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I'm getting ready to prep the following section of ground for a 10 x 10 wood garden shed:

shed site

The actual shed itself will look something like this:

shed

I can do some minor leveling but unfortunately large-scale leveling (such as completely removing the railroad ties, adding a retaining wall, and/or major ground removal) isn't in the budget.

So with that said, I'm wondering what the best foundation would be? The manufacturer's instructions for the shed call for a simple base of treated wood directly on the ground but that doesn't seem like it would hold up in the long term.

I'm wondering if it would be appropriate to install concrete piers so everything is off the ground?

Here's a youtube example of what I'm considering doing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bY6H5Zv87SM

Update

As per request, here is the climate information for the area. Relatively mild. No snow.

Climate Information

  • What's the climate? Also, what's your tolerance for failure? A wood base seems inadequate to me, but a full-on poured concrete pad is probably overkill. – Hank Aug 5 '13 at 22:56
  • @HenryJackson Updated the post to include climate information. I agree that a poured pad is a little much. I don't want the shed to move but budget is also a concern so I'd like to be as cost efficient as possible. I'd like to shed to be there for the long term - at LEAST 5-10 years. – Mike B Aug 5 '13 at 23:24
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    You need to consider local codes. Standard installation on wooden pressure treated skids (a very common technique that can last decades, but not forever) may need no permit, but concrete of any sort may. Check. – bib Aug 5 '13 at 23:25
  • @bib Dually noted. Thankfully my area doesn't have strict permit conditions on foundations for shed. Concrete is OK (as long as the location of the shed complies with setback requirements and isn't habitable). But you're right - codes are different in every area. – Mike B Aug 5 '13 at 23:45
  • foundations are about 1) bearing weight, 2) shoring up the structure where designed, and 3) providing support that does not shift with the seasons. – mike Aug 6 '13 at 1:45
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I would definitely keep the wood off the ground if you want to keep the shed around for the long term. If you do decide to install pier or something similar, I think you have a couple solutions depending on how permanent you want the shed.

Permanent

This question must be related to your earlier question about post anchors. In fact I would do exactly what is shown, using an 8" or 12" sonotube with a post anchor for 4x or 6x lumber. Upsides: You'll have a very solid base and won't have to worry about it moving around when/if you decide to put in a retaining wall. Downside: your shed isn't moving.

Non-Permanent

Standard pier blocks with built in Anchors should give you all the strength you need for less hassle and cost. Upsides: You could conceivably move your shed if you needed to. Cost is probably half as much for the foundation. Downside: Disturbing the soil around the pier block could move the shed off level when/if you decide to put in a retaining wall. Of course you could probably jack up the shed and re-level it.

  • Thanks. I think permanent is the way I'm headed. I'm planning for it to be around at LEAST 5-10 years (hopefully longer) so durability is a must. – Mike B Aug 5 '13 at 23:26
  • I am also in the SF Bay Area with no snow/frost line, and am planning to build a 10x10 wooden shed. Current plan is to use this permanent solution with 4x4 posts buried in concrete (similar to a fence support). How deep do the post holes need to be? My primary concern is earthquake safety. – dabi Jun 7 at 15:05

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