Not a House, but it has a Roof

Last week, I had to get that course assignment done. And the evenings have been filled with heavy rain lately. These are really my only two excuses for having not been up to our section in a couple of weeks.

I thought the tulips would have been all washed up and finished, but happily there they were. Purple Prince looking very regal among the potatoes:

The late daffodils I planted are starting to form buds too, and the ruby-colored broom is an absolute wash of flowers. I really need to plant more of this. It’s gorgeous:

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But anyway, that’s enough about flowers. Today was meant to be all about building the shed. The first building that plot of land has ever had…

It was back in June that I ordered a kitset wooden shed. I wanted somewhere to store our tools (which should save us the hassle of having to drag everything back and forth with us whenever we want to do work up at the section) as well as a shelter for the water pump. I’d looked at a whole bunch of different kitset sheds when I went to Fieldays, but chose this particular one because a) it’s timber and not thin steel, and b) it had a suspended floor rather than just using a concrete slab. This should keep our gear dryer, and enable us to put the plumbing for the water pump under the floor. When I placed the order at Fieldays (it cost $1000), the guy said it would take 2-3 weeks to be delivered.

So. Last week, it was finally ready to pick up… 2-3 weeks my ass. It was going to cost us an additional $300 to get it delivered from Hamilton, so my mother (bless her) brought it up on her trailer. It consisted of a floor panel, four walls, corner capping, and two roof sections – all treated pine. When we offloaded all the pieces next to the water tank yesterday evening, here’s what it looked like (I put sleepers on top of the pile to stop the roof panels from blowing away):

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The builder had provided instructions which looked, again, a little optimistic on timing. He said it would take one man and 30 minutes to construct the kitset. He provided some tek screws for the roof and a handful of nickel screws for the walls. We already knew that the nickel screws would rust out, so on the way back to the section this morning we picked up a pack of galvanized screws for treated timber, Z nails, nail plates, as well as the posts and concrete for the foundation.

Now the foundation was always going to be the tricky, time-consuming part of the build. You have to get it measured out right, and square, and level, or else nothing else works. You start by pegging it out, checking the square, and then running string lines that intersect at your corners. Your string lines also have to be leveled. Here’s our progress (between three of us) after an hour:

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Next we started digging holes for each post. Then tamping the soil down in each hole to make sure it was firm, then leveling the posts, and then pouring in the quick-set concrete. Through this time, we were also dodging bursts of heavy rain. Here’s what it looked like after another hour:

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And then finally, after three hours (with three people) the foundation was done. We kept asking each other when the 30 minute build time was meant to start exactly.

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Next, we lifted the floor panel onto the foundation posts (it fit) and tacked it onto the foundations with the Z nails. It took all three of us just to lift the floor panel, so his assertion that it can be built by one person also seemed a bit over-optimistic. Then it was time to stand up the walls and screw them together:

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The walls just slotted together on top of the floor, and we didn’t screw them down at first. The deal was that once the roof was on and secure, and we knew the shed was square, that’s when we’d attach the walls to the floor. Until that point, it’s too easy to make it into a parallelogram and not notice.

 

Once all four walls were up and supporting each other, we put the roof panels on. This was the trickiest part. The flashing had to fit together snugly, and the ridge cap had to line up exactly with the holes in each piece. This was also when we found that the walls were indeed slightly out of square, so there was a lot of adjusting (with a hammer and a few kicks) and trying to yell instructions from both inside and outside when people couldn’t see where you’re pointing. It worked though, and then we had a roof:

 

Once again, the kitset was meant to have the roof attached to the walls by using just 8 screws. We decided that, given the wind that we get on that property, this was never going to be enough. So we added in nail plates and gang nails, to give it many more points of attachment.

The last jobs were to finally screw it down to the floor, and then put the corner capping on the outside.

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So. After a total of six hours (with three workers) we had a lovely, warm, dry shed. I immediately put tools in it (and a padlock on it) so that we didn’t have to drag everything home again.

The great part is that now, when we get the mortgage sorted, we can finally install the water pump and fill the tank up. That gives us water to go with our power connection. Almost like a real property! Plus next time it pours with rain while we’re working (as it kept doing all day today), we don’t have to scurry to get all of our tools back into the car.

Just back into the shed….

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Yay, shed!

Yeah, totally done in 30 minutes…

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