# frame jobSeptember 7, 2011 4:34 PM   Subscribe

I am going to build a shed from scratch. Simple construction: plywood over wood frame. I'm wondering if there is a rule of thumb for estimating the amount of framing material you need given the surface area of a building (the walls and and roof, the roof would need more framing material though ( assuming an A-Frame))?
posted by gregg to Home & Garden (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Well, I think you would use the perimeter to estimate that. In general you place studs 16" apart. That should inform the rest of what you need.
posted by jeffamaphone at 4:39 PM on September 7, 2011

I don't know if there is a rule of thumb, but when I made my shed it wasn't that hard to estimate my lumber need. I drew a scale diagram of the front, back and sides and then counted the wood pieces I needed. Factored in windows and doors. Then did the same thing for the roof trusses. The framing lumber will be the cheapest part of making the shed anyway so don't worry if you buy more than you end up using.

The one thing I was off on was nails and screws - I should have gotten the box one size bigger than what I thought I needed.
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 4:48 PM on September 7, 2011

I will second more nails than you think you need (especially if you have a nail gun!). I am currently finishing a 16'X16' shed with attic storage space and just figured it out on paper (with studs at 16", 8' high walls, that's easy to calculate). The roof trusses were a bit more complicated to calculate, so I draw them in sketchup and then counted how much wood I needed per truss. Sidings and shingles are usually calculated in square foot so again, it's pretty easy to get the total needed once you have the overall size of your shed.
posted by ddaavviidd at 6:08 PM on September 7, 2011

Thanks everybody. What I've done is calculate the perimeter, and divide by 16 to get the number of vertical members, then add quadruple the perimeter again to account for the upper, lower and two additional horizontal members. I live in Florida so I want the extra stability. I haven't decided on whether or not to have windows, down here the sun turns anything with windows into a free solar oven. I'm assuming zero for the door since it will occupy most of one wall, negating at least as much framing as it causes, including the eaves. For the roof I used the Pythagorean theorem to help calculate the amount of wood in one A-frame and then multiplied that by the length of the roof divided by 16.
posted by gregg at 9:16 PM on September 7, 2011

It's worthwhile to check your local building codes, especially if you aren't planning a finished interior. Local building codes incorporate the accumulated wisdom of the crowd, for your area, and if you ignore them, you generally suffer easily avoided consequences. For example, if you don't attach any interior sheathing to the frame of your shed, you give up a surprising amount of torsional stability, and your building may come out of square under constant prevailing wind loads, or even building weight, a lot easier than it would if it were more securely footed, more heavily framed, or more effectively diagonally braced.
posted by paulsc at 9:53 PM on September 7, 2011

Don't forget the hurricane clips, also known as hurricane anchors, to tie the walls to the foundation and the roof to the walls.
posted by fivesavagepalms at 6:30 AM on September 8, 2011

Taunton's Building a Shed is the best book of which I know on this topic. If you're so at sea that you're trying to figure out how to estimate materials, I think you need this book (or one like it, there are plenty that are sufficient).

Codes, by the way, also dictate how large your shed may be and where you may place it on your property, and may dictate framing, foundations, and even roof and siding materials as well. Be sure you know whether a permit is required. If you skip this step, you could be forced to dismantle or move what you've built (this happens -- someone built an illegal addition to a house a block away from us and had to take it all back down).
posted by dhartung at 9:31 AM on September 8, 2011

Dividing the perimeter by 16 may not be absolutely correct. You have to take into account corners. Draw it and then mark in where the studs will go and you'll see what I mean.
posted by jeffamaphone at 9:52 AM on September 8, 2011

nice catch jeffamaphone, I'll make the length and width of the building so it comes out even.
posted by gregg at 2:28 AM on September 9, 2011

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