Kristin

Kristin
My buddy Kristin, with whom I'll be shooting some BEER2WHISKEY videos, and me at the awads dinner for this year's Texas Truck Rodeo.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Enough With the Shed, Already!

The old shed.

I'm not the kind of guy who is ever ready to declare a home-improvement project over. I can always do “one more thing” to make it even better, but I can finally declare my shed project completed. Actually, it was a two-part project that began in August with the epic tear down of the old shed. That required a couple of weeks. I managed to get through that portion of the project unmolested: No falling scrap ricocheting off my mellon; no rusty nail through my foot; not even a splinter in my hand.


With the previous shed demolished, I had to get serious about a new one. Without a shed, I had nowhere to store my lawnmower, lawn tools and other odds and ends that wind up in a storage room.

In planning for the new shed I was torn between going cheap with a plastic or metal shed, and investing about twice what such a shed would cost and go with wood frame. Additionally, I had to decide between going small to just accommodate the must-store stuff or building a structure large enough to house the lawn gear, as well as a work bench and all the boxes and plastic containers stored in my spare upstairs bedroom.

Because the shed would be visible from the street, I opted to go with wood frame. Not to mention I have some hope a wood-frame shed will add to the house's value when I sell the joint. I found an 8'x10' shed at Home Depot's Web site that appeared to fit the bill. The price tag was under $1,000 and came pretty much ready to build. It required buying some additional elements, such as sheets of plywood for the floor. I figured the final cost would reach about $1,300. Home Depot didn't stock this particular shed; so, I would have to order it online. I thought I'd order it and have it drop shipped to the Home Depot about 2 miles away. Then it would be a small delivery fee. Nope, I would have had to have it freighted to my house at an additional cost of $300. My $1,200 shed just escalated to $1,500!

My carport full of building material.
For whatever reason, Home Depot has changed this policy and this shed can now be picked up at the store. But the extra delivery fee at the time was enough to get me looking at other options. I took a look at 84 Lumber's Web site. It offers the lumber to construct a 10'x12' shed with fewer extra elements to buy for less than $1,000.

I considered 84 Lumber because I have a buddy who works there. I called him. He put together a estimate for me that included a few extra things I chose to add. He crunched the numbers, added a nice discount and arrived at a total with delivery of $1,060. A larger shed with more stuff and at a savings of more than $400. Deal!

The material delivery came as promised. Because of my travel schedule, I knew I wasn't going to begin construction for another week or two. I had the lumber dropped in my carport to provide at least some degree of protection from the weather. I waited until late October to buy the material and begin the building phase to get past mosquito season. Among just about every other nasty thing that can be said about a backyard, is that in mine mosquitoes reproduce like they are performing for a segment on Animal Planet. My plan then was to wait out the warmer temps that seem to be some sort of a mosquito aphrodisiac, holding out for the first frost. This semi backfired as the temperatures began a downward spiral.

Should have paid more attention to my level.
Structure placement was a big decision. I chose not to build the new shed on the site of the old one. My entire backyard slopes. Where the old shed sat would have required a major excavation, including adding sand and gravel. Instead, I decided to locate the new shed in the only spot in the yard that resembles a flat, level surface. It still required a good bit of digging before laying the cement blocks on which the floor framing would sit. I then laid three 12' 4x4s on the blocks. Despite my work and the relatively flat surface, the floor still wound up about 2 inches out of level. I didn't think it a big deal at the time, but it would come back to haunt me.


I framed the floor and nailed the OSB board to the framing. I bought a compressor and framing nail gun online along with a couple boxes of two different-size nails. I never used a nail gun before. It really made the work fly.


With the flooring down, I framed the walls and stacked the walls on top of one another on the shed floor in wait of an extra set of hands or two to help me set them. That came in the form of my buddies Erick and Jeff on Black Friday. Arriving about noon, we set the walls and nailed on the siding. It was pretty chilly eliciting a fair amount of grumbling from the unpaid help. With only one electric cord, things slowed down a bit as I had to plug and unplug the circular saw, drill and nail-gun compressor as each was needed. We pushed and pulled the walls to get the plywood siding to halfway fit. This is where the floor being out of level first reared its ugly head. We really struggled with the siding, but by the end of the day, we had sided most of the shed.


The next day my 84 Lumber buddy Steve arrived to help with putting the sheets of OSB on the roof. Truth be told: It was more like me helping him. He did the heavy lifting and most of the nailing. This job was also impacted by the unlevel floor. I had a series of car events in early December and the shed took a backseat. I was shopping for a roofing nail gun and dreading the shingling process when Steve suggested he give a roofing buddy a call. As it turned out, the buddy was willing to finish the roofing for $75. How could I turn that down? I returned home four days later to a fully roofed shed. I was so happy with not having to shingle the thing, I gave the roofer $100.


In terms of construction, all that was left were the trim, doors and ramp. I assembled and added the doors. Now I was finally able to put my ladders, compressor and so forth in the shed rather than hauling them back up to the house. I was ecstatic. The next day I added the trim. My math failed me in guestimating the length of the trim pieces along the roofline on the l2-ft walls. I had to piece them a little and then caulk the seams. I was coming down the ladder after the last bit of caulking when I took a misstep resulting in a hard landing and a hyper-extended left knee.


After rolling around on the ground for 30 seconds, I limped around the yard cleaning up my tools and putting stuff away. I walked with a cane for a couple of weeks and still have a brace on the knee, but I was back working on the shed by the first week of January. I added a ramp that folds up in front of the door, locking in place.


I nailed 14 2x4s together to construct the work bench. I built a few shelves, bought hangers to secure my ladders. Moving all the boxes, containers, and other odds and ends from the spare bedroom to the shed took more than a day – a job that still isn't quite finished.

Tah-dah!

It took me an afternoon to cut in the siding with stain and another morning to roll the flats. Putting a primer coat on the trim took a couple of hours as did applying the finish coat. My three-month shed building ordeal was finally over.

Now it's on to the closet-building project in the spare bedroom. Oh boy.....

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