7 May 2023
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United Kingdom
Hi. I don't have any building experience at all :eek: but I am going to have a go at making my own tool storage shed out of blocks (roughly 3m by 1.5m and just high enough to walk in). I'd appreciate any comments and suggestions on my "plan". As I progress I'll think more about each step before I do it, but here's my overall intentions so far:

I've removed a bay tree and started digging the foundation for the base. There's a lot of clay soil in this area. I'm unsure how deep to go (different sites say different things). I was going to dig about 6 inches deep, buy a hand-rammer and compact the soil, get some type 1 and compact that to a level of about 4 inches, put a thin layer of sand, lay a Damp proof membrane, then put 4 inches of concrete (1 cement + 5 ballast mix). That will leave the shed higher than the ground by about 2 inches for drainage so the base itself will be about 8 inches, and a uniform slab. I intend renting or buying a used mixer. I know I've got to get this all level and square so will take my time.

Does that depth sound right for a storage shed? Guess it depends on the weight... I intend to build the walls with one course of engineering block to fight against any water that could get trapped at the bottom of the base, a DPC course on top of that, then all further courses are going to be lightweight blocks (4 inch celcon or similar) - open to comments on whether that's suitable or not. No pillars intended except maybe at the door opening for strength.

I'm going to buy a used, composite, outwards opening door and build the opening around the frame. Hands up, I have no idea how to really do this, should I plan to make a solid wood frame all around the opening so the metal door frame can screw to this, or put the frame straight in to the blockwork with appropriate fixings? I guess I could use 'galvanised fish tail frame clamps' either way, someone told me to do this for strength, to tie the frame directly into the blockwork? No windows or insulation needed, but I still want it to be dry, so my mate said baton the outside and clad it in feather-edge - but it seems quite hard to find feather-edge over 2.4m lengths around here in North Essex though, but uPVC plastic cladding is readily available in 4m lengths so I might end up using that, then I won't have to have joins along the length. Wood would look better though, may have to hire a van and drive to collect.

One (long) side of the shed will be against the fence and not visible - I'd prefer not to clad this in feather-edge/u-PVC (space issues as well as cost) but the blocks still needs to be protected from the damp. Any ideas? Could I paint them with exterior masonry paint then run a sheet of DPM along the whole outside of the blocks (up to just under the roof) leaving it exposed or is that a terrible idea?

For the roof, I was going to have a flat felt roof. Not thought too much about this yet, but I was going to make a wallplate, put cement much higher under one side of that wallplate to create a slope for water to run off. I could attach a few wooden 'joists' across one side of the shed to the other, directly to and flush with the top of the wallplates, to provide some extra support to the OSB so that it doesn't bow and can be walked on?

I don't know where I'm getting my ventilation from, if it's needed... could fit a couple of vents through the lightweight blocks easily enough?

Sorry for the length of that... I am getting it clear in my head as much as anything. Welcome criticism and suggestions on everything. (y)
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Uvpc comes in 5m lengths so little waste on those dimensions, delivery is often free or cheap.
Vents best at roof edges thru timber,maybe one open door frame. I prefer epdm for roof covering as one piece ensures no leaks.
Thank you. I think you just turned me back on to uPVC. It took me no time to find a local firm that delivers 5m shiplap and it looks pretty straightforward to fit as well, providing I get my walls square etc. Comparatively good overall cost, little waste as you say and no maintenance.

I think I made another change already as a result of hanging around here. Someone said in a thread yesterday "Try and avoid the usual trap of making the base bigger than the shed", and I would've done that. If I lay the blocks right on the edge of the base, and have the cladding overhanging the base by a little, it should avoid the chance of water accumulating at the base and I may be able to avoid the use of engineering blocks?

I'll consider EPDM, would probably have to get a roofer in to do that but maybe worth it!
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