Back in 1173, an Italian architect from Pisa named Frank Lloyd Wright (name changed to protect identity) got up one morning, dusted off his drafting table, and set to work on a new project....he designed a tower 180 feet high and weighing an estimated 14,500 tons -- with a foundation only 3 meters deep. It was a remarkable lack of foresight.... a great lesson for us all: the foundation matters. Let's look at your options for a shed foundation.
Just when your outdoor storage shed arrives from the manufacturer, the unthinkable happens. A tropical storm comes through and dumps a boatload of rain on the area. Rainwater rushes downhill and through dale and into your new shed. How did this happen? If you don’t want your shed damaged, and your belongings ruined, from water damage, consider a few things before you set the building. Knowing the lay of your land, and thoroughly questioning the storage shed manufacturer’s sales professional, will arm you with the information you need to prevent becoming a flooding statistic.
Storage shed location
Avoid setting your shed where runoff will occur or in close proximity to bodies of water. If you set your outdoor storage building at the bottom of a hill, you can count on rainwater running down the hill and into your building. Ponds and small streams will flood during times of heavy rain. If you haven’t owned the property long enough to know, ask your neighbors how high they’ve seen the water rise.
Sometimes placement requires a little extra level of protection, like installing a drainage system. If your property offers no level ground, consider laying drain pipes to channel the water away from any structure prone to flooding or water damage.
A solid storage shed foundation
When your property is prone to flooding, you not only want your foundation solid enough to prevent sinking but elevated enough to allow flood waters passage under your shed. Note, I said passage, not collecting. Water collecting under your storage building can cause another set of problems like mold and mosquitoes. So, making sure the ground under the shed is level, with no low spots, is important.
When the manufacturer provides delivery and set-up of the building, ask what that means. If the foundation they include doesn’t elevate the building enough to keep it free from water damage, and provide enough air circulation to keep it dry, you may need to construct your own.
Get what you pay for
Many shed manufacturers advertise pressure treated flooring. It’s up to you to find out if that claim covers the skirting around the edge of the building, where you can see, or all the floor joists, which you cannot see. Treated lumber is made to withstand rot from water damage. All the floor joists in your outdoor building should be made from pressure treated lumber.
Have added protection
As an added protection, paint your storage shed with high-quality paint. At Byler Barns, we use Sherwin Williams SuperPaint®. This exterior acrylic latex protects your storage shed against the elements, whether cold, hot, or humid. It resists fading and peeling and provides a mildew-resistant coating.
Wherever the water comes from
Maybe the storm isn’t coming your way. But you still want to eliminate water damage from other sources. Lawn sprinklers, faulty guttering and downspouts, and improperly sealed windows and doors can all lead to water damage on your outdoor building. To protect it, and the valuables inside, make sure that none of these things are allowing water to touch your building.
If you still have questions about protecting your shed from water damage, a Byler installation professional will be happy to speak with you. Just call one of our four locations in Virginia