Building a Metal Shed - Is It a Good DYI Project?

One of the reasons we talk so much about wooden sheds here is simply that I like wood. Easier to work with, nice material, affordable. But metal sheds have their advantages. They can be easier and cheaper to build and can last longer. Not always, but a well built one that doesn't rush will probably last longer than a wooden one. Consider also the price of steel metal and you may end up with cheaper construction than a similar in size wooden shed.

There is one thing that troubles me with building a steel shed. Welding. I don't like it and have no experience with it. If you are good with welding you won't have problems at all. If you are not, you can consider alterntives. The iron profiles and set squares can be joint together using bolts. Some of the prefab metal shed kits come this way and require no welding. If you plan to go entirely DYI this might be harder - punching lots of holes and making sure joints are robust enough could be a challenge.

Sailor welding a flange.

The Building Process

Every shed building process starts with plans. The metal sheds make no exception. You can of course find ready plans but you can also make them yourself. Just look around for some pictures and you'll get pretty good ideas. For example see this. If you are handy with math and drawing it shouldn't take you much to replicate similar plans. This one may also help for the frame. Looking at a inside photo of a ready shed can make things even easier. As you see, the construction is not a rocket science. If you want to build a bigger shed check out this construction.

If you aren't that good in drawing and calculating parts yourself you may want to download ready shed plans. Unfortunately most sites sell or give only plans for wooden sheds. Sometimes you can use them but it's much better to find plans made for metal construction. Here is a simple but good and free one (PDF).

The Materials

  • Steel profiles for the frame. Ideally use square profiles (set square).
  • Welded connectors with machine reduced ends. This is very important part unless you want to make them yourself. The welded connectors will let you make your construction without welding yourself. And it will be possible to deconstruct it. Please check the PDF guide again, it gives very good explanation why such connectors give you great advantage.
  • Concrete slab pier bases for attaching your shed to the foundation.
  • Sheet metal. I recommend using galvanized sheet metal for roofs but any robust sheet metal will do the work.
  • You may also need a bunch of bolts and nuts.

Prepare the Ground

As with any shed building you need even ground. If you shoose to build on concrete deck piers you may raise your shed on legs above the ground. If you plan to do concrete foundation you will need to dig to hard ground and make sure it's flat. Either way, don't forget to plan this part of the work. It costs time and money.

Making the Construction.

This is of course the most important part. Start with constructing the frame. If you can weld that's OK, but I prefer using connectors. After the frame is ready you can attach the sheet metal to it. Check the "Tutorials and Links" section below to get to a couple of more detailed pages.

Finishing, adding shelves etc.

Once the main construction is ready you may want to paint it or at least finish in some way. Most probably you will need shelves. A good metal construction makes adding shelves easy because there are many places where you can attach them. There are many ready units like the ones shown here. Or you can build them yourself from scrap metal (especially if you have leftovers from the shed constructions) or scrap wood.

Tutorials and Links

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