When we talk about back yard sheds here in Ontario, many of us think of the old make shift wooden or the metal sheds that lean precariously to one side with the sliding door that does everything but. It’s always an adventure in early spring to discover what critter or critters used this leaky, damp, odorous structure for their winter home.
Here in Toronto backyard storage sheds have evolved for the past 20 years into an attractive and useful addition to your home. Sheds today are a far departure from our parent’s sheds. They are better built, and come in many styles to compliment any setting. Some wood materials used in today’s sheds come with as much as a 50 year warranty. Although there are many materials used in today’s sheds such as plastic, and vinyl, my favourite is still wood. With an all wood shed, the structure breaths avoiding the condensation that accumulates in the plastic or rubber based sheds, plus I feel good that my wood shed won’t end up in a land fill 2000 or so years after I’m gone.
Great Beginnings: You must start with a good foundation
As in all structures made to last, the foundation or floor is the most important component. If not constructed on a cement pad, the shed should be constructed on patio stones to elevate the shed flooring away from the damp and acidic soil. Pressure treated 2×6 runners should be placed over the foundation stones adding better weight disbursement and to raise the floor further from the ground. Wood should never come in contact with the ground even if its pressure treated. Once elevated, the floor should be constructed using 2x4s every 12 inches for maximum stability and then topped with a 5/8 inch sheet of plywood or OSB. Now your shed will be high, dry, and strong.
The Big Box Store Shed Kits v/s a Professionally Built Shed
Nothing less than 2×4 construction should be used in the framing of your new shed. Some big box stores offer shed kits with 2×3 framing which besides limiting strength make it almost impossible to install sturdy shelving. These big box shed kits come with other questionable parts such as weak or no flooring, poor quality hardware, flimsy plastic windows, and in most cases the shingles are extra.
As you may have guessed, I’m not a big fan of storage shed kits. Basically, all you get is pre-cut lumber dropped in your driveway with how to build instructions. And, because you are building it yourself, any warranty offered is very limited. I found that if you compare the price of one of these big box store shed kits and a professionally built storage structureusing higher quality materials, the price difference is negligible. When you factor in that your shed will be finished in just one day by a professional, why would you even consider the shed kit.
Protection From Above
Another important component when deciding on your next shed is the overhang of the roof. A minimum 6 inch overhang all the way around (not just on the front) will add extra strength to the whole structure as well as keeping the drip line further away from your foundation. For me the appearance of your shed is enhanced by the overhang. I have found that most Southern Ontario shed companies fail to see the importance of this feature.
Many of today’s new homes come with a single garage limiting space for storage. Even a double or a triple garage home can have storage challenges. The shed can go a long way to solve storage problems while freeing up space in your garage over the winter.
The new sheds come in all different types and styles that fit easily into every life style. Your new shed should look attractive after all it’s what you look at every day summer and winter from your back window. Many people accessorize their shed with windows shutters and flower boxes, they add bar windows with bar ledges, seating areas under large overhangs, and pool change rooms etc. turning their shed into a pool cabana or focal point in their back yard during the summer months. When the cold breezes of autumn blow, it reverts back to a storage shed for bikes, lawn equipment, pool chemicals, and lawn furniture.
When you think about it, today’s new sheds are an important component to any home. Dad gets his garage back, Mom likes the aesthetic impact that it makes to her garden, and what kid doesn’t love a little house in their back yard.
Whether a basic garden shed, a 5 sided shed that fits tight to the corner of your lot, or a custom pool cabana type structure, today’s sheds make a positive addition to any home or life style.
Ron Phillips 2011-4-21