Step-by-step advice on building your own shed
A wooden garden shed is straightforward to assemble and once erected can provide much-needed storage, a home for hobbying or a quiet spot to sit and enjoy your garden. Follow our simple instructions and we’ll show you how to build a wooden shed so that it lasts for years.
We’re using a shed with:
- an apex roof
- a single door
- fixed windows
But this technique can easily be adapted for more elaborate designs with extra windows and double doors. Before shopping for your shed, check out our buying guide to explore the full range of sheds available and find the right one for you.
Before you begin
Choosing and preparing the site for the shed
Before building your own wooden shed, it's important to think about:
- finding a suitable spot. For more on this, check out our Sheds buying guide.
- preparing the site. It's essential that a shed has a stable foundation and so needs to stand on a timber, plastic, paved or concrete slab base to prevent water collecting around its floor. For more on how to build a shed base, read our step-by-step advice.
We recommend undertaking any shed project with help and assistance from either a couple of helpers, or one helper and a timber prop.
Always wear protective safety gear when necessary.
You will need
- Wooden shed - check that roofing felt and all the fixings, including felt nails, are included otherwise these will have to be bought separately
- Twist and countersink drill bits - drill bit sizes may vary
- 2.4m x 3m timber prop - to help hold the sides of the shed up while they’re fastened, if required
- Hasp and staple - if required
- Padlock - if required
- Power drill with driver function or an electric screwdriver
- Claw hammer - to nail the roof felt tacks
- Club hammer
- Spirit level
- Retractable knife
- Tape measure
- Builder’s square
- Rule or straight edge - to help cut the roof felt to size
- Work platform
How to build a shed
Assembly instructions will vary from shed to shed, so always follow any manufacturer’s instructions. For example, some sheds use screws that pull the wood close together, while others use nails to secure certain pieces (as per our photography). Always use whatever is supplied or recommended.
Remove any travel blocks. These are pieces of timber framing placed under the shed's panels to prevent damage during transit.
Centre the shed floor on top of your chosen base, then measure and mark in pencil the centre point of each edge. Repeat on the bottom batten of each side panel.
Starting with the shed’s back panel, lift it into place, and use a long timber prop (as shown top left of the photo) or a helper to hold it upright. Lift a side panel onto the shed floor. Choose one without a door, as the one with the door should be the final panel you raise.
Screw the back and side panel together along the framing battens where they meet.
Drill pilot holes and then fit three countersunk screws at the top, middle and bottom.
Fit the other side panel in the same way.
Next, fit the final panel housing the door. Don’t try to fix your shed frame to the floor just yet - make sure the panels are square, aligned and fitted together first (unless your instructions state otherwise).
Fit the roof support beam across the top of the shed, slotting it into the pre-cut grooves at the top of the two pointed ends on an apex shed (known as the gable ends). Check that the shed is sitting firmly on its base and that the door opens easily (if it's already fixed in place within the panel).
Fix the beam to each gable end through an L-shaped metal bracket (included with the shed kit) using the screws provided.
Lay the roof panels on the ground, one at a time, with the eave sections (wooden strips) positioned underneath, flush with the bottom edge of the panel.
Measure and mark evenly spaced fixing positions as recommended in the instructions.
Drill pilot holes and then hammer in the nails, or use the screws provided, to attach the eave sections to the roof panels.
Lift the roof panels into position, one at a time, ensuring everything is level and aligned.
Secure the roof panels to the shed and along the inner support beam using the fixings provided. A work platform will come in useful when fitting the roof.
Check again that the shed is square on the shed floor and base before finally screwing (or nailing) the sides and gable ends to the floor.
Top tip: Square it up
You may find that the assembled shed is not quite square when you come to screw it to the base. If so, you will need to shift it slightly. Do this by tapping one corner with a club hammer, holding a timber off-cut against the shed timbers to avoid damaging them.
How to felt a shed roof
Even if your shed kit comes with a roll of roof felt, you'll probably still need to cut it to size with a utility knife and a straight edge (using either a rule or piece of timber). Always make sure the roof boards are completely dry before laying the felt.
Our wooden sheds are usually supplied with the roof felt tacks and specific fitting instructions as part of the kit.
Unroll the roofing felt, then measure and cut the required amount of pieces depending on the size of the shed roof. The pieces covering the roof panels should run the full length of the shed with a 50mm overhang at either end.
For an apex roof, the felt strip you need to cover the gap in the felt should be the same length as the roof and extend at least 75mm over each roof panel.
Lay the first piece of felt over one side panel, leaving a 50mm overhang at the eave.
Nail it along the top edge with felt tacks into the shed roof about 300mm apart. Then fix it down along the gable ends and eave with the felt tacks at 100mm intervals. Repeat on the other side.
Place the top strip of felt over the top of the roof and nail it along each edge at 100mm intervals.
Where the gable end felt meets and overhangs the front eave, hold a piece of timber beneath the felt and carefully use a utility knife to make a straight cut from the corner of the roof to the edge of the felt.
Fold the cut flap under and tack the felt down at the corner and along each edge, again at 100mm intervals.
Depending on what’s provided with the shed kit, screw or hammer the roof fascia (a piece of wood that mirrors the shape of the apex roof) in place using screws or nails. Position this over the felt on the front and back gable ends. If hammering this in place, drill pilot holes first.
Finish the fascia by adding the diamond-shaped wood finials (if provided) to the apex of the shed roof.
Secure each corner trim with evenly spaced nails or screws as instructed.
How to fit a shed window and door lock
Shed windows are usually made of perspex or styrene, both of which slide easily into the window frame. The beading and windows can vary from shed to shed and most of the ironmongery or hinges for opening windows simply screw into place once the window is slotted in or assembled.
For a fixed (also known as non-opening) window, stand outside the shed and slot the metal windowsill into position along the bottom of the window frame.
Still outside, nail or screw in the window cloaks (short strips of wood), using the supplied fixings - this secures the sills.
Move inside the shed to slide the window glazing into place, resting it on the sill. The beading is secured with the screws or nails provided. Start with the screws or nails first, then position the beading over the window glazing at the top and sides of the frame before screwing or hammering them home.
Finally remove the protective film from the glazing.
Some doors are provided pre-assembled and fitted within the panel, but some can arrive separately and will need to be aligned and fitted using the hinges provided.
Once the door is in place, drill pilot holes and screw in any sliding bolts or padlocks provided (or purchased separately) for additional security. We recommend securing the door with two sturdy padlocks on hasps and staples (this is a metal fastener with a hinged slotted part that fits over a metal loop) fixed through both door and frame where possible.
For extra security, add a battery operated shed alarm inside the shed. The audible alarm will help deter intruders that break in.
Top tip: Decorate with care
All that remains is to decorate the shed in the style of your choosing. Opt for a stain or oil that maintains the wood's natural shade or add some colour with our range of shed paints. Both add a much-needed layer of protection to help your shed weather the British elements.Shop exterior wood paint