Shed, no tears

This is going to sound off-topic, but bear with me.

For the last few years, renovation projects Jenn and I have tackled on our home have been what I call stair-step or gateway projects. When we renovated our guest bath, it led to a chain of events that gave us more closet space and the ability to do a major rebuild on our master bath. And when we built our 9-foot high deck/carport, it let us put permeable pavers beneath — so close to the river we’d always been bugged by stormwater runoff — and get both vehicles parked on our land.

When we drew up the carport plans, I notched a back corner for a shed one day.

Well, one day is today, and after 5-1/2 weekend days, this 8×5 wonder is all done but the priming and painting. (Oh, and building a door. Such bothersome details…)

This shed is its own gateway project. It’ll let us get all of the extraneous stuff out of our guest room, and nearly all of the tools and equipment that’re in our dining room closet (so we can hang jackets, thus also getting rid of, or re-purposing  an armoire). And it will also give me a workbench and let us move out some of the bigger tools from our tiny lean-to shed, thus giving Jenn — wait for it — a potting shed of her own.

This is one of the biggest scratch-build projects I’ve undertaken, and I’m pretty proud of how it came out. I can say that now, a day before a big rainstorm rolls through, thus testing my roofing, siding and caulking. I’ll let you know.

The frame was largely new wood, but the siding and trim were salvage and reclaimed pieces. Even the bricks used for the basketweave-patterned floor were gathered from my own yard excavating and from a friendly neighbor’s donation, after he removed a chimney at his place.

A few things I’ve learned along the way:

  • Six-year-old Hardiplank may become slightly brittle after all those years unpainted in the weather, but it holds up, nails up and still looks pretty damn good. It’s still, um, challenging to drill holes in, too. (And here, I’d like to give a special shout-out to carbide-tipped bits.)
  • Lapboard siding goes up much faster if you make a spacer from scrap wood to properly gap the boards.
  • Installing a roof less than two feet below the bottom of a deck is extremely challenging. (And here, I’d like to give a special shout-out to rolled roofing.)
  • A paint scraper Ducktaped to a slender scrap of wood is just the thing for spreading lots of roofing tar in said tight space.

It looks a little worse for the wear before I get the paint on, so I’ll post a picture of the finished product later.

The spacer I made to properly gap the lapboard, made from a fence picket and scrap plywood. There’s a handle on the other side! Just grab the handle, slide the spacer up until the plywood catches on the bottom of the lapboard below and rest the next board on top of the picket. 

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