best shed base

The 8 Best Shed Bases: Which Type Should I Use?

Shed bases are important purchases since you’re making a long-term investment into your shed and the equipment inside. If you don’t buy a durable and permeable foundation that stabilizes the ground, you could lose thousands.

Finding the best shed foundation type is imperative so you don’t have to buy another one. It’s a waste of money and project resources to start from scratch when you’ve already spent so much time on the building.

With the dozens of types of shed bases, it can be overwhelming if it’s your first time laying a foundation.

You could also be a backyard project veteran who’s having technical issues with different materials. Local building codes, cracking, and other considerations are crucial to choosing the right base.

Everyone needs the right base to avoid future mishaps with storage shed deterioration or ruining your backyard. They need to understand the product so they understand how to build the shed base.

Different Shed Foundations: On-Grade & Frost-Proof

We made it easy by separating all shed bases into 2 categories: on-grade and frost-proof. Various factors contribute to which kind you need, such as location and time of the year. For example, you may want extra shed base durability by installing deeper in the ground according to state laws.

Understanding more about the differences between on-grade and frost-proof sheds makes picking a foundation simple. Think about where you live and your unique shed project to determine which one is right for you.

On-Grade Shed Bases

On-grade shed bases are exactly what they sound like: foundations you install on the ground. These backyard buildings rest on the material and have contact with the ground. Concrete pads, gravel, and pavers are common examples other builders use in their projects.

Frost-Proof Shed Bases

Many local codes in the northern United States require you to install frost-proof shed bases only. This is because cold weather causes many foundations to crack, so they ask you to lay foundations partway underground at a certain depth.

You can pour concrete piers below the frost line, for example, and build them up as columns for shed support.

Pros & Cons of the 8 Best Shed Bases

Comparing all the top foundation options is the quickest way to find the base you’re looking for. Don’t just settle for an expensive concrete pad just because a shed company tells you to. We’ve done the research for you so you can be confident that the foundation you choose is the best on the market.

Gravel

Gravel bases are a great starter option if you’ve never laid a shed base. Being cheaper than concrete, you can buy plenty of it from a local supplier and haul it to your backyard. Simply rake into your shed timber structure and you’re all set with a usable gravel pad.

Pros

  • Easy & quick installation
  • Cheap
  • Permeable

Cons

  • Maintenance required
  • Not durable
  • Ground shifting
  • Short lifespan

Concrete Pad

If you want a permanent on-grade shed base, this one’s for you. Concrete specialists level out the ground and carefully pour concrete mixture into a timber frame. This concrete slab foundation is a popular choice for shed owners that want a base that will last a long time.

Pros

  • Permanent base
  • Durable
  • Long lifespan
  • Use for sheds with or without a floor

Cons

  • Cracking
  • Pooling & flooding
  • Shed rotting/rusting
  • Expensive
  • Specialists required

Geocell

High-density polyethylene (HDPE) geocell panels are tried and true shed bases the Army Corps have used since the 70s. All you need to do is expand them over the subgrade, stake with rebar, infill with base material, and compact. Geocells for sheds are as strong as concrete while retaining perforation (holes) that allow for natural drainage.

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Easy & quick installation
  • Permeable
  • Durable
  • Zero maintenance
  • Permanent base

Cons

  • Infill material required
  • Purchase clips & rebar stakes

Pavers

Install an aesthetic shed base by laying concrete pavers. They come in all shapes, colors, and sizes to match with your shed design and other backyard amenities. You can take advantage of durable concrete paving slabs for cheaper without sacrificing creativity.

Pros

  • Durable
  • Cheap
  • Customizable aesthetic
  • Pooling & flooding

Cons

  • Cracking
  • Pooling & flooding
  • Shed rotting/rusting

Skid

Construction sometimes installs commercial skids as an effective way to do business. But you can build with skids for a quick and easy shed base that lasts for a long time. Using 2 or more 4×6, 6×6, or 8×6 timber skids, lay them parallel and evenly apart, installing your shed on top.

Pros

  • Easy & quick installation
  • Cheap
  • Shed is movable
  • Durable

Cons

  • Ground sinking/shifting
  • Short lifespan
  • Ground erosion
  • Maintenance required
  • Ground contact

Timber Frame

You can construct a backyard shed above a reliable wood structure with sturdy timber bearers. Frost-line and on-grade foundations support timber frames as a great entry-level base. We recommend screwing decking or wooden flooring into the base.

Pros

  • Easy & quick installation
  • Cheap
  • Multiple flooring options

Cons

  • Maintenance required
  • Ground erosion
  • Ground sinking/shifting
  • Short lifespan

Concrete Piers

If you’re in colder regions of the United States, it may be necessary to install concrete piers below the frost line. They prevent cracking under extreme temperatures and keep your shed above the soil. Pouring the concrete mixture into fiber-foam tubes called Sonotubes, your shed can withstand cracking better than concrete foundation pads.

Pros

  • Permanent base
  • Durable foundation
  • Zero shed ground contact

Cons

  • Pooling & flooding
  • Shed rotting/rusting
  • Expensive
  • Specialists required

Screw Piles

Screw piles are galvanized steel posts with screw ends that replace concrete piers. Dig holes according to local frost line codes and install with an excavator and special attachments. You can install the shed into the screw piles for a durable backyard foundation.

Pros

  • Flat ground & slopes
  • Permanent base
  • Durable foundation
  • Quick installation
  • Permanent base

Cons

  • Expert installation
  • Potential rusting
  • Expensive

Foundation Summary: Which Base is the Best?

Every shed project is unique with different locations, soil types, and slope embankments. We recommend speaking to a backyard project specialist before you start building any shed base. Then, you can be confident that it will support the building and protect the equipment inside.

Overall, geocell is the most affordable, strongest foundation with natural permeability and DIY installation. It’s the clear winner on the market when building a shed foundation.

We’ve even seen commercial engineers across the globe use BaseCore for major highways, parking lots, and roadways. The same HDPE panels have more than enough strength and versatility to support whatever shed you have. It’s proven to do the job better than gravel and concrete shed bases.

BasecoreConcreteAsphaltGravelDirt
PermeableYesNoSometimesYesErosion
StrengthStrongStrongMediumWeakNone
LongevityDurableDurableShort-termShort-termUnreliable
InstallationEasyExpertEasyEasyNone
MaintenanceNoneCheck for crackingCheck for crackingReseal every 2-3 yearsErosion
PriceCheapExpensiveCheapCheapNone
Sub-BaseNoneYesYesNoneWeak soil
Settle TimeDrive instantly28 days3 days7 daysNone

How Do I Install the Best Shed Base?

Geocell sheds have a simple 1-day installation process that doesn’t require specialists or heavy equipment. You can build tough shed foundation with 2 or more people by following our 6-step installation guide.

It will take you through each step for building a successful backyard project that lasts a lifetime. This shed base method works for both flat and sloped grounds so you can tackle any backyard shed foundation.

Geocell Shed Install Basics

Installing a geocell shed foundation begins by preparing the subgrade. This means removing debris, such as rocks, grass, and other material. Next, you want to lay geotextile fabric across where the base will go. It will prevent your base from pushing into the subgrade and sinking into the ground.

2 or more people can expand the collapsable geocell panels and stake each side with rebar. We recommend trimming off whatever you don’t need so you get the perfect fit and you can save the rest for future projects.

The final steps are to fill the individual cells with whatever infill you need: gravel, dirt, asphalt, or concrete. You can rake the base material in, spreading it out evenly, and compacting the surface so it’s flush with the ground.

Geocell installation doesn’t have to be difficult nor does getting the shed base you want that will last a long time at an affordable price.

Talk to Our Shed Team Today

If you’re ready to start your backyard shed project and need a foundation, we’ve got you covered! Our company stocks geocell foundations for sheds and other backyard projects, such as driveways and gazebos. It’s our pleasure to answer any questions you have and help if it’s your first time installing a shed foundation.

Speak with Backyard Base representatives and we’d be glad to review shed specs to see which base is best for you. Give us a call today at (888)-897-2224.

Shopping Cart