Building a shed can be a great way to learn building techniques, develop skills, and create a sense of accomplishment. But how do you start? How tall should the walls be? Does the wall height dictate the roof style? Or the roof styles dictate the wall height?
The average shed wall height is 8’-1 1/8”. It is based on the standard dimensions of lumber and plywood cladding which is easily available, and there is minimal cutting. The precut 92-5/8” studs, 2 top plates (3”) and one bottom plate (1½”) give a wall height of 8’-1 1/8” (97-1/8”). Moreover, 8’ sheathing fits perfectly.
How the shed wall height is calculated depends on 6 key factors: storage space needed, style of roof and shed, user’s height, climate, and local laws and regulations. Yes, these are just 5 of the influencing factors. The 6th is fixed material dimensions. They all work together to determining the shed wall height. In this article, I’ll take a look at the factors that affect shed wall height, and why the average shed wall height is what it is.
What is the Average Shed Wall Height?
The style of roof you decide upon will impact the height of your shed walls. Some sheds have walls the same height; others have one wall higher than its opposite wall. The peak-end walls are higher, so often taller doors can be placed there. Each situation is different, and each shed can be different.
Average Wall Height of Popular Shed Styles
Gable and Gambrel Roof Style
Walls are usually 8’-1 1/8” high, but can be 6’-1 1/8” on playhouse structures
- walls are all the same height
- lends itself to attic storage, or more headroom in the center of the shed
- shorter doors can be in the 6-foot wall, a taller door in the cable end wall
Skillion, Shed and Lean-to roofs
The high wall is usually 2-feet taller than the short wall on a shed or lean-to shed; it’s often 4-feet taller (or more) for a skillion shed.
- has a single slope that runs from a taller wall to a shorter wall
- great for storage or a loft
- high wall is only limited by local ordinances – if any
- the back wall height directly depends on the front wall height and roof pitch
- difference in height between the high wall and the short wall is usually 2 feet or more – 8’ to 6’, 10’ to 8’, 12’ to 10’.
Saltbox roof style
The average wall heights for a backyard saltbox shed are 8-feet for the tall wall and 6-feet for the short wall.
- has a taller wall opposite a shorter wall
- has an offset ridge with two differing slopes
- extra height for storage or headroom
What are the Factors That Impact the Shed Wall Height?
Whether building the shed yourself, having someone build it for you, or having a prefab shed delivered, the first 5 factors that affect wall height also offer the most individualization.
Your storage needs determine the size of shed you need. If only storing garden tools, the tool height may determine wall height.
If storing all your adult children’s childhood belongings, you may need a much larger shed capacity. The physical space available in your yard also impacts the physical size of your shed. If you can only fit a 6’ by 6’ base, but need 10’ by 10’, you may need taller walls.
Roof and Shed Style
A gable or gambrel roof usually means the walls are all the same height. A skillion, lean-to, or shed roof has a single slope, which means one wall is taller than the opposite wall.
A saltbox, however, is an offset gable roof on walls of different heights. So the roof and shed style impact the shed wall height, as well as attic or loft storage space.
Your height will affect shed wall height, or your head is likely to impact on something! If you’re 5’-9” and the only one likely to use your shed, why do you need a standard door height?
However, if you’re Andre the Giant, that standard door will kink your neck or break your nose. Door height is linked to wall height; the shorter your height, the shorter the door needed, and the shorter the wall required…and vice versa.
The climate in the area you reside may determine the style of roof you need, which also impacts wall height. A heavy snow area may require a shed or skillion roof to shed snow better.
A region that experiences heavy rain may need a gable or saltbox style to encourage run-off. A hot, dry climate and you may want a flat roof. As you can see, climate does impact wall height through the best roof choice for your weather.
Local Laws and Regulations
Local homeowners association (HOA) may have restrictions on shed heights and styles. Your local government may also have height restrictions too – mine has a peak height restriction of 12 feet above ground level.
If having a prefab shed delivered, the Department of Transportation has load height restrictions too – 14’-2” from the pavement to the highest point. Keep those in mind when building or buying a shed.
How the Shed Wall Height is Calculated
The shed wall height is determined by measuring from the bottom of the sill plate to the top of the top plate. As simple as that sounds, I’ve seen too many people forget to take into account the plates when measuring.
It is important to remember the bottom plate is usually 1½” thick, and the top plate is two pieces giving 3” of thickness. The length of the stud is cut to provide the rest of the height.
If using a builder’s precut stud (92-5/8”), which is designed for an 8’ wall, it reduces cuts and is cheaper; the wall height is 8’-1 1/8”. The wall is 1-1/8″ higher than the standard sheathing size. This works for a concrete pad or a wood floor with rim joists.
For a concrete pad, the bottom of the sheathing usually sits up 3/8″ to 3/4″ off the concrete to prevent it from getting wet. That leaves part of the upper top plate exposed.
But it’s protected by the roof overhang and allows notched rafters to sit properly. It’s also usually covered by the soffit. Additionally, any drywall on the inside walls is 3/4” off the floor too.
If building the walls are on a wooden floor with joists, the sheathing sits 1” below the bottom of the sill plate. The overlap seals and protects the edge of the wood floor deck.
It connects the walls to the rim joists, preventing insects from getting in. It also adds more strength by connecting the walls to the rim joists, reducing the chance of lift too. More of the upper plate is exposed, but again it is protected by the roof and disappears above the soffit.
Do Material Dimensions Impact Height of the Walls?
To minimize waste, cost, and time, it’s a good idea to look at the standard dimensions of lumber available. Door heights, plywood or sheathing size, header requirements for windows and doors, plus anything else that will impact shed wall height also affects the cost and how long a project will take to complete.
- Plywood and other sheathing come in 4’ x 8’ sheets. To minimize waste, cuts, and seams, walls are usually built to be covered easily by the sheathing oriented on its 8’ dimension. However, a 6’ wall is a sheet oriented on its 4’ dimension with a 2’ x 8’ piece ripped and placed above.
- Dimension lumber is milled to standard sizes – 2”x4”, 2”x6”, and so on up to 2”x12”. Those are the rough cut measurements before they get planed smooth and edges rounded. The 2” thickness dimension becomes 1½”, and the width dimension ½” less for if < 7” and ¾” less if >7”.
- For the construction industry, lumber is milled in standard widths, thicknesses, and lengths. The regular lengths are 8’, 10’, 12’, 14’ and 16’, but they can be ordered up to 24’. The lengths are all divisible by 2, so it is easier to calculate other required materials like sheathing. There are two exceptions, precut builder’s studs in 2”x4”x92-5/8” and 2”x6” which are 92-5/8”. When added to the top and bottom plate thickness (3”+1½”+92-5/8”), you get a wall 8”-1 1/8” high; a perfect height for a plywood sheet to cover.
- The standard door height is 6’-8”. It usually needs a rough opening 2-5/8” larger for the door frame and leveling shims, plus space between the door and the floor. The normal header above a 36” wide door is two 2”x6” on edge – 5½”. Add all those together, and the real height is 7’-4 1/8” (88-1/8”). It fits well into an 8’-1 1/8” wall. If you want a shorter wall, you may need a shorter door.
- Windows are also made in standard measurements but can be custom ordered to. However, there are windows specifically made for sheds; they fit between studs spaced on 16” or 24” centers. You determine if you place them lower or higher than standard, which is typically 6’-8” from the floor to the top – it aligns with the door height.
Standardized building material sizes have a great impact on shed wall height. Deviating from the standard wall height will impact material cost, labor cost, time on the project, and waste. All reasons why it contributes to the average shed wall height.
Related Searches: What is the Best Shed Wall Height?
The best shed wall height is 8’-1 1/8”. It is an easy construct using readily available precut dimension lumber and sheathing. Minimal cuts, cost, and waste. Pre-hung standard doors and windows fit the wall height, as do insulation, drywall, and other interior wall finishes. Build it on concrete or wooden floors.