Monday, October 10, 2016

Building a Shed : The Foundation

Hi everyone!  Long time, no talk.  There's been so many projects going on at the Gretch House, that it's been work work work and no time to share it all!  I'm excited to start sharing what we've been doing and getting back to blogging here.  I hope you're ready!

Dan and I just finished our biggest project yet- building a shed in our back yard.  Ever since we moved in to our house, we've been using our garage as storage (AKA throwing everything in there since there's no racks or peg boards).  This is fine in the summer, but winter will be here before we know it and we're going to want to use the garage for our car!

Here's a look at what the garage looked like before to give you an idea of the mess we were dealing with:

Now can you see why we needed some extra storage?!

This was a pretty big project that took a few weekends to complete.  The first step of the project (after, of course, calling 811 to get all of our utilities marked) was to build a foundation for the shed.  This was definitely the hardest and most time-consuming part, but luckily we had my parents help so we got it done in one day.

The first thing that we did was decide where the shed was going to be.  We picked a spot at the bottom of our yard, where it's shady and somewhat flat.  Our yard is really hilly, so finding a spot that wasn't really steep was really tough!  You'll see how we compensated for this and made the shed level later on in the project.

To get started, we used wood posts and string to create a square grid.  We tied string between the posts, and the intersections were marked with chalk.  This helped us make sure that the shed would be square, and that the posts were evenly placed around the foundation.

Once we had our spots marked with yard chalk, we started to dig the holes.  We tried to do this by hand at first, and quickly realized that would take hours or be impossible.  A quick trip to Home Depot and we were able to rent an auger to make the job much easier.  Here's what the tool looks like without the extension added on:

Using the auger, we were able to drill down below the frost line (which is about 36 inches in Pennsylvania) for all six holes.  

Next, we filled the holes with a few inches of gravel, then a few more inches of concrete.  You're supposed to let the concrete cure for a few days, but we skipped ahead and put in our 4x4 posts right on the concrete footers.

We placed the posts into the holes, and used a level to make sure the posts were straight.  Then, we filled in the rest of the hole with cement and topped with soil.

We let the concrete cure for a full week before starting on the deck and floor for the shed.  I'll talk about that next!

(P.S. We used this helpful video by Lowe's as the basis for building our shed's foundation.  We used the technique that they for a frost-proof foundation.)

Do you have a shed?
How do you keep all of your tools organized?  I need help with this!

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