Repairing the rustic garden shed with demo tips – Part 1
Can you believe it? I’m writing a post!
This summer, I had created a fairly long list of outdoor projects that were LONG overdue. They were delayed due to me never having done those kinds of tasks before.
Once our summer heat hit and we were guaranteed a run of sunny days, I went in. Deep. To the point of no return!
What I didn’t expect was to get so caught up in all the new projects to the point of literal exhaustion by the end of each day… doing new things takes a LOT out of you!
So I decided to let the blogging go for a spell and just go full-tilt. Let’s just call this my summer vacation, shall we? But never before have I worked so hard during a vacation so there’s that! LOL
Anyway, I finally have enough pictures and a bit of a story to share on one of those many outdoor projects, and today I’m sharing how I’m repairing the rustic garden shed along with some demo tips I’ve learned along the way!
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Save the Shed series
About the shed
My rustic garden shed has long been a focal point in my backyard for many years. It’s a rustic cutie that has become the main focal point of my backyard over the years, with ever changing looks.
But here’s how it all started when I moved in! It was truly a green house structure that I simply revamped with old windows and reclaimed wood.
How the shed was originally revamped:
Here’s how the shed looked just last summer, with the vintage bike edition. Cute as can be!
But if you look really super hard to the right, you’ll see a problem… the back is busted out and was in need of repair work.
Not to mention the very crooked front. Oh dear. The frame along the bottom had let go due to rotting wood. So it was time to make a big decision this summer. Repairing the rustic garden shed or let it go…
Tear it down or go new?
In all honesty, the shed in its current condition really is a tear-down.
So I played around with shopping for a new cute shed kit and hiring my new handyman Al to help me install it. But I didn’t like the new prices… and to store firewood or even a lawnmower… not worth thousands to me. If I spend thousands, I want it to really give me big wide open spaces to help my business!
But to be completely honest, it wasn’t just about the money. I have never saved a structure before, and this was such a good opportunity to learn from! I mean, if I destroyed it, well… yay, right? No loss! So why not try and save it if I could do it affordably?
So that’s what I chose. I was on a mission to Save The Shed. Repairing the rustic garden shed would ultimately save me a bundle of money but offer so many building lessons along the way.
And if it fell after the fact? Yay, right? Trying gave me nothing to lose.
So for those of you who’ve always wanted to know what the inside of the rustic garden shed looks like, here you go! Now that’s a gorgeous she-shed, huh?
I’ve used it to store firewood since moving here.
But over time, the wood that wasn’t protected with plastic eventually rotted. Of course it would! But I didn’t think to preserve the wood back then.
Repairing the rustic garden shed… let’s get this show on the road!
First up was to remove enough firewood so I could work on the shed.
But the way the firewood was stacked was like a hill of dominos… remove one, 20 fall. So I kept removing until they stopped rolling.
Then it was official demo day! I used a crowbar and hammer and punched and bent and hammered the rotten framework right off the structure.
I mean, is there a methodical way to break stuff?
Using a sawzall to cut some of the framework also down proved helpful, so I didn’t have to pry open all those tight nail holds!
PS: Build with screws. It’s so much easier to dismantle. You’ll thank yourself later.
All the rotten wood from the back of the shed completely filled up the back of my truck. Which led to an extremely satisfying dump run.
Front of shed demo
After a day of recuperation (I needed it!) it was time to tackle the front.
Once again, just enough firewood was removed so I could pinpoint why the front was so crooked. Turns out, the frame let go of the foundation wood but just on one side this time. Yay for small saves…
And then the ripping apart began.
I removed the door, then started cutting away and prying on the rotten frame parts only, ensuring the new wood would ultimately have something sturdy to grab onto.
Since I desired to completely surround the shed with the heavy plastic liner for better protection this round, all the cute reclaimed wood used for decoration was removed as well.
And another round to the dump was in order!
.And this is how the shed looks today. Just like at the very beginning nearly 15 years ago!
Chunks of the shed are missing, and just the frame is exposed, but at least the grounds are tidy, and ready for the next step of repairing and re-framing.
I won’t lie. This was a TON of work! And it really tested my patience, and (lack of ) strength. But when I got frustrated, I just took a break and went at it again, and did it in small increments to the best of my ability.
But my goodness… it was so gratifying to get this far and see the thing still standing! And knowing I could save it if I wanted to.
So since I’m such a demo day pro now where sheds are concerned (heh), here’s a few demo tips to help you along with your own demolition projects:
Consider the grandfather clause
If you wish to fix an older built structure, you generally can since it was there before you got there. But if you tear it down, you may not be able to legally rebuild it. Just do your homework and find out what the building codes are for what you are working on.
Use the right tools for the job
Ripping structures apart is really physically demanding. But it’s easier if you are geared with the right tools…
- crow bar
- sawzall or circular saw
- sturdy shoes
- work or heavy gloves
- hearing protection
- safety glasses
- extension cord (I like THIS ONE on a reel)
- collapsible work table
- containers for screws and nails
- broom or small hand brush
… and just get it going!
All tools were stored in a wheelbarrow, which made it easy to cart out the next day.
Rip it up!
How do you even take stuff apart? According to HGTV, they have big strong people that punch through walls. But I’m not that strong. So… how do you bang apart a buncha bulky wood?
- rip apart what you can with a crowbar and rubber mallet
- cut what you can with a sawzall or circular saw
- hammer nails flat where possible, for safety’s sake
- size everything to what you can carry and fit into your vehicle
Clean up as you go
Ripping apart is one thing, but clean up is yet another. So rather than do a ton of just one thing and leave heaps of mess, I chose to do a section at a time, and include the clean up as well. Once my truck was full, it was time to call it a day!
Then I booked in a dump run for the next day.
It was just so nice to start again with everything tidy! And it’s safer too!
Pace it out
Ripping stuff apart is hard physical work. So I found if I did demo one day, then rested the next, I was ready to go again by the 3rd.
Demo doesn’t have to be a race. I worked with my strengths and limitations, vs. pushing myself too hard. And I haven’t quit yet, so it must be working…
Scratch that. I quit several times over. But after a breather, I just wasn’t willing to let this beast beat me.
I’m actually pretty proud to get to this point. I honestly thought I”d have to get rid of the shed, but when I compared the amount of work on the demolition vs. save, I decided saving it was less work on me… plus I’m saving a ton of money not having to build a brand new one!
But I also know this little rustic shed is there for yet another lesson.
Who knows… maybe I’ll be building that new shed all on my own next summer after all these lessons. Because I have Shed #2 to fix too!
I must have a thing for sheds…
Next up: framing and strengthening the structure.
And start dreaming of what the new finished look will ultimately be… let’s surprise both of us, shall we? Because I have NO idea yet… so this should prove interesting!
Would you have tried to save the shed or bit the bullet and get rid of it?’
Save the Shed series
More shed posts you may enjoy: