6 Hazards to Avoid When Installing a Shed in Your Yard
In a recent post, I shared three compelling reasons to install a shed in your yard instead of renting a storage unit. Given our recent experience installing our shed, I’ll now warn you of six hazards you can avoid if you chose to do a project like this of your own. Some of these hazards apply to other projects as well so keep reading even if you aren’t installing a shed.
Image Credit: Mark Hunter
You see, this is actually our third shed. We previously installed these two smaller sheds in the side yard. One is a Rubbermaid brand, the other is a Suncast. We chose another Suncast because we have been very happy with the construction, durability and look.
But like all good things, there are some issues to be considered. This list isn’t exhaustive but should help you avoid some of the most common hazards people face when installing sheds.
Hazard #1: Running afoul of your association’s CC&Rs or city’s municipal codes
Before you decide whether to buy a prefab shed, like the Suncast we installed, you should carefully review the “covenants, conditions and restrictions” (CC&Rs) for your association, if applicable, and your city’s municipal codes. We don’t have an association but the municipal code for our city has very clear restrictions on where you can place your shed (setbacks) and requires you to get a building permit if it’s a permanent structure.
If we had gone that route, it would have cost a lot more money and been a long drawn-out process. Given our timeline, budget, shed location and because we were so happy with the smaller Suncast shed we installed, it was a pretty easy choice to buy a bigger Suncast 7-1/2-Feet by 10-1/2-Feet Alpine Shed for this project. If the city requires us to move the shed or if we were to sell and the new buyers didn’t like the shed where we put it, we can easily move it.
Hazard #2: Choosing a shed that is inappropriate for your climate
While I’ve read positive reviews of the Suncast sheds from people in colder, snowy climates, my Mr. said he wouldn’t choose this shed if we lived where there was driving snow or rain. He’s from Michigan and familiar with structures so I tend to believe him.
A metal or stick-build shed would probably be a better choice in that case. His worry is due to the gaps where the pieces come together (under the eves and at the floor). Nasty weather could force water into the shed.
One man who wrote a review suggested this: “Also plan on buying some caulk, and foam filler to fill all the gaps and holes between walls and roof.” His concern was to keep bugs/wasps out. Not a bad idea and could solve the moisture problem, too. Here’s a link to the Amazon reviews of this shed, which we found useful: Suncast Shed Reviews
Hazard #3: Failing to construct a suitable foundation
This is the hardest part of installing your shed. Once you decide where you want it located, you have to decide whether to make a concrete, wood or brick foundation. Here are some things to consider:
- Drainage: You want your shed where there is good runoff. If it’s going to be in an area that could pool water, you’re better off with a concrete foundation.
- Portability: If you think you might want to move the shed at some point in the future, use brick or wood for the foundation.
- Future repairs: If you have plumbing or electrical that runs under the shed location, build a brick or wood foundation.
- Critters: If you live in an area where there are critters who might like to live under or eat your shed, you’re better off with a cement or brick foundation.
Once you’ve decided on your foundation material, be sure to build it large enough to accommodate the floor. Don’t trust the measurements on the website selling the shed. Ask the manufacturer to email you the installation instructions. Use those dimensions! Here are some shots of our foundation being built.
Hazard #4: Failing to verify all parts are in the box before starting assembly
We experienced missing parts BOTH TIMES we installed a Suncast shed. Was it frustrating? YES! However, we wouldn’t let that stop us from buying it because it is really a well-designed and sturdy shed that has served us well.
That said, be sure to unpack the box in the garage first and compare the contents to the parts list in the instructions before you start assembling. Here’s just two pages from our booklet and you can see the notes in three different areas showing what we were missing. And that wasn’t all!
We called the company and they overnighted us the missing parts.
Hazard #5: Waiting to assemble everything at once
Most of the prefab sheds, especially the ones with windows, have a gazillion little parts. You don’t want to be standing in the blistering sun or freezing cold trying to put gaskets in windows; that’s challenging enough in the comfort of your garage! We found it much easier to do that work in advance in the garage. In fact here are a few tips for pre-assembly that might help: Have scissors and superglue handy.
The gaskets that come with the windows never fit. If you use superglue to attach the gaskets in the tracks, it will reduce frustration. Lay the doors/walls that need windows on a set of saw horses instead of standing them up to install the windows as the instructions say. It makes it much easier to hold the gaskets and the window in place from above while someone else screws things together from the underside.
With your reassembly done, it makes putting the shed up a breeze!
Hazard #6: Losing your temper at your helper!
It’s fun to build things and easier when you have a helper but we all know how frustrating it can be, too! Especially when you are under time constraints and there are parts missing. Try to remember it’s a stupid shed and not the Taj Mahal. Don’t get cranky at each other!
With a little careful planning you can avoid the hazards of installing a shed on your property and costs associated with renting a storage unit. I’d love to hear any other tips you have based on your experience. Or, are you now tempted to do this project yourself? I’d love to know!