Before building or erecting a new shed, you need to create a firm and level foundation. Without this, the structure is likely to be assembled improperly – greatly reducing its quality and lifespan.
There are a number of different options available to create your shed base, and this article will take you through the main four. All are ideal for preventing water collection and floor damage – these are the man four methods:
- Timber Base
- EcoDeck Base
- Concrete Base
- Paved Base
A timber shed base, or porta-base, is made from pressure treated timber which are attached to metal legs/spikes in the ground. The base can be installed on a level lawn, or onto a patio using metal legs to keep it level.
You will need access to a power drill, spirit level and tape measure for the installation – which takes around two hours (depending on your DIY level). Timber base kits start from around £100, and are considered a relatively easy and temporary option.
The EcoDeck shed base is a great alternative to concrete and paved bases. The durable interlocking plastic grids are lightweight, easy to install and made from 100% recycled plastics. The grids are free-draining, self-ventilating and SUDS (Sustainable Urban Drainage System) compliant, meaning the water drains through like a sieve and flows naturally into the water table.
They can be laid on any level surface, atop a dressing of sharp sand or gravel to help bed in the grids. The use of a sub-base saves on any excavation too – depending on how you want to use this versatile material.
Building a Sub-base
Both concrete and paved shed bases require support from a sub-base. It is recommended that a sub-base is made from a MOT type 1 hardcore (consisting of crushed or broken bricks, blocks and stone), compacted with an earth rammer or a vibrating plate compactor, and then topped with a layer of sharp sand or ballast.
7.5cm of compact hardcore underneath 7.5cm of concrete.
5cm of compact hardcore underneath the paving slabs.
Concrete starts to harden around two hours after it has been mixed, so it must be laid, packed down and given its finish within that time. The cement needs to be laid into a wooden frame which can be removed after five days.
This method requires access to a cement mixer, protective clothing and finishing trowel. If you have limited experience using cement, it is recommended you use an alternative method to achieve desired results.
A paved base requires mortar to lay the slabs, which can be made using four-parts sharp sand and one-part cement. The mortar should be slightly moist, smooth and damp consistently – not wet or sloppy. Focusing on one stone slab at a time, use a trowel to lay the mortar on the sub-base, wet the back of the paving slab and place it on top of the mortar – repeat the process across the area required.
Choosing a Shed Base for Your Garden
Whilst each shed base has its pros and cons, the EcoDeck shed base is the clear winner on the balance of price, durability and ease of installation. The 100% recycled lightweight plastic grids offer an alternative to messy cement and paving slab installations, and have a far greater lifespan than its wood counterpart.
EcoDeck also supply parking and driveway bases.