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How to Build a Shed Base

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A shed base is an essential part of building a shed. It needs to be properly made in order to give your shed a solid foundation. On the face of things, building a shed base might seem like a daunting task, but follow these simple steps and you’ll have a level and sturdy base for your new shed in no time at all.

Plan where your shed will go

  • Make sure there’s access for delivery and access to all sides for maintenance and applying wood treatments etc.
  • Consider surrounding area conditions, such as foliage and young trees that may grow in the future.
  • A well-lit area is best if the building is to be used as a workshop.
  • The view of your garden from the planned area for summerhouses.
  • Consider whether you intend to run an electrical supply to the building.

Choose the type of base

It is crucial to provide a level and dry foundation for garden sheds. Never assemble a shed on an unsound base otherwise, you run the risk that screw holes connecting the wall panels will not line up. For larger buildings, especially if you’re going to use the shed as a workshop, a full concrete base is your best option. However, there are three main popular types of shed base;

  • Eze Base
  • Concrete Base
  • Paving Slab Base

Note: Whichever method is more suitable for you, we recommend that you have a 2” (5 cm) lip around the base of your shed. To calculate the size of base required for the particular building you wish to build, add 4” to the overall base dimensions, to ensure an adequate base size for your shed.

How to build an Eze Shed Base

Many garden sheds come with the option to purchase an Eze base. This is the easiest and quickest option, but make sure the ground you are laying your base on is flat and level. It is recommended to lay your Eze base on top of a concrete or paved surface. Watch the video guide below.

 

How to build a Concrete Shed Base

You will need:

  • Pegs and string
  • Building sand
  • Standard cement (all-in ballast, cement & water)
  • Timber for base formwork
  • Tape measure
  • Spade
  • Sweeping brush

1. Mark out your base

Decide where to position your garden shed. Allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using the pegs and string, mark out the base 2” (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Finally, measure diagonally across both sides to ensure the area is square.

1 How to Build a Shed Base

2. Level off the area

Concrete requires 3” (7.5 cm) of compacted hardcore (all-in ballast or other crushed rubble/gravel) underneath the 3″ concrete layer. The base can be level with the ground or raised above it. If you want it to be level, excavate the top earth to 6” (15 cm), to allow for the hardcore layer and 3” (7.5 cm) of concrete. Level the area with a rake and spade and remove the pegs.

3. Create a levelled hardcore2 How to Build a Shed Base

Set up a levelled formwork. This involves measuring, cutting and fitting timber to the shape of the base in order to contain the concrete. Check diagonal measurements to ensure the formwork is square and level as this will determine whether your shed base is 100% sturdy. Next, spread a layer ofwell-compactedd hardcore (all-in ballast or crushed gravel) and cover with a liberal amount of sand. This needs be well compacted and flattened down, preferably with a compacting tool or roller.

4: Add the concrete

Mix concrete using one part cement to five parts all-in-one ballast, or use bags of dry-mixed concrete and just add water. 3 How to Build a Shed Base

Remember small amounts of water should be added at a time, and mixed into the concrete. Be careful as excessive amounts may make the cement too sloppy and it needs to stay reasonably dry. Spread the concrete evenly and slightly above the formwork. This can be then levelled off with a long straight edge of timber resting on the formwork. Use a sawing motion slowly over the entire surface of the freshly laid concrete.

If wet weather is forecast, cover the concrete with polythene for 24-hours. In warm weather, cover the base with damp sacks and sprinkle them with water over the 24-hour period, this will ensure the drying concrete will not shrink and crack. The result will be a smooth, sound and level base. The perfect foundation for the construction of a garden shed.

How to build a Slab Shed Base

You will need:

  • Pegs and string
  • Flat Face Paving Slabs
  • Building sand
  • Standard cement (all in Ballast, cement & water)
  • Rake
  • Tape measure
  • Spade
  • Rubber mallet
  • Sweeping brush

1. Mark out your base4 How to Build a Shed Base

Decide where you will be placing your garden shed, leaving enough space from hedges, fences and border for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string, mark out the base 2 inch (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Finally, test the size by measuring the two diagonals to ensure the area is square.

2. Dig, level off and rake the area

Strip the topsoil and dig out to a depth of approx. 2.5” (7 cm) to accommodate the base. Level the area with a rake and remove the pegs
5 How to Build a Shed Base

3. Mix the cement

Mix together one part cement to eight parts building sand for a dry sand and cement mix. Spread this evenly, ensuring that the mix sits approx. 4 cm in depth. Be sure it is level.

 

4. Lay the paving slabs6 How to Build a Shed Base

Starting from one corner and working outward, lay the slabs by tapping down on the centre of each slab with a rubber mallet. Using a spirit level, ensure all the slabs are square, level and firmly butted together for a solid base.

 

5: Double check the base is level and flat

The completed base should now be level and square. Conduct a final check with a long straight-edged piece of timber to check if the base is level from each corner. Also, measure the diagonals to finally check that the base is square. Brush off any excess dry sand/cement mix which could hinder the levelling of the shed. The result is a smooth, solid and level base.

 

Will I need help to build my base?

Constructing the foundation for your garden shed is a fairly hassle-free task for a single person to complete. When it comes to actually assembling the shed, we do recommend an extra person is on hand for lifting and placing roof and wall panels in place.

 

For more information about all things sheds, check out our Advanced Guide to Sheds which covers how to apply treatment to your shed, insulation and so much more! 

 

Disclaimer: Please note that this guide is intended to present general information regarding the subject. All information indicated are representative and not exhaustive, which means that the results may vary depending on your item, its size, complexity and other circumstances. This is only advice and we do not accept responsibility for any problems you may have whilst following this guide, it is only a representation and not a definitive guide. When in doubt, please ask your manufacturer before proceeding.

 

 

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  • James

    Hi Shaun – thank you very much for your informative Blog about building a shed base. I am building one using your paving slab guidelines but have one quick question – what type of sand should I use for the Cement mix – Buidling sand or Sharp sand? What exactly is the difference?

  • Tim

    putting felt on the roof on a billyoh 4000 16 x10 feet – as the roof is so high and the long sides, can I put my weight on the roof to knock in the tacs on the felt, if I cant put any weight on roof – how do I attach the felt?

  • pace

    Please, is it possible to put a damp proof membrane under the slabs intended to be used as a shed base? Thanks

  • andy

    Hi got a 6 X 10 shed on paving slabs but not level so I’m getting 10 X 10 shed need to make a concrete base removed slabs how deep do in need to dig out and how much cement and Balast would I need ty andy

  • Sam Wardill

    What thickness of concrete would you have typically for a shed? Is it usually worth hiring a concrete mixer?

  • lin

    Getting a 12×10 summerhouse and wanted to know if it could be set on a raised platform (approx 12″). This is because the land gets very wet. Your help and advice would be appreciated. Thanks, Linda