Sheds and Bases

Winter sunsets – a time of year when you need that shed to work from

Sheds and garden buildings are proving a popular purchase, not least as more and more people work from home. For the purpose of this article we’ll just call them all sheds.

If you are buying a shed remember it needs a base. That’s not the floor of the shed, it’s the bearers and usually the concrete, hardcore and/or paving slabs the bearers are going to site on. A base must be level; if the ground is sloping the first job is to level it out and if the slope is significant, put in small retaining walls.

Due to price competition sheds are often sold without bases and the need for one is frequently ‘glossed over’. So when you buy, make sure you know what you may need in addition. If you are running in power (or water and drains even), plan these in advance.

What are the options for shed bases? Much depends on whether your shed is a substantial garden building made for example from interlocking ‘logs’ or a simple for e.g. 6ft x 4ft (colloquially 6 x 4) small shed or similar. Why is this important? A lightweight small shed can sit on simple bearers (larger rectangular timbers) sitting on just a few paving slabs with a small amount of hardcore and sand beneath them. Note that if you don’t put in hardcore the slabs will sink into ground over time. Plastic bases are also available. 

Heavier buildings need concrete bases to support them. Concrete bases need the ground digging out, the soil putting somewhere, then hardcore and concrete laying. Don’t under estimate the cost of this. A well constructed base can cost around 75% of the cost of the shed for a medium sized shed. 

Why can’t you build the shed just on e.g. the lawn of soil?  We are a generally damp country, particularly in the winter months and without good drainage and a dry base, a wooden shed will rot rapidly. 

The following videos provide information on laying shed bases:

Paving slabs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xP2Kya941Ic 

Concrete: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45Tin15VASU

Plastic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uIA4YAKrZds

Wooden: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4sUHACtWcg

Finally sheds need treating to protect the wood from the weather. Most are provided pre-treated and should be OK for the first year but should be treated after that. Treatment can range from creocote through a variety of coloured paints or a simple waterproofing clear coat.