Moving an entire shed? Sounds crazy, right? Actually, it happens more than you’d think and it is definitely possible.
Whether you’ve just moved into a house and want to change up the layout of your yard, or something more serious like flooding or neighbor issues occurs, then moving your shed is a necessity.
Below we’ll take a look at different options on how to move a shed. And of course, having a tractor definitely makes this easier, but you can also do it without any special expensive equipment as well.
Why Move a Shed?
At this point you might be asking yourself why you should even bother. Here are some reasons when you probably should, or must, move your shed.
Maybe you bought a home and the previous owner, without thinking, placed a nice new shed in a depression that is prone to collecting rainfall. Not only could this degrade a foundation, but rain could also get into your shed and damage your stuff. If so, it’s time to move.
Check with your municipality regarding building codes and property lines, but most codes will have a provision for a buffer between a structure and a property line. If your shed violates that buffer, your neighbor is within his rights to call an inspector. If you don’t move your shed, then you’ll face a hefty fine.
Reorganize the Yard
If you have a nice flat yard and want to do some reorganizing, moving your shed might just be an option for you. Optimizing space in your yard can allow you to utilize your space more functionally, whether that’s including a garden, trampoline, or anything else that can allow you to enjoy your space more.
If you want to utilize the sun to passively heat and brighten up your shed interior, then you’ll need full exposure. For many of us, our backyards are filled with trees. Moving your shed can turn a dark, dreary storage spot into a place that you would actually want to spend time in.
How to Move a Shed
Let’s get down to business and talk about how exactly you can move your shed from point A to point B. As mentioned above, unless you have some massive structure the size of a house, moving a shed with the help of your buddies is possible and can be done in a day. Let’s lay out your options below.
1. Move the Shed by Hand
The most obvious, but also most work intensive, option. When moving your shed by hand, you have a few options and which option you choose depends on how many guys you have helping you. The other consideration is how big your shed is. If it is something like 18×24 then you just aren’t moving it by hand – it’s too heavy.
If you have a small metal or plastic shed, such as 8×8 or smaller, then moving your shed with another person is totally doable.
First you need to see if your shed is bolted to any sort of foundation. Plastic and metal sheds usually come with floor kits – these can stay attached to the shed, but you’ll need to remove any sort of bolts connecting the shed to the wood or concrete foundation.
Once you disconnect the small shed from it’s foundation, you should find some long 2x4s to attach to either side of the shed – not the door side. What you’ll do is attach each 2×4 about two feet from the bottom. You can use screws and drive them into the studs of the structure. Be sure the 2x4s are longer than the length of your shed sides.
If the structure doesn’t use wood studs, then you can simply screw into the outside walls. You can caulk the screw holes after, as there will only be a couple on each side.
Once screwed in, you can then get three other guys to each lift one end of the 2×4 and carry the shed to the new location. This is as simple as it gets.
On the other hand, if you only have yourself and one other person, you can do the same method. Except instead of using one 2×4, you’ll use a couple of scrap pieces of 2×4 on either end of the shed side. Then attach a longer 2×4 that connects either end. That makes a nice handle for you on one side and your buddy on the other. Move it to the next location.
For Smaller Sheds
You can simply pick the shed up from the bottom, with another person, and move it to a different location. If you choose this method, remember to take care of your back. Even though it might be a plastic shed, remember that it is a whole lot of plastic which can get heavy. Lift with your legs, not your back, and go slow.
2. Use Pipes or Other Rollers
One of the most commonly used methods to transport larger sheds if you don’t have access to heavy equipment like a tractor, loader or forklift. This method requires you to jack up your shed, place “rollers” underneath the skids, and move it over more rollers just as you would on a conveyor belt in an assembly line.
To use this method, you’ll need:
- A floor jack, or farm jacks
- Cinder blocks (optional)
- Rollers (schedule 4 PVC, long metal pipes or timbers)
- Many long planks, preferably 2×6 or greater
- Several guys to push OR
- A riding mower, car, or golf cart to pull
Using schedule 4 PVC pipe is arguably the easiest, because it comes in 10 foot lengths, is super strong, and is cheap. If you need it longer, simply buy a connector piece and you can make any length you want. Best of all, it is smooth, so it will give you the least amount of friction as you roll your shed over it, which you’ll appreciate as you push it along.
You’ll need to lift up your shed and attach runners to the bottom of your joists. If you only have one jack, then start in one corner and lift as high as possible, then place a cinder block underneath. Repeat on the other three corners. If you have four farm jacks, you can simply lift all four sides at once, or gradually if you are by yourself.
Many sheds are built on skids, 4×4 or larger lumber that the floor structure sits on. If that is the case for your shed, you wont need runners since the skids will act the same way.
If you have to dig to get a jack under your shed, then go ahead and do it. You may have to insert a smaller block or piece of wood first, then repeat on the other three sides. Then, you’ll come back and jack it higher and put your blocks underneath – it just depends on how embedded your floor is in the earth.
A runner is simply a 2×6 – or greater – that runs the length of your shed. You’ll attach two, one on either side of the bottom of the shed. Don’t attach it right on the bottom edge – attach it a foot or two beyond the edge. This will make it easier to maneuver when it is on the rollers.
When you attach the runners, attach them securely with screws so you can remove them before you put the shed in its final resting place. Lay them flat against the joists and screw on either end. This will make your shed sort of like an actual sled.
The next step is to lay runners down on the ground. These are just like the ones you attached to the bottom of your shed, except you’ll just lay them down on the ground. These provide an elevated surface for the runners to sit on, and are essentially your “track” that your shed will follow. Old fence planks or barn boards work great in this application
Now it’s time to sit your pipes or timbers down on the track you’ve made. Be sure to have at least 2 beneath your shed – but more is always better. If your shed is big – greater than 12×16, then you’ll want at least 3. Also, have a couple of spares, at minimum, to lay down on the track as your shed moves forward.
Lower your shed onto the rollers, and push! You’ll be surprised at how easily your shed moves on the pipes. You’ll need another person in front to place rollers as you go along, but in reality it will move very slowly and you’ll be able to stop, go and move the roller yourself, then move back behind the shed to push.
That’s it. Of course, having more people to help you will allow you to turn the structure more easily. As one or two guys push, the other pushes against the side in the direction you want it to go.
3. Use Moving Rollers
An alternative to pipes or timbers is using moving rollers. Moving rollers are used by movers to move very heavy items safely. They are about the size of floor jacks, but without the long handles. They are very small tracked units that can handle serious weight.
Reasons to use moving rollers instead of pipes could include space, because pipes or rollers may need more room to operate. If you live in a seriously cramped backyard, then moving rollers might be easier because they slide under the shed and won’t protrude beyond the footprint of the shed.
You’ll have to rent the rollers. If you live in a rural area, then you’re likely out of luck. But then again, if you live in a rural area, then you can just move it with your tractor! Moving companies and even places like Home Depot rentals will likely have these to rent. Call around.
Once you’ve acquired 4 rollers, you’ll have to jack up your shed. See above, in option #2, for details on how to do that. After jacking up your shed, you’ll place runners on the ground as your “track” that the moving rollers will roll on.
Jack up the shed just enough so that you can fit the runners and the rollers under the shed – this will help you line up the roller with the frame of your shed floor. Place the roller beneath an intersection of a bank board and floor joist. Do not go under a jacked up shed to place a roller or runners!
For sheds on top of skids, simply place the four rollers underneath the four outer corners of the shed skids. Lower the shed slowly so that the skids rest on top of the rollers.
Once you’ve jacked up your shed, placed your runners and have your rollers in place, you can lower the shed down on top of your rollers. Warning – when using rollers, you must go much slower than you would if you were using long pipes or timbers. If the rollers come off the track, you’ll have to jack up the shed again. This takes time and will add hours to your move, potentially.
You’ll find that moving a shed with moving rollers is not difficult. You’ll absolutely need another person to do this job to watch as you push. You don’t want to fall off your track and another person can help guide you.
4. Drag Shed on Skids
If you are fortunate enough to have a machine with some pulling power, then save yourself some exertion and make your shed a sled.
Pulling with a truck or tractor is simpler than using pipes to roll your shed, but beware- the more power you put behind moving your shed, the more your risk damaging your shed structure.
Moving a shed on skids is fairly simple. You’ll attach the skids to a chain or other heavy-duty strap. Bolt the chain using either very long lag bolts or carriage bolts. Make sure the chain or strap is fastened on the outside side of the skids on either side of the shed. Once attached, pull.
If you don’t have skids under your shed, just a floor frame, then you’ll have to jack up your shed (see above) and attach runners. This can be done using brackets, such as joist hangers – see this article here for more information on attaching a shed floor to skids.
You’ll need to cut the skid ends so that they taper upwards like a sled. This is done so that the front bottom edges of the skids don’t get caught in the earth. The backs of the skids should also be tapered, so they don’t dig into the earth.
Brace your door and windows using diagonal cross braces. You can put them running the full diagonal length between the upper and lower corner of the opening, or you can put them over the face of the openings laying flush over the openings.
Some make the point to brace all the walls in this method, as well. Take a 2×4 that will run the length of your interior wall, from the top corner to the opposite bottom corner, and screw into each stud.
Now it’s time to move your shed. This can be done by fastening a strap around the entire structure, such as a series of straps, ratchet straps, winch, or some other type of cable. Have lots of foam to put around the corners of your shed between the siding and the straps.
Lastly, before you move your shed, be sure to clear a path if there is tall grass, brush, rocks, or any impediment.
5. Dismantle the Shed
Probably the most obvious option, and the best way to ensure a safe shed move. There are several instances when taking the shed apart is the only option.
It’s impossible to cover every scenario in which you may have to disassemble your shed instead of just move it, but most likely revolve around the fact that you are moving it from or into an area that won’t allow for the entire structure to pass through.
A couple of tips to consider when disassembling your shed.
- If your structure is plastic or metal, from a kit, carefully remove panels, studs, and all other parts. Most of these kits are meant to be assembled once and don’t take kindly to re-installation.
- Disassembly is a great opportunity to replace fasteners that need replacing. Other hardware, like clips or specialty fasteners, should be saved. Have a bag where you put all your hardware so that you don’t lose them.
- If you saved the directions for putting your shed together, then skip this tip. If not, separate fastener baggies and label each one so you know which fasteners went with each part of the shed.
- If you are taking apart a wood shed and nails are involved, consider simply cutting through the nails instead of prying. Damage can occur to studs or roof rafters if you try to pry nails.
If you can safely remove the nailed lumber, remove the entire nail because any bend or damage to the nail will render it unusable.
- Sheds with wood studs and sheathing should be taken apart from the outside to the inside. That means you remove all siding, roofing material, and sheathing before taking the structure apart.
Once your roof is off, only the skeleton of your structure will remain. Start by removing roof rafters or trusses.
Trusses should be removed one at a time. Rafters can be removed one at a time.
Start with rafters in the middle and work your way out to the rafters on either edge. Support the ridge board with a stud stood up on end, and attach it to the studs of your walls. Do the same on the other end. Now you can remove the last rafters and the ridge board is all that is left. Take it down and disassemble walls.
While this process will take longer then any of the other ways to move a shed, it will likely result in the least damage and actually even improve your structure. Be sure to take care when taking it apart, especially the roof of larger sheds.
6. Use a Forklift or Tractor with Forks
If you are fortunate enough to own a forklift or tractor, then moving your shed shouldn’t be much of a problem. OF course, you still need the fork attachment for your tractor, which some Kubota owners won’t have – they are extra and not cheap.
But, if you have forks for your tractor or forklift, you’ll simply slide them under the shed floor, lift, and tilt backwards. If you are moving a larger shed, it’s best to get straps and throw them around the entire structure and attach the straps to the machine. This will prevent it from moving too much and falling off the forks.
Also – very important to reinforce door and window openings before moving. As mentioned above in the moving with a sled section, you’ll have to place cross braces in these openings to prevent the structure from collapsing into these openings since they are weak points.
Consider bracing all the walls with cross braces, too. This will only strengthen your structure and ensure it doesn’t fail.
7. Use a Trailer
A trailer is an effective way to move a shed, particularly if you have to move it beyond your backyard. A couple of things to consider before you throw your shed onto your trailer:
- A truck with enough power (any truck will do, just don’t try it with, say, a Toyota Corolla or something like that) is important
- You’ll also need a trailer big enough to hold the shed
- Using any old trailer will not work – you need a flatbed or a trailer with an area greater than your shed
If you have both of the above things, then you are good to move the shed. First you need to jack up the shed. You have two options when doing this:
- Jack up the whole thing as far as possible, using four jacks. Then you can slide the entire trailer underneath. You could do this by gradually jacking up all four sides, alternating a little at each corner and periodically placing bracing beneath to make it higher and higher.
- Or you can just jack up one side. This is easier and allows you to slip the back half of the trailer underneath.
If you are able to slide the entire trailer underneath, then your work is done beyond just securing the shed to the trailer frame.
But if you only jacked the front half, you’ll need a way to get the rest of the shed on top of the trailer. This can be done using ratchet straps secured all the way around the shed, attached to the trailer hitch of your truck. Alternatively you can use a come-along to connect your straps around the shed to a strap attached to your trailer hitch. This will get the job done faster and you’ll find you won’t take too much effort.
Remember that if you are pulling a shed up onto a trailer, you’ll need to provide a smooth surface for it to “glide” onto. This really depends what kind of trailer you have. If you have a flatbed, then this isn’t a problem except for the fenders. Try removing the fenders for extra clearance.
Lastly, be sure to brace all the openings of your shed before moving it. This option for shed moving results in significant movement to your shed structure. Cross brace all the walls with studs, too.
Don’t do this:
Moving a Shed Beyond your Backyard
What if you need to move your shed further than your own backyard? Fortunately, I’ve covered that in a recent post How to Move a Shed Across Town.
While moving a shed a few feet here and there in your backyard is no easy feat, moving your shed across town – or beyond – is a whole different ball game. Here’s what you need to know when moving your shed across town:
- Know how much your shed weighs
- Ensure your trailer is street legal
- Check with local motor vehicle authority for trailer towing rules
- Attach shed securely
- Ensure shed is free of loose material and contents
- Drive carefully to new site
- Ensure new site is prepped for shed delivery
The danger of moving a shed across town lies in the fact that you are moving a very heavy object near other moving vehicles. If your trailer is in good working order and you securely attach your shed, then you are going to be fine.
I hope you’ve found some helpful ideas regarding moving your shed. No matter what your shed location is like, there is definitely a way for you to move your shed. Even if you have to take it completely apart, no one should ever feel like their shed – even a large one – is stuck in one place.
Please feel free to take the time to comment or respond to this post – questions and suggestions are always welcome. I’d love to know other ways you’ve found to move your shed – we can always add them to this list. Good luck with your next shed move!