How To Build A Shed Foundation

The first step in the How To Build A Shed series

Shed foundations on Wood Rails, Concrete Blocks and Concrete Slabs

This tutorial shows you the steps to building a wood rail foundation, from cutting the rails and installing them on the ground to making them square and level.


How to build a shed foundation cutting the foundation rails
The first step is to cut the foundation rails to the length shown on the plans and then locate them on the ground where they will be permanently installed.

Locating them on the ground is done by setting the rails in their approximate location and checking them for square.

To check that the rails are square in relation to each other you will first make sure that they are the proper distance apart from each other and then measure diagonally from corner to corner.
Your goal is get both of the diagonal measurements to be the same length. So move the rails parallel to each other until the measurements are the same.

The locations of the rails only need to be within a few inches of perfect as you will be moving them to prepare the ground underneath.


How to build a shed foundation digging the rail beds

The second step is to prepare the rail beds. This is done by making them level with each other and themselves.

How to build a shed foundation level the foundation

To check that the rails are sitting at the same height in relation to each other you will use a straight board and a level. Set the board so that one end is on one rail and the other end is on the other rail. Put the level on top of the board to check which rail needs to move up or down.

You will need to repeat this process several times as you adjust the rail bed levels until the rails are the same height as each other and the rails are level in their own beds.

On slightly sloping ground you may need to dig holes or build up the lower areas with gravel to allow the rails to sit level. This shed required that the higher rail be dug down to the height of the lower rail that was sitting on top of the ground.


How to square a shed foundation
The third step is to get the foundation rails parallel and square with each other. This is done exactly the same way you located the rails the first time by using a tape measure to check the locations of the rails.

It is usually easiest to get one of the rails sitting where you want it, and then adjust the second rail so it is parallel and the correct distance from the first rail.

You will need to repeat the measurement checks and adjust the rail locations until they are correct.

Although it is not shown in this tutorial because this shed will be moved to another location, each rail should have a few inches of gravel under it. This gives good drainage under the rails and makes it easier to level the rail beds.

Once the rails are square and level you are ready to set the floor joist on them.

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