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Last Summer's Project

Updated on June 8, 2013

The old sheds

Two old sheds that we had in our backyard were well on their way to crumbling and falling apart. I'd been into my neighbour's yard a few times to try to patch up the huge crack in the cement wall that she had to look at every day, but it soon opened up again. Also the cracks above the lintel on one of the doors was getting worse. The sheds had been built when the bungalow was built in 1926 so they were 86 years old and showing it. There was only one thing for it - demolish them both and put up a new shed. I wanted a good size shed as I knew from past experience that no matter how much space you had in a shed, you always wanted more. I eventually bought a steel shed measuring 10 feet by 13 feet, which was delivered in flat pack form.

Only one door shown

Down they came

To demolish the old sheds would be too heavy a job for me with my shoulders both having steel pins in them, so I employed a young fit man that I knew from the gym to do the job. He started by climbing on the roof and taking the steel sheets off one by one whilst balancing on the remaining ones. This was fine until he came to the last one, when he had to stand on the rotten rafters. They were so rotten that all the ends of them had crumbled away to nothing. He pulled all the nails out and gingerely slid the last sheet off, which I carried away to join the others at the far end of the garden. Once down from the roof he caught hold of the underfelt beneath the rafters and gave a good tug. They all came clattering down like a concertina. Can you imagine the dust? We were both covered in black mortar dust - and it got worse. The walls had to come down next and they might have been 86 years old, but some of the brickwork was absolutely solid. He was a young, fit man used to pumping iron, but at the end of that day of weilding a sledge hammer, he was almost exhausted.

But the sheds were down and I had a huge pile of brick rubble to move. I could do this myself, taking my time. He looked at the pile of rubble and said to me, 'I bet you're sorry you started this, aren't you?' 'Not at all,' I said. 'If it takes me the rest of the year, it won't bother me.'

What a mess

Plenty of rubble

I planned to use some of the rubble to extend my patio outwards by two slabs, then build a bull nose extension five slabs out, and then use the rest of the rubble for the base for the new shed.

I started phase1, the two slab extension, by building a wall out of concrete blocks to contain the rubble, then filled up the new space created with old bricks which I broke up with a hammer and tamped down solid. Then I mixed up concrete and poured it over the rubble to make a fairly flat surface to take the new slabs.

Phase two was the bull nose and I carried on the concrete block wall around in a half circle. Then it was more breaking up of bricks, filling the void, then tamping down until I'd got a fairly level site. Then I had to build steps down from the bullnose to the garden.

Phase three was the new base for the shed. Some of the old wall that was left standing, which I used in the new base had probably been the cause of the old shed subsiding, so I dug under it down to two feet deep and underpinned it with concrete. It was then a matter of levelling and laying a flat base 14 feet by 11 feet to take the new shed. I used up all the brick rubble that I had and also a pile that my neighbour had in her garden.

Patio extension

Taking shape

Finally done

Once I'd laid the base I opened up the flat pack shed and was amazed! There were dozens of small panels, every one having to be joined together to form the sides and roof. It was a giant meccano set! Everything was there, down to the last nut and washer, but I had to assemble it. The plan that came with it informed me that two workers could assemble and erect it in six hours. It took my wife and myself almost two weeks!

It finally came together and its a really good looking shed with plenty of room inside. I ran in the electrics, water and drains so that it could house our freezer and washing machine. I finally got the base watertight with silicone sealant so now we are set for the winter.

It has taken five months from start to almost finished. There's just the prettying up of the steps with red brick to do now. If the rain ever stops, I might make it by Christmas.

This was my Summer project. Here's another one from tonymead

New shed


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