How To Build A Shed Floor On Skids (Step-by-Step Guide)

Jessica Stone
by Jessica Stone

Many homeowners outgrow the space in their garage or desire additional storage to avoid overcrowding. When your garage becomes cluttered with lawn equipment, tools, and other such items, a shed can be a valuable asset for storage.

Building a storage shed will not only allow homeowners to relocate their lawnmowers, tractors, and other various equipment, it can also keep harmful chemicals in an area that is separated from the home and vehicles. While there are many different methods for building a shed, one of the most popular involves skids.

There are a number of advantages to building a shed on skids including affordability, portability, ease of install and the fact that you won’t need to acquire a permit. As long as the ground you are building on is stable and you have sloping for drainage, constructing a shed on skids should be no problem. It’s all a matter of planning and constructing the skids, ensuring that they are level and properly anchored, then following up with the floor, walls, and roof.

The information outlined below will help you to effectively and efficiently build a shed floor on skids.

What is a Skid Foundation?

With no permanent attachments to the ground, a skid foundation allows a shed to be portable and moved easily by skidding it from location to location. With a skid foundation, the floor structure is built on and supported using two or more large pieces of lumber.

Many years ago, sheds were built on logs. However, nowadays, skids are constructed of 4×4, 4×6, 6×6 or other larger milled lumber pieces depending on the overall size of the structure. A skid foundation is built with the intention of being moved and can withstand the stresses involved.

The construction does not involve being fixed to the ground and allows the ability to have it skidded to a new location on your property or loaded onto a flatbed and moved to an entirely different place. Additionally, since many jurisdictions do not consider a shed on skids to be a permanent structure, you likely will not need a building permit or inspections.

Do Sheds Need a Foundation?

In general, most shed structures require some type of foundation. When it comes to sheds built on skids, these skids are its foundation. This method for constructing a shed offers a number of possibilities depending on location, use, and size.

With a shed foundation, the structure can rest on a concrete pad, gravel base, or even off the ground on posts and still be transportable. However, it should be noted that when wood sits directly on the ground, it will eventually experience rotting.

Considerations When Building a Shed Floor on Skids

If you’re contemplating building your storage shed on a skid foundation, there a few factors that need to be considered first. These include:

  • Is the ground suitable? In order to install a shed on skids, the surface must be free of stumps, rocks, and any other obstacles that could hinder the movement of your shed. Your shed should be able to move or skid freely without anything getting in its way.
  • Drainage. Overall, wet or marshy locations are poor areas for wooden structures. You won’t be able to achieve proper drainage to keep the ground dry and prevent rot or settling problems. Since skid foundations sit nearer to the ground when compared to other foundations, good drainage is essential.
  • Slope. While it’s always much easier to build structures on a flat surface, skids serve as beams for your shed and can be jacked up level and properly supported on uneven ground. However, a slight slope will help to channel water away from your structure too.

How to Build a Shed Floor on Skids

Step One: Skin Foundation Planning and Design

The intended size of your shed will determine the dimensions needed for the skids and floor joist plan. Skids are generally the length of the longest measurement of your shed floor. For instance, if your shed measures 12×16, the skids will be 16’ in length and the joists will be 12’ long.

Consider the purpose of your shed, as the skids will rest on the ground and support the structure as well as everything inside. For skid materials, you should either use treated lumber or cedar. However, the heavier the shed and its contents, the heavier and stronger your skids should be.

Although you most likely won’t need to have a building permit, always check with your local government to inquire about any particular requirements.

Step Two: Prep the Building Site

If you want to take advantage of the portable nature of a shed on skids, the location that it is built must be free of anything that could prevent it from begin moved. Make sure that the building site is solid ground and is free of any stumps, rocks, or other materials that may interfere.

If necessary, shovel, rake, or bulldoze any rough spots in the project site. Overall, the flatter the ground, the simpler it will be to level your shed. Once the area is cleared, stake the corners and use a string to outline and square off the site.

Step Three: Spread the Gravel Base

With the shed project site completely cleared, remove any sod and install landscape fabric to help prevent weed growth. Then, spread a 4” to 6” layer of pea gravel or pit run on top. Consider using crusher run gravel for best results and more compaction.

Check that the gravel base is level by using a plank and enlist the help of a power compactor to compact the material. This will provide an exceptional, level base with drainage for the skids to rest on.

Step Four: Prepare and Install the Skids

As previously stated, the size of your shed will dictate the size of skids that your project requires. For best results, use pressure-treated lumber, as it will have a longer lifespan and be able to effectively support the weight of the structure and its contents.

Begin by trimming the ends of the skids at a 45-degree angle to allow for easy movement along the ground. Then, drill a 1” to 1 1/2” hole at about 4” from both ends for the attachment of a pull chain. To reduce lateral stress, pressure-treated 4x4s will be installed as cross braces between the skids.

Quick Tip: To prevent rot, make sure that you paint any cuts of the pressure-treated wood with a wood preservative.

Position the skids 12” to 16” inside from the edge of the floor. For 2×6 floor joists, the maximum distance between the skids should be 6 feet at the center. However, for greater distances, add one or more skids between the outer two and shift the outer skids to underneath the walls.

Step Five: Leveling the Skids

Move slowly when installing the skids and add or remove gravel as necessary to achieve proper leveling. Once one skid is leveled, place the next parallel to it and put a plank perpendicular to help flatten it out.

The skids should be level with each other and along their entire length. Once they are level, attach planks to both ends and the middle to temporally secure them. Prepare and cut the 4×4 cross braces to fit in between the skids in the middle and at each end. Then, secure them using lag screws.

Step Six: Anchoring a Skid Foundation

Since a shed that is constructed on skids is not anchored to the ground, you may want to secure the structure from undesirable movement. You can purchase an anchor kit that involves attaching heavy cables to the skids and hammering them into the ground.

Additionally, installing rebar through the ends of the skids and into the ground is an effective and inexpensive way to prevent movement.

Step Seven: Building the Shed Floor on Skids

With the skids position and level, you’re ready to construct the shed floor. The joist structure is arguably the most important piece of a shed on skids. Joists are connected to each skid and serve as the support beams of the floor.

Cut your band boards, 2×6 joists and rim joists to the necessary length. Following your layout, you’ll be affixing the joist hangers to the skids. Start by laying out your joist placement on two band boards and follow up by attaching two rim joists to one of the band boards. Once you’ve ensured that all the lumber crowns are up, attach the remainder of the joists and the additional band board.

With your joist structure built, verify that everything is level and square; then attach the joist to the joist hangers. The final step is to layout a ¾ inch thick piece of plywood and your shed flooring is complete!

Jessica Stone
Jessica Stone

Jessica considers herself a home improvement and design enthusiast. She grew up surrounded by constant home improvement projects and owes most of what she knows to helping her dad renovate her childhood home. Being a Los Angeles resident, Jessica spends a lot of her time looking for her next DIY project and sharing her love for home design.

More by Jessica Stone