I get it, sometimes doing a rebar concrete foundation and digging a bit in the yard can be a bit of a daunting task or perhaps too costly for a tight budget.
If you have a shed, or want to create one and are looking for some easy, affordable, and functional alternatives, here are five different foundation alternatives to concrete for a shed.
A simple and cost-effective alternative to a concrete slab is to create a gravel pad. This involves digging out the area where the shed will be placed and filling it with a layer of compacted gravel. This will provide a level surface for the shed and also allow for drainage.
You can make this foundation with a wooden frame, or it can also be done by digging a little in the ground.
Using a wooden frame can provide additional stability and support for the gravel, especially if the ground is not level.
Here are the general steps to create a gravel foundation with a wooden frame:
- Determine the size of the foundation: Decide on the size and dimensions of the foundation you want to create.
- Build the wooden frame: Use pressure-treated lumber to create a frame that is slightly larger than the size of the shed. The frame should be built with beams running parallel to each other and supported by vertical posts set in concrete footings. The depth of the footings will depend on the local building code requirements.
- Add landscape fabric: Lay down a layer of landscape fabric over the ground inside the frame to prevent weeds from growing through the gravel.
- Add the gravel: Pour a layer of gravel into the frame, spreading it evenly over the landscape fabric. The depth of the gravel layer will depend on the local building code requirements and the weight of the shed. Typically, a depth of 4-6 inches is sufficient.
- Compact the gravel: Use a hand tamper or plate compactor to compact the gravel, making sure it is level and evenly distributed.
- Install the shed: Once the gravel foundation is complete, you can install the shed on top of it. Make sure to anchor the shed to the foundation to prevent it from shifting or moving during heavy winds or storms.
If you are going to create this foundation by excavating, the depth of the excavation will depend on several factors, such as the size and weight of the shed, the type of soil, and the climate.
In general, the excavation should be deep enough to allow for a layer of compacted gravel that is at least 4-6 inches thick.
This will provide a stable base for the shed and also allow for drainage.
The type of gravel used for a shed foundation is typically referred to as “clean stone,” which is a type of crushed stone that has been mechanically cleaned to remove dirt, dust, and other debris.
Clean stone is a popular choice for shed foundations because it is relatively inexpensive, easy to work with, and provides good drainage.
The size of the gravel used can vary depending on the specific needs of the shed and the conditions of the site. In general, a gravel size of 3/4 inch to 1 inch is a good choice for shed foundations as it provides good stability and drainage.
A paver foundation for a shed is a good alternative to a concrete slab and can be constructed using a variety of materials. This option is more visually appealing than a gravel pad and is still relatively easy to install.
Here are some of the materials commonly used:
Interlocking Concrete Pavers: These are the most popular choice for a paver foundation. Interlocking pavers come in a range of colors and patterns and are designed to fit together like puzzle pieces, which makes them easy to install.
Brick Pavers: Similar to interlocking concrete pavers, brick pavers come in a range of colors and patterns and can provide a more traditional look for your shed foundation.
Stone Pavers: If you’re looking for a more natural look, stone pavers can be a good choice. They are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be made from a range of materials, such as granite, sandstone, and limestone.
Permeable Pavers: Permeable pavers are a special type of paver that allow water to filter through, which can help with drainage and can be a good option if you have concerns about water runoff.
Regardless of the type of paver material you choose, it’s important to ensure that the base layer is properly prepared.
This typically involves excavating the area where the shed will be placed and filling it with a layer of compacted gravel or stone dust to provide a stable and level base for the pavers.
If you want to create a more permanent and attractive foundation for your shed, you could consider building a wooden deck.
This option is more expensive and requires more skill, but it provides a sturdy and long-lasting foundation that can also be used as a space for outdoor entertaining.
When choosing wood for a wooden deck foundation for your shed, it’s important to choose a species that is durable and rot-resistant, as well as strong enough to support the weight of the shed.
Here are some commonly used types of wood for shed foundations:
Pressure-Treated Pine: Pressure-treated pine is a popular choice for deck foundations as it is affordable, readily available, and treated to resist rot and insect damage. It can be stained or painted to match the aesthetic of your shed.
Cedar: Cedar is a natural wood that is naturally resistant to rot and insect damage, making it a good choice for deck foundations. It is also known for its attractive appearance and can add a rustic touch to your shed.
Redwood: Redwood is another natural wood that is known for its durability and resistance to rot and insect damage. It has a rich, attractive color that can complement the aesthetic of your shed.
Composite Decking: Composite decking is a man-made material made from a blend of wood fibers and plastic. It is highly durable and low maintenance, and is resistant to rot, insect damage, and moisture.
If your shed is in an area that is prone to flooding, you could consider an elevated foundation. This involves building a platform above the ground using concrete blocks or pressure-treated lumber.
This will provide protection from rising water levels and also help with ventilation and drainage.
An elevated foundation for a shed can be a good option if the ground is uneven or if you want to protect your shed from moisture or pests.
Here are the general steps to build an elevated foundation for a shed:
- Choose the elevation height: Determine the height you want to elevate the shed and make sure it is level. This can be done using a spirit level and some stakes.
- Build the foundation frame: Use pressure-treated lumber to build the foundation frame. The size and dimensions of the frame will depend on the size of your shed. Typically, the frame will consist of a series of parallel beams supported by vertical posts. Make sure to use galvanized screws or nails to attach the pieces together.
- Install the posts: The vertical posts should be installed at regular intervals along the perimeter of the frame. The posts should be dug into the ground and set in concrete footings. The depth of the footings will depend on the local building code requirements.
- Install the crossbeams: The crossbeams should be installed horizontally across the vertical posts, and attached using galvanized screws or nails.
- Install the decking: Once the frame is in place, you can install the decking on top. This can be done using pressure-treated lumber or composite decking material. Make sure to leave a small gap between each board to allow for drainage and expansion.
- Add the shed: Once the elevated foundation is complete, you can add the shed on top of it. Make sure to anchor the shed to the foundation to prevent it from shifting or moving during heavy winds or storms.
For an environmentally friendly option, you could consider using recycled materials such as plastic or rubber to create a foundation. These materials are lightweight, easy to install, and provide a stable base for your shed.
Currently, there are some bases made of recycled plastics, which are used as foundations for sheds.