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Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
6/8/20 7:44 p.m.

You'd think it's a simple topic, but I've kind of gotten myself into analysis paralysis.

My wife wants a she-shed. She wants somewhere that's weatherproof, will have electricity, air conditioning and a real floor, that she can keep clean and do crafts and stuff in and get away from the kids. 

I looked into the Leonard sheds (wow, expensive) and some of the units at Lowe's (seem to get expensive when you add options.)

I can nail boards together at right angles if I try and follow a plan. Should I just try to build my own? If I keep it smaller than 12' in any dimension, I don't have to meet residential code. What kind of expense am I looking at for a shed like in the plan, without the large barn doors, but with a couple of windows, a linoleum floor and a finished interior? Am I better off starting with one of the pre-built kits from Lowe's?


Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/8/20 8:36 p.m.

Since building is what i do for a living i lean toward DIY.  Your location can have some effect on cost, but not too much.  I think you could probably build something in the 12 x 12 range for under ~$6,500 (materials).  I'm figuring insulation, A/C, double pane windows, lighting, Hardie siding, architecture shingle roof, painted... turn key.

Figure roughly $50/square foot for materials and you will probably do it for less.


Jay_W SuperDork
6/8/20 9:13 p.m.

If you buy one of the kits from say Lowe's or home depot, reinforce the floor way more than I did. I thought adding a couple 2x4's would be enough. It wasn't. Our shed floor looks lime the sort of thing you'd see in a carnival funhouse. 

EfiniMotorsport New Reader
6/8/20 9:46 p.m.

I just built a 12x12 a few months ago. It cost about $2500 by the tie I finished but that's without all the extras you're looking at. The box store sheds are absolute garbage construction. I used 2x6 for the floor 12" on center with a support beam at 6' and cats. It is built so I can park my sand rail an engine hoist and a few engine inside it. There are two 5' doors  and two 4x12 lofts with about 4' of clearance in the middle. it ended up being a little taller then I planned but gave me more room for storage. The walls are framed with 2x3's  24" on center (needed every possible inch to fit the rail) and covered in T111. The roof is 2x6's 16 on center with 1/2" plywood and shingles. The only thing I have left on it is the corner trim boards and the ramp to be able to get all the heavy stuff in and out. Here's some pics

Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón)
Brett_Murphy (Forum Patrón) MegaDork
6/9/20 10:10 a.m.

Thanks for the updates. I'm betting I can get this built for way less than $6500, but it will take some swift responses to "free" item listings and a willingness to tear down existing sheds.

nimblemotorsports HalfDork
6/9/20 10:30 a.m.

This is the 'she shed' I built for my wife.  Concrete floor (with porche).  It is 15x8, we have a 120sf rule here.   I built a shed for my neighbor, I charged him $3500 I think, it was 12x10, no windows, but a skylight, which keeps the walls free to store stuff and still lets it lite up with sunshine.


wearymicrobe UberDork
6/9/20 10:35 a.m.

This seems like the perfect time for a steel building with a poured pad. They are reasonable cheap, very sturdy and they go up easy. 12x12 is not that expensive when you factor in construction and wood. Plus you can insulated them very easy. 

KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
6/9/20 10:36 a.m.

Build your own.  Years ago I built a shed for a co-worker.  I drew up plans to stick build it and she balked at the price of materials ($2500 or so) and went on her own and bought a crap Lowes shed for $1100.  Well her kit didn't include any sort of floor or shingles so those had to be added in.  It took me just as long to build the thing and she ended up with a much worse product.  She saved that $1000 though!

nderwater UltimaDork
6/9/20 12:00 p.m.

I was kicking around the idea of building one of these Allwood kits

...but then I moved into a subdivision with an HOA, so yeah, that's out of the question now.  The kits linked above may be more than you hoped to spend but they could give you some design ideas.

1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/9/20 12:09 p.m.

Twenty years ago, I built a small shed from scratch.  Looked at a few different plans, and ended up adapting one to my taste.  I recall it was 12' x 8'--big enough for a push mower and some stuff, since my house at the time lacked a garage.  I overbuilt everything, but even so, I don't think materials were too much over $1000.  That was a few years back, though.

Next shed I build was a few months ago.  Had a friend put in a concrete pad and built a 16' x 10' kit, which sold for right around $2k, minus the floor, minus paint, minus shingles, minus fasteners.  I had fairly reasonable expectations, but some of the wood they sent was of a quality that I would not have selected at the home center store.  You get what you get, and it was useable, just not pretty.

The good thing about the kit, is that everything is cut to size.  It's like a giant jigsaw puzzle you get to nail and screw together, and it goes much faster if you're not having to make a bunch of saw cuts.  All in all, I'd have to say they did a good job with the kit.  After my wife got paint on it, it looks sharp, and sitting on the slab, it's solid as a rock.  I feel that if I scratch-built it, I'd have a better shed for a little less money, but it would have taken me a lot longer to get it finished.

Boost_Crazy HalfDork
6/9/20 1:37 p.m.

I built one recently, you can build a much better shed for your money than one of the Lowe’s kits. Like others have said, you need to do the floor and roof anyway, which is much of the work. Plus they have short walls, 6’ Vs. the 8’ you would have if you built your own. That said, it sounds like you want more of a small house than a shed, like Nimble built. Much different design requirements with and more money than a simple shed as far as insulation, dust intrusion, doors and windows, etc.. A shed can make a good workshop, but it won’t be like a house unless you build it like a house. Here is what I built, optimized for storage. Cost around $2k in materials...

14x8 with doors on both ends (which I absolutely love.) Large attic storage with just a 4x6 opening. To make it more like a living space, it would need weather sealed doors- man doors would probably make more sense unless you were storing large objects. It would need windows, more insulation, finishing of the interior walls, and electrical. Also flooring over the plywood floor. Maybe $1000 more in materials depending on the cost of the doors and windows? 

Purple Frog (Forum Supporter)
Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) Reader
6/9/20 2:17 p.m.

Brent started with this statement: 
My wife wants a she-shed. She wants somewhere that's weatherproof, will have electricity, air conditioning and a real floor,

So, my earlier post looks high priced compared to posts that followed.   frown(and have any of you checked out material prices recently..)  

What i was pricing was a completely finished building inside and out, insulation, electrical, A/C. flooring... like the Lady asked for.   Electric circuits from the main panel, yadda, yadda.   Drying in the building isn't even half the finished product.

As always... YMMV

I did this one myself in 2017.   36 x 24   Insulated, 220 circuits, A/C, massive LED lighting, Hardie siding, concrete floor reinforced for post lifts.   Under $33/square foot  move in cost

Boost_Crazy HalfDork
6/9/20 2:31 p.m.

In reply to Purple Frog (Forum Supporter) :

I think it depends on what the OP really wants/needs. A nice shed or a small “inexpensive” house. A little overlap between the two depending on intended use, but very different things. He also mentioned 12x12 to keep it from having to meet code, but I think running power automatically triggers that anyway in most areas. 

1988RedT2 MegaDork
6/9/20 2:42 p.m.

Yeah, some of the pics posted in this thread do not jibe with my idea of a "shed."  Just to be clear, this is what the 16 x 10 from H-D for $2k looks like.  (Disclaimer:  Price does not include floor, shingles, nails, caulk, or paint) It looks pretty good to me and it gets a borkload of stuff out from under my feet in my actual garage.  It actually looks even better now that the doors are completely painted. laugh

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/9/20 3:02 p.m.

Wow, two threads for almost the same subject at the same time- both asked on their own...


With those parts, you can desing something pretty flexible.  And I'm betting you could add some creative design features to it.

nderwater UltimaDork
6/9/20 3:36 p.m.

This is a bit of a rabbit hole, but Deek from RelaxShacks has spent a decade designing and building unique and inexpensive sheds that often incorporate re-purposed and salvage materials. You might dig through his blog for inspiration:


newrider3 Reader
6/9/20 7:40 p.m.

I like to build sheds much closer to house specification than normal shed standards - studs on 16" centers rather than 24", full 8 foot height walls, real doors, etc. You can build one like the proverbial brick E36 M3house for far less than a wimpy kit. The only thing separating a well built shed from a tiny house/she-shed/casita is finishing out the interior.
Build your footprint based on 4x8 plywood dimensions (ie 8x8, 8x12, 12x12, 12x16)- minimize cutting of subfloor, wall sheathing, and roof sheathing. Use 92-and-5/8" studs; you don't have to cut the studs to length, and with a proper single sill plate and double top plate, you don't have to cut down your wall sheathing either.
There really isn't that much cutting or measuring, just for door/window openings, and trusses/rafters. Youtube can teach you how to cut a rafter in a few minutes.

My first shed was 8x12, 8 foot walls (2x4 studs on 16" centers) with a floor system based on 2x6 treated lumber on 12" centers, resting on those concrete deck blocks. I used LP SmartSide 4x8 strand panels as both sheathing and siding, asphalt composition shingles, and homemade roof trusses using 2x4s and OSB gusset plates. Think I spent something between $1500 and $1800, 3 years ago. Everything was screwed together, slow but strong.

My next one was 12x12, 8 foot walls (2x4 studs on 16" centers), 2x6 floor joists on 12" centers attached to 6x6 skids with screws and brackets. The floor system was screwed together, just like building a deck, but this time I used a framing nailer to build and skin the walls. 2x6 rafters, the clear span ceiling is kind of nice compared to trusses. This time I sheathed the walls with 7/16" OSB, and used Metal Sales Classic Rib steel panels for both siding and roofing. This stuff is super easy to install for a DIYer. Found a Jeld-Wen entry door at the Habitat ReStore, slightly used. Spent about $2500 on this one, last August. 

alfadriver (Forum Supporter)
alfadriver (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/9/20 8:35 p.m.

In reply to newrider3 :

Other than the extra number of studs, the fact that you are just building it w/o a "kit" certainly does make it less expensive.  The hard part is to know how to make the roof so that it's easy to attach to the walls.  Most of us are not skille to know that, but if that's easier than we all think it is, that would be nice to know.

One of the best parts about your plan- it can be mostly built without cuts- 12ft 2x4's for the one wall, 8ft for the other, and then 8ft studs.  Then again, you put some ties between the studs, too.  Still, that construction technique is very straightforward.

But that roof.... 

newrider3 Reader
6/9/20 9:07 p.m.

In reply to alfadriver (Forum Supporter) :

I'm certainly not skilled - this roof was the first set of rafters I had ever cut, actually the first common rafter roof I had seen in person. 

Trusses are "easiest" - draw a pattern on the floor or make a jig on a sheet of plywood, and build them all identical. Then you just plunk them down with the bottom chord resting on the top plates, and secure with truss clips and some lateral 2x4s for bracing to keep them from parallelogramming over before you get the roof sheathing on.


When I created the rafter pattern for the above shed, I actually went about it the hard way by building a mockup on the garage floor to get the angles and cuts correct. Turns out it is far easier to lay out a rafter using a speed square once you know the secrets. 
Common rafters then rest on the top plate and against the ridge beam. The ridge beam is just a 2x6 or 2x8 suspended temporarily in place with some bracing at either end wall. Pros will just toe-nail everything together, but I used Simpson rafter connectors at the ridge beam because they are idiot-proof.

(look closely, and you'll see that my fit-up at the seat cut and top plate is piss-poor.)


I also think building a properly supported 2x6 deck for the floor is superior to the kit/premanufactured sheds, I've seen some with floor joists built with 2x4s on 24" centers. Hardly adequate unless it's resting directly on a concrete pad, and in that case the joists and subfloor are redundant anyway.

Woody MegaDork
6/9/20 9:13 p.m.

The Amish really have this down. Sure, you can do it yourself with nicer materials, but pre-fab really is the Easy Button.


jimbob_racing Dork
6/10/20 12:08 a.m.

Well timed thread. I'm getting ready to either build or buy a shed.  Great information here. Thanks guys.

jgrewe Reader
6/10/20 12:42 a.m.

For the DIY direction, here is a great site that will give you cut lengths and even paper templates for cuts for your roof structure.

Lots of good info in general


I took the hard way doing my shed and did a hip roof to match my house. 

nimblemotorsports HalfDork
6/10/20 1:52 a.m.

I really don't like cutting and toe nailing rafters with a birdsmouth.  When you cut the angle at the top of the rafter to mate the ridge board, that triangle piece is the exact angle to make the rafter flush with the top plate.  What I do is use a rafter tie and tap in and glue that wedge in.  I don't know if that is code or not, but for a shed it saves some time.

On my addition that DID have to pass code, I ripped an angled top plate so no birdsmouth.  It was a low pitched roof, so not much angle there.

JesseWolfe Reader
6/10/20 4:46 a.m.

Definitely a well timed thread, I've been investigating sheds a for a few months and am planning on pulling the trigger on a prefab shed next spring.  I can go 258² feet without a building permit.  Shedsunlimited.net seems to have reasonable prices for a "finished" shed, minus interior and electrical, with the upgrades available for a more sturdy product. 

Ian F (Forum Supporter)
Ian F (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
6/10/20 7:28 a.m.

I DIY designed and built my 8 x 16 shed a few years ago.  I honestly don't remember how much money I have into it.  I did 2x8 floor joists, 16" OC and 8' walls with 2x4s 16" OC.  I bought a pre-hung window (that I promptly covered inside for security, so not sure why I bothered...) and built my own double doors that sort of seal.  The spider colony inside is nice and dry....  I still want/need to run some electric out to the shed - probably just a 10/3 direct-bury cable to a couple of 20A breakers in my house panel.  Lights and a receptacle for charging batteries would be useful. 

It's a shed for storing lawn equipment, motorcycles, large tools and big car parts. So insulation is not required.

If I could do it again, I'd look for a pre-hung double exterior door or just a single 3' door or a 36"/12" or whatever - just something pre-hung.  My self-built 24" doors are flimsy and don't seal at all.  That said... as I look at door options and associated costs from THD, I will likely have to come up with another option.

I will say there is a HUGE difference between building a "man-shed" and a "she-shed" so I would say that $6500 cost probably isn't far off.  The latter will need to be much more finished as we men tend to be a little more tolerant of sharing our space with bugs and whatnot.  While you can likely differ some of the costs over time as well and offset some with DIY labor, the simple fact is you are building a mini-house more than a shed.

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