(Last modified on March 4th, 2020)
By now, I’m pretty sure we’ve established the shed as the best home for any man cave out there. A shed provides lots of space between you and the responsibilities of the house, keeps your fancy stuff away from mischievous kids if you happen to have them, and allows you to boost the volume of your movies or music as high as you like—at any hours! After reading all about their advantages, what’s not to like about them? Well, for one, their price tag is very high. That’s why I want to talk about how to make your own DIY shed quickly and affordably!
Prepping for your shed takes time, materials, planning, and most importantly…money! Without a doubt, the cheapest way to build a shed is to plan, prep, and purchase everything yourself. Make sure you know about all the building restrictions in your area (which I go over here) before you settle on a plan. That way, you don’t run into legal trouble down the line. Unless you’re an architect, I also recommend running out and grabbing a cheap shed plan to get you started (premade plans also make things like two story sheds a cinch).
As for the material costs, you have two options: purchase from a large home improvement store or shop for the materials yourself. Home improvement stores will carry the most common sizes of wood needed and even cut custom shapes for you. However, they are pretty expensive as far as their price tags are concerned. Grab your cheap essentials like nails, tools, wires, and whatever else from any store, but shop local for wood.
The advantage of using local lumber is that you can guarantee the quality of the wood. They usually ship bulk purchases (which is what a man cave shed would be) for free. If you hand them a plan, they can cut all of the custom parts for you. They even know the local building guidelines and help you choose the right materials for the job. All in all, the employees give you just as much value as the wood they provide.
Roofing, foundation-laying, electricity, and plumbing are best left to professionals. Always have someone inspect afterwards to ensure your contractors deliver on their price. The reason for this is because all of these take professional knowledge and will cost you a fortune if they break down. It saves you money in the long run to make sure everything is right in the first place, even if it costs more money up front! Similarly, using an inspector catches any would-be lazy contractors or outright unqualified workers.
Since the price of materials fluctuates wildly depending on your location (forested areas offer much cheaper wood, for example), you will have to do specific math on your own. Small sheds will generally cost less than $2000, while larger sheds go up to $6000. This does not include the price of specialty contractors for the stuff I mentioned above. I go into far more detail on the cost of building a shed here. Once you build your shed, plan out your conversion to a man cave with this post I did.
DIY shed kits contain everything you need to get started. They drastically reduce the amount of time you need to build the shed and allows you a small amount of customization. Occasionally, the companies that offer DIY shed kits will also offer contractor labor, allowing you to get a pre-constructed shed for thousands less than a completely DIY shed would be. However, since the focus of this article is on completely DIY sheds, you should look for any extra details on DIY here. For now, let’s focus on the topic at hand!
Since structural integrity is highly important in a building you want to occupy (especially for something like a man cave), I highly recommend you find some pre-made plans. This also helps you conform to local building codes—most pre-made shed plans take those into account! If your local stores don’t have any you like, consider grabbing an online one or something via mail. Believe it or not, you can actually commission architects to provide a unique shed plan for you—although that might not be cost-efficient compared to premade ones.
If you decide to do your DIY shed plan from scratch, then pay attention to your foundation quality and the amount of weight your structure can hold. This determines both the size and sturdiness of your shed, along with what sort of roof you put on top! If you skip the math in this process, it invites disastrous consequences. A roof collapse, cracked foundation, or flooded shed are the last things you need.
Now that we know how to gather your materials, let’s talk about the part you’ve been waiting for—the building! Follow these directions in order to quickly and efficiently create a shed. Grab a helping hand, because a lot of this will take some heavy lifting!
Make sure your foundation is on raised ground to prevent flooding. If you are using concrete blocks as a foundation, lay them all out and use a long plank to make sure they are aligned. A bubble level also ensures that your foundation does not have a slant. Once you have that done, go ahead and build your initial floor. Secure it with steel-cabled ground anchors so that it does not start floating if a flood goes through the area!
While it might seem strange to start on the roof now, you have to remember that these things are heavy. You want it to go up in tandem with the walls, with the two halves of the roof getting hooked up once they’re in plays. Your rafters should have a 45* angle on each side, ensuring maximum drainage.
This is pretty simple. Follow your guide, nail your stuff together, and make sure your support beams do their job. It’s incredibly important that those beams can actually support the building, so make sure each one of them is properly cut, sized, leveled, and up to snuff. Use large screws to connect it directly to the floor frame. The front and rear walls go up first, then follow up with any interior walls. I recommend throwing plywood on your walls to cover the frame at this point. Install the final walls when you’re done with the interior.
To finish throwing it all together, start building the triangular portions that go up on the ends of your shed. These trusses support your roof. Build your trusses one at a time until it looks like you have a skeletal roof in place. After that, carefully put up the roof frames that you made early. Cover it with plywood and use some properly installed shingles to waterproof it.
Since this is an incredibly complicated process and involves way more than I put here, expect a bigger article on how to build a custom shed soon!
Well, you’ve done it! You know how to grab some shed plans, find the cheapest materials, and build your very own man cave shed! Or, you know, whatever else you want to use your shed for. The possibilities are endless! Although it takes way more work to build your shed from scratch, following these step-by-step instructions and making a finished shed all on your own feels immensely satisfying. There’s no greater sensation than looking at something you created with pride. Now go out there and build something to be proud of!