Framing a shed with door making tips
The little rustic garden shed is looking VERY different these days! Not long ago, the back was completely busted out and the front frame let goat the base. It was a complete Willy Wonka styled mess and I thought it couldn’t be saved.
But I was reluctant to build a new shed because I didn’t want to spend thousands on a structure that only stored firewood!
As of today, the shed is as sound as can be, thanks to a few 2x4s and a whole lot of determination! Plus… I made a real door!
Lookit me, an official builder now…
So today I’m continuing the Save the Shed series with the framing story, valuable beginner building tips, how to build a shed door from scratch, lessons learned and more!
It’s my hope that by seeing what this beginner framer accomplished, you’ll chuck fear to the side and go full-tilt on your own fixer upper!
Here’s where we left off last time:
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Save the Shed series
So after the big BIG clean up, I set up a workstation outside by the shed, using these main tools:
Helpful framing tools:
Brand new non-treated 2x4s
Treated landscape ties
Outdoor durable 3″ copper screws
Miter saw (in hindsight, I would set it up next to the shed next round!)
Wheelbarrow – I used to cart the tools inside each evening, leaving the waterproof table outdoors
Framing a shed with door making tips
Repairing the foundation first
- Cut back to sound wood
- Rebuilt what use to be there and attach it to past sound wood
Creating a sound foundation was first.
Honestly, this step gave me the most frustration because I didn’t know what to do. Give me written instructions and I’d be good to go! I nearly quit at this point. And maybe if tearing the shed down wouldn’t have been even more work, I may have…
After lots of needed breaks, I kept on it. I ended up using new treated landscape ties to copy what had been there previously. Which are sitting on top of attached buried chunks of wood to further stabilize.
BUT if you really want to do it right, cement footings are suggested so the wood doesn’t touch the ground at all.
Removing nails with a grinder
- Outfit your grinder with a new heavy duty metal disc
- Use a grinder to cut off nail tips that can’t be pulled out
- Wear protective gear: gloves / safety glasses / hearing protection
- Be aware sparks will occur
- Take your time and get comfortable with it. It gets easier.
I then had to overcome my fear of grinders. I’m not a fan of the sparks they create. So after outfitting my grinder with a brand new metal disk, I got my brave on, outfitted with protective eyewear and hearing protection (less sound = less scary!) and ground away each nail tip in the way.
The grinder cut off the nails like slicing through butter!
Since I was dealing with sparks and very dry firewood, I misted water over the fire wood and framing before and after using the grinder and had the water hose near me to be on the safe side.
Supporting the back
- Jack up the back
- Rebuild base first, then main supports next
What I think I really needed was a carpenter jack of sorts to push and hold the roof up as I rebuilt. But I didn’t want to purchase one, so I YouTubed a DIY one HERE made out of wood. It worked to a point, but was difficult to do on my own.
I ended up smacking a treated reclaimed wood post into place with a hammer as best as I could, attached it and called it good.
But a proper jack would have hired the roof a little more which would have likely been best. I’ll be buying a jack for my next shed fix for sure.
Fixing the front
- Take pictures of the before for reference later
- Cut back rot
- Rebuild with new
Everything in the front of the shed was relatively sound except for the left side, which had separated from the base.
After cutting away the rot, I replaced the treated landscape ties with new, and attached them to the previously sound wood. Then all the rest of the framing was copied from what had been there previously, referring to past pictures… often.
Joining with toenail or pocket holes
Most wall structures are pre-built, then set into place. But because of working with a pre-built structure and all the crazy amount of angles to recreate, I ended up attaching one board at a time.
Pocket holes used with the Kreig Jig in some cases saved me! Especially since I was using screws for all the wood joins.
Later in the game, I got more proficient at toenailing the joints together (angling the screws to join two boards), so I ended up relying on pocket holes less.
Video – How to use a Kreig Jig
Click above to learn how to work with a Kreig Jig. It’s very easy!
How to measure angles
While I love this quirky shed shape, measuring out all the angle cuts gave me the most grief.
I hacked pieces of paper, wood and whatever else came to mind and limped along, frustrated with nearly every cut.
The most helpful tool I happened to have on hand was a speed square (to measure angles) but I definitely suggest a Magnetic angle locator instead, which I picked up later!
After the bottom and left side was complete, I plunked in the original door and it was good to go!
Next up, let’s finish the side and back… with a surprise addition…
Framing the back
- Cut away rot
- Replace with new materials, attaching it to the original structure
- For framing, start with the base and top first, then fill in the middles
Since the sides and entire back had rotted out, there was a fair amount of replacing to be done.
The base and tops were built first (where applicable), then I filled in the middles.
And I nearly framed in the entire back of the shed, until I had a lightbulb moment… I wanted to try building my first ever doorway!
Why not? This provided the perfect opportunity, plus, who can’t use an extra door?
Framing a doorway
- Determine desired door size
- Build a rectangle with an open bottom
- Position into place, then frame around it to secure
The front door was copied which made things easier.
I measured the front doorway size, then created a rectangle leaving the bottom open. Once positioned into place, it was secured by adding framing supports around it.
Looks pretty official, huh?!
However it was about to get even better…
Building a door out of 2x4s
- Build a rectangle, slightly smaller than the door opening
- Dry-fit the door inside the doorway frame to ensure it fits. Adjust if needed.
- Add inside supports, plus a cross support to help keep the door square
Building the shed door frame was relatively easy. A rectangle measuring about an overall inch smaller than the doorway frame was built out of 2x4s, then added supports were attached inside, with a cross-brace to help keep it hung square.
The door size ended up being little tight for opening and closing, so instead of rebuilding, I sanded down some edges with a palm sander until it worked perfectly.
Installing the shed door
- Position the door with wood scraps along the bottom and wood shims along the sides
- Attach with door hinges (using 3 is best for a heavy door like this)
To install, the door was wedged upwards with wood scraps and wood shims along the bottom, sides and top to position where desired.
Two door hinges were then attached. In hindsight, I think this door could have used 3 gate-styled hinges since it was so heavy, but this is what I had on hand. I’ll keep my eye on it and change it out if need be.
When installing hinges, just remember that the top hinge should be positioned closer to the top vs. the bottom hinge a little further up the door.
By golly friends… I made a real door! I must have stared at this for hours in amazement.
All framed up!
And then there it was… the shed was all snug and completely sound. I actually managed to save this shed! I never thought I’d see this day coming.
So after this big, new adventure, here are some main takeaways I got out of this BIG shed framing save:
Fav framing tips
- Take plenty of before pictures to use as reference. You may need them as you rebuild.
- Bring the miter saw near your work area… or prepare to do LOTS of walking.
- Buy a proper angle tool if you are going to be working with angles.
- A grinder with a new metal disc makes cutting off nail tips like butter!
- Take your time. I did a small section at a time which helped save my sanity.
- Frame with gloves on = no slivers.
- Use a retractable extension cord… it’s so much easier to haul around tangle free.
- You will want to give up. Rest up instead. You can do this!
Coming up next:
After framing, the obvious next step is to figure out how to waterproof and finish the structure.
Since this is a greenhouse structure, I plan to cover it in heavy gauge plastic, then pretty it up with reclaimed wood cedar fence posts I landed for FREE! once again. Wait until you see that motherload land…
The above picture is similar to what I yet again wish to accomplish. But with a few new twists!
Was it worth the big save?
In a nutshell, framing a shed with door making tips was a big job. I can’t even tell you how many times I sat on the ground, dirty from head to toe, in total frustration with tears welling up. I mean, vs. vacationing in Hawaii, this was a tough pill to swallow. What a summer, huh?
But the key was, I didn’t give up. Taking this framing on in do-able sections at a time gave me plenty of healing time in between. Mentally and physically.
Plus, it taught me SO much, that the 2nd garden shed save HERE yet to come doesn’t feel quite as intimidating now! Doing more makes you grow more, so at least there’s that!
So stay tuned… because the VERY best is yet to come…
Save the Shed series
More to come on this one too!