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All posts by Sean Sant

winter lawnmower shed storage

Tips for Winter Lawnmower Shed Storage Precautions

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We know storage is a top concern for property owners who build sheds, and at A-Shed USA, our shed builders are here to provide for all your needs here. From our J-series and YardMaster storage sheds to ranch and barn sheds, we offer a wide range of shed sizes and formats for any kind of storage you need to accomplish.

One of the most common groups of items stored in any shed is those used for varying yard work needs, and one of the largest and bulkiest such potential items is the lawnmower. As we’re now in the fall stages where most homeowners are preparing to shelve their mower for the winter, here are some top recommendations from our pros in terms of properly storing your lawnmower within your shed.

Why Indoor Storage Matters

Some mower owners might be planning to store theirs outside for the winter, but we strongly recommend against that. For one, moisture can collect and pool in various areas, causing rust and other material breakdowns.

For another, the sun’s rays – even during the winter – will damage everything from paint to plastic mower parts over time. It will make important mower components more likely to crack or break, particularly engine covers and mower seats. For this reason, it’s far more effective to store the mower inside, whether in your garage or your storage shed.

Fuel Concerns

Keeping fuel fresh in your mower is an important task throughout the year, including over the winter. Fuel may break down over this long season, which in turn can damage your motor. Some may think that simply draining the tank for winter is best, but this may actually damage the engine as well. The proper approach here is to buy fresh fuel, fill your tank to 95% capacity, run it for a few minutes to allow the stabilized fuel to make its way into fuel lines, and then shut it off and store it for the winter.

Tires and Air

Some may think they can get away with waiting to refill tire air pressure until the spring, but this is a big risk. Mowers that sit on flat tires will eventually put pressure on the rim, which in turn will damage the area. Make sure you air up your tires to their full capacity before storing the mower for winter.

Battery Charging

You have a couple options when it comes to mower batteries over the winter. One is to charge the battery a few separate times over the winter, while another is to purchase a trickle charger or battery tender that will keep the battery charged on their own.

Cleaning

Finally, take the time to clean grass clippings and other accumulations from the mower before storing it for the season. Grass clippings are a common cause of mower decks rusting through due to their eventual transformation into rot and acidic compounds, which can eat through paint and even metal. Turn off the mower blades and clean the entire mower and deck – compressed air and a putty knife are usually the simplest tools here.

For more on storing your lawnmower in your shed for the winter, or to learn about any of our storage shed products, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

shed fall maintenance themes

Shed and Storage Building Fall Maintenance Themes, Part 2

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In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the outdoor themes when it comes to cleaning and maintaining your shed during the fall season. As the bridge between the hot summer and the cold, snowy winter, fall is a great time to ensure your shed and other outdoor structures are properly prepared for the upcoming season.

At A-Shed USA, we’re proud to offer expertise and tips on these kinds of areas, whether you own one of our barn sheds, ranch sheds or other high-quality options. For today’s blog, we’ll take a look inside the shed itself, which is just as important as exterior areas when it comes to fall cleaning and maintenance.

Cleaning and Inspection

For starters, spend some time performing a basic cleaning on your shed. Buildings like these can become dirty and dusty quickly, especially over the dry Utah summer. Remove all major tools or equipment and sweep, dust and otherwise clean the area.

While you’re doing this, take the time to visually inspect the area for any damage that may have formed over the summer. Look at any connectors or other areas that may have been chewed by rodents or insects, for instance, as well as droppings or any other signs of invaders. Ensure moisture isn’t able to sneak in through any cracks, and repair minor damage if you find it.

Doors and Windows

Two areas to keep a particularly keen eye on are your doors and windows in the shed, which can allow in air, moisture and pests if they aren’t properly sealed and maintained. Check weather stripping and replace it if needed; the same goes for window caulk. If you have any moving parts, now is a good time to lubricate them to prevent rust concerns and annoying squeaking noises.

Accessories

If your shed or storage building has shelves, benches or even stairs inside it, inspect these areas as well. Do the same for any outlets or other accessories in the shed – the best time to locate and remedy these concerns is while you’re emptying and cleaning out the shed already.

Pest Prevention

We mentioned pests earlier – on top of proper sealing and checking for the signs of their presence, you can help prevent them by keeping any grass or vegetation around the building trimmed. In addition, store any possible food sources, such as seeds or stored pet food, in metal containers with tightly-sealed lids. Some shed owners will even set traps or put out pest poison to keep pests from invading during the winter.

Tools and Organization

Finally, particularly if your shed has become cluttered during the summer, take the time to organize and assess its contents, such as your tools and any equipment stored in the space. If you have any garden hoses being stored, ensure they’re drained first. Also drain any gas or oil from lawn equipment like lawnmowers or trimmers. If you store both winter and summer items in the shed, place the winter items in accessible areas headed into the cold season.

For more on preparing your shed for the fall and winter, or to learn about any of our custom sheds or shed builder services, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

shed storage fall maintenance

Shed and Storage Building Fall Maintenance Themes, Part 1

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At A-Shed USA, we’re proud to serve as your top custom shed and garage builder. Whether you  need a custom storage shed, an offset garage or any other custom structure from our construction professionals, we’re here to provide you with the highest-quality materials and construction available.

We’re also always on hand to provide expertise and tips regarding the care and maintenance of our products, which are important areas for keeping them in proper shape and allowing them to last decades on your property. With summer quickly giving way to fall, a brief respite before the cold Utah winter hits, it’s important for owners of sheds, garages and other outdoor storage buildings to perform a few areas of basic maintenance. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over both indoor and outdoor areas to consider when performing fall upkeep on your shed or storage building – let’s start with outdoor areas first.

Trimming

One of the most important maintenance areas for a shed involves allowing for proper air circulation, which in turn limits moisture buildup that can lead to moss, mold and mildew. A simple way to help improve air flow is through trimming grass, shrubs and other vegetation from the base of the structure, plus pruning overhanging trees that might break under the weight of snow during the winter.

Leaves and Debris

Down similar lines, keep fall leaves cleaned and far away from your structure, as they not only disrupt air flow but also may attract pests. The same goes for any other areas of minor debris or buildups that may cause issues.

Roof Inspection

Another area you’re looking to avoid during the fall is the buildup of algae, which is most common on a shingle roof if there’s limited sunlight and moisture combined. Apart from looking to reverse such conditions if they’re present, regularly inspect the roof to ensure no algae or moss is growing – if some is present, remove it with a gently brush and a shingle detergent. You can also use a 50-50 mixture of bleach and water as your solution here.

Siding

To avoid everything from mold and mildew to paint deterioration, the fall is a good time of year to use a hose, brush and mild detergent to wash the exterior siding of the shed or structure. We don’t recommend using a pressure washer, which may force water under the panels and lead to damage.

Paint

During your inspection, you may notice siding paint that’s begun to wear down over a period of years. This may be due to scrapes from tree branches or shrubs, or even from lawn equipment or overly excited kids. If you find compromised coating anywhere, you can use acrylic exterior latex paint to cover it.

For more on outdoor areas for fall shed maintenance, or to learn about any of our new custom shed options, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

primer shed framing spacing

Primer on Shed Framing and Spacing, Part 2

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In part one of this two-part blog series, we went over some of the initial factors to consider when it comes to the framing and spacing of your new storage shed. This area is just as important as the materials used in many cases, defining the basic shape and structure of a shed and laying the foundation for a long lifespan.

At A-Shed USA, we provide a wide variety of custom storage sheds, all built with a combination of high-quality materials and professional framing and spacing qualities. Let’s look at a few additional factors that play a role in the framing concerns of a given shed or custom structure, including some you may not have considered before your purchase.

Galvanized Nails

One of the single most common areas that dishonest contractors will skimp on when it comes to shed building is the nails. They’re leaning on an expected lack of knowledge from clients here: Most assume standard steel nails will do just fine for a given shed or structure, but this actually isn’t the case.

In reality, there are chemicals in pressure-treated lumber (often found in your floors – more on this in just a moment) that will cause steel nails to rust and wear down over time. For this reason, quality shed builders use galvanized nails instead. These are a bit pricier, to be sure, but they provide a high level of quality and do not risk rusting or any form of corrosion when exposed to pressure-treated wood.

Floors and Pressure Treatment

Speaking of pressure treatment, it’s vital for the floor of a given shed that sits on the ground. When using non-treated lumber here, major risks of rot and insect invasion are present, negatives that can badly impact the lifespan of the structure.

While most manufacturers use at least some pressure-treated wood, you want to be sure this is the case throughout your new shed. Some will look to save money by using non-treated lumber for floor joists while using treated wood only on the perimeter, but this risks rot on the joists that you’ll have to deal with.

Framing on Openings

All windows, doors and other openings on a given shed should have a frame built the entire way around them, plus a proper header. These items are in place to provide support – without them, these openings may sag or collapse over time.

Span Ties

Finally, quality sheds include ties that span rafter to rafter every few feet. The purpose of span ties is to help the roof hold up against any weight placed on it, particularly snow during the Utah winter. Without these ties, your shed may do fine during the summer – but then may collapse the first time heavy snow rests on it, creating damage and a major hassle.

For more on important spacing and framing factors to inquire about for your new shed, or to learn about any of our custom sheds or garage-building services, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

new garages salt lake city

Primer on Shed Framing and Spacing, Part 1

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When it comes to the long-term durability of a given shed, garage or other custom structure, one of the most important factors in the manufacturing process is general framing and spacing. Strong materials are a must, of course, but if these materials are not aligned and placed properly by experienced shed builders, the quality and long-term lifespan of the structure will suffer accordingly.

At A-Shed USA, we’re proud to offer quality custom sheds and garages built by professionals who understand every in and out of framing and spacing. In this two-part blog, we’ll go over several related areas here, plus the ways they impact the future durability, lifespan and overall value you receive from any of the structures we can build for you.

Corner Pockets

While this may sound like a term from the game of pool at first, it’s an important industry connotation when it comes to sheds and similar structures. During such building construction, when walls are made separately, they’re eventually raised into place together, creating a corner area where 2x4s come together and leave a small pocket.

This pocket is important for a few reasons, namely stopping anything from being nailed into the corner of the building. It also helps strengthen the walls, often through the use of reinforced 2x4s on one wall that fills the pocket space and brings a nailing surface for any wall coverings. When considering a new shed, ask your builder about how corners are built.

Stud Spacing

Another important factor is studs, which are generally required to be no further than 16 inches apart in most homes. Within sheds, though, some builders will stretch this to 24 inches to save on their costs, and because building codes are not the same for these buildings. The higher this number gets, however, the weaker the sides and roof may be – the structure won’t hold up to wind and snow as well.

Double Top Place

Generally speaking, most sheds will utilize 2x4s on both the bottom and top of the structure. For the best durability, shed tops will contain two 2x4s that have been nailed together, then roof trusses that sit on top of this combined plate. This kind of doubling up also makes the walls stronger and more stable, so ask about it as an option if you require a strong, durable shed option.

Headers

A header, or a support area meant to hold weight from items above it, can be used in a few areas of a given shed. They’re common on the roof and trusses, where once again you should be looking for options that come with multiple connected 2x4s if the structure allows for it. Many manufacturers also use plywood in between the boards on their headers, helping the header resist bowing or any kind of shape change.

For more on framing, spacing and structural areas that are vital to any shed, or to learn about any of our shed or garage build options, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

property benefits new carport

Areas to Ask Your Shed Builder About in Advance

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At A-Shed USA, we’re proud to be among the top shed builders in the entire nation. With over 20 years of experience designing and building a variety of custom sheds, garages and several other structures, you can count on us for the highest quality materials and lasting, durable builds.

We know smart shed buyers will be comparing our services to other similar services in the area before making their choice, and we welcome this due diligence. We know how well our materials and services stack up to the competition, and we’re confident your research will reveal as much. With this in mind, here are several areas you should be inquiring about with pros like ours as you search for the best shed builder.

Paint and Application

It’s common for shed builders to promote the quality of paint used on their structures, but it’s vital for you as a customer to ensure that the paint was applied properly. A company may have the best paint available, but that doesn’t mean much to you if it’s not applied well.

Ask about how paint is applied, whether it’s done by spraying or rolling. Spraying is faster, but more detail can generally be accomplished while rolling paint. Also ask about the number of coats are applied, and ensure detail areas like nail heads, corners and ledges are properly covered.

Lumber Choices

Another important area to ask about is the lumber used in the shed, particularly the flooring materials. If you’re looking for pressure-treated wood here, ask about how it’s applied – some manufacturers will tell you all about this material, but only use it for the perimeter of the floor while using non-treated lumber for interior areas. This can be a major issue if your shed sits on the ground without great air flow, and risks like rot or pests may appear.

Rafter Placement

In many cases, standard placement of wall studs and roof rafters will be 24 inches on center. But if these are placed closer together, the roof will be more capable of absorbing heavier weights from winter snowfall or other potential risks. If you regularly get heavy snowfall, we recommend rafters spaced 16 inches apart rather than 24.

Top Sill Concerns

The top sill plate is a board that reaches along the top of the wall, allowing the roof rafter to sit on it. Many manufacturers will offer a double top sill for added support – if this is the case, ensure you check that this is applied on both the foundation and the corners alike. The industry term here is “lapped”: If the boards that create the sill overlap each other in the corners, they are lapped, and will be more durable in general. Walls made this way will be sturdier against everything from wind to moisture, able to hold more weight than other options.

For more on important areas to go over with your shed builder, or to learn about any of our shed builders or options, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

converting shed home laundry

Converting Your Shed into a Home Laundry Area

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When it comes to sheds, garages and other custom outdoor buildings, most people naturally associate these with standard storage and practical uses. It’s common for many people to store garden tools and even larger items like lawnmowers in the shed, for instance, a purpose often shared by garages and other stand-alone building types.

At A-Shed USA, we’re proud to offer custom sheds and buildings for any purpose you might require them for. Another lesser-known area of use for various custom buildings? Extending certain in-home activities there aren’t room for within your main house space into a shed. One great example here is laundry – many modern homeowners are building sheds to accommodate laundry needs, allowing them to save space in the primary home and separate this task to another area. On top of ensuring you have all the correct plumbing and water supply needs in place or available, here are several tips we can offer on creating a laundry space within your outdoor shed.

Proper Washer-Dryer Combo

In many situations where you’re relocating laundry to the shed, space maximization will be a top priority. There are plenty of washer and dryer units specifically designed for confined spaces, including some that can sit side-by-side or even on top of each other in some cases.

Generally speaking, you’re looking for front-loading options here. These allow you those kinds of stacking options we just mentioned, offering the ability to open doors while loading or unloading but then close them and get them out of the way when needed.

Custom Cabinets and Counters

In many situations, standard counters and cabinets won’t be available for the kind of arrangement you’re putting together her. You’ll often have to customize these options – you need a counter space to fold and place laundry, plus cabinets for storing your detergents, dryer sheets, fabric softeners and any other laundry products you require.

Utility Sink

You may not have to use it often, but a small utility sink hooked up to the same plumbing connections can go a long way. Maybe you have to clean off stains that just formed, or perhaps you’re looking to wash certain clothes by hand while the machine does the rest.

Ironing Board

Finally, especially if you regularly attend formal events or have a need for professional appearance, keeping an ironing board in the area is a good idea. One great location for the ironing board is on the back of the she door, on which you can install a simple hanger that holds the folded ironing board until you need to put it into use, keeping it out of the way the rest of the time.

For more on designing a great home laundry space in your new shed, or to learn about any of our custom sheds or garages, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

protecting shed underside animal

Limiting Flood and Moisture Risks to Your Shed

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After a winter and spring that saw near-record levels of precipitation in the mountain west, homeowners all over these areas of the country, even including Utah, are on the lookout for flooding. Particularly if you live near any significant body of water, such as a stream, river or pond, ensuring your entire property is protected from potential rising water levels is a vital consideration.

At A-Shed USA, we’re here to help you ensure your storage sheds, garages and other custom buildings are protected from flooding and any other water-related risks. All our sheds come with coated flooring options and many optional upgrades that will benefit the space if flooding does take place. In addition, here are some general tips we can offer on ensuring your shed is safe from flooding during the spring and summer.

Shed Foundation

If your property has dealt with flooding in the past, you need a foundation that’s solid enough not to sink and elevated enough to allow water to pass underneath. Ground that’s used for shed placement needs to be properly leveled beforehand, removing any low points that might lead to standing water – which in turn can lead to mosquitoes, mold and several other issues. Ask about the foundation of your shed and whether it’s elevated off the ground, plus be sure to also check on air circulation that will allow for proper ventilation.

Location Selection

Another important factor here is choosing a shed location that doesn’t leave it in the path of water runoff or near any major water bodies. If your property contains any hills or slopes, place the shed in a higher-up area where it will not see water continuously flowing down onto it during storms.

If you’ve owned the property for a while, you should have an idea of where water pools up or stands during or after storms. With this information, you can properly place the shed so it won’t constantly be dealing with standing water. If the property is completely devoid of flat ground, you may have to consider a drainage system.

Pressure Treating

If you’re truly going the extra mile, you’ll want to consider pressure-treated lumber and flooring formats. Not only this, but ensure that the skirting around the edge of the shed is included, along with floor joists. Pressure-treated wood is designed to resist water damage rot and other concerns.

Quality Paint

Another layer of added protection for your shed from moisture and flood risks? The proper paint. You want acrylic latex paint, a type known to protect sheds against various elements, including moisture. This kind of paint is peel- and fade-resistant, and also prevents the growth of mold or mildew.

For more on protecting your shed from floor and moisture risks, or to learn about any of our custom storage shed or garage options, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

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Proper Placement for Shed Doors and Windows

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Recently in this space, we discussed the pros and cons of windows being included in your new shed choice. This is one of the key decisions you’ll have to make when you install a new storage shed or similar structure on your property, and could impact everything from cost to overall function.

At A-Shed USA, we offer a wide variety of storage sheds, garages and other custom structures for your property. If you’ve determined that utilizing windows on your new shed is the right choice, the next big decision is right down the same lines: Where do you have them placed? Let’s go over some basics on window placement, plus on some similar areas for shed doors and their various requirements.

Shed Window Placement

Our shed options come with various configuration choices, including where windows are placed. When making this decision, the most important question to ask yourself is what you’ll be using the shed for.

If you’ll be spending actual time in the shed, or if there are materials that require a well-ventilated space, your selection process should start by determining which direction winds commonly come in from. Assessing the wind allows you to properly ventilate the shed naturally, without any need for fans or other electronics.

Another important consideration is light. Sheds that are purely for storage won’t need as much, but those that include a workbench or any other actual workspaces will require solid amounts of light for safety. In many cases, you can provide much of this light naturally by strategically placing windows facing the sun’s daily path. If you prefer shade and electronic in-shed lighting, on the other hand, place windows in areas that point away from the sun or are covered by shade. If you have any items inside the shed that could be damaged by prolonged sun exposure, consider shades or blinds to prevent this.

Shed Door Decisions and Placement

When it comes to shed doors, purpose of the structure is again very important. Your first big choice here is whether to install one or two doors – double-doors are often used by those who have larger items to store in the shed, such as a wide mower or snowblower. Some homeowners even use a double-door on one end of the shed and single door on the other.

When deciding exactly where to place your door or doors, consider general slope and topography. If you’re going to be parking a riding mower in the shed, for instance, you’d be wise not to place the door right next to a two-foot slope that will make this storage more difficult. This kind of basic attention to detail will make your life more convenient and make your shed purchase worth it.

For more on proper selection and placement of shed doors and windows, or to learn about any of our new sheds or other custom structures, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

protecting shed underside animal

Protecting Shed Underside From Animal Invasions

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There are several areas of a given property that may contain risks of animal presence, such as under patios or decks, in crawl spaces or underneath home foundations. And on certain property types, this risk may extend to underneath a shed or another separate building type you’ve placed on your property as well.

At A-Shed USA, we’ll provide you with quality storage sheds and garages that are well-built and do not allow for the habitation of animals underneath the structure. In addition, we can provide numerous custom structures, including helping you expand an existing space or cover an exposed area that might appear inviting for certain critters. Here are some basics on what to do if you’ve found animals living under your shed, some areas to avoid, and how to protect your shed from this happening to you.

Sheds and Animals

Like some of the other spaces we mentioned above, certain openings that may form beneath sheds offer several factors animals often search for. They’re quiet, dry areas that often offer several protection elements from potential predators or other threats, plus often offer the kind of space nesting animals need.

And while there are certainly exterminators (for pests) or other animal removal companies (for larger animals) available to remedy this issue, this is often a Band-Aid for a larger problem. If the space remains open and potentially inviting to various animals, you’re going to be calling these companies again and again if you don’t make any changes.

Useless Areas to Avoid

You naturally want an affordable solution to this problem if it pops up on your property, but there are many DIY tactics some take that either don’t work or even can exacerbate the issues. A few areas to avoid:

  • Mothballs: For those with snakes under a given structure, an old wives’ tale involves using mothballs around the perimeter to keep them away. This simply doesn’t work at all – if you have snakes on the property, removing rodents and other prey they generally feast on is the best way to get rid of them.
  • Light introduction: Some people think introducing light into the space will deter animals from living there, but this requires raising the building and/or removing vegetation around it. This is often highly impractical, and may cost more than just covering the area properly.
  • Water: Others try purposely wetting the ground under the structure to encourage animals to leave, but not only is this a limited move in terms of effectiveness, it will encourage mold growth and mosquito presence.

Protecting Your Space

For legitimate protection against animals under your shed, the best solution is a true defensive barrier. There are several such products on the market, including several spike panels or others that are driven into the ground and protect the shed’s undersize not only from above-ground animals, but also from many that may burrow just underneath the ground. Some DIY homeowners may be able to construct their own such barrier – if you’re attempting this, just be sure you aren’t damaging any of the shed’s base or surrounding areas.

For more on protecting your shed from animals living underneath it, or to learn about any of our new sheds, garages or other structures, speak to the staff at A-Shed USA today.

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