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How to Build a Wooden Shed Base

Published: 18/10/2021

There are many reasons you may be thinking of building a wooden shed base – and we’ve written this guide to help you do just that.

But before you get started, it’d be wise to think about whether this kind of base is right for your needs...

What is the best base for a wooden shed?

As we say above, wooden shed bases are cheaper and easier to install than a concrete shed base.  However, concrete shed bases are sturdier, which makes them better suited to larger garden buildings (more on this later).

Even a plastic shed base would be less prone to rot and is just as easy to install as a wooden base. That said, a key benefit of wooden shed bases is their price…

What is the cheapest way to build a shed base?

If you buy a wooden shed base kit, the price will be similar to a plastic shed base. However, if you were construct the base yourself (without using a kit), a wooden base may be the cheapest option.   

A wooden base vs timber bearers

A wooden shed base is different to one made with timber bearers. The latter method involves placing thinner strips of wood across gravel or soil. By contrast, wooden shed bases are made entirely from timber.

Why pressure-treated timber is a must

The best wooden shed bases are made from pressure-treated timber, which means they’re protected from all forms of rot and insect attack. – a non-pressure-treated wooden shed base won’t last very long.

So, if you’re making the base yourself (and not using a kit), make sure the timber you use is pressure treated.  

Can you put your shed on a wooden base?

As we state earlier, a wooden base is better suited to smaller sheds. What do we mean by smaller? Given that 8’x6’ is standard, we’re referring to any building that needs an 8x6 wooden shed base or below.

So, without further ado, here’s a step-by-step guide to building your wooden shed base…

How do I build a wooden shed base?

When you build a shed base of any description, it’s important to do it right. In the case of a wooden shed base, all you need to do is follow these steps:

1. Gather all your equipment

To get started, you need:

  • Pressure-treated timber 
  • Metal spikes/L-shaped brackets
  • Power drill with screws and bits
  • Lump hammer
  • Tape measure
  • Spirit level 
  • Rake
  • Pegs and string
  • Pencil (if you’ve built the frame yourself)
  • A friend to help you

How big does your shed base need to be?

As you’re no doubt aware, the shed base needs to be big enough to hold the shed. With this in mind, you’ll need an 8x6 wooden shed base for an 8x6 shed (the most popular size), or a 7x5 base for a 7x5 shed (you get the picture).

You also need to ensure your frame has a depth of at least two inches and a is at least four inches wide.    

If you’re using a kit, it’ll already be cut to size – you just need to check it has the right dimensions before you start.

2. Figure out where to put the shed

This part of this process will play a major role in the sturdiness of your shed base – as well as the lifespan and condition of your shed as the years roll by.

You need to find an area in your garden (or elsewhere) that’s as level as possible. The nail or screw holes in the shed’s panels are unlikely to line up properly if the base isn’t level. In such cases, there are ways to create a base on uneven ground. To learn more, read our article on how to build a shed base on a slope.

You also need enough space the shed to prepare the ground, and you should avoid building it on swampy areas to prevent damp, subsidence, and various other issues.

You must also ensure you’re leaving enough of a gap between the shed and the fencing and walls. For information, read our blog post called “How Close Can a Shed Be to a Fence in the UK?”

Can you place a wooden shed base on grass?

We do not recommend building your wooden shed base on grass. Why? Because it needs to be perfectly level – and as grass tends to grow, the shed may not be level for long. Plus, the shed is also likely to sink or tilt over time.

For this reason, you should remove any grass in the area you intend to lay your shed as part of the ground preparation process…

3. Prepare the ground

To prepare the area, use your rake to remove any vegetation – including weeds and grass – from the spot you’re going to build your shed.

To start, measure and mark out the area using your tape measure, pegs, and string. Use your spirit level to check the ground is level before you move to step 3.

As we say in step 2, this will help keep the ground level and will stop moisture building up under the building.

4. Lay out the frame (and other parts)

Remove the pegs and string and then lay out of the part in your wooden shed base kit. Spread out the timber and fixings on the ground.

Arrange each piece of timber on the ground (narrow side down) to form a grid. If your shed that is longer than it is wide (or vice versa), pieces of the same size should sit parallel to each other.

Before you move on, check the instructions that come with your kit to make sure you have everything you need before you start putting it together.

5. Prepare the frame

If you’re using a kit, then it should come with holes already drilled – in which case, you just need to line them up and fix them together using the nails/screws and power drill.

But if you’re not using a kit, you’ll need to measure up and mark the holes where you want to attach the crossbeams (using your tape measure and pencil). Marking with the pencil and pre-drilling doesn’t just help ensure you drill the holes in the right place – it also helps prevent the wood splitting.  

6. Assemble the wooden shed base

Screw or nail the beams together. Take each L-shaped bracket and screw into position (usually at the corner of the grid – but check your instructions) and hammer it down until it sits flush with the timber. Check the top of the bracket is level with the frame and screw/nail the plate to the wood.

You can now build your shed (although you may want to rest – or at least have a cup of tea – first).

For help assembling your shed, click here.

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