The Putter Shed

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putter shedA putter shed is a great way to increase your outdoor storage area. We built ours using a plan we saw in a magazine, but most lumberyards and home centers will have plans and kits available.

Our style of shed comes with a couple of different options. One option is to divide the shed into two rooms; one for storage and one for a workshop area. We chose a one-room version with a long work bench inside and one double-door entrance.

Make sure to check building codes in your area before you build so you don't find out later that you've violated one and have to move your shed or make it smaller. Also check to see if you're required to obtain a permit to build a shed structure.

Platform & Wall Framing

Platfoirn and wall framingIn our climate you usually need to build a structure like this on frost footings, but the ground here is too rocky to dig that deep. We used concrete blocks instead, and are counting on the shed to absorb a little ground heaving as the frosts come and go.

If you have to do some digging, have the locations of your underground pipes and gas and electrical lines marked clearly by your utility companies.

We used treated beams and joists to frame our 6-foot by 10-foot platform, and then covered them with treated 3/4-inch plywood. It's pretty critical that this platform is level and square.

Our walls are basic 2x4 stud walls, framed 16" on center. We also added some extra nailers for the siding.

The door header is a pair of 2x4's with some half-inch plywood sandwiched in between to make it the same width as a 2x4. It rests on two trimmers between the king studs which brace the door framing.

We framed all the walls first and then raised them one at a time starting with the back wall. We made all of the walls 7 feet high, but our plan called for windows across the top of the front wall. That added another 18 inches to the front wall and created the angle for the shed roof.

With the walls up we made sure they were all plumb and square and then braced them in place with 2x4's. Then we put plywood cap plates on top of the walls to overlap the ends and give the corners extra strength.

We also made a frame for the clerestory windows that span across the top of the front wall. The top plate of the front wall serves as the bottom frame for the windows. We put the glass in these after the roof was done.

Roof Framing

Roof FramingFor the roof, we used 2x4 rafters spaced 16 inches on center. These ran between the front and back walls and were notched to rest on each wall.

These notches are called "bird mouth" notches, and they're made to match the pitch of the roof. You need a framing square to figure out this cut, and it can get pretty complicated, but once you have one done you can just trace the cuts on to the other rafters. We toenailed these rafters to the top plates of the walls.

2x4 sub-fascia boards were nailed across the front and back ends of the rafters to support the roof sheathing and trim. They also support the fly rafters which frame in the 6-inch overhangs on the sides.

The roof sheathing is thicker than usual, 1 1/4", so the roofing nails don't show through to the inside. First we put on a 3/4" A-C grade plywood. This went on with the "A" side down since it's visible from inside. And then we put some oriented strand board (OSB) over that.

TIP: Snap chalklines on your sheathing where your rafters fall so you know where to nail or staple them.

We put the fascia boards on before the shingles to give us a finished edge to nail the shingles to. Usually when you put on fascia boards you're worried about plumb cuts and mitered corners, but our shed style was so informal that we used regular square cuts and butt joints at the corners.

Finishing the Roof

Finishing the roofWe chose cedar shingles for a more rustic look. Of course these are more expensive than an asphalt shingle, but we were only covering about hundred square feet of roof and we used lower grade of cedar to keep the cost down. They ended up costing us about 100 dollars.

We nailed on all of the shingles starting from the back working up to the front. We used a board as a guide to help us keep the shingle ends straight.

Once at the top we ran the shingles long over the edge and then cut them all at once with a circular saw.

At the point where the shingles and fascia met we installed a drip edge to keep moisture from soaking in and rotting the sheathing over time.

Trim, Clerestory Windows and Siding

Windows Sidings etcWe put 5/4" redwood trim at the corners and to cover the framing over the door. This was a little thicker than usual, but we needed it that thick to frame in the lap siding.

At the corners where two trim pieces met, we finished it off with 3/4" quarter round.

We notched a trim piece to go around the 2x4's that framed in the window openings. This piece was beveled to drain moisture like a window sill.

For the gaps between the rafters and the top of the window framing, we used another notched trim piece. This will help to keep out the birds and squirrels.

windowsTo install the glass for the clerestory windows, we first we used 1x2 redwood as stops and installed them flush with the outside edge of the window framing. Then we put the glass in and installed the inside stops.

For the siding we chose a cheaper garden-grade redwood which had a few knots and some white sapwood in it. Once this weathers, though, it'll all look the same.

We work our way from the bottom up. The boards are notched on the bottom to fit over the ones below, so the exposure is consistent all the way up.


DoorsWe also used redwood on the doors to match the redwood on the siding and trim. Each door is assembled with four pieces of tongue-and-groove stock redwood: two 1x8's in the middle and two 1x6's on the edges. We ripped the 1x6's down to make each door 24 inches wide.

We cut all the pieces to the same height. Each door has a window in it, so we cut the 1x8's to fit around the windows.

To hold the doors together we attached three trim pieces to the back of each door. First we put a couple of 1x6's cut 24 inches wide to run horizontally across the door at the top and bottom. We glued these and then screwed them in with 1 1/2" galvanized screws.

TIP: Predrill the redwood before screwing into it so you don't splinter the wood. And put tape on your drill to show you how deep to go, otherwise you'll drill right through both boards.

After the two horizontal trim pieces were secured, we ran another diagonal piece between them. We secured this in the same way.

To install the windows we first nailed 1x2 trim pieces flush with the edges of the opening. Next, we nailed 1x1's into the 1x2's to make the inner stops for the plexiglass for the windows. Then we set the plexiglass in and finished them off with outside stops.

After the doors were done, we installed them in the openings with black iron hinges. We also installed a black iron hasp so we could lock everything up.

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