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Thread: Going from shed to 'shop

  1. #1
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    Going from shed to 'shop

    I think I'm going to slowly take the next steps to outfit the shop for future purposes, even if that means it's not necessarily the the smartest choice.

    The construction of the shed (142-144sqft) is as follows - it sits on cinder blocks on one side, ground (maybe - can't see) on the opposite side, with a ramp up to floor level. Inside and out for the walls is plywood. I'm not sure how thick the outside is, but the inside can't be more than 1/4" thick. I believe it has 2x4' stud construction, although I believe at least in parts they are horizontal studs. There is some measure of insulation in the walls. The floor looks to be of a MDF or MDO construction.

    Since it sits on a hill, the underneath is exposed to the wind under a skirt that they tried to bridge the gap. Tried, but not successfully. The ceiling is the same 1/4" plywood, and it looks to be 2x4 construction in the rafters. Roof is in great shape, as are the shingles. Window is poor, but it's a window. Doors need to be replaced. There is a floodlight on the outside over the door, a light fixture inside in the middle, and one grounded outlet box - all hooked to no electricity. Apparently they ran some Romex over the ground at one point as temporary power but that got quickly discontinued (all this from the neighbor).

    What I'd like to do is knock it down and build a 500sqft heated and powered shop out back. I then realize I should probably wake up and go to work. There's the possibility of adding power at some point. No reason to add plumbing, and I'm not sure adding a heat source in something that small would be safe. But, I do have some ideas of how to make things a bit more tolerable.

    1) I'd like to make it a bit warmer in the winter.

    I thought of a couple of ways to do this. First, since I'll most likely have some extra material from another project, is to get under the shed and insulate the floor as best I can. I'm not sure I want to extend the skirt down any further though. I defer to the experts, though.

    Secondly, I'd like to rip out all of that super thin plywood from the walls and ceiling and put up either drywall or OSB. I know I'd prefer OSB. I'll be putting in a query to the local building code office to see if I need a firewall, but on a freestanding structure I don't think I'll be restricted in that way. I'll also probably be replacing the insulation and putting new in. I'll also be looking at the studs and may see if I can engineer vertical segments.

    2) Planning for power

    Since I'll be putting in new walls, I might as well put in a couple of more outlets, and make sure they are done right. I may pre-wire for some shallow ceiling lights, but I haven't decided about that yet. All of the existing wiring will be removed in the process. The outlets will be at bench height for better access.

    3) Replacing the doors

    I should have done this awhile back. I've got a plan for it, just need to do it.

    4) Level in front

    I have a decision to make if I want a level surface in front - grade the ground, or make a deck. Making a deck would probably be easier and less expensive, right?

    Here's a question for you legal eagles. I was already told that renovation on the inside was allowed without permit as long as I wasn't doing HVAC, plumbing or electrical. If I'm redoing the wiring, but not going to hook it up to a live circuit at the time, would that still be considered needing a permit?

    Any input on this? I wish I could just start over, but it's just not practical.

  2. #2
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    First thing I'd do is to make sure the shed isn't sitting directly on the ground on one end. Rot and bugs will get you real quick.
    Second, I'd add another layer of OSB or plywood to the floor to make it more sturdy. There has gotta be some bounce the way that it sounds like it's built. A few heavy tools and it will sag for sure.
    The plywood on the sides is probably siding (t-111 ?). I'd just leave it and add some rigid foam sheets between the studs. I can't imagine the roof would be 1/4"
    Sounds like you are destined to an extension cord unless you can run a dedicated line from the house. I wouldn't worry about getting approval for a few extra outlets.
    Faith, Hope & Charity

  3. #3
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    In terms of electric, I don't know your local code but around here if it on and extension cord that is plugged into a recepticle it doesn't need a permit. Now one thing i would do though is put a small sub panel in and get some #13 SO cord 12-3 with a ground and make a 220 Volt extension cord. You can then plug the shed into a 220 recepticle like a clothes dryer recept. Then you will have plenty of power and even have 200 if ya need it.
    "There’s a lot of work being done today that doesn’t have any soul in it. The technique may be the utmost perfection, yet it is lifeless. It doesn’t have a soul. I hope my furniture has a soul to it." - Sam Maloof
    The Pessimist complains about the wind; The Optimist expects it to change;The Realist adjusts the sails.~ William Arthur Ward

  4. #4
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    If you want to keep heating it to a minimum, insulate all sides. A space heater or oil filled heater will do a good job if the airflow is at a minimum.

    I'd probably put up OSB with a moisture barrier underneath sealing out any outside air. OSB is cheap and will give you a way to hang things without having to locate a stud.

    I'm not sure about the grading or building a deck, would need to see pics of the outside, but probably a deck. Reason being, my dad did something similar at their summer spot where he stores his tools in his shed. The deck railings are extra wide at the top for workbench space and even has a lower area to mount his chop saw. He built a canopy over this area to get out of the sun, but it's considered a patio, so it doesn't mess with him having to stay under a specific building size regulations. Wont help you in the winter, but you'll have lots of extra room on the warm days.

    As for the electrical, I usually do work that I feel I'm capable of and let professionals do the rest. You may be able to work something out with an electrician friend that will let you do the work and sign off on it as his own as far as inspections are concerned to save you some money. There's some good suggestions above about just using an extension cord, I'd probably go the hard wire route and bury some conduit if possible long term.
    Last edited by Darren Wright; 11-30-2010 at 10:52 PM.
    Darren

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  5. #5
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    Hey new guy here
    I don't know what kind of budget you have, but having a good electrical system would be a priority for me. Nothing worse than always needing 1 more plug or a little more lighting to see your fine woodworking skills.
    I could stand to let the finish of the building go for a while and invest in some good wiring.

  6. #6
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    Ever local area on code is different, here anything under $1000 that doesnt' invovled a contractor doesn't require a permit. Electrical/plumbing might still need one, I'm not 100% sure. However, that's a temporary accessory building. I'm thinking you wouldn't need a permit to work on that in general. You can always call and ask, the clerk can usually tell you the answer to that kind of thing.

  7. #7
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    Wanted to address a couple of your thoughts real quick.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob Gibson View Post
    First thing I'd do is to make sure the shed isn't sitting directly on the ground on one end. Rot and bugs will get you real quick.
    Second, I'd add another layer of OSB or plywood to the floor to make it more sturdy. There has gotta be some bounce the way that it sounds like it's built. A few heavy tools and it will sag for sure.
    The plywood on the sides is probably siding (t-111 ?). I'd just leave it and add some rigid foam sheets between the studs. I can't imagine the roof would be 1/4"
    Sounds like you are destined to an extension cord unless you can run a dedicated line from the house. I wouldn't worry about getting approval for a few extra outlets.
    When I clear out that side of the property that will be one of the things I do. It'll probably entail replacing the exterior of that side as well. The floor does have some sort of ply underlayment. I do not know if the top layer is MDF, but it sure has that same look. The ceiling is 1/4", not the roof.

    Extension cords have worked well so far. But if the time comes where I can afford to have electricity hooked up, I want to be ready to roll.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Baer View Post
    In terms of electric, I don't know your local code but around here if it on and extension cord that is plugged into a recepticle it doesn't need a permit. Now one thing i would do though is put a small sub panel in and get some #13 SO cord 12-3 with a ground and make a 220 Volt extension cord. You can then plug the shed into a 220 recepticle like a clothes dryer recept. Then you will have plenty of power and even have 200 if ya need it.
    Sounds like an interesting idea. Very hard to access the plug for my dryer though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    If you want to keep heating it to a minimum, insulate all sides. A space heater or oil filled heater will do a good job if the airflow is at a minimum.

    I'd probably put up OSB with a moisture barrier underneath sealing out any outside air. OSB is cheap and will give you a way to hang things without having to locate a stud.

    I'm not sure about the grading or building a deck, would need to see pics of the outside, but probably a deck. Reason being, my dad did something similar at their summer spot where he stores his tools in his shed. The deck railings are extra wide at the top for workbench space and even has a lower area to mount his chop saw. He built a canopy over this area to get out of the sun, but it's considered a patio, so it doesn't mess with him having to stay under a specific building size regulations. Wont help you in the winter, but you'll have lots of extra room on the warm days.

    As for the electrical, I usually do work that I feel I'm capable of and let professionals do the rest. You may be able to work something out with an electrician friend that will let you do the work and sign off on it as his own as far as inspections are concerned to save you some money. There's some good suggestions above about just using an extension cord, I'd probably go the hard wire route and bury some conduit if possible long term.
    Hard wire is definitely the end game if I'm here long enough. I'll post up a pic tomorrow of the area I'm talking about.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Collins View Post
    Hey new guy here
    I don't know what kind of budget you have, but having a good electrical system would be a priority for me. Nothing worse than always needing 1 more plug or a little more lighting to see your fine woodworking skills.
    I could stand to let the finish of the building go for a while and invest in some good wiring.
    Hard wiring is unfortunately more than a year away, if not more. So far I'm limited to working during the day anyway thanks to small kids.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeb Taylor View Post
    Ever local area on code is different, here anything under $1000 that doesnt' invovled a contractor doesn't require a permit. Electrical/plumbing might still need one, I'm not 100% sure. However, that's a temporary accessory building. I'm thinking you wouldn't need a permit to work on that in general. You can always call and ask, the clerk can usually tell you the answer to that kind of thing.
    The code guy was good to me last time I had a question, I'm definetly going to hit his office up again.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darren Wright View Post
    ...A space heater or oil filled heater will do a good job if the airflow is at a minimum...
    +1 on the oil-filled heater. I'd have no qualms about using one of those in a shop. I've been using one as a towel heater (and dryer) in the bathroom for the past 15 years or so.
    When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro. - Hunter S. Thompson
    When the weird get going, they start their own forum. - Vaughn McMillan

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  9. #9
    Chris Hatfield is offline Former Member (by the member's request)
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    This should give a good indication of the slope the shop is on.



    There's no part in front of it that's level, and doing stuff outside is doable, but I'd rather be safer. Also, trying to bring long and heavy things (my rolling bench is an example) off or onto the ramp is an adventure. My thought was it would be easier and cheaper to build a PT or synthetic deck and have it level than to try and grade the slope. That is, of course, assuming the shed itself is level.

    And as you can see, the left side is indeed sitting on the ground. I'm not sure there's much I can feasibly do about correcting that.

  10. #10
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    It appears that the left hand side is below grade. I'd dig that out and keep the dirt well below the siding, otherwise you're looking at some rot and termite damage in your future. Looks to me like a deck would be your best bet unless you build some retaining walls around the edges where the grade isn't in actual contact with the building. If the sub structure isn't treated lumber, you may want to dig it out as well and get it up on blocks.
    Darren

    To a small child, the perfect granddad is unafraid of big dogs and fierce storms but absolutely terrified of the word “boo.” – Robert Brault

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