The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 05-07-2007, 08:36 PM
Spoons Spoons is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta
Posts: 10,464
Garden sheds: how to anchor?

We're going to get one of those assemble-it-yourself garden sheds for our yard. But I'm wondering--how do you anchor it to the ground?

Obviously, we're not pouring a foundation for a simple garden shed but something other than just plunking it down needs to be done. A quick survey of the neighbourhood reveals that some just sit on the ground (presumably anchored) while others sit on simple wooden platforms. I was thinking of setting the shed on some level and square paving stones, but maybe that's not a good idea.

Any ideas, folks? How can/should I anchor a simple garden shed to the ground?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 05-07-2007, 08:43 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 21,829
I have one. My uncle and I assembled it. One piece of advice. I got one from Sears and it works fine but it took forever to put together. I mean like 30+ man hours or so. We may be rather slow and beginners at that specific assembly but there was no way a newbie could put one together in the 12 hours indicated in the manual (mine consists of thin metal sheets screwed to a metal frame). The first step was to build a platform which we did out of 2x4's and custom cut sheets of plywood which was no small task on its own. That is what anchors it to the ground although I vaguely remember some stakes as well.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 05-07-2007, 08:46 PM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
http://www.randgsupply.com/Warehouse...anchorkits.htm

http://www.screen-house.com/arrow_anchor_kits.htm
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 05-07-2007, 08:53 PM
Zulema Zulema is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
We bought a metal shed in a box and placed it on a wooden frame that we leveled on the ground, kind of like the framework for a deck with no footings. It came with it's own floor structure of metal that is supposed to be covered with plywood for the floor. We attached the floor frame to the deck frame and then covered it with plywood. The shed is also attached to the metal floor frame.

The shed is attached to the frame and we did not anchor it to the ground since it will be usually full of some heavy items. We considered anchoring it with cables attached to underground poured concrete like they sell for post holes, with an eye bolt sunk into it.

I know someone else with the exact same shed and they just stuck it on the ground and filled it up, it hasn't blown away yet.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 05-07-2007, 08:54 PM
Shagnasty Shagnasty is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: May 2000
Posts: 21,829
Those did come into play on mine but that was the easy part. The ones in the first link look so very mystical.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 05-07-2007, 09:45 PM
Nanoda Nanoda is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Edmonton
Posts: 3,749
Anchoring one of those to the ground wouldn't have occurred to me. I'm more concerned about drainage. Over time, the shed can settle, and water can rot the boards at the bottom.

My parents lay down some cheap 3 or 4" diameter pressure-treated posts to raise theirs when we built it perhaps 10 years ago, and it's still fine (though I admit it is mostly under the house eves). Whoever built the ones behind my house now didn't do that, and while the top of the structure is doing ok, the floors are going soft in places.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:20 AM
corkboard corkboard is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
The best way- and granted, this may be outside the scope of work you anticipated- is to dig out the earth under the shed, but one foot larger in each dimension. For instance, if you're installing an 8'x10' shed, dig out an area that's 10'x12', about a foot deep. Fill this area up to the surrounding ground level with pea gravel- stones about 1" to 1.5". This is for drainage so the shed won't settle and sink over time.

Once the gravel bed is level, place four pressure treated 4"x4" railroad ties on top in the orientation that you want the shed to sit. Make sure they're level front to back and side to side. Drill two holes vertically through each tie and hammer an 18" piece of rebar through the holes into the gravel bed- this will keep them from shifting. Never let un-pressure treated wood sit directly on stone or dirt- it'll rot in no time.

Then make a frame floor out of 2"x4" and plywood, screw through the frame into the railroad ties, then attach the shed to the frame floor. Now you have a shed that's not going anywhere, with proper runoff drainage, no wood rot issues, and it won't tilt or settle.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:22 AM
Lunar Saltlick Lunar Saltlick is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
I gather you're not interested in building a shed from scratch, but this book answers pretty much all of the questions you might have regarding the base of a shed. It's a fun read, very clear, with millions of tips. It discusses four different bases for sheds and gives very practical advice for creating each base.

http://www.taunton.com/store/pages/070684.asp

I have no affiliation with this company, but I have read the book front to back and am planning to build a shed some year when the current aluminum one falls to pieces.

Check out the book's description and the table of contents to see whether it looks as though it will answer your questions.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:37 AM
Lunar Saltlick Lunar Saltlick is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2007
Quote:
Originally Posted by McNew
The best way- and granted, this may be outside the scope of work you anticipated- is to dig out the earth under the shed, but one foot larger in each dimension. For instance, if you're installing an 8'x10' shed, dig out an area that's 10'x12', about a foot deep. Fill this area up to the surrounding ground level with pea gravel- stones about 1" to 1.5". This is for drainage so the shed won't settle and sink over time.

Once the gravel bed is level, place four pressure treated 4"x4" railroad ties on top in the orientation that you want the shed to sit. Make sure they're level front to back and side to side. Drill two holes vertically through each tie and hammer an 18" piece of rebar through the holes into the gravel bed- this will keep them from shifting. Never let un-pressure treated wood sit directly on stone or dirt- it'll rot in no time.

Then make a frame floor out of 2"x4" and plywood, screw through the frame into the railroad ties, then attach the shed to the frame floor. Now you have a shed that's not going anywhere, with proper runoff drainage, no wood rot issues, and it won't tilt or settle.
McNew's response is a variation of base number one in the book I mentioned above. One difference between McNew's idea and the one described in the book is the use of half lap joints where the 4x4s meet at the corners of the base. You then drill the holes through the joint and hammer the rebar into the gravel bed as McNew described. It all depends on how much work you want to do, and how much experience you have working with tools, wood, landscaping materials, etc.

My current aluminum shed sits on six rectangular concrete blocks that sit on a bed of gravel. That's it. Whoever installed it probably spent about two hours max working on the base.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:39 AM
Kalhoun Kalhoun is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
We have a nifty all-plastic one. I love it. It's expandable, too! Mr. K and his buddy (affectionately known as Jack and Ennis) put it together in less than a day. It has it's own plastic floor. To my knowledge, they just attached it together with no additional reinforcement. It's extremely sturdy. It even has a skylight!
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:55 AM
Phlosphr Phlosphr is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: in a Moot
Posts: 11,619
I live in windy New England, the Home Depot Aluminum Shed we put in was blown into our neighbors yard from a huge nor'easter coming through.

For the money, and time my wife and I had one of these dropped in our back yard. It's well built, sturdy, and above all ZERO maintenance. I dug a 12 X 11 foundation 6 inches down, put 3/4 inch gravel down (5 inches thick), and this shed sits one 4 flag stone footers... [I found the flag stone chuncks at a dump]

No hassel. There was an initial cost, but I was fine with that, given that I was cleaning up my garage and filling the shed.

Last edited by Phlosphr; 05-08-2007 at 07:56 AM..
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 05-08-2007, 09:58 AM
Harmonious Discord Harmonious Discord is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shagnasty
Those did come into play on mine but that was the easy part. The ones in the first link look so very mystical.
With the pink coloring and other web page design elements, it's clearly for the Barbie Dream House shed.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 05-08-2007, 10:09 AM
Colophon Colophon is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Why do you need to anchor it to the ground? Does the shed have an integral floor? If so then there's no need to anchor it at all - it should just sit on wooden bearers to keep the base off the ground. If it's just a walled construction with no floor, which needs a poured or flagged base, then you would need to anchor it, but from the OP it doesn't sound like this is the case. I have never anchored any of my garden sheds to the ground (and I've had several, owing to the frequency with which they blow away).



PS That last sentence was a joke...
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 05-08-2007, 10:17 AM
gonzomax gonzomax is offline
BANNED
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: michigan
Posts: 26,307
In my city a shed must have a cement base. Check with your community before you find you have to tear it down and start over.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 05-08-2007, 11:56 AM
Sapo Sapo is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
I have two different Rubbermaid sheds in my backyard. I just ploppeed them on the ground and they have been there for almost 3 years (this is hurricane town, remember). The walls are attached to the floor, so the weight of the contents keeps it firmly in place.

I am having trouble with grass trying to grow inside one of them, so I might be dismantling it and putting some pavers underneath. I would recommend that you do at least that. Give it some foundation to keep it high and dry.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 05-08-2007, 01:56 PM
KidKaos KidKaos is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
If youíre going for the cheep and quick I have a not so conventional trick I used at my mothers and it has held up for about 16 years with no ill effects yet.
I got 4 pallets from the local grocery store. (Free) Sealed them with a wood sealer. ($Aprx $10) Doug a hole in the back a little larger the shed. Put 4 pressure treated 2 x 6 planks in a square and secured them into the ground with rebar and U-brackets. (Aprx $25) Then filled the square with a bed of coarse sand. (Aprx $10) Cut the pallets to fit the hole and Screwed them to the 2 x 6. Covered with good plywood for the floor of the shed. (Aprx $25) Secured the shed to the flooring. The shed is still standing and close to level after 16 years. The whole project took me two days working alone from start to finished shed. And not including the shed cost under $100.

Now Im seeing plastic pallets at the grocery store but I bet they donít toss them in the dumpster when unloaded so I donít know how easy the old wood ones are to get anymore.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 05-08-2007, 02:51 PM
Bookkeeper Bookkeeper is offline
Prez for Life (or next coup)
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: Ottawa, Canuckistan
Posts: 2,229
I dug down about 3-4 inches and laid gravel to just below ground level, then placed pressure-treated 4x4s in a rectangle slightly larger than the outside dimensions of the shed (Sears sheet metal), with a couple more laid across for support in the middle. Assembled the shed and centered it, then screwed the metal sill pieces to the 4x4s and laid a plywood floor and screwed it down as well. It's worked fine through 15 Canadian winters and 1 move.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 05-08-2007, 07:09 PM
Spoons Spoons is online now
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: Lethbridge, Alberta
Posts: 10,464
Many good replies here--thank you all!

I will have to dig a bit, since where we plan to put the shed is not quite level. It sounds as if some sort of wooden form and gravel, with a plywood surface is the answer. I do like the idea of using wooden pallets somehow--I know some people at a factory where they still use them, so they might have some that they're willing to part with.

Again, many thanks!
Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:32 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright © 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.