Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

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bdrolan
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Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by bdrolan » Wed May 20, 2020 3:54 pm

Any DIY'ers or Construction Gurus Out There?

I'm planning on building a 12x12 or 12x16 shed soon, but going back and forth on foundation options. I was going to spring for a concrete pad, but I've decided to go the easier route with this size of shed.

I'm trying to decide between Flat Concrete Blocks on gravel base vs partially buried (maybe 4in?) Deck Piers. Any preferences or reasons to do one over the other? With the Flat Concrete Blocks, would I still need skids?

Teague
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by Teague » Wed May 20, 2020 6:41 pm

I did concrete via cement mixer. Some ready-mix and some the old fashioned way (3 shovels gravel, 2 of sand,1 portland cement and repeat.) Builds character, etc.

If you can get a short-load truck to deliver to your site, is concrete really that much more work than your other options?
Semper Augustus

steadtler
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by steadtler » Wed May 20, 2020 7:11 pm

If you have nice, fairly flat area, flat concrete blocks would be just fine and quick/easy.
Next easiest, yet most expensive, would be the concrete pad. Foundation may not age well.
The most labor and skill intensive would be posts in the ground, at least to frost line, on a concrete footer.

If you are building the shed yourself you might consider doing a post frame aka "pole barn" type construction and just add joists across the grade board to put in a floor.

mcamp18
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by mcamp18 » Wed May 20, 2020 8:51 pm

When I did my last foundation for a shed I hired someone to level an area in my yard with a load
skidder. They installed 4 x 6 wooden posts 1.5 feet outside the diameter of my shed, and filled this
area in with rock so it was level. I have a 20 x 12 shed and the foundation cost me $1500. Uneven
ground will cause all sorts of issues with your doors and the long term integrity of your shed, so
do it properly.

Where I live in PA, skunks, rabbits, and groundhogs love to built a permanent home under sheds.
I purchased metal wire fencing and placed it over the rock and stapled it to the 4 x6 posts so the
animals could not dig under the outside of the shed. On both ends where the plywood sits on top
of 4 x 4 posts for the floor of the shed I stapled wire fencing the was 1 cm x 1 cm so no animals
could easily walk right under my shed to escape the elements.

This set-up has worked very well for me. The Amish make sheds where I live in Lancaster county and
they have trailers with all sorts of hydraulics that can place a shed exactly where you want it placed.

When building your shed I suggest at least walls 8 feet high. This will enable you to hang all sorts of
things from your walls. A tall roof will allow you to hang all sorts of equipment from the roof trusses.

Go big or go home when it comes to a shed. Build double doors on at least two sides so you can access
whatever you need in your shed. Kids bikes and yard toys take up a lot of space. Measure the size you
need and go 25% bigger and you will be happy.

Good Luck with your project.

Mark

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jabberwockOG
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by jabberwockOG » Wed May 20, 2020 10:44 pm

In my region it is important to bolt down any wooden structure to its foundation. I'd pay for a pad with embedded bolts, or at a minimum concrete piers with embedded metal post base/hangers. If you live in an area where storms can produce high winds, bolting down the wooden floor plates to the foundation will help prevent the shed from becoming a projectile in a high wind/tornado scenario.

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StevieG72
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by StevieG72 » Wed May 20, 2020 11:07 pm

I used flat concrete blocks leveled in gravel with skids. Fairly easy project, great for an area that way not be level.
Fools think their own way is right, but the wise listen to others.

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Wed May 20, 2020 11:35 pm

jabberwockOG wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 10:44 pm
In my region it is important to bolt down any wooden structure to its foundation. I'd pay for a pad with embedded bolts, or at a minimum concrete piers with embedded metal post base/hangers. If you live in an area where storms can produce high winds, bolting down the wooden floor plates to the foundation will help prevent the shed from becoming a projectile in a high wind/tornado scenario.
+1. Don't discount the ability for mother nature to seriously disrupt one's life. Maybe no wind today, but given enough time you may find that the wind magically appears.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

Paddygirl
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by Paddygirl » Thu May 21, 2020 5:13 am

Just had a nice Amish built shed. Having one with a loft is a fantastic use of storage space. Built on a level bed of gravel surrounded by 4x6 treated lumber.

ddurrett896
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by ddurrett896 » Thu May 21, 2020 7:03 am

Best to worst for me:

Concrete pad with block piers
Gravel pad with block piers (I would do this)
Block piers
Gravel pad
Dirt

undrc7
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by undrc7 » Fri May 22, 2020 7:09 am

I built my own 16' x 24' shed about 3 years ago. One consideration not mentioned is how your municipality treats outbuildings when assessing property value and, hence, property taxes. In my area, a shed on a concrete slab is considered a permanent structure and affects property value whereas a shed sitting on the ground or blocks does not. Another consideration is drainage. In my case, my shed location is in the same location that my property collects and diverts water towards the street. Therefore, I would have hindered my property's ability to shed water if I didn't leave space between the shed and the ground.

A properly prepared gravel pad with skids would be my preferred option for a smaller shed. The skids form the backbone of the shed and will allow easy relocation, if needed in the future. When I built my 16' x 24' shed, I had to move a 10' x 12' shed. Due to the skids, I was able to do so by myself using three 4" PVC pipes, a floor jack, and a 2"x4". I jacked the front of the shed up and placed the PVC pipes under the skids and rolled the shed (using the 2"x4" as a lever) by constantly moving the PVC pipes back to front, spacing them about 5' apart. It is also very easy to level out a shed on skids in any location by using concrete blocks under the skids. Moving and leveling are reasons pre-built sheds are built onto skids. Wind load should also be considered, as previously suggested. For a shed on skids, there are anchoring systems available similar to the ones used for trailer homes.

London
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by London » Fri May 22, 2020 7:18 am

Sometimes the answer to this comes down to permit /property tax considerations. In my area, it’s not considered to be a permanent structure if it’s on piers. That means no tax or permits required. If you sink concrete into the ground, it’s then considered permanent.

Of course none of that has to do with stability of the structure.

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lthenderson
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by lthenderson » Fri May 22, 2020 8:35 am

bdrolan wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 3:54 pm
Any DIY'ers or Construction Gurus Out There?

I'm planning on building a 12x12 or 12x16 shed soon, but going back and forth on foundation options. I was going to spring for a concrete pad, but I've decided to go the easier route with this size of shed.

I'm trying to decide between Flat Concrete Blocks on gravel base vs partially buried (maybe 4in?) Deck Piers. Any preferences or reasons to do one over the other? With the Flat Concrete Blocks, would I still need skids?
Location, location, location. Are you somewhere with significant ground freezing? Do you want this shed to remain level and plumb as the day you set/build it? If you aren't so concerned with things remaining level and plumb and waves in the floor, then any of the methods you mentioned will work out just fine. If you are located somewhere with significant ground freeze in the winter but you want the shed to remain true and plumb during your lifetime, none of the methods you mentioned will do so unless the deck piers mentioned go below frost line. Are you someplace that gets high winds? If so, you need something to tie it to ground either through the use of earth anchors or bolts embedded in concrete. Do you have problems with ground rodents in your area? That may determine if you can have something on skids or if you want to set it directly on the ground.

SimonJester
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by SimonJester » Fri May 22, 2020 8:47 am

I would be sure to check your local building codes. In my area anything over 10x10 has to be permited with engineered building plans.
"They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety." - Benjamin Franklin

Topic Author
bdrolan
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by bdrolan » Fri May 22, 2020 8:48 am

Thanks!

No frost line and no high winds. We get some winds here in Texas but anything that needs anchors.

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lthenderson
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by lthenderson » Fri May 22, 2020 8:53 am

bdrolan wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:48 am
Thanks!

No frost line and no high winds. We get some winds here in Texas but anything that needs anchors.
In that case, probably the most cost effective way is to set it on a pad of leveled crushed gravel with some lawn edging around the perimeter to keep the gravel from spilling out into your lawn if you have that concern. I would make sure the gravel is up to the siding all around to prevent varmints from building their dream den underneath your shed floor.

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Sandtrap
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 22, 2020 9:19 am

bdrolan wrote:
Wed May 20, 2020 3:54 pm
Any DIY'ers or Construction Gurus Out There?

I'm planning on building a 12x12 or 12x16 shed soon, but going back and forth on foundation options. I was going to spring for a concrete pad, but I've decided to go the easier route with this size of shed.

I'm trying to decide between Flat Concrete Blocks on gravel base vs partially buried (maybe 4in?) Deck Piers. Any preferences or reasons to do one over the other? With the Flat Concrete Blocks, would I still need skids?
Use? (Garden vs household cardboard boxes vs...)
Wind?
Ground critters?
Foundation moisture, drainage, wood rot, termites?
Floor load = joist vs slab on grade vs ...
Is a prefab/delivered Wood Structure an option?
Is a prefab metal building an option?
Concrete slab floor or wood floor?
Budget or excellent build level?
How much do you have to spend?
Builders skill level?

What are skids??

j🌺
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Sandtrap
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by Sandtrap » Fri May 22, 2020 9:25 am

SimonJester wrote:
Fri May 22, 2020 8:47 am
I would be sure to check your local building codes. In my area anything over 10x10 has to be permited with engineered building plans.
+1
Sometimes just a location permit with noted setbacks and easements and location to other structures depending on building size.
Other times, that plus building plans and full permit.
Also, HOA approval.

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FrugalInvestor
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by FrugalInvestor » Fri May 22, 2020 9:32 am

I like to use pier blocks with adjustable saddles. This allows for easy leveling should there be any settling.....or if I don't get it level in the first place which I would never admit to (and don't have to with these). :happy

See here......
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/383931936973069681/
Last edited by FrugalInvestor on Fri May 22, 2020 10:58 am, edited 1 time in total.
IGNORE the noise!

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queso
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Re: Shed Foundation: Flat Concrete Blocks or Deck Piers?

Post by queso » Fri May 22, 2020 10:52 am

I had a 12x16 built on flat concrete blocks 6 years ago. It is still holding up fine. Would probably do that again unless I had a significant reason not to. We had a family of foxes living under it for a while, but I didn't mind them since they were so cute.

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