Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Guest Series: The SHED! Part I

I'm very excited to announce that this marks the first in a series of guest posts by my dear husband and resident Doer-Of-Things, Bill. While he's Done Many Things in and around the house since we moved in, this series will focus on The SHED! I've been dying to tell you about it (since it's hard to take a picture of the garden without seeing it under construction), but I think he should do so in his own words. 

So, Kaitlyn asked for a guest post to let her readers know about a rather large project here on our little slice of heaven in Oklahoma. Since last fall, we have been building a workshop/garden shed. I have to admit that on paper it seemed a lot less—both size and effort—than it has ended up being.

The shed is about 25 x 12, with space for our outdoor tools and what-have-you along with some space for me to work in and a large space for Kaitlyn’s garden materials, pots, planters, etc. As of this writing, the floors, walls and roof are up, (most) doors and windows installed and ¾ of the way shingled. We still need to get the siding on, stairs and ramp built, and get the inside shelves and work benches built. So far in labor hours we stand at around 210 hours and probably about 2/3rds of the way through.

So why, oh dear God why, did I want to do this myself rather than go to Lowe’s and buy one of the pre-packed, pre-assembled sheds? Three reasons: Configuration, Cost, and Quality.

Primarily configuration—I wouldn’t be able to get the footprint, layout, spacing, or natural lighting characteristics I wanted from a pre-assembled shed.

Cost: Ok, so this little project is going to end up costing us more than a pre-assembled shed, but that doesn’t take into mind the fact that I am going to be using higher quality materials and finishes than one of those.

Quality: So this last bit is a little dodgy. I’ll be honest, I went and looked at several of the sheds available at some of the stores in the area and I didn’t have a problem with the quality of the workmanship. The quality I am referring to is materials. Many pre-finished sheds are built with 2x3 studs, or only 7’ studs. The windows are usually the lowest quality single pane glass. The doors are wood framed/barn style. The sheathing is the siding, usually using a T1-11 product (or similar). Because of its size and proximity to the house, I wanted our building to be more like the house. That is to say I wanted it to look like the house, residential style doors and windows, real siding, etc. (Editor's note: Part of Bill's actual job is to obsess over building materials. It's a blessing and a curse for household projects.)

Plus, I like to build stuff myself. I am not a ‘formally’ trained carpenter, but I have worked in construction pretty much all of my adult life and some of that time was actually spent in the field doing rather than directing. So, while I’m not a pro, I like to think I know a little about what I am doing. I won’t say that a project like this is outside of the ability of the average weekend warrior, but I will say: don’t fool yourself about the level of time and commitment it takes to get something like this done. I haven’t been outside with a hand saw and a hammer. I have some specialized tools and have had some help in getting things done.

Anyway, the short of it is that after looking at the available options we decided—which is to say, I convinced Kaitlyn—to do it ourselves. (There were ultimatums involved.) We started off long ago—somewhere around the first or second weekend in September—and have put in a lot of effort. We are almost to the point at which the building will be functional, though not finished. I’ll be writing regularly to cover most of the stuff that we have done so far and to update things as we get the finishing touches on.


  1. So somewhere in this saga, will there be thrilling details about how your father-in-law almost made the ultimate sacrifice for this shed?
    Baltimore Aunt

  2. Cindy,

    Don't spoil the cliffhanger ending for everyone!


  3. I've been secretly watching this progress since my husband owns The Barnyard, which sells sheds etc. This blog is a great selling tool for his business...this shed would take his guys 2 days - and yes, he uses quality wood, not Lowes-quality! Oh, and they just drive them in and drop them off- ready to go...Shirley

  4. Can't wait to read the next installment. Am taking notes for when a shed is built in my yard!
    Baltimore Aunt

  5. So has FEMA requisitioned it for a field office yet??