how to build a shed base

How to Build a Shed Base

If it’s your first time working with tools, constructing your first shed base can be exciting and nerve-wracking. You can still get lost on how to lay the foundation despite the manufacturer’s instructions.

Shed experts will tell you that a successful shed must sit on the right base, otherwise, it will rust or rot due to rain. Soil shifting can be a huge problem when you place your shed on a base that isn’t durable.

You can avoid mistakes in your backyard project by learning more about how to construct shed bases.

Consider Before Building Your Shed

What you may not understand is that building a shed is more than sliding your credit card at Lowes. Local and state governments have codes that impact the shed you buy and whether you can put it on your property. Also, just because you find a great shed doesn’t mean you have a good place for it on your property.

Shed Size & Type

Your shed foundation must hold the weight of your shed. So if you pick a massive shed, you can’t lay down a shed base unable to withstand the pressure. The option could be more economical, but it will cause ground shifting over time. You’d have to do regular maintenance on the shed base to compensate.

On the other hand, you could have strong base durability, but the foundation may not suffice for the shed material. For example, concrete is not permeable, so rainwater would splash on the shed exterior. Metal sheds would rust and wooden sheds would rot.

We cannot stress enough how important it is for your base to support your shed size and type. Choosing your base beforehand is the best way to protect your investment and the equipment you put inside.

Location

You probably have an area already picked out for laying the shed foundation. But it may not provide the best ground support for the weight of the building, depending on the spot.

For example, that place may have terrible drainage and allow water to collect around your base on a regular basis. Building a shed base there would easily rot or rust the bottom. This decision would destroy the long-term integrity of your building and could harm any mowers, weed eaters, or other items inside.

Slopes are sometimes unavoidable for building your shed base. However, we still recommend finding as flat an area as possible and leveling it out. The steeper the slope, the more you’ll have to build up and around the curve to make it work.

Finally, utility lines are a crucial consideration before building when it comes to location. A company may already have electrical lines or other equipment running where you want to build. 811 is the national “call-before-you-dig number” that will tell you about utility lines so you don’t cut one on accident.

Local Ordinances

Besides the specific location, your city or county will have regulations on how you can build your shed. Frost lines, set backs, and foot prints are the 3 primary considerations you should watch out for. Our team suggests speaking with your local government since every area’s guidelines are different.

First, some local codes may require you to consider frost lines, or the furthest you can dig into the ground where the soil won’t freeze in the winter. Soils across the United States are unique, so the frost line depts will vary.

They will also outline setbacks that explain how far your shed must be from other buildings on your property, such as your home. The county asks you to build the shed a certain distance away from state-owned items too like power lines and roads.

Footprints are the last ordinance you should watch out for. Similar to setbacks, footprints will determine what percentage of your property can your shed take up.

Shed Base Types

Building a shed base means choosing between several different options, each having advantages and disadvantages. The base must match your shed size and type like we discussed, otherwise you create future problems. You must “measure twice and cut once” when constructing your shed base.

We recommend reviewing these common shed foundations to receive a clearer picture of what’s best for your backyard project.

ConcreteGravelGeocellPaversDirt
PermeableNoYesYesNoErosion
StrengthStrongWeakStrongStrongNone
LongevityDurableShort-termDurableShort-termUnreliable
ShiftingNoneSomeNoneSomeMajor
InstallationExpertEasyEasyEasyNone
MaintenanceCheck for crackingReseal every 2-3 yearsNoneCheck for crackingErosion
PriceExpensiveCheapCheapCheapNone

How to Build a Shed with Geocell

For the sake of this post, we will walk you through a quick 6-step guide for installing a geocell base. This is one of many methods for preparing the ground to construct your metal or wooden shed.

Our team believes this is the easiest for beginners and saves project-savy people a lot of time. You should also check out more about how geocell bases work so you have a better idea of what your shed will sit on.

Materials

  • Geocell panels
  • Textile fabric
  • Geocell clips
  • Gravel (angular crushed gravel that’s 1/2 ” or smaller)

Tools

  • Rebar stakes
  • Geocell caps
  • Shovel/Rake/Tractor
  • Plate or hand compactor

Step 1: Prepare Your Base

Once you’ve decided the best base location, clear the area of any debris, large rocks, and other objects. Then, dig 4-5” so you have space to lay your geocell grid in the ground.

Step 2: Install Geocell Fabric

You can build a geocell shed base without fabric material, but our team suggests it. There’s a chance your infill gravel will seep through the soil and leave space in the geocells, creating unstable ground.

Rolling the fabric over the entire prepared area will give a place for the geocells to sit on. Ensure you leave overlap edges around all sides of the shed base with 8-12” of room.

Step 3: Secure Geocell Panels

Expanding the geocell panels is as simple as driving rebar stakes into one end of your base site. Lock your geocells in place with those stakes, pull them over to the other end so they can spread out, and install the second set, staking the other end.

Step 4: Connect Trim Panels

There’s a chance you’ll have leftover geocell product after securing the geocell panels. Cut the excess with scissors or a utility knife and reuse it for other backyard projects. Carports, farms, gazebos, and other endeavors are all fair game.

However, you might need to connect multiple panel systems if you have a larger shed. Connect them using geocell clips in that case so they create uniformity in stabilizing your shed.

Step 5: Fill Geocell Panes

Reinforce your geocells by filling each pane with angular gravel, filling each cell completely so the gravel rests 2” above the product. Since the geocell meets ground level, your gravel should stick above ground level after the initial filling.

Step 6: Compact Your Surface

The final step is to solidify the gravel into the ground, completing your shed base. An easy solution is renting a compactor from a major hardware retailer and running it over each part of the foundation.

Going straight across from one end to the other with the tamping process will create an unstable ground rather than a reliable one. It is imperative you start on the edges and work your way inside with a circular path. You might find that the cells become exposed after compacting the surface, so throw more gravel on top and re-tamp.

Building a Shed Base You Can Trust

After all is said and done, we believe you can lay a shed foundation that lasts a lifetime with geocell ground grids. However, you want to go with the right company who provides it, ensuring it will hold whatever load you put on it.

Our team would love to answer your geocell shed base questions and tell you more about the best geocell products on the market. We believe in you for having the ability to construct a shed base and want to join you in that project.

Give us a call at (888).897.2224 so we can touch base.

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