Sheds as Finished Living Space

A guide to inhabiting your new space

Introduction

We love sheds (in case you couldn’t tell), and firmly believe they are the end-all be-all solution to lack of space, short of buying a new house. One of the greatest benefits of our beautiful custom sheds, is their ability to be utilized as finished living spaces, such as an apartment, studio, man-cave, or even an auto-body garage. In this article we aim to outline a few of a requirements needed to order a space you can enjoy and be proud of.

It is worth noting, that most of the things in this article should be considered aftermarket, DIY modifications to the shed, and are not (at least at this time) implemented standard from our shop. However, with prior planning and a detailed email, we might be able to make your dream happen, short of electrical and plumbing (you would want a professional for those).

Configuration Checklist

When configuring your shed in the Builder, with intent as using it as a finished living space there are a couple things to consider:

In the Builder

Once you have a list of requirements in mind, it’s time to hit the Builder.

Typically, if you are planning on occupying the new space for any extended periods of time (really, the purpose of a finished living space), it is better to go bigger than smaller. We know, we know, you of course expect to hear that from the people selling them, but to be completely honest, while a six foot (6’) by eight foot (8’) shed is excellent for storing the lawn mower, some power tools, and a few bags of leaves, it is about the size of the average bathroom - you don’t want to live in a bathroom. Below is a list of standard, minimum size recommendations based on projected use. It may also help to brush up on standard shed measurements, particularly if you need something custom.

Size Recommendations

Also, we think it goes without saying, but if you are going to be keeping larger things (or having taller people) in your new living space, it would be a good idea to increase the wall height. By default, the height is six feet (6’), plus the height of the roof, meaning that standing tight against the wall, one would have six feet (6’) of headroom. The standard wall height of your average ranch is eight feet (8’) high, allowing for plenty of headroom for even the tallest of people, tight against the wall, and we recommend this for any and all sheds used as finished living spaces.

By default, all of our sheds come ready for installation of insulation (say that 10-times fast!) This makes finishing the walls quite easy, only requiring insulation and sheet-rocking. However, given that electrical and plumbing needs are often highly custom, we do not implement any additional holes within the sheds walls to accommodate for either. Thus, it would be a good idea to have an initial consultation with a professional in either field prior to finishing the walls. Same deal with heating and/or air conditioning - you should speak with an HVAC professional prior to finishing.

If the intention is to use the new space as an automotive garage, or to hold other heavy items (engine blocks, refrigerators, grown/or even infant pachyderms, etc.), we recommend upgrading both the floor support boards and the wall joists. For obvious reasons, these will strengthen the floor, and help further preserve the life long enjoyment of your new space.

Some Other Things to Consider

While on the topic of larger items, a couple other things to consider would be whether or not said “large item” will need to regularly move in and out of the shed (such as a car or large/small pachyderm). If the answer is “yes,” might we recommend a roll-up door and a ramp? While ramps are free, be need to be selected within the Builder, roll-up doors are not, however, for larger objects, help evade a word of headaches. Particularly with vehicles, such as cars or even motorcycles, this is truly the only practical approach, sort of removing the wall each time the vehicle needs to exit the space… as one may guess, that’s not recommend and we do not support such mutilation of sheds!

Another thing worth mentioning would be, if you plan on using the shed as a finished living space, would be to remove the louvers (additional ventilation nearer the ceiling), as they let a lot of air escape. Naturally, this is not ideal, particularly if you are trying to heat or air condition the space. For more information check out our article on louvers and ramps.

Slightly beyond the scope of this article, another thing to consider would be securing your new space. Particularly if the shed is to be occupied, having the doors unlocked, ready for prying nosey neighbors, is typically not the best idea. Lucky enough, we also have a wonderful set of tips for increasing shed security!

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