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Why You Shouldn’t Build a Shed on Cinder Blocks

can you put a shed on cinder blocks

Building a shed is a chance to make your property feel like home, whether you’ve just moved in or you’ve occupied the same property for decades.

It’s an easy backyard project that doesn’t require a lot of technical know-how. You can purchase the building, lay it on a foundation, and enjoy a handy outdoor storage building.

Choosing the right base for your shed is what will ultimately determine the long-term success of your project.

Cut corners, construct something incorrectly, or use the wrong foundation type altogether and you could be looking at costly repairs and even the loss of your shed.

One of the least expensive shed foundations is concrete blocks, but should you use them? What are the pros and cons of concrete cinder blocks, and what are some reliable alternatives?

Do I Need a Foundation for My Shed?

When you decide it’s time to construct a shed, the next step is planning its size, location, and other logistics.

And you have to choose whether to have a foundation for your shed.

Whether you choose to install a prefabricated shed or make one yourself, placing your shed directly on the ground without a foundation is not a good decision.

If you set your new shed directly on the ground, you can expect the floor to begin rotting within a few years at the most. Moisture from the ground below and insects will quickly deteriorate the floor and even the shed walls.

Without a base, even the smallest shifts in the ground under the shed can also have a serious impact on the shed’s stability.

Can You Put a Shed on Cinder Blocks?

The short answer is yes. Cinder or concrete foundation blocks can support a small, temporary shed that doesn’t house any heavy equipment.

Once you clear the building site of any obstructions, you can use a stake and string system to mark your foundation area. The next step is to lay a concrete or cinder block in each corner, the center, and the center of each long side.

Once you determine that each block is level and that each block is level compared to the others, then you are ready to install the shed on top of the new foundation.

Below are a few reasons that people choose to utilize cinder blocks and several reasons why you shouldn’t.

Pros for Cinder Block Shed BasesCons for Cinder Block Shed Bases
PriceSmall Sheds Only
Quick and easyWeight Restrictions
Settling and Shifting
Animals

Pros

Price

Some owners use cinder block shed foundations because they’re cheap. Pay as little as $1.50 per cinder block. You’ll need 6 to 10 blocks for a majority of shed bases.

Quick and easy

Cinter blocks are straightforward to install. You don’t need specialized equipment or experts, and you won’t have to dig through complicated instructional manuals.

With adequate leveling equipment, you can create this foundation yourself.

Cons

Only for Small Sheds

Cinder block or solid concrete block foundations only support sheds up to 160 square feet.

If you plan to build sheds larger than that, or if the portable building has multiple stories, we recommend getting a stronger base instead.

Weight Restrictions

Constructing a concrete block shed base elevates the structure but does not provide direct support. This limits the type of equipment that you can store inside due to weight restrictions.

For instance, heavy riding mowers would cause the floor to sag or collapse over time.

Settling and Shifting

Since this foundation style doesn’t go below the frost line, seasonal trends and soft ground can cause shifting and settling to occur. A common result of settling is trouble opening and closing the door.

In severe cases, the shed floor may also begin to lose its stability.

Animals

Possums, skunks, and other animals build homes underneath your shed by raising the building on cinder blocks. Critters can even find ways inside the storage, disrupting your equipment and valuables.

Alternate Shed Foundation Options

Gravel Shed Pad

One inexpensive shed foundation is gravel or another crushed stone aggregate. While it is cheap and easy to install, gravel requires significant maintenance and has a short lifespan.

Geocell

Made out of high-density polyethylene (HPDE), geocell is a reliable base for shed foundations. It lasts over 100 years and even has perforation (holes) in the product for natural drainage.

Skid Foundation

One of the most common shed foundation types is skids, which are timbers you lay on the ground.

Skids can work well for smaller, temporary structures that you plan to move in the future.

Concrete Slab

As a permanent on-grade shed base, concrete slabs are a staple for sheds and other backyard projects.

They follow local codes for portable buildings and are often frost-proof foundations.

However, poured concrete types of foundations have high installation costs by hiring specialists and buying a drainage system.

What to Consider Before Starting Your Shed Foundation Project

Shed Purpose and Lifespan

The intended purpose and lifespan of your shed are two of the biggest determinants of what type of shed foundation you will need.

For example, using a less permanent base like cinder blocks make sense if you need a building to house small equipment for the next year.

Installing a shed with sturdy foundations like concrete and geocell is better if you’re thinking 5, 10, and 20 years down the road.

Local Regulations

Most localities across the United States have regulations about what you can build, where you can build it, building permits, and structure inspections.

Whether you choose to use a skid foundation, concrete blocks, or something more permanent, most States require building permits for accessory buildings.

It is important to you familiarize yourself with your local zoning regulations and building code and that you contact the local office about your project.

Drainage and Soil Type

Both soil type and composition are both important factors to consider when choosing a shed foundation.

Your backyard is more susceptible to shifting when the ground is soft and uneven, which requires a sturdier base to compensate.

For example, if you plan to build a shed on a slight incline where drainage issues frequently occur, you will need to select a foundation that provides adequate drainage.

We have used geocell to help homeowners across the country improve drainage and stability for their shed foundation area.

Site Problems

When installing a shed foundation, consider what is around the project area. Three things in particular that you need to look out for are tree roots, rocks, and utility lines.

Build on a Better Base with Geocell

Getting the foundation right is what will determine the success of your shed long term. It’s essential that you not just choose the cheapest or the quickest foundation, but understand the real benefits and potential pitfalls of each.

We have helped homeowners across the Country develop reliable, permeable, and affordable backyard shed bases that support sheds of all sizes and types for years to come.

Schedule a free project evaluation today or give us a call at (888)-897-2224.

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