I'm getting a 14x14 finished shed built in Austin, TX. The builders are using 30-year pressure treated 4x4 skids, which they raise off the ground on 4" blocks. The area drains well. They claim that this provides enough protection from rot.

Another guy I talked to said that I should either raise it 12" or put a gravel pad underneath (which he'll do for a reasonable price).

Which plan is correct?

  • 2
    This is firstly a matter of local conditions (humidity, rain, drainage) and secondly a matter of opinion (lifespan expectation). There's no right answer. FWIW, I'm in a very humid climate and I build my sheds on a rock base with no skids (treated floor framing on the rock). I expect them to last decades.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 16:47
  • Note that the guy recommending the gravel pad is happy (I'm sure) to do the work for a "reasonable" price. #NeverTrustaSalesman
    – FreeMan
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 18:20

2 Answers 2


I would believe the builders over some guy any day.

Will a taller block and gravel make a difference? Sure it will but if you have good drainage it really won’t matter.

I have seen folks dig out earth and put rock down for the same reason “a guy said to” worst choice for them there soil was a high clay content so the rock pit filled and held water (yes it started to smell) a drainage system had to be added. If a simple plastic vapor barrier with the 4” blocks will do better than rock and taller blocking.

  • 1
    I agree with your reasoning if not with your opening statement. Shed builders are often hacks with no qualifications (no one inspects yard sheds). It's a logical fallacy (an appeal to authority) to believe them on title alone.
    – isherwood
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 16:51
  • Good point: don't dig-out a rock pit. If anything, apply rocks on grade level.
    – P2000
    Commented Mar 31, 2021 at 17:06

Regardless the wood rot question I would apply a layer of rocks with landscaping fabric underneath to make it unattractive for rodents and bugs.

To keep the moles & rats out I use a bed of large-potato sized rocks.

Keeping the weeds out with the fabric also helps with managing the moisture & bugs.

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