How to Build a Shed in 7 Simple Steps (Yes, That’s Me – On the Roof!)

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I know – can you believe it?

Me neither, but while there is nothing that can be said in my defense, it did happen…

You see, Patrisha’s parents came down to Lima in time for twin’s Birthdays; they are 5 now :) My dad-in-law is a life-long Home Depot man and you’d be hard-pressed to find something that he can’t do which can be done with one’s hands.  It’s really quite amazing indeed – the guy can fix anything!

Related: How to Flip Houses for Maximum Profit: Controlling Your Rehab Project

Well, every time he comes to town he looks for something to fix or build – that’s just his thing.  Nonetheless – usually I say no to his advances on the “let’s build it” front, and we go golfing instead.  But, this time for some reason I will never completely rationalize, I said – let’s build a shed.

For someone (me) who spends his days telling Brandon Turner to knock it off with all of the DIY projects and pay someone instead, building a shed was an unlikely scenario indeed; one that is never going to replay in all likelihood.  But, what’s done is done, and here is how to build a shed – enjoy :)

1. First we Framed the Walls.

I had a concrete pad in place, so we did not need to do that part and were able to proceed to framing right away.

We built the walls on the ground, since it’s a lot easier this way.  Once each frame was built, we nailed OSB to the frame, remembering to square the frame beforehand.  We built the first wall, and then built the second and third walls right there on top of the first one.

2. Then we Stood Them Up.

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You can’t see in the picture, but in the back we braced the walls by driving an 8-foot 2 x 4 into the ground at an angle and nailing it temporarily at the top of the wall.  Doing so really helped stabilize the structure while there were only 2 or 3 walls up.  Once we stood up 3 walls, there was space to build the last wall.

3. Then we Built the Roof Structure.

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That’s me hanging on for dear life – that was FUN (sorta)!  And do you see that circular saw sitting on top of those bundles of shingles – I used that!  No crap…take that Brandon Turner!

 4. Then we Put the OSB on the Roof.

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 This is the step that all hell broke loose on.  Why?  Look in the picture – Ben’s got a gun!  Run people!!!

In all seriousness, a framing gun shoots those nails at an incredible velocity.  Be careful when using one!

 5. Then we Put in the Door and the Window.

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The thing about windows and doors is you got to make sure that they are straight.

I guess you don’t really have to, but I would think it’s a good idea.  A lot of times, the frame is not totally straight, or is sitting on a foundation that’s a bit off-level, and unless you make appropriate adjustments you are sure to end up with a door that doesn’t close and window that doesn’t open – not good…lol

So – don’t be lazy and take the time to shim those out until perfectly level.

 6. Then we Put the Shingles Down.

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What can I say – I look like I know what I’m doing…

7. Then we Started to Hang Siding.

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The story ends here folks…

All good things come to an end, and prior to us being finished with the shed Patrisha’s parents had to fly back home.  The siding still needed finished, and the soffits needed to be hung.  The perimeter of the shed needed water-proofed, and the site needed cleaned up.

I had two choices – either to finish the job on my own or to outsource it.  Guess which option I took…?

I should have just sourced it out to begin with, but I have to admit that the experience wasn’t completely void of fun.  Perhaps in about 5 or 10 years I’ll be ready to have some more fun.  One thing is for sure – next time Brent comes to town we are golfing every day!

Note To Newbies

All kidding aside, I have several questions for you:

1. Do you know how to frame a wall?

2. Do you know how to hang a door?

3. Do you know how much it costs to purchase a square of shingles; do you know how to install them and how much time it takes a contractor?

4 Do you know how to hand vinyl siding?

5. Do you know what I mean when I say “square” of siding or shingle?

6. Do you know how to shim a window?

7. Do you know how to mud drywall?

If you don’t know the answer to these and about 150 other questions, how are you supposed to know if the work is being done right and the price you are paying is fair?

Related: How to Estimate Rehab Costs with No Construction Background

I know that I poke at Brandon every chance I get, but that’s because I respect him and his ability to tackle all of the above.  While I choose another path of sourcing all of this work out, I don’t want you to misconstrue that as lack of knowledge of how the work needs to be done and what it should cost.

Bottom line – while I very much oppose the notion of DIY approach to running your business, I encourage you to gain perspective on what it takes, and then you’ll know how to find the right people to do it!

Agreed?

Be sure to leave your comments below!

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About Author

Ben Leybovich has been investing in multifamily residential real estate since 2006. His area of expertise is creative finance. Ben works extensively with private as well as institutional financing. Ben is a licensed Realtor with YOCUM Realty in Lima, Ohio. He is also the author of Cash Flow Freedom University and creator of a cash flow analysis software CFFU Cash Flow Analyzer.

32 Comments

  1. OK, now that you got that out of your system, let’s get back to business…..

    Seriously, hope you enjoyed the time w/ your in-laws.

      • R105.2 Work exempt from permit. Permits shall not be required for the following. Exemption from permit requirements of this code shall not be deemed to grant authorization for any work to be done in any manner in violation of the provisions of this code or any other laws or ordinances of this jurisdiction.

        Building:
        1. One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area does not exceed 200 square feet (18.58 m2).

  2. Great job! I have done quite a bit of construction in my days, especially as a teenager. I had a friend whose father had several beach rentals, and I worked on them every weekend, for free.

    Well, I got to hang out with him for the weekend and stay at his house so it was fun.

    It never hurts to have some construction skills. Even if your sub-contract it out. And it can be rewarding.

    Hopefully you had a pneumatic nail gun for installing the shingles.

  3. Wow! I didn’t expect a post like this from you at all. Seems a bit out of character. But hey, you make some good points. Getting your hands dirty like Brandon does once in a while has some benefits after all. Just know when enough’s enough. Thanks for putting this together to share with us all. Nice photos. ;-)

  4. Ben! You look about my age in those pics! How long ago was this??? HAHAHA

    Two things:
    1. I think you are spot on in knowing the DIY stuff and how it can help with hiring contractors. That same SFR I just bought that you said yesterday would “Suck a$$”…lol…I did a lot of the work myself. It taught me some seriously valuable lessons though.

    2. I didn’t know you were a golfer! We will have to grab a round sometime. Any peak into your game handicap wise??

    • Nick – cruisin for a bruising…best keep off my age lol

      Saying that I’ll go golfing is hardly the same as being a golfer. But, I’d love to go out with you. Come down to Lima any time ro find me 100 and we’ll mix business with pleasure :)

      Thanks Nick

  5. I helped my brother in law build a playground for his kids last weekend. It was pretty fun trying to figure out the 45 page instruction manual and we finished 5 of the 43 steps in about three hours. It was actually fun, but part of that fun was hanging out with a friend and having a beer while we worked.

    No way I would do that on my own to save a few bucks in labor, because my time is worth more.

    Ben, have you seen the skit on Saturday Night Live? Get off the shed!

    • LOL
      Well – I don’t drink beer. And there was no instruction manual. But, I did get to hang out with my father-in-law who, aside for being a really nice guy, also knows more about construction than I ever want to (but it won’t hurt me to know this stuff).

      Yeah – I am right there with you Mark in that this was anything but most efficient or cost-effective use of my time. But, such is life—you know what I mean?

  6. Seeing what others can’t or don’t see.

    Great statement Ben. My market is the Atlanta market and we where chased out of the core counties some time ago. My VP of strategy (brainy wife) figured out what Warren Buffet would have told us; find what’s hated and buy alot of it and become the expert in that ugly stuff. We have and are much better off now than if the Funds let us continue our cookie cutter same as everyone else ways. LOL!!!

    Now I’m moving into another hated area, Mobile Home Parks. Easier to buy since the Funds and Chinese haven’t spoiled the sellers like in MF’s with cash offers so they still do 80% owner financing and great terms.

    I bought into Ben’s CFFU and it’s a great education on valuation and not just for MF deals.

    • Perspective – key to success indeed Curt!

      Keep me posted on your adventures with Mobile Home Parks. I concur that this is a good niche; one I’ve considered often myself…

      Thanks for mentioning the CFFU :) People – I did not pay him…I promise!

  7. Nothing like learning skill from the previous generation. I’m pretty sure you look at that shed in an entirely different way than if you’d hired it done… .

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