Having a solid foundation is a must if you want to place a shed in your yard. You could just put it on the ground, but that invites problems. Uneven ground can lead to warping and contact with soil allows moisture to seep into the wood, leading to damage and rot. Most homeowners, however, can build a shed base with paving slabs.
It takes a little time and elbow grease, but a foundation will prolong the life of your shed. Also, putting in a paver shed foundation isn’t as hard to do as you may think.
- What is a Paver Shed Foundation and When to Use It
- What to Consider Before Choosing the Base Location
- How to Lay a Paver Shed Base
- Step 1 – Site Planning and Preparation
- Step 2 – Measure and Mark Shed Paver Base
- Step 3 – Calculate the Number of Pavers Needed
- Step 4 – Dig Marked Area
- Step 5 – Lay Gravel Base
- Step 6 – Mix Sand and Cement
- Step 7 – Spread Sand and Cement Mix
- Step 8 – Lay the Concrete Pavers
- Step 9 – Add Edging
- Step 10 – Fill the Gaps
- How to Anchor a Shed to Pavers
What is a Paver Shed Foundation and When to Use It
A paver shed base is a surface made of paving blocks. You can find pavers in a variety of materials, including concrete and brick, which are suitable for shed foundations.
Pavers fit together tightly, allowing you to create a sturdy base for your shed. Plus, they are durable and relatively inexpensive letting you get top quality results without breaking the bank.
Using a shed paver foundation ensures your new outbuilding is on a stable, level surface. It also keeps the shed off the soil, lowering the chance of moisture wicking up into the materials.
With a proper foundation, you can prolong the life of your shed, protecting your investment.
What to Consider Before Choosing the Base Location
One of the first things you need to do before starting the project is deciding where to put your shed. After all, once you put down the foundation and build the shed, moving it isn’t exactly easy.
You may be tempted to place your shed based on how it will look in your yard. However, there is a lot more to consider than just appearances.
For example, are there any utility lines running through your yard? Where are the high and low points in your yard? How stable is the underlying soil?
Will sunlight hit the shed during the day? How far from the property line does it have to be? Are there any local restrictions to consider?
Placing a shed over underground utility lines is a big no-no. If they need to do any repairs, you should move the shed and the foundation. Who wants to do that?
Before you start the project, having area utility companies mark the location of any lines nearby. In some cases, you’ll need to find the locations of certain lines yourself.
The utility company knows where your home connects to their side, but you may need to know how it goes from that point to your home.
Slope and Drainage
You need to examine the slope of your yard. Putting a shed foundation on paving slabs in a low point in your yard means rain and meltwater will pool in that area.
There are things you can do to manage the slope in most cases. Having your yard graded to reroute water is an option. Just keep in mind that it can be costly, especially since this is a job best left to professionals.
You can also improve drainage in the area. For example, installing a French drain around the pavers base can keep water away from your outbuilding.
Have you ever tried to dig through clay? What about rocky soil? If you choose a shed location on the hard ground, you’re creating more work for yourself.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t go forward. Just understand that you’ve upped the amount of elbow grease required.
However, that doesn’t mean the very soft soil is ideal either. If the ground is always soft, your paver shed foundation could shift, or even sink. Try to find a spot that isn’t too difficult to work, but not too soft either.
The presence or lack of daylight is also a factor. Some people want direct sunlight on their shed. Others may prefer shaded spots.
You need to observe how the sunlight moves through your yard during the day and decide if the amount of light is right for you.
Ultimately, you need to consider these points before you start building. That way, you can feel confident about your choice of location.
How to Lay a Paver Shed Base
Step 1 – Site Planning and Preparation
Before you break ground on your project, you need to handle the site planning and preparation.
Have you checked to see if you need a building permit? If not, you need to do this now.
Whether you need a building permit for a shed depends on where you live. Some cities or counties require them for all structures with a foundation. Others base it on the height of the shed.
Check your local codes to see if you need a permit. Usually, you can find this information online. If you have trouble finding it, contact your city or county offices for more information.
If you’re building the shed yourself, you’ll also need a building plan. Not only does this give you guidelines during the building process, but it also shows your city or county what you intend to build. Without a plan, your permit may be denied automatically, so consider this a must.
After your plans are in place, move on to site prep. Remove any items from the space, including lawn furniture, to create a proper work zone.
You may also need large plants or trees taken out, ensuring the roots won’t impact your foundation. You need space to work around the perimeter of your shed, so clear a space larger than the planned shed.
Step 2 – Measure and Mark Shed Paver Base
While you may be tempted to start digging, marking out your space first is a better approach. Creating guidelines to follow ensures the area is the right size.
Plus, it makes it easier to check your angles, keeping your corners at 90 degrees. It also helps you find out how level the ground is.
Depending on the shape of your shed, you’ll either need to create a square or a rectangle. Take a stake and drive it into the ground to mark your first corner.
Then, measure out from that stake to locate your second corner, followed by your third and fourth corners.
Once the stakes are in place, you need to make sure each corner is at 90 degrees.
The easiest way is to measure across the area on the diagonals. If those measurements are equal, your corners are set. If not, make small adjustments, keeping the original length and width measurements in mind.
After the stakes are set, use some colored rope or Masons line between the stakes. The line creates a border, letting you see exactly how big your foundation base is going to be. You can also use marking paint if you want a line on the ground.
Step 3 – Calculate the Number of Pavers Needed
The number of pavers you’ll need depends on a few factors. First, how big are the pavers you want to use? Second, what is the square footage of the foundation?
Start by finding the square footage. Just multiply the length and the width of your marked area and multiply the two measurements.
Next, you’ll need to divide that number by the size of each paver. Multiply the length and width of the stone and then divide your foundation’s square footage by that number.
Now you know how many pavers you need; here’s a tip: buy extra pavers. Sometimes, if you buy a large batch of pavers, some may be broken. Additionally, you may accidentally damage a few along the way.
Having spare pavers means you don’t have to pause your project because of a lack of usable materials. It can cost a little more upfront, but it removes a lot of hassle.
Plus, depending on the stores return policy, you may be able to take the extra back for a refund. Alternatively, you can keep them on hand to act as replacements or for use on another project.
Step 4 – Dig Marked Area
Once you’ve marked the building site, it’s time to start digging. Grab some work gloves and a shovel, and get to work.
You’ll need to dig to a depth of around six inches, taking up the sod and dirt along the way. Follow your marked guidelines as you go to keep everything square.
After you dig, you need to tamp or compact the area. Compressing the remaining soil creates a firm foundation.
Next, check for square and make sure the ground is level. You can check the diagonals to make sure your corners are square and use a long construction level on a longer 2×4 to make sure the excavation is level.
Finally, lay down commercial-grade landscaping fabric. The fabric provides a weed barrier, ensuring plant life doesn’t try to grow under and through your foundation.
Step 5 – Lay Gravel Base
The base of your paver shed foundation is gravel. You’ll need to fill the dugout area with either 21A or 21B gravel for the best results. The gravel should be 4” to 6” thick, 6 inches is better.
21A and 21B gravel have smaller bits of stone and gravel dust that fill in air gaps between the crushed stone pieces. The crushed material creates a sturdier base, limiting the chances that your shed will sink or shift.
After you fill the area with gravel, use a plate compactor to create a smooth surface. Regularly check your progress using a 2×4 and level to make sure everything is flat and level.
Step 6 – Mix Sand and Cement
Once your gravel base is level, you can create your sand and cement mix. Take one-part dry cement and eight parts dry sand. Make sure to combine the materials thoroughly, forming a uniform mixture.
Step 7 – Spread Sand and Cement Mix
You’ll need to lay a 2-inch layer of your sand and cement mixture onto the gravel base. Add the mix, smoothing it out as you go.
Once you have a smooth layer, you’ll need to compact it, checking the area regularly to make sure everything is level.
Step 8 – Lay the Concrete Pavers
After leveling your base, it’s time to prepare to add the pavers. You don’t want to start randomly placing the pavers, or you could get poor results.
To create a uniform foundation, you’ll want to snap a chalk line to use as a guide for placement. It gives you a reference point, helping you keep everything straight.
Add a chalk line to each edge of the foundation, checking along the way to make sure everything remains square.
Begin laying your pavers by taking the first one and placing it in a corner, referencing your chalk lines. Check to make sure it is level and, if it isn’t, use a rubber mallet to make adjustments.
Place the second paver, following the chalk line guide and the ideal pattern for your particular paver, about ¼ inch from the first paver. Use your level to make sure both pavers are in line, adjusting with a rubber mallet as necessary.
Continue the process of adding pavers one at a time and leveling. Make sure there is a ¼ inch gap between every paver as you go.
If you use a running bond pattern, you’ll need to cut some of the pavers along the edge of your foundation. Otherwise, some of the pavers will protrude beyond the designated border.
Step 9 – Add Edging
After the pavers are in place, you can add your border. Regardless of the edging material used, you want to get it as close to the pavers as possible. This decreases the likelihood that weeds will be able to grow between the edging and pavers.
To secure the border, use either the provided ground spikes or stakes.
Step 10 – Fill the Gaps
After the edging is in place, spread a layer of the sand and cement mixture over the pavers. Use a broom to move the mix around, pressing it into the gaps between the pavers.
You want to keep adding the sand and cement mix until the gaps are full, creating a flush surface with the pavers. If pressing the mixture in with the broom proves difficult, you can tamp the surface instead.
Once the gaps are filled, and everything is even, sweep off all the excesses. Any material on top of your pavers will harden if it gets damp, creating an uneven surface.
Then lightly dampen the entire foundation surface. The water causes the sand and cement mixture to harden, creating a strong foundation. You can use a garden hose with a fine mist nozzle for ideal results.
Your paver shed foundation needs to cure for 24 hours before you add the outbuilding. So, feel free to take a break and check on it the next day.
How to Anchor a Shed to Pavers
While a paver shed foundation provides a solid base, it isn’t necessarily permanent. Anchoring to the paver surface won’t necessarily offer any benefit, especially in high wind areas.
However, some locations require anchors. You’ll need to check your local building codes to determine whether this applies to you. Additionally, even in low wind areas, anchors can keep your shed in place.
If anchors are a necessity, use auger style anchors with galvanized straps. These provide stability and are a better option for pavers, which aren’t as durable as a regular cement foundation.
The number of anchors you’ll need (if any at all) may vary depending on the size of the shed as well as area building codes. Make sure to review your local codes to make sure you use the proper number, regardless of what came in the kit.
If you live in an area of low winds, you can secure your shed to the pavers.
After the foundation has cured, mark out where the shed will sit. Then, identify the location where the anchors will be placed.
Drill pilot holes into the foundation with a masonry bit. While you need to apply some pressure, it’s important to know that pavers can be prone to cracking. Take your time drilling the pilot holes to avoid cracking the material.
You’ll also want to create pilot holes in the shed if they aren’t pre-drilled. This ensures the bolts will fit through without damaging the material.
Use masonry bolts to attach the shed to the paver foundation. Place all the bolts before fully tightening any of them down. This gives you the ability to shift the shed slightly if necessary.
Once all the bolts are in their proper location, go through and tighten them down.
While laying a paver foundation for a shed is labor intensive, it will prolong the life of your shed. It ensures everything remains level and stable while lifting your outbuilding off the soil.
There are a lot of steps to creating the perfect base for your outbuilding. However, a well-made paver shed foundation can last decades, so a little work today will give you results you can enjoy for years to come.
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