The place I work at has been ordering new machinery and it comes in with 2x4 frames. They are throwing the wood away! Anyhow, I can get all I want.

So my question is how much of the shed can I do using only 2x4's? I see most bases of the shed are done with 2x8's or something along that line. I will be building it off the ground with blocks as I cannot afford a concrete slab at the moment.

I would like to build more of a shop than a shed. Maybe 15x20? But my longest "free" wood is 12 ft. My current shed is a dirt floor. I could live with that if need be.

My current shed is old school. I live in the country, so no certain requirements have to be met. Anyhow, the sheds bones are old utility poles. It's in an awkward spot, so I wanted to build a newer one in a different spot. The walls are tin. No plywood on the walls. Roof is tin as well. I'm just trying to see if the wood I get at work will be enough to cover 90% of the cost. I want 20ft long, so can I build 2 ten ft walls and join them together to make 20ft? I understand that may not be proper, but it's a shed not a house.

  • What size shed do you plan to build?
    – Niall C.
    Jul 6, 2017 at 19:28
  • 2
    The entire thing can be 2x4 if it's done appropriately. The question is unclear.
    – isherwood
    Jul 6, 2017 at 19:50
  • I have a shed built completely with 2x4s: studs, mud sills, top plates, and rafters. Of course, the "skin" is plywood and siding. For a shed you're generally okay with 24" centers, rather than 16". For your floor, since you're not using a concrete slab, you will probably want 16" centers.
    – BillDOe
    Jul 6, 2017 at 20:38
  • 2
    you can engineer larger beams from 2x4s if needed, truss me.
    – dandavis
    Jul 6, 2017 at 21:15
  • Use the edit link underneath your post if you want to add more information. Thanks!
    – Niall C.
    Jul 8, 2017 at 4:02

1 Answer 1


You can frame a whole house with nothing but 2x4, but it's easier to do a shed, as you won't need engineering, probably.

The secret word is truss. You can use them for roof, floor and even wall framing, but few sheds will need trusses for walls. While you certainly could get the whole thing engineered, you can probably just copy a standard truss design and come out strong enough, if you pay attention to things like which side is up. It's a shed, so the world won't end if you get it wrong, but it's not hard to get right enough at the usual scale that's called shed. You can also build up to a certain size/loading (those interact) without making trusses, unless you have an overbearing local jurisdiction. Storing a push mower and some garden tools is different than parking a big riding mower and 15 tool boxes of wrenches...

A table in a farm construction book I happen to have ( Mechanics in Agriculture, by Lloyd Phipps) lists rafter spans for dressed 2x4's in various species ranging from 5 feet 9 inches in the weakest species group (being basswood and cottonwood, unlikely) on 24" centers to 10 feet 11 inches in the strongest species group on 12" centers.

The admittedly engineered and not home-built trusses on my shop span 24 feet on 2 foot centers and are entirely made of 2x4's.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.