Learn how to build your own DIY shed with this tutorial. It will cover how to install shed siding, how to lay the roof, and how to paint and prime the exterior.
Everyone has been asking for the nail-biting continuation of how to build a shed, so here it is – part two of how to build a shed from scratch.
If you missed the first part, check out Shed Project Part 1.
In the first DIY shed post, I went over how I decided upon the shed design (it definitely changed a few times), how I prepared for the shed construction, and how to build the floors and walls.
I started on the shed’s foundation with concrete blocks. Then, I worked my way up through the shed floor and got the wall frame standing firm.
I even shared some tips on how to save money on your DIY shed. So, be sure to check it out if you already haven’t.
In this post, I’ll be sharing how I did the siding, roofing, and priming, and painting. And in the last post, I’ll cover how to build shed steps, ramps, and doors.
Back to the DIY Shed
My long-awaited dream of building a shed from scratch has come a long way.
In our first home, I built a metal shed over the weekend, and it did the job.
Yet, it was nothing like the beauty I was working on now. I had sketched out the design on post-it notes, and it was amazing seeing the sketch become a reality.
After a short break to work on some side projects around the house, it was time to continue building the shed so I could move the riding lawn mower out of the garage and finish up building my dream shed from scratch.
How to Build a DIY Shed from Scratch
With the shed wall frame in place, it was time to install the exterior siding part of building the shed. It was getting exciting!
Installing T1-11 Shed Siding
I used T1-11 plywood siding for my DIY shed.
Why T1-11 siding for the DIY shed?
T1-11 siding is a very popular wood paneling siding for sheds.
T1-11 plywood is thick enough to be used as the actual wall itself (versus using a thinner plywood sheathing and separate siding).
Also, T1-11 siding (similar to the T&G plywood used for the floor) also has special grooved endings to help the sheets overlap and make a tighter seal at the seams.
Installing the shed siding for your framed structure does more than just enclosing it.
At this stage, the framed walls were still wobbly and were not square with each other. The shed siding corrects all of this for you.
When you install the first piece of shed siding onto each wall panel, you use that first piece to align the edge of the wall panel.
Once the wall panel is aligned with the shed siding, you nail them together and that wall panel is squared and locked in place.
Too Soon for L-Brackets
Remember earlier when I said I used L brackets to tightly secure the 4 wall panels together, and it backfired?
Well, prior to installing the shed siding, my shed wall panels were not wobbly. They were held very firmly in place because of the L brackets at the corners.
It took me a few minutes to figure out why the walls were not budging when I tried to line up the edges with the shed siding.
So I had to undo a lot of the L brackets from the corners to get the shed siding to install correctly.
Once the shed siding was up, I reinstalled the L brackets.
As for the window openings, I initially installed shed siding that covered them up completely.
Once the shed siding was securely in place, I used a mini circular saw to cut out the opening.
I highly recommend a compact circular saw for your tool collection.
It’s much more convenient than a full-sized circular saw and also very precise.
Spacing & Wall Stud Note
I made another mistake related to the shed siding too. The wall studs in the panels are spaced 16” apart (a pretty common construction standard).
The 16” spacing starts at one end of the wall panel.
Yet, depending on the length of the wall panel, it could end abruptly, forcing you to place the ending stud at an arbitrary distance.
When installing the shed siding, you always have to start on the end of the panel where the 16” spacing begins (not where it ended prematurely).
Starting on the correct end of the wall panel ensures that every 4 ft wide shed siding sheet ends on a wall stud.
I luckily did this for the 3 sides of the shed.
However, on the right side of the DIY shed, I did not start siding on the correct end.
Because of this error, I had several pieces of overlapping siding that did not have a wall stud behind it.
The lack of a wall stud at the seams meant there was no way to tighten the overlap between the shed siding sheets and left a gap for rain and bugs to come in.
So rather than re-siding that wall panel, I left it as is, and installed some additional wall studs to nail the seams into.
Rain Water Puddling
As I mentioned in the first post, I worked on building the shed all by myself.
Since it was a solo project, it took me longer to finish because it was just me building it, and I have a day job.
During this time, we had our share of rain.
Therefore, I had an issue with heavy rainwater causing parts of the shed siding to swell and bulge and pull away from parts of the foundation before I could finish getting everything up.
After it had rained, I noticed that there were 2 slight dips in the flooring around the edges of the shed foundation that caused rainwater to puddle and remain there.
In that same area, some of the shed siding was bulging on the outside.
Tip to Prevent Warping
I did some research and found out that unprotected T1-11 plywood siding will start to warp if left exposed to standing water.
So this puddling water was warping my T1-11 siding.
My solution was to drill a few tiny holes into the center of the floor dips to let the water drain.
After the next rainfall, I checked the shed and there were no more water puddles.
My T1-11 plywood siding has never warped since.
As for the existing bulges in the shed siding, I could not leave them like that because it would let bugs in.
So I used a bar clamp to force the shed siding back into place and secured it with a few nails.
Problem solved – what a great trick, right!?
I’m hoping these tips and tricks help you from making these mistakes when you are building your shed from scratch.
Shed Roof Construction
With the plywood shed walls finally up, I could start working on the shed roof.
This was a big milestone for my DIY shed project as it meant the “drying out” period could start.
This was when the water stopped entering the interior, and it could soon become usable space.
It was also a huge milestone for me in the fact that I had been able to build the shed from scratch thus far.
The DIY shed was looking great, and I wasn’t looking back.
How to Build Roof Trusses for a Shed
The shed roof required a number of trusses to be built.
The trusses are the shed roof framing, which are the triangular supports mounted on top of the structure that the roof sheathing or plywood is nailed into.
I had to build thirteen individual shed trusses to span the length of the shed.
Here is what the shed trusses look like up close:
In building trusses for a shed, I followed the directions in the shed plans to construct them.
My miter saw really came in handy for building the shed roof, as there were lots of angles to cut.
Where each segment of the truss met another segment, I sandwiched that part between two pieces of plywood and nailed it together securely.
I read a great tip online about constructing the shed trusses.
Similar to the framed wall panels, I built them on the floor of the shed.
However, this time I use the shed floor to make a jig for each truss.
I needed each of the trusses to be identical to the next. So I built the first truss carefully on the shed floor.
Once completed, I screwed scrap blocks of wood in the floor at strategic parts around the truss.
I lifted the finished truss up and a perfect jig remained on the floor to construct the next one.
I didn’t have to spend time measuring and aligning the truss segments.
Next, I just placed each segment into the jig and secured them with the sandwiching plywood.
The blocks of wood screwed into the floor meant that the truss would be a perfect replica of the original one.
How to Attach the Shed Trusses
Attaching the shed trusses to the shed structure was not as simple as dropping them onto the top and nailing them.
Because of how they rest on the framed walls, there was not much surface area to work with to nail them down securely.
I did some research online, and a common technique was to just toe-nail the truss to the shed.
The technique is to drive some nails into the truss at an angle to penetrate both the truss and the shed structure.
I tried this, but I was not comfortable with the connection it made. There was too much movement, and it did not feel safe to leave it like that.
So I kept brainstorming what I could use for a better connection.
The screws were what really did the job. The L brackets really just held the truss in place so it was easy to drive in the screws.
I love TimberLok screws.
With all the extra TimberLok screws leftover from the shed, I use them in so many projects now.
Here is a view of the trusses from outside:
How to Install Roof Sheathing on a Shed
With the shed trusses made, next came the shed roof sheathing.
I used ½” 4×8 OSB (oriented strand board) plywood for the shed roof.
The trickiest part of this shed building step was actually getting the plywood sheets onto the trusses.
I would recommend getting some help for this part of the shed construction.
The shed roof sheathing was very heavy and large to do by yourself.
I was very eager though to get the roof on. Unfortunately, no one was around at the time to help.
I went through several failed attempts to get the sheets up by myself.
Eventually, the technique that worked for me was to lift each plywood sheet up and in between the trusses. This required quite a bit of strength.
Needless to say, I was very sore afterward, but it was worth it.
Prior to lifting up the plywood sheets, I had screwed scrap siding into the overhanging part of the trusses.
Doing this gave the lower trusses an edge.
This ensured that when I dropped the sheets onto the trusses, they would not slide off the bottom and fall to the ground.
One by one, I lifted and nailed each sheet down to the trusses in a staggered pattern provided in the plans.
Here’s a picture looking up into the trusses after the plywood sheathing was laid down:
Installing the Drip Edge on a Plywood Shed
With the plywood sheathing nailed down, I installed a drip edge on the overhang of the shed.
A drip edge is specially shaped metal flashing that helps keep water on the roof away from your structure and not run down the side.
Here’s a close up of the metal drip edge on the plywood DIY shed:
Laying the Roof Paper
After the plywood sheathing came roofing felt paper. The roofing paper came in a large roll that I cut into 16 ft segments.
I started at the bottom corner of one side of the shed roof and worked my way up.
I nailed the roofing paper into the trusses using roofing nails with large plastic caps in the heads.
The caps really gripped the roofing paper without tearing it.
I also liked that the caps for the roof were bright orange.
It helped me locate the trusses after the paper went on.
It’s important to try and keep your weight above the trusses to avoid doing damage to the sheathing.
I covered both sides of the roof with paper and left the apex for last.
There was a little gap between the roofing sheathing at the apex where the two sides of the roof met.
I was a little worried about leaks, so I thickened up the felt paper by applying two layers on the apex.
Here’s a picture of the apex with the extra layer of roofing paper. There are some shingles installed already, but I’m getting to that next:
Installing Shingles on the Shed Roof
After the felt paper, I moved on to the shingles.
I’ve always wanted to work with shingles, so I was really looking forward to this learning opportunity.
After a lot of roofing research, I felt confident to proceed in knowing how to put shingles on a shed.
Coincidentally, part of our home’s roof was being replaced at this time by a roofing contractor due to a leak.
So I talked to the guy for a little bit and he gave me some useful tips and confirmed that my plan for the shed’s roof sounded solid.
This was perfect because I like to be extra sure of myself before embarking on a new task – hence all the research I did for building this shed from scratch.
I bought 25-year asphalt 3-tab charcoal-colored shingles from Home Depot.
I estimated I needed about 6 bundles of shingles. They are sold in packs called bundles, and each bundle covers about 33 square.
The individual shingles are rectangular in shape with 3 tabs (as seen in the picture below):
The black line running across the center of the shingle is a tar line.
Shingles overlap one another, and when the sun heats up the roof, the tar line softens enough to adhere to the overlapping shingles.
Applying Starter Shingles on the Shed Roof
To begin installing shingles on the roof, I first had to apply starter shingles.
Some shingle bundles come with special shingle strips called starters. These lack the 3 tabs and are just one continuous strip.
Because shingles always need to overlap each other, the first row of shingles on a roof needs a special starting strip.
Otherwise, the tabs would rest directly on the felt paper below and expose it to the elements.
What if my shingles don’t come with starters?
Actually, my shingle bundles did not have any starters, so I just made my own.
I used a utility knife and cut off the tabs from a few shingles. I cut just below the tar line. Very simple!
Nailing Down the Shingles
With the starter strips made, I nailed them to the bottom edge of the roof. I made sure the tar line was on the bottom.
I made sure to extend the shingles about an inch off the edge of the roof. This overhang is important to prevent water from running off the shingles and down the siding.
I know that the metal drip edge was installed below to prevent this. Yet, this was just an extra measure of protection.
After the starters were installed, I was ready to install the regular tabbed shingles.
I overlapped the starter strip with the tabs from the other shingles.
Then I drove 4 nails per shingle just below the tar line. Two at the ends and two above each tab slit.
I worked my way across the shed roof to complete the first row.
The last shingle in the row needed to be cut. Yet, I left it intact for now, with plans to cut all the excess later.
To start the next row of shingles, I had to offset the first shingle. This way the tab slits rested on the middle of a shingle tab below.
If I did not offset the starting shingle, then the tab slits would line up with the slits in the row below. This would increase the potential of water seeping through the shingles unto the roofing felt.
So using a utility knife, I cut off about 1/6th of the shingle.
I continued this process row-by-row until I got as close as possible to the apex of the roof.
Then I hopped over to the other side of the shed’s roof and repeated the whole process. (Installed the starter shingles at the bottom and worked my way up).
Here’s a picture of the shingles so far:
Finishing with a Ridge Cap on the Shed Roof
The last step to finish installing the shingles on the DIY shed roof was to cover up the apex and form a solid ridge cap.
Once again, I had to cut the shingles to make special pieces for the apex on the shed roof.
Just like the starter strips, I cut off the tabs below the tar line.
Then I nailed each strip across the apex, perpendicular to the rest of the shingles on the sides.
As I worked my way across the apex, I overlapped each strip so each overlapping one covers the tar line on the next one.
Here’s a picture of what the apex looked like after installing the shingles:
Here’s a picture after installing the shingles on the roof of the DIY shed (Eileen just put on a coat of primer on the siding too):
Priming and Painting the DIY Shed
Speaking of primer, Eileen took care of all of the painting on the plywood shed – from choosing the color to the last brush stroke.
And, painting the DIY shed was certainly a project by itself.
The shed took a lot of paint which we greatly underestimated.
Here I was thinking how far a gallon of paint went on drywall when repainting a bedroom.
Needless to say, a gallon of primer barely touched the surface of the raw plywood siding on the shed.
The plywood soaked up so much of the paint.
So, we went back and purchased a 5-gallon bucket of Zinnser brand primer.
Eileen ended up painting the shed with 3 coats of primer. It took a really long time. She used both a roller and then a brush to get in the ridges.
After the primer, Eileen went on painting the shed with 2 coats of grey exterior paint.
I definitely recommend using a paint sprayer as it will be a huge time-saver.
Tip for Choosing Exterior Paint
Just a note about choosing exterior paint for any outdoor project.
You definitely want to either get a sample of your paint color and test it, or take the paint chips outside – and make your decision under the light of the sun.
The sun makes the colors look completely different. Outdoor and indoor light is not quite the same.
You’ll notice this if you’ve ever used the same paint indoors and outdoors, so definitely be sure of your color.
The grey paint on the shed really made it pop. Yet, more importantly, served as a thick protective barrier for the siding against water.
So in total, the shed required 5 coats of paint (primer and paint), taking about a week or two to complete. She worked in the free time she had to.
It was well worth the time and effort though. Since Eileen did the painting, I could keep working on other shed tasks.
Doesn’t the shed look great?! Eileen and I were so pleased with its progress and was happily working on the next shed tasks.
Next Up on the DIY Shed
With the shed now primed and painted and looking great, next up was building a ramp for the riding lawn mower, building shed steps for the storage entrance, building doors, and installing the windows.
To keep reading and to see how the DIY shed turned out, check out the final post – Shed Project Phase 3 (Building Steps, Ramps, & Doors).
This last post is great because I show you easy ways to build the steps, ramps, and doors! The DIY shed doors were custom built with a pretty cool design.
You can even apply these to other backyard projects too.
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