For those homeowners who are considering the idea of building a shed, making certain that your structure has a solid foundation is an absolute must. Regardless of how well your structure is built, a poor foundation will cause any building to deteriorate rapidly, or even collapse over time.
Starting with a well planned shed foundation will ensure that your building will withstand the test of time, and will provide you with years of reliable service. While common sense might suggest that smaller sheds don’t require a traditional foundation, your local building inspector may have another opinion.
It’s very important that before you proceed with building a shed, or laying a shed foundation, that you consult your local building inspector. Building codes in your area will ultimately determine how you plan your overall build.
For buildings measuring 8’x6′ and under, a solid gravel base and a combination of foundation blocks supporting the structure is generally acceptable. Once your local building inspector has considered your shed plans, he will then determine the type of foundation that local codes require.
Shed foundations will fall into one of two major categories; on-grade and frost level. For most sheds, on-grade foundations are the best solution. This type of foundation is either a poured “floating” slab or a wooden foundation that is support by concrete foundation block. In either case, an on-grade foundation requires much less site work, and far less concrete.
A frost-level foundation takes into account the frost-line of those areas in colder climates. When concrete footings are poured below this line, the foundation becomes less susceptible to movement caused by the surrounding ground freezing and thawing. While this type of foundation offers the best protection for any building, it’s generally reserved for larger commercial structures.
Shed foundation prints will guide the builder and homeowner through the process of building an on-grade foundation. While the specifics of the plans will vary depending on the shed size, the fundamental principles remain the same.
When floating concrete slabs are used, the site is prepared by first removing any organic material to a specified depth above the frost-line. This area is then filled with a layer of crushed stone that is leveled and thoroughly compacted using a commercial-grade compactor. Once forms are installed and reinforcing mesh is placed inside the formed area, the concrete can be poured and leveled.
Any shed foundation, especially a concrete slab, should be as square and level as possible. While wood foundations may be adjusted to some degree, concrete slabs are far less forgiving.
A foundation using a combination of wood and concrete block will start with a level building site and a compacted layer of stone.
This stone provides a solid base to lay concrete foundation blocks that will in turn support pressure treated timbers to place the foundation frame or shed sub-floor on top of. Depending on the size of the shed, the placement and number of foundation blocks will vary.
When you build a solid shed foundation, you offer yourself peace of mind knowing that your building will stand the test of time, and will not deteriorate prematurely.
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