Tool Shed Renovation

And Construction of a New Shed for the Tractor

Last Update: 29 June 2005

When we bought the farm there was a shed with a small garage attached. It seemed sturdy despite leaning to one side and seeming to sink into the ground on the north and west sides. The floor sloped in that direction and the door would neither open nor close all the way. The steps into the second floor were a booby trap. There was also a jerry-built leanto shed on the west side that finally collapsed under a heavy snow early in 2003. Clearly something had to be done but it had never risen to the top of the agenda.

We had been keeping the tractor in an equipment shed 100 yards above the house, which was in the pasture with the cattle. This meant dealing with a gate and a herd of cows to get to the tractor. Needless to say, it sat outside near the house much of the year. Getting the tractor under roof and close to the house finally became a priority in 2003 and it was decided to attach a tractor shed to the west side of the tool shed, replacing the collapsed leanto.

We started the project in September 2003. I bought a digital camera just a few days into it and began documenting progress. I will try to scare up some older pix to show the original conditions.

24 September 2003: The sill at the northwest corner was totally rotted out and the building was perched on loose stones that had shifted somewhat. What passed for floor joists is shown at right. They were sawmill slabs that were heavy enough in some parts but totally flimsy in others. Groundhogs had burrowed under the building and piled up dirt against the joists, which accelerated the rot.

24 Sep: Once removed and taken outside the joists look like a pile of kindling, which is about right.   28 Sep: The building was then jacked up so the rotted sills could be removed. The old leanto had been attached at the transition from red to white paint. The building used to be white and was never repainted under the shed.

28 Sep: Jacks were placed inside, pushing on a beam placed against the second-floor joists. The building was lifted a little at a time until it was level all the way around.   6 Oct: It also had to be pushed sideways to return it as nearly as possible to square. Forms for concrete footers have now been built under the corners and the middle.

12 Oct: New sills were cut and fitted, then removed.   13 Oct: Concrete was poured into the forms, then the sills were replaced and secured with anchor bolts into the fresh concrete.

16 Oct: The concrete has hardened, the forms have been removed, and the building lowered and secured. Now the new floor can be installed. Pressure-treated joists are in place and one piece of plywood is laid.

20 Oct: Despite using pressure-treated joists and raising the building above ground level, we don’t want water running under it, so slotted pipe was installed and covered with crushed stone to create a French drain. Grading keeps most water away and this catches the rest.


25 Oct: With the completion of the flooring and installation of stairs to the second floor, the tool shed is pretty well done aside from setting up a work bench and moving stuff back in. (Note the curvature of the studs behind the stairs. That’s real, not distortion in the photo.) Attention then shifted to the tractor addition. Here the posts are set in place as well as the beams to support the rafters.

31 Oct: Perry Warner and Kevin Wimer are erecting the rafters. They helped with the project on and off throughout the 2003 season.   3 Nov: The roof deck is fully in place.

7 Nov 2003: The roof is now in place and the tractor can spend the winter largely out of the weather. This is as far as we got before stopping for the season.   4 Oct 2004: Eleven months later it’s back to work installing siding.

10 Oct: The siding is now done on two sides and lights have been installed.   12 Oct: Finally, siding is completed on the north side. Note the tapered join to the old building. That’s as straight as we could get it, about a ten-inch offset.

6 Nov: Hanging the door with a little help from Big John. The north side will remain open. 9 Nov 2004: Finished except for some paint, which will have to wait for next year. I did get one side painted but then had to turn to other things.

29 June 2005: Done at last! The painting is now complete, including the old part, which used to be red.   The left photo is the south side, next to the garden, and the right photo is taken from the north.