is still not a taxable event.

I have heard in other areas that a concrete slab will cause the shed to be classified as an improvement to your property, no matter the size, and it will cause your tax bill to increase.

Good luck with your project.

A question for everyone - I need to have my shed on a sled type foundation (4x4 on the ground followed by the flooring frame) to be non-taxable. My problem is I need the floor to support 100 lbs per square foot.

I am planning on the floor system to be (4) 14' PT 4x4 on the ground, followed by the 2x8 PT floor joists 12" OC followed by 3/4" tongue & grove plywood. Sound strong enough?

What should I place under the 4x4 in ground contact? Just lay them on the ground? Dig out a trench 6x6 and fill with gravel and compact it, then put the 4x4 on it? Something else?

We are planning to install a hot tub in this 'shed' when its all done.


(post #171080, reply #17 of 21)

OK, here are the gory details. The tub is 4500 lbs with water (450 gals water = 3600 lbs + 750 lbs empty weight + people 1500 lbs = 5850 lbs total).

The total floor space is 95x91 inches (60 square feet square), giving 97.5 lbs per square foot.

As far as the loading of the floor, I used a span table from which is a "Wet-Service Floor Joists – 60 psf lpsi load, 10 psf dead load, 360 deflection" table. It reads that a 2x8 12" OC will have a span of 12' 5". My span is a planned at 4'.

A second table titled "Table 47 Floor Joists – 150 psf live load, 10 psf dead load, 360 deflection" gives a 2x8 12" OC will span 9'6".

Again, much longer than my proposed 4'.

As far as the 4x4 in ground contact, I agree that they may be undersized. What should I be looking at? Other suggestions?

I had thought about digging out 8" dia x 42" deep columns for concrete using sona (sp?) tubes and tie my floor joists to 6 of these (one at each corner of the spa and two for the other end of the building), but now I am getting dangerously close to a taxable improvement (so be it if they are required). So I am attempting to stay away from the concrete and stick to a stone base somehow.

Thanks again, Larry

(post #171080, reply #19 of 21)

I am planning on building a backyard shed this summer, most likely a 12X12. I saw "84 Lumber" offers kits for various sheds/barns, but am a little concerned about the quality of the kits. Does anyone have any experience with kits such as these? Would I be better off building one from a plan (I'm a novice, but enjoy making sawdust)?

Any ideas where I could find plans for sheds/outbuildings? Thanks, Dave Wagner

(post #171080, reply #1 of 21)


Your local extension agent should have alot of USDA plans for free. Just discovered that N.D. State has alot of these plans that can be downloaded online. Cant post a link yet so heres a real long site address,

Go to the misc. section and I think you'll find several plans for small sheds that could be adapted to your purposes.


(post #171080, reply #2 of 21)

Dave... go thru the archives until you find Lawrence... he publishes plans for garden structures..

12x12 is a nice size to run wild with the neat little details, and have a lot of fun with..

the kits you get are OK.. but they are all bilt to minimums.

you want some nice siding..generous overhangs.... a few little windows... a cupola.. some martin homes in the eaves..

a couple guinea hens wandering in and out....

yes.. i can see it now.........

(post #171080, reply #3 of 21)

Dave, my response, and perhaps that of others here, will reflect our personal tastes and prejudices, but here goes:

Those knocked-down pre-fab shed kits from home centers and such are eyesores and constitute abominations to the landscape. They do serve a practical purpose for mobile home park dwellers who have no other means of increasing storage on their rented properties, but I'm guessing that's not your case.

If you truly have an interest in creating some sawdust, I can't imagine a better first-time project than building a storage shed. With some decent plans and a minimum purchase of tools, you can have a nicer product, gain some practical knowledge, and have the satisfaction of doing a nice job.

JonC had an excellent suggestion, and I'll add that your public library will have some books that will help you through the process of actually building your masterpiece.

Please work safely... no project is a success if someone gets hurt.

Good luck, Steve

(post #171080, reply #4 of 21)

The kits appear a bit flimsy, I decided to take pass on them. Most home centers have books on sheds, barns, garages, etc. that have a number of plans and often pointers regarding building them. Most home centers also have single sets of plans in plastic bags hidden somewhere in the store. Popular Mechanics Magazine usually has a set of plans in an issue every year and the do-it-yourself magazines aimed at the neophytes such as Home Handyman (can't remember the others) usually have a couple of articles per year on building such a shed. These handyman type magazines usually give pretty explicit instructions, however some of these can get pretty elaborate and could probably end up costing more per sq ft than your house.

There are plans for a "mini-barn" type shed at:


however the price is $55 to $65 for their plans. Some cheaper plans on line can be found at:


Do a search on the Internet on "shed plans" and you will find a lot more - I just picked these off at random.

(post #171080, reply #5 of 21)

Well I for one have a shed at my mom's house. One of those pre-fab type sheet metal things. 9' x 12', height is maybe 4.5' - pain to get to the far wall. I believe Arrow is the brand name. We bought it out of need for cheap, quick storage for the mower, shovels, rakes, etc. until we sell the house. When we bought it, we were looking two to three years down to road. Two or three years is about what I expect to see from it, too. Any more time beyond that will be icing for the next owners.

I would say look at your situation - if you want something semi-permanent (Say, 10-15+ years) beg/borrow/steal plans and scratch build.

The wood prefab kits we looked at were not much better than the sheet metal sh-tuff. One other option is, HD has/had an all vinyl kit, for about $800+. Decent size, fairly sturdy, I remember it had a 'real' doorknob. One brother has one of those in place for I think three years now. It's too late for me to call him. :) So, I don't know if he's really happy with it, or if he just hasn't happened to have complained about it.


(post #171080, reply #6 of 21)

Reading this thread, I just had the thought that around here code starts coming into play at anything over 120Sq. ft. That would be 12x10. Have you looked at that? Found out that height restrictions can become an issue while building a little 12x10 gambrel roof shed in Wa. Totally agree that you could have a blast building this and get plenty of design help here personalizing it.


(post #171080, reply #8 of 21)

yeh... well good luck to you..i got 3 sheds ,two garages , and still no wood shop....

(post #171080, reply #9 of 21)

Mike: You got 3 sheds and two garages? Can I store some of my stuff at your place so I can set up a wood shop here?

Crowdedly, Steve

(post #171080, reply #10 of 21)

That's funny. My wife wants me to build a woodshop so she can have a garage.


(post #171080, reply #11 of 21)

...i only convinced my wife we could build a new house about 15 years ago if i promised her own bay and a door opener...

it's non-negotiable.. she's still got her bay.. i got sheds full of stuff....

(post #171080, reply #15 of 21)

You are way undersized on several parts here. But I think you are not coming up with a good sq/ft weight from the hot tub etc...Please recheck the calculations......Water is 8# per rubber duckies and people and then a safety factor.

Give the details or look back at the numbers and post info, also 4X4's are very weak in a deflection load etc.....and most likely will dissapear in a year of settling as a foundation.

(post #171080, reply #16 of 21)

I don't think it's applicable here because of the weight of the tub, but I've built sheds on pile foundations of poured reinforced concrete into PVC sewer pipe. Kinda like the sonotube thing, but smaller. Works well with a post hole digger. I just left the PVC there when done. Seems to be holding up well.


(post #171080, reply #18 of 21)

i think everything is cool.. wat i wud do is scrape away the loam, lay a bed of gravel , say 6 inches,
compact it.. with a plate compactor

and then top it with 6 inches of 3/4 inch crushed stone, lay your 4x4 right on top and tamp them to level..
then build your structure

wat i'm tryin to do is get a uniform consistent base, that may heave, or it may sink, but it's going to do it the same all the way around...

(post #171080, reply #20 of 21)

I would offer one bit of information I haven't seen mentioned here. I have assembled a shed or two for customers in the past, including one of the vinyl ones mentioned earlier. which produced a fine looking "shed" by the way. If a shed is all your after and cost is a consideration, you can not purchase the raw materials included in the kits , cheaper than the cost of the kits. at.least not the ones I have worked with. Just a thought. Steve

shed plans (post #171080, reply #21 of 21)

Old thread but i thought it would be useful to add another great source of free shed plans:  



adam's link to his site which also sells shed plans has been deleted.

no thanks necessary.