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Building a motorbike shed – basic principles

It’s relatively easy to construct a cheap, simple to build but robust shed or mini-garage to store a motorcycle. You’ll want it to be high enough to comfortably stand in, with a doorway as wide as possible and high enough to ride the bike into it without decapitation(!). Natural light can come from a skylight or skylights – windows complicate the building job, weaken the walls, lose valuable wall space for shelves and mean that your pride and joy is on show to potential thieves.

Here are some of our pal Trev’s basic principles for constructing a motorbike storage shed:

1. Try to buy pre-treated timber if you can. Timber that has been pressure treated would be best. Rough cut timber should be good enough; planed timber is unnecessarily expensive.

2. When you cut the timber you will reveal untreated timber (even if it is pressure treated). So get a good preservative and brush it onto the untreated areas. Dab the cut ends with the end of the brush to make sure you have well and truly covered all the bare areas.

3. Use nails sparingly. Screws and bolts are better, as they will enable you to easily dismantle the shed and take it with you should you move.

4. Assuming you’re building on a concrete raft (a sensible way to build – remember, motorbikes can be heavy beasts!), allow 8cm (3 inches) of the concrete raft to protrude all round the shed. So for a 10-foot square concrete raft you should plan to make the building 9½ feet square.

5. Where the side walls touch the concrete, lay thin strips of some form of waterproof membrane between the wood and the concrete. The strips should be a few inches wider than the timber inside, but wide enough on the outside so that it can be pulled up and over the timber. Tack it in place with a staple gun.

6. Usually the weight of the building will hold it in place. However, it wouldn’t hurt to drill two holes on each side in the concrete and use blind bolts to fix the shed to the concrete, especially if you are in a fairly windy place.

7. Plan to make the doorway at least 30cm (12 inches) wider than the widest part of the bike. Trying to drive/push something through the doorway that only just fits could be a real nuisance, especially when it is raining/snowing/very windy.

8. Use bolts to join the side panels and the roof together. Always put an extra nut on the bolts (on the inside); this makes it very difficult to undo the bolts from the outside. Don’t forget to use wide washers to stop the bolt from pulling into the timber.

9. Measure many times, but only cut once. Keep checking your angles; apart from the roof, everything should be at right angles.

10. A word of warning; I always over engineer my constructions! In the long term it pays to build something fairly solid – it lasts longer and makes for better security.
(Thanks, Trev! You can read more about how to build the shed here:
Building a motorbike shed – construction
Building a motorbike shed – finishing off)

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