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Build a Storage Shed With Steel Framing
Build your own storage shed! The price of them has gone out of my price range, so I built my own. If you want one made of steel framing, there are some things you must consider. First, you will need a method to cut the steel studs and track. I used a Chop Saw that is made for cutting steel. If you are using a lighter gauge steel, you can cut it with a good pair of aviation snips. Next, you must have a place to put your building that is out of the way. You should have some idea of how big a shed it will take to satisfy your needs. You should sit down and draw out a rough picture of what you want. It doesn’t have to be a blueprint. A simple drawing will do. The reason for that is so you can figure out how much material to buy to build one. A basic knowledge of framing is required, but you can find books about that subject at those big retail Building Supply stores. It’s pretty simple, though.
Next, you must decide what kind of roof you would like to have. If you want a plywood covered roof with shingles, you’ll have to make the walls a little sturdier, because that kind of roof is heavier. If you go with a steel panel roof, there is less of a load on the walls and they can be built with a thinner gauge steel product(cheaper). Next, you must choose a door style. I built mine with only one opening. The door was wide and the shed was fairly small, so it works for me. You’re not building a house, so don’t go overboard here. The last thing to consider is what kind of floor you would like in the building. There are two main options. Many people like a solid concrete pad to build on. I made an above ground floor system in mine. If you are going to store something like an ATV or other heavy rolling object like a garden tractor, you should probably use the concrete slab. If you choose an above ground system, put it on blocks or some other way to support the floor. I poured concrete corner pads to hold up my building. OK, let’s get started.
Build your floor support system, first. If you want a concrete pad, pour it now. When it has set up at least one full day, you can start to build on it. When I poured the corner pads of my building, I had to build a floor system on top of it. Simple, really. Steel framing comes it two basic styles. Metal studs are the vertical pieces and metal track is the horizontal part that the metal studs fit into. I made a framework of studs and track that was the size of the floor of the shed. I placed studs every 24 inches in the track. Because it was a floor system, I put double studs in, back to back. this increased the strength of the floor system. Next, I covered them with 3/4 inch plywood to make a solid floor. At this point, you will be at the same place that the person who chose a concrete slab is.
Now that you have a floor, it’s time to build the walls. It’s a good idea to lay out the walls on your floor. Draw the metal stud wall thickness around the edge of the floor, keeping in mind where your door will go. Then draw that on the wall outline. Your door opening should be a rough opening size and not the finished size of your door. For a basic, four wall building, two of the walls should be the whole length of your building. the other two will be inside the marks you made on the floor. Once you have these dimensions, you are ready to start construction of the walls. Start with a wall that doesn’t have the door. Place one of the horizontal track pieces on the marks you made for the wall. If it’s longer than the floor, cut it to the right length. Now cut another the same size. these are the upper and lower pieces of the wall. Put them side by side and make a mark every 24 inches starting from the end of the track on both pieces. These are the locations of the vertical stud placements. Take your studs, the vertical pieces, and insert them in the two track pieces to complete the wall section. Now take the fastener screws and secure the studs in position on both sides of the track. It’s easier if you do one side first, then turn it over and do the other side.
When complete, take a scrap piece of metal or wood, anything that can be used as a brace, and attach it to one of the vertical studs about two feet down from the top of the wall. This will be used to brace the wall section when you stand it up. If you have a wooden floor, it’s easy to screw the wall to the floor system. If you use a concrete slab floor, you’ll need a method to attach the wall to the concrete. You can shoot it down with a powder actuated tool, drive a nail in with an impact tool and hammer or you can pre-drill holes and use a masonry screw like the “Tapcom” system. Whatever method you use, go ahead and stand the wall section up and brace it well. You will begin to feel a sense of accomplishment for all your work when you see a wall standing. Use that excitement to help you finish the other three walls. When you come to the wall section that has the door, place the studs on either side of the rough opening and put a horizontal header piece of track over the rough opening hole. Measure the remaining distance to the top track and install the cut-down stud pieces over the door hole in the door header track. Maintain the same 24 inch spacing as the rest of the studs in the wall. At this point, you should have the four walls standing and are ready for the next step. Before we go on, I must mention the importance of keeping every thing level , square, straight and plumb. It’s best to check these things as you go along. Another thing to remember is to always wear safety glasses when working with any power tools, not just these. It’s also helpful to wear gloves when handling steel studs and track. There are many sharp edges to watch out for, so use caution.
The roof is the next step. Get yourself a ladder and make layout marks on the top of the wall track pieces. If your plan calls for a roof with no overhangs, things will go faster. The pieces of stud you have made into trusses will be attached to the track where you made the marks. Once again, 24 inches on center will be adequate. These trusses are made by you to fit your roof design. However you design it, it should have at least one foot of rise to every four feet of run. This means that if your shed was eight feet wide, the height at the peak of the roof will be at least one foot high. A sixteen foot wide building would be two feet, and so on. This is so that if it snows in your area, your roof will let it fall off before it gets too thick and collapses your building. Now let’s discuss making the trusses. On your work table, lay out a piece of stud that will span from wall to wall. this is the bottom of the truss. Find the center and put an upright piece there that will give you the ratio I discussed earlier. You will screw it to the bottom piece at the center mark you made. Now, from the top of it, measure the distance to the end of the stud. It should be the same for both sides. Cut those pieces of stud and attach them.
When you’re finished, you should have a triangular framework with an upright piece in the middle. Unless you are making a long span, this structure will be enough to handle the roof load for your shed. Make one of these for every mark you made on top of the top track of your walls. These trusses will be screwed to the top track every 24 inches. It will be easier to put up the first one in the front and the last one in the back. This will allow you to stretch a string across at the peak of the trusses. Use this to align the other trusses into a straight line. When you have to screw down the ends of the trusses to the top of the wall track, cut a scrap of either stud or track into a 90 degree angle piece that you can screw to the side of the truss and the top of the wall track to hold it in place. once you have the trusses screwed in place, you should put a scrap of stud or track across the trusses and screw it down temporarily. This holds the tops of the trusses in place while you put the permanent cross pieces in place. I used a 7/8 inch hat channel to cross the trusses. Hat channel is called that because it looks like a hat in cross section. The two flat sides (The brim of the hat) are screwed to the truss every 24 inches down from the peak of the truss. The top of the hat has a flat spot where you will screw the roof panel down onto the hat channel.
Now, in review, you will have a hat channel screwed down to every truss and down from the peak of the trusses every 24 inches. That way, when you lay a roof panel down on this framework, you will be able to screw it down every 24 inches, making a very strong steel roof that’s not too heavy. At this point, after you complete the installation of the roof panels, it will become obvious that you need something to cover the ridge at the top of your roof. This will be a product called a ridge cap. It is screwed down over the join area between the roof panels. At this point you should have a shedding roof over your building. There are some details to discuss here. If you want an overhanging roof, calculate how far out you want it to go and measure up to the peak of your trusses. That measurement will be how long to cut your panels. Put the cut part of your panel at the top. It will be hidden by the ridge cap. If you want a flush roof, the measurement will be from the edge of the truss at the top of the wall to the peak of the roof. If you want a flush roof, be sure to calculate the thickness of a hat channel and the steel panel that covers it for the wall covering. Your roof should extend at least 1/4 inch past that point.
Now we’re ready to start covering the walls. Mark off a 24 inch mark from the top of your wall to the bottom on all four corners. Use that mark to install a hat channel horizontally 24 inches apart all around your building. If you have planned carefully, a 26 inch wide steel panel will wrap around the corner of your building. Put half on one side and wrap the other side around the corner. I did mine this way because I couldn’t find a dealer that had any corner trim pieces. None-the-less, it works well and when you wrap the panels around the corner, there are no drafty corners. When you install the panels, screw them to the hat channels installed every 24 inches. This increases the strength of the walls. Continue to wrap the panels around until you reach the door. There you can cut the panel to fit and lap over the other panel to complete the wrap of the building. The basic structure is complete. The only things left to do are to install your door and a few trim pieces around your new building. There is a 3 inch trim piece made for flashing a roof. that will work well for closing the gap between the wall panels and the roof panels.
To install them, undo the bottom screw of your roof panels on the side that you’re trimming out. Slide the trim piece under the roof panel and over the wall panel. Re-install the screws you removed. When you wrap it all around the building, your building will shed rain and you are ready to drive in the tractor.
A final thought and some info. Please don’t work alone. You could be injured easily if a wall section broke loose and fell on you. Besides, it’s easier when you have someone to help hold things. The other thing was that you will need some specific tools to do this job. It can be done without most of them but they make the job easier. First, you need a good screwgun or a drill with a screwdriving tip. Go for the magnetic bit holder that holds screws well. I have had many evil thoughts after dropping lots of screws. You’ll also find one or two of those Vise-Grip type C-clamps handy. Use them to hold the stud and track together on your mark when you screw them together. For special cuts, I used a mini-grinder to make the angle cuts of the roof trusses. You’ll need a good level and a framing sized square. And one more thing. When you purchase screws for the framing, get the kind that have a drill point on the tip. It saves a lot of pushing. Always keep safety in mind and then go brag to your neighbors!
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