Is a floating perimeter slab a good approach for a dirt-floor shed?


Yes, the poured, floated & sealed afterward slab is the best way to go, if you're up to it, & it's the best anchor. Definitely do at least a 4-inch bed of gravel under everything, this is what moves instead of a slab or blocks or pads.

However, absolutely consult your Building Dept. first & foremost. They have plans for their requirements & you'll need a permit & likely 3 inspections. They have to approve your plan & that approval will hinge on if you can do anymore "paving" on the property, if the shed/coop placement meets setbacks & if the planned structure is sound or even big enough for your vision.

Other than that stuff, going with blocks filled with concrete is pretty solid & much easier. If anchoring the building is done like putting in fence posts then just concrete pads halfway in & halfway out around the perimeter would accomplish the same overall desire & be the easiest by far.

Oh I initially forgot, if the back, friend & truck's good you can...

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As with any advice you get here, keep in mind that you must stay within the bounds of IRC building codes adopted by your local municipality. Obtain a building permit and a local inspector will give you guidelines on minimum requirements for posts, beam spans, joist spans, etc...

Your concrete piers must be a set depth to go below the frost line in your area. You must set the posts on top of concrete with a post base to protect from rot.

When in doubt always make it stronger! Increase to 12" piers with 6x6 posts. Consider using 2x10 or 2x12 beams doubled or tripled on each row. Make sure that each beam span is no longer than 7' if you are worried. When you submit your plan for the permit then the inspector will point out any flaws or deficiencies that you need to address before you start.

NOTE: Any specific sizes I use are merely examples of how one can increase the strength of a structure. Nobody can say for sure without more specifics about the shed...

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I have a two-story colonial with a full-basement in upstate NY. The basement has cinderblock walls and the basement floor is a poured concrete slab. The basement walls also have some sort of stucco/cement parging applied.

I have a 1/2" to 1" gap between the basement walls and the basement floor.

Based on the question asked in this article:

I'm fairly certain I have a floating slab vs. an interior French drain. I have a sump pit--no sump pump, but the sewer clean-outs and incoming water line are in the pit too. The previous owner had run the AC condensate into the pit too, but I've hooked the AC up to a condensate pump, and then to the outside.

In the three years that we've lived in the house, we've had a persistent mold odor in the basement. I've tried dehumidifiers to knock the moisture level down, and I've got it down the 20% range, but the odor remains.

A few months ago, I tried an...

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Shed on Existing Concrete Slab. Waterproofing?

I've ordered a pre-cut 9' x 13' cedar shed that I will have to assemble. I already have a nice, flat, slightly raised (~ 4-5") concrete pad in place (it was put in by a previous owner). The pad measures 10' x 14'. I don't know how deep the concrete pad is, but it looks well done and substantial. [Why not buy a 10' x 14' shed, you may ask? Permits. Under 120sq.ft. I don't need a permit.]

I plan to use strike anchors to attach the bottom plates of the shed to the concrete pad. There is no floor for the shed; the concrete slab will be the floor. The bottom plates (sills) will be pressure-treated wood.

I plan to align two walls with the edges of the concrete pad, and set back the remaining two walls 1' from the edges of the concrete pad (see picture).

I realize that on the two walls that won't be aligned with the concrete pad that I have to be careful of water intrusion...

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cinder blocks would be te fastest thing to lay but would not stay very level or even for very long

crushed rock is ok but will make it hard to secure the shed to the ground

i prefer a cement slab, and since you are in virginia i would use a floating slab, which basically means... you scrape off the grass and dig down 4 inches in the area you want the shed and then level the dirt in all directions... and make the area a tiny bit bigger then the shed, so say ... 8' 4" x 12' 4" this allows for a little error room
then go get your cement ..enough to do the area and get a wheel barrow or buy one of them mixing tubs that home improvement stores sell in the cement aisle
and begin mixing per the directions on the bag and fill the hole as you go

it takes a little work but pretty much anyone can do this, then once the hole is full let it dry per the instructions on the bag ...usually a day or so depending on temperature and humidity, then assemble the shed on your...

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Prepare the area where the work will be done.

Heavy equipment may be used to clear the footprint of the building, plants and unsuitable material should be removed, and the subgrade should be inspected to determine if it will give adequate support for the slab and the structure that will be built on it.

Have the site surveyed or layout the building lines yourself. Batterboards may be used, or corner stakes can be set to allow building lines to be pulled and grades to be established for clearing and grading. Grub out trees, bushes, and other plants, including their roots so they will not leave voids in the subgrade when they decay. Remove any mucky or otherwise unsuitable material from the subgrade. Proof roll or use another method to compact the disturbed subgrade soil material.


Form and place any concrete foundations which will be below the slab.

For monolithic slabs, there may simply be a

turn down edge

, but for many buildings, a spread footing...

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Easy projects - easy language!
This section contains DIY woodworking and building projects or articles with simple, easy-to-follow instructions and explanations.

How to prepare the ground, pour and finish concrete

Example: A small shed floor: Part two
A step-by-step example of how to make a concrete slab floor for a 1800mm x 1800mm (6ft x 6ft) garden shed.

Instructions continued...

Safety Tip: Prolonged contact with fresh concrete will burn your skin. Wear safety goggles, gloves, rubber boots, and long sleeves when working with concrete.

NOTE: The concrete will now need to set (cure). Keep the concrete moist for about three days by hosing with a fine mist every now and then. This is especially crucial in warmer conditions.

Concrete in direct hot sun should be covered with some type of building wrap, roofing felt or shaded, for the curing period. If you must pour the concrete on a very hot day, then leave it...

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This covers a few people's comments:

"No zoning codes! Sounds like heaven. Do you mind if I ask where you are? I would love to be able to build a cottage without dealing with the zoning man."

I live in a small town (< 1000 people) in Orange County, Vermont. The only real town zoning/permitting we have is when people put in driveways since those connect to roads.

"ever consider a pole barn type of construction? cheap and easy to build. can either have concrete slab on a level site or on a slope you can frame the floor with wood joist and decking which keeps the moisture at bay. wood floor is 1/4 the cost of concrete/finishing."

This was my original plan and I even bought a book on it and actually read it. I got bogged down a bit in the load calculations (partially me over thinking it, partially the book's poor explanation). One thing I didn't understand was if a concrete slab is used, how is that different than traditional construction? The framing...

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Posted by : Ecohome | Mike Reynolds

Traditionally, home construction starts with a concrete basement foundation. Depending on the situation there are other options that can be more durable and affordable that will better protect your home air quality.

The first factors to consider when designing the foundation of a home are lot size and soil conditions. When space is limited (with total footprint and height restrictions) a basement foundation may be the best option, but if space allows there is a strong case for avoiding basements altogether with a slab-on-grade.

Related pages:

Concrete foundations:

For a modest sized home, a concrete foundation will cost you easily between $20,000 and $30,000. Factor in a subfloor and finished flooring, you’ll be lucky to stay under $40,000. Building basements ‘just because’ invites unnecessary costs, potential humidity problems, and greater environmental consequences.

The production of one ton of...

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