Shed Renovation - a First Time Buyers Case Study!
When we viewed our house, a major selling point was the shed. With electricity and approximately 7m2 of floor space, it was perfect for storing my partner’s tools, working on repairs and restoration projects. When we moved in, he was delighted to find the previous owners had left behind upper and lower cupboards and worktops, alongside a dresser and small chest of drawers. But on the downside, the shed was leaning heavily and had significant gaps between wooden wall plates. This would be his sacred space, it was important to get to work rectifying these issues and tailoring the space to his needs. We moved in late summer 2018, so we kept work on the shed on the back burner until the warmer weather of late Spring/early Summer 2019.
Leaning, leaky walls
It was important to wait until late spring/early summer, so we could get a few consecutive days of dry weather. A dry spell was important, because the shed had to be emptied of all its contents. With one eye on the weather forecast, my partner arranged for his father to come and help with the work over a bank holiday weekend. His father brought a gazebo, just in case they were surprised by any light showers. They emptied the shed of its contents (cupboards, dresser and worktops, tools, gardening equipment, weed killer, paint, bikes, a go kart and ice skates, amongst other things…), storing these safely in the conservatory and under the gazebo.
With a hydraulic jack, the shed was straightened up; they borrowed a jack from work, but the cost of hire is quite reasonable (around £20 per day). With the structure jacked (roof raised and walls vertical) they put cross-braces in the roof and they strengthened the walls by attaching some sheets of plywood left over from boarding the loft.
To strengthen the structure further and protect sideways rain, boards were put in place on the walls of either end of the shed. These in fact served three purposes, not only strengthening the structure, but providing ideal storage and display boards for garden and hardware tools.
With the walls straight, strong and watertight, attention turned to the roof. My boyfriend bought two rolls of roofing felt, for just over £60. These were due to be delivered the day before the weekend he planned to tackle the project, but unfortunately a courier error meant they were not delivered as expected. In trying to rectify the issue and get the felt as soon as possible, he tried to arrange for the felt to be left at a delivery depot 45 minutes from our home (the closest location possible); after assurances that he could collect this on Saturday morning, he agreed to swallow the lost time and make the journey to collect it.
However, after driving to the depot, it transpired that the felt never made it so we had to visit the local DIY store to buy extra rolls. Very frustrating.
After this digression, work could get started on the roof. The felt was rolled out on the lawn and cut to length (just longer than the length from the bottom of one slanted side to another).
These lengths of felt were then draped over the shed and nailed down securely. When standing on top of the roof in draping and securing the felt, and later in securing the batons, he had to be careful to only step on the little joists, otherwise he would have put his foot through the roof and probably collapsed the entire shed. To help fix the felt onto the roof, he placed batons at intervals along the length and nailed these down. As an additional sealing measure, he painted bitumen glue between the areas where the sheets of felt overlapped.
A lick of paint
As a finishing touch, the shed really needed a fresh coat of paint and my boyfriend chose a pale grey shade. Two tins cost him £90, with the colour being chosen without too much deliberation.
Fittings and Furnishings
With the shed now watertight and strengthened, my partner has an ideal space for storing his treasured tools – he just had to decide what storage units and worktop space he would need. After a careful consideration of all that was left by the previous owners, he decided to keep the bigger cupboards and the large dresser. These were ideal storage spaces for smaller items, various attachments for tools and his equipment. Similarly, re-installing the longer pieces of worktop ensured sufficient work space for his projects. Smaller cupboards and small chunks of worktop were taken to the recycling centre.
All in all, for just under £200 and using left over material, the ‘Man Cave’ is now fit for purpose, strong and secure. It was great to be able to reuse what we already had (conserving the world’s resources) rather than buying a completely new shed. For his birthday earlier in the year, we bought him a little brass sign for his shed as this was, after all, his sacred space; it was the finishing touch to the renovation.