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I have a somewhat simple wood shed built mostly of 2x4. On its own it seems sturdy enough. We had one guy at a time on the roof to put the shingles on and that felt reasonably safe. However, the walls are pretty easy to "flex" if force is applied to them. With wood loaded evenly on all sides it's actually sturdier, but I don't want to rely on that alone.

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This question (How to reinforce a Wobbly hipped roof gazebo built on a concrete patio?) was similar, but with no clear answer. Someone suggested putting "triangles" or cross-braces in place. Should I do that in the corners with more 2x4 or some other materials? Is there another way to improve on this? Burn it down and start over isn't an option 😉

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    How are all those 1x4(?) wall sheathing pieces attached? If they're attached to each stud with 2 screws or nails, they should act just like a solid piece of plywood to resist racking. Which way do the walls "flex"?
    – FreeMan
    Oct 21 at 15:33
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    @FreeMan I think this is the problem. They're all just nailed into each stud with a single nail in the middle of the board. If I square up the frame and then put two screws (one above and below the nail) into each stud, this should make it much more stable, right? Want to write this up as an answer?
    – Yuck
    Oct 21 at 17:11
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    Every horizontal board (sheathing) should have a screw or two where it intersects every vertical stud. Every one. Buy a 5lb box of 2-1/2" or 3" deckmate screws with R-25 heads and go to town. No need to drill pilot holes, especially if you have an impact driver.
    – TylerH
    Oct 21 at 21:18
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    A "traditional" approach to this (not worth retrofitting now, just add braces as suggested) is to put the slat board siding on diagonally, so that the siding is the bracing. Also looks "cool" on a vernacular architecture way.
    – Ecnerwal
    Oct 22 at 15:04
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    Show a more zoomed out pic of the whole thing; I want to see the whole of the front aperture
    – Caius Jard
    Oct 22 at 16:13
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The sheathing that this wood shed has should be more than enough to act as cross bracing in order to prevent racking if the sheathing is installed properly.

If the sheathing is installed with a single screw or nail, that attachment point simply becomes a point around which everything pivots as lateral forces are applied to the walls.

Proper installation involves using two fasteners (screws have become my preference, nails are just fine) into at least two different studs for each of the horizontal boards. Ideally, there would be two fasteners through each board into each stud, however, if fasteners are limited, doubling up at the studs at the ends and in the middle of each horizontal board should be plenty sufficient to get you by.

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    @HotLicks tell that to IKEA who provide a very thin cardboard backing to about 99% of all their furniture. Once nailed into place with itty-bitty little nails, even the 8' tall cabinets I've got in my office don't wobble in the least.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 22 at 13:23
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    I addressed this yesterday and was actually amazed by how much sturdier the whole structure is. On the left wall I added two screws per stud from top to bottom. That wall is now an immovable object. On the back I did about 70% as much and it's still very solid. I ran out of time to finish the right wall, but clearly this is the solution. Thank you!
    – Yuck
    Oct 22 at 13:25
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    Edit: If fasteners are limited, buy more fasteners. It's not like they're that expensive. Oct 22 at 14:10
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    No, @DarrelHoffman, they're not. However, I'd believe that doubled fasteners at each corner and one stud in the middle would provide significant protection against racking. Despite those claiming otherwise.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 22 at 14:21
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    @Conrado - My house, built around 1895 had "skip sheathing" on the roof. It looked exactly like the OPs wall sheathing, except it was on the roof rafters instead of the wall. It had to be installed that way because it originally had wood-shake shingles and they needed air flow to dry out. I live in the Midwest US where we often get tornadoes and straight line winds in excess of 70MPH. Despite the lack of any triangulating bracing inside my attic, we never had any issues with the roof racking from one gable wall to the other. I stand by my answer.
    – FreeMan
    Oct 22 at 14:24
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Cross braces at a 45 degree angle will strengthen the building.

Two on the back and one at each side. Can use 1x4s or whatever.

A couple of braces in the front from roof to front of the sides will also help. Can also use the centre post to add a couple more. About three feet down and three feet from side or centre post.

As building is now, there is not much to prevent swaying of back and sides.

Other idea would be to use cables and turnbuckles in place of wood.

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    Would you say cross braces using 1x4 to form an "X" where they overlap is stronger than a single 2x4 brace that just forms a "/" or "\" on either side? Not entirely sure what you mean by "braces in the front from roof to front of the side". Diagrams may help if you would be so kind to add that.
    – Yuck
    Oct 21 at 11:53
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    Single piece of wood be good enough, from outside top corner down to floor. Bottom corner is nice, but centre of wall will be good. Back wall does not need to reach the centre. For front just need piece of wood attached to roof joist down about three feet on front wall post, /, \. For braces size of wood not as important, 1x4 will do as well as 2x4, usually use what is handy. Ends should be cut to match floor and post.
    – crip659
    Oct 21 at 12:21
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    A single 1x4 diagonal brace should be fine. Think about what this does. It basically takes a rectangle, which is prone to racking, and breaks it up into two triangles, which are very resistant to racking.
    – SteveSh
    Oct 21 at 14:29
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I suspect the back is more secure-feeling than the front.

You might try adding some small support braces in the corners to limit racking. They should be as large as convenient while not getting in your way and being at risk of a head strike.

From https://www.sheds.co.nz/
Look in the upper right corner at "knee brace". Basically push on it to see what's moving, and then break up the rectangles into triangles by adding braces.

enter image description here

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    Given how low the roof appears to be, I would avoid bracing like the above, as it will result in heads being hit. Instead I would put horizontal bracing in, one from the front/top corner of each side wall, to the centre of the back wall. Oct 22 at 12:42
  • @MikeBrockington fair point. A very short brace will add a lot of solidarity, even a 75mm/3" triangle brace. Or another answer is to use a "bookshelf bracket" that won't protrude far into the space. What matters is adding the bracing against the movement - reinforcing the side walls won't help the front from going sideways.
    – Criggie
    Oct 22 at 20:56
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sketch woodshed

To add to crip659's answer, three braces are enough. The red lines show where you should place 1x4 braces on the side walls, and the green line shows one on the back wall. The braces should preferrably be nailed to the inside of the framing rather than to the sheathing. Your roof is practically incompressible; if you keep its back two corners stiff you will not need to worry about the front two. This layout makes the triangles as big as possible.

Note that for this brace layout, you need to use stiff members for the braces, as they will resist tension and compression. If you use something "floppy", like cable, you need to make an X shape on each wall except the front.

Ideally, for bracing, think about how to make triangles with as long of "legs" as possible, hopefully even from corner to corner of every rectangle. This is already done in the case of the roof sheeting, if the edges are properly nailed.

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