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Shed From Pallets & Other Recycled Materials To Keep Costs Down

Hello! It's been a while since I've posted because I've been tackling the most ambitious project yet - we demolished our 1920's garden tool shed and replaced it with a larger, more modern pallet garden shed. I learned MANY new skills during this project (having to do it around a 50-60 hr work week!), but it's been a blast, and I'm quite proud that some of the smaller projects are either incorporated or have a permanent home.

  1. First, after demolishing and reclaiming LOTS of 1920's Cali. redwood, we had to level the ground. We laid out the foundation forms for a 12' x 14' garden/tool shed, and since this won't be significantly load-bearing (like a garage floor), we only made it 4" thick, and thinned the center portion somewhat with more gravel to reduce costs. We received a 55-gal drum of Portland cement mix from a neighbor for free, so we only had to buy the clean sand and gravel, which we waited for a sale at the local home center and picked it up ourselves. We borrowed a cement mixer from a family member and as the husband ran the machine, I was behind, measuring with 1-gal buckets for the 1-part cement, 2-parts sand, and 3-parts rock. Just as I'd get the full, he'd be dumping the mixer into a wheelbarrow, and off I ran, dumping and jiggling the mix into the form. It only took us a few hours - surprisingly fast and easy! I'm going to pour a cement patio later this fall when it's cooler by myself now that I know how to do it. The husband showed me how to screen it across the top, and then I went back and smoothed out the floors by hand - no, we didn't have a bull float. It came out pretty good!
  2. Framing: We were lucky here. We had to end up buying ONE single 2'x4' board. The entire remaining frame structure was pallet wood and reclaimed wood (particularly the roof beams) from my sister-in-law's patio that she demolished. We had a leftover hardware, metal brackets, and all the stuff to make it structurally sound and to code from the renovation of our home a few years back, and it cleaned out some stuff from our old shed as a bonus! My husband knew the most, so I was the measurer and cutter and would run back and forth as he pointed and assembled.
  3. Framing the Dutch Doors (from a previous post): Now that they'd cured of the patches and glue repairs they needed, the husband showed me how to frame them out. I used 1'x4' pallet wood (we snagged two 8' pallets!) and since the roofline is low, we framed them out for a 6'5" opening x 48". No threshold since I want to be able to roll tools in and out with ease.
  4. Framing the windows: Now that I knew how to frame a door, the husband had my frame in all the windows (there are 6 of them; 4 open - all purchased from Habitat for Humanity years ago for this project for 150.00).
    Framing for the swamp cooler: I did that too. That's the one random square hole in the wall you'll see. We suspended it with chains and eye bolts, and the husband ran copper piping to it for water. It overflows onto our trees (not that it has yet, but when we have to clean it...
  5. Roofing and siding: Here's where we had to actually spend some money. We bought the foil-backed plywood as it really reflects a lot of heat away from the shed (and our garage!), and it's reasonably priced. We also had to buy the roofing paper, drip rails and rolled roofing. We had leftover tar from re-roofing the garage last year. We had leftover tar barrier stuff from the garage and used it to be the barrier at the bottom of the shed to protect the wood. Icky, sticky stuff! The husband showed me how to measure and cut the 4'x8' sheets of mock-tongue & groove wood panels, so he helped me install two, and I installed the rest myself (another 4 plus some minor trim spots around the front of the shed).
  6. Sealing anywhere we missed the 1st time: Nuff said about this one. We're still not done - have to do the gaskets and bristly things to better insulate the dutch doors.
  7. Trim-out: More pallet wood and pallet scraps. Did my usual eyeball-measuring with a pencil, which annoys my husband to no end, but I'm pretty darned accurate usually, haha!
  8. Shelves - built-in: I had a stack of leftover 2x6 and 2x8 boards that a friend used for cement framing. After sanding them down, I used them between the framing studs, both as frame reinforcement and as instant shelving. I added in quite a few and you'll see them later with lots of goodies on them. But the price was right - FREE!
  9. Paint: Started painting the inside with Kilz primer to cover the old, nasty roof beams, and the old pallet wood for a nice, white base, then painted it with leftover semi-gloss interior white we had that was getting old.
  10. Cleaned and sealed the cement: Used a wire wheel on the drill and removed the small amounts of overspray, then applied several coats of a cement sealant we had leftover from another project. Good use of an old bottle - USING it instead of hazard disposal sites!
  11. Paint: Began painting the outside: leftover primer, then 2 coats of the yellow that you'll see in the pictures, and hunter green for the trim. It's not done yet, but I couldn't wait to share, as I :)

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HeatherStiletto
Bio: I'm a Licensed Vocational Nurse in Southern California, and enjoy woodworking with pallets. I've mad... read more

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Mike Hessheimer

Built one out of pallet wood & recycled lumber to and yes very very proud of it?

scott
scott

where is a consistently good source for finding free pallets?

Neokentin

Hi Scott,

Good question and it depends a lot where you are living. We give some information’s here: Find Pallets
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