How to Build a Shed Base
Without the correct installation of a shed base, erecting a garden building can prove to be very tricky. All sheds must be constructed on a firm and level base constructed from the appropriate, durable material.
Laying a shed foundation incorrectly can lead to future deterioration of the product such as doors dropping out of the square alignment, thus becoming complicated to repair or leading to water leakage.
Note: The incorrect assembly of a garden building on an incorrect shed base is also likely to void any guarantee that may come with your shed. As we offer a free installation service, If we feel the supplied base is not adequate, we will leave the building safely along with all fixings for self assembly. We can return to install the building once the base is adequate, however this would incur a fee.
Before you begin building your shed base, there are a few things to consider such as planning permission, access to your shed and electrical/water supply.
Planning permission for your shed
Generally speaking, garden sheds are classified as temporary structures so do not require planning permission. However, it you anticipate erecting a summerhouse in your garden, the following conditions need to be met in order for it to be considered permitted development:
1. It is not permitted for a house situated on designated land, such as a conservation area, a World Heritage Site, the Broads, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty or a national to position a summer house to the site of the house.
2. The total area covered by a summer house situated more than 20 metres from any wall of the house on designated land must not exceed 10 metres squared.
3. Summer houses are not permitted within the ground of a listed property.
4. Summer houses are not permitted if they are forward of the principal elevation of the original house
5. They must not exceed 50% of the total land around the property
6. They must not be separate, self-contained, living accommodation
7. Summer houses must be single-storey with a maximum eaves height of 2.5 metres and a maximum total height of 4 metres for an apex roof and 3 metres for a pitched roof.
8. If the summer house is within 2 metres of the properties boundary the height exceeds 2.5 metres.
Find the right location for your shed base
There are a few things you must take into account when choosing where to place your shed, whether you have a shed in Kent or the Scottish highlands, it is important to find the right location to build your shed base which is ultimately going to help your shed withstand the test of time.
First of all, always remember that placing the base too close to any walls, fences or other objects may cause problems for garden sheds, particularly those with overhanging roofs.
The same goes for trees, large bushes or major plant life. Check for nearby branches and overhanging foliage regularly as anything that could come into contact with the structure of your garden shed can cause damage to the roofing felt leading to water penetration and moisture build up within your garden shed.
On top of this, check that the best location in your garden allows the easiest access, including the side of the shed to apply treatment such as water repellant.
Have a visual image in your head of where your shed base and garden structure will be positioned; you may not want to carry heavy objects to and from the bottom of your garden, particularly so if you anticipate using your garden building for DIY or leisure purposes.
One of the biggest factors when deciding where to locate your shed base and garden building is whether you require access to the electricity and water supply. If you do need these requirements, you probably want to locate your garden shed close to your main property.
Time to build your shed base
Depending on your ability, we recommend using a local builder, the quickest and simplest way to achieve a shed base with maximum durability and longevity.
A company we recommend for concrete & paving slab bases is 'Back to bases'. This is a separate company to us but they have done previous bases for our sheds to a very high standard.
However, for the DIY enthusiast, if you do wish to build your own shed base, then follow the guide below using the suitable material of your choice.
Before starting, we strongly advise that you build your base slightly larger than the dimensions of your garden shed, adding approximately 30 – 40mm to each of the sides. This gives wiggle room for your shed.
Step-by-step Guide to Building your Shed Base:
You must build your shed base to the exact size or slightly bigger than the size of your garden shed.
All Ace Sheds buildings are manufactured with imperial measurements eg. 8x6 is exactly 8'x 6' not 2400mmx 1800mm like most shed companies. This means that the floor sits exactly on the base and you won't get the inevitable splash-back from a larger base.
- One of the strongest options out of the three, laying concrete shed bases are ideal for providing a truly permanent foundation for your garden shed. While wooden shed bases can require more upkeep over the years, the use of a solid material when building a shed base can ensure that your shed is in top-condition for the following years. Using wooden pegs and string, mark out the desired base size adding 2" to each length, for example: for an 8x6 base you would need to string mark 8'2"x6'2". Measure from corner to corner to ensure the area marked out is square. The concrete base can be level with the surrounding soil or raised above. If you require a level with the ground base you need to excavate the area to a depth of around 6" to allow for 3" of hardcore/sub-base and 3" of concrete. Level the area with a rake and remove the pegs and string.
- Next, you will need to insert wooden shuttering or formwork around the edges of your excavated area. This will need to be made from 6"x1" timber and screwed or nailed into position. If need be, you can include wooden pegs to form a square, level solid formwork to hold back the hardcore and concrete (in the next step). The reason for the original excavation to be 2" bigger all the way around is to take into consideration the wooden frame, you will now have an internal area of 8"x6". If you decide to use thicker timber you will need to consider this at the stringing out stage.
- You now need to add the hardcore/substrate to a depth of 3". Ensure after you add the hardcore or substrate you level it and compact the subbase down.
- If you do not require a shed floor it would be advisable at this stage to add a damp proof membrane, this can be laid on top of the hardcore ready for the concrete.
- As you will be building a shed base from concrete, you can choose to either purchase a ready-mixed option for ease or create your own mix from sand, water and cement, with a cement to sand ratio of 1:5.
- A concrete mix of 5 parts ballast and 1 part cement should now be mixed and poured into the area, enough concrete should be poured so that it is just proud of the formwork. It can now be tampered down level and flat using a straight piece of solid timber. The result should be a smooth level concrete base - the ultimate shed base.
Paving slabs for shed base A highly versatile material to use when building a shed base, paving slabs provide a perfect foundation for greenhouses, log cabins, standard garden sheds, playhouses, summer houses and more. While concrete may require more levelling, a paving slabs can be purchased already levelled and cut to size.
- Using wooden pegs and string, mark out the exact base size required for your shed, being careful to measure both diagonals to get the area square. This area can now be excavated to a depth of 3". This depth can vary depending on the thickness of slab used and the gradient of the ground excavated. Overall you're looking to achieve a thickness of 4-5cm of sand/cement mix and the slab on top.
- A dry mix of building sand and cement, approx. 8 parts of sand and 1 part cement can now be levelled into the area.
- Starting in one corner and working outwards you lay the slabs and level as you go with a rubber mallet and spirit level until the area is fully covered.
- You may need to space the slabs to achieve the correct size of the base in which case you will need to brush into the gaps the dry mixed-used earlier, alternatively, you can butt the slabs uptight and cut the slabs to fit.
A relatively inexpensive choice out of the three options, a wooden shed base can be installed easily. Ideal for smaller structures such as playhouses, summer houses as well as garden sheds. Building a shed base out of wood such as timber can be beneficial as it raises the floor of the shed off the ground and extends the lifespan of your investment.
- Using wooden pegs and string, mark out the exact based required, being careful to measure both diagonals to achieve a square area.
- Strip the grass or excavate soil to 2" deep and rake the ground level.
- Fill the excavated area with pea shingle.
- EEither purchase a bearer shed base from us or you can build your own using 3"x 2" treated timber. This wooden frame can then be levelled into the pea shingle for a well-drained wooden base.
- If you decide to build your own wooden shed base it is important that you contact us to find out which way our floor runners go to make sure your frame doesn't run the same way.
Ground Screws with wooden base
If you're looking for a more sustainable, cost-effective and quicker alternative to laying concrete foundations, ground screws are the answer. E-Scape Gardens can offer an alternative foundation method for shed bases, garden buildings, decking, green houses, pergolas, sleeper wall foundations, saunas and garden offices.
Although the above shed base ideas are the most common, some of our customers have used alternative construction methods and materials like wooden sleepers and concrete fence posts. Whichever material you decide to use when building your shed base, it is important that the floor has enough support the entire length of the building and this support has to be level and flat.
If you're looking for a premium-quality, bespoke shed to go on top of your newly built shed base, you can find a range of sheds from: