Quality Shed Framing
My favorite Christmas memory involves a dollhouse my mother refurbished. I cherished that dollhouse. But as I got older, the dollhouse became less relevant to my life and was eventually moved to the poor quality shed out back. “I’ll save it for my daughter, someday,” I thought. However, my daughter never saw my childhood dollhouse because it didn’t survive the shed. Why do we think that when building something to protect our precious things, it’s okay to cut corners? After all, if the items in our outbuildings were not important to us, wouldn’t we give them away?
If you are in the market to buy a new shed or replace an existing one, the following tips will help you compare the quality sheds from different manufacturers. These are areas that some builders cut corners, thinking that you, the consumer, wouldn’t know the difference.
Double top plate
A framed wall consists of a 2×4 bottom, studs going up every 16 inches, and a 2×4 top to hold it all together. On quality sheds, the top will consist of two 2x4s nailed together. The roof trusses sit on this top plate. Doubling it gives the walls extra strength and stability.
When you construct walls separately, then raise them into place, it creates a corner of two 2x4s with a pocket in between. That pocket prevents you from nailing anything to the corner of the building. At Byler’s, we create a proper corner (see above photo) by using a triple 2×4 on one wall and a single on the other, filling in that space. This practice gives the shed walls added strength and a solid nailing surface for wall coverings.
Headers over doors and windows
Headers support the weight of what is above. On the load bearing walls of your shed, that is the roof and trusses. A less-than-conscientious builder will use a single 2×4, set on its edge, for the header. However, to provide extra strength a proper header consists of two 2x4s, on edge, with plywood in between. An inferior header in your shed framing will bow under the weight of what is resting on it, making it difficult to open doors and windows.
The Building Code for stud spacing in house construction is 16 inches on center. Yet, some shed builders will stretch that to 24 inches on center because, after all, they aren’t building a home and they want to save a few dollars. This practice leads to buckling of exterior siding and creates a structure that is less able to withstand strong winds and snow loads.
Pressure treated floor
Your shed probably will be sitting on the ground. To prevent rot, you want the entire floor constructed using pressure treated lumber. Some manufacturers use pressure treated lumber on the perimeter of the floor but non-treated lumber for the floor joists. But, if your shed is not elevated with adequate air flow underneath, the floor joists will rot!
The chemicals in pressure treated lumber will rust steel nails. Therefore, you want to make sure the builder uses galvanized nails in the floor of your shed. Galvanized nails cost considerably more than steel nails, so this is a common area that some manufacturers will skimp on and not give you a quality shed.
A quality built structure will have ties that span from rafter to rafter every four feet. These ties provide strength and stability and a snow load of 45 pounds. If your shed does not have these ties, it will not hold the weight of snow and is more likely to cave in, damaging your belongings.
Each window and door of your wooden shed should have a 2×4 frame all the way around. This frame, when used with a proper header, provides the proper support the windows and doors require.