Something is Rotten in the Shed


September 4, 2016 by Mike Oscar Hotel

….and it isn’t one of those easy answers, like a woodchuck or something dead.


Pardon the mess.  We’re still in transition. 

This is the shed.  At one point in time, it was attached to the house.  Now it is not.  It comes complete with a two-holer outhouse which in the picture above is on the left.


How stinkin’ romantic.  One of my favorite folk singers has a song and the lyrics go:

Love ain’t a hug

Love ain’t a kiss

Love is everyday

Doing this, that, this

I guess that includes pooping together.

As you can see, the roof has a dip like a swayback horse.  The shingles are about 60 years past their usable life and there’s definitely some rotten boards up in the rafters.  Have a look.


The good part.  The bad part you’re about to see is happening directly overhead in this picture, over the main doorway.   My thought is to jack up this area and add new supports.  I don’t know if they need to go all the way to the window area, or if they can start under the beam going left to right in this picture.  



The very bad part.

Which is to say that the roofing supports are likely rotten as well.  Oh, yep.  Here they are.  They aren’t quite as bad as I’d imagined.  The roof decking is shot, though.



There’s definitely some bowing happening over the doorway.  

I’d scrap the whole building, but you have to understand that we spent our last nickels buying this place.  I can’t afford another shed right now and I need a shed.  Besides, this is one of those I-can’t-believe-how-straight-this-shed-is sheds, in spite of being dragged across the yard at one point, and it’s still standing.  Probably means the rest of it, while not checked for plumb, is built well.  I think realistically that even if I stripped the shingles, put plywood where the decking was, put down roofing felt and shingles over the rotten stuff, it would probably hold for a few years, even ignoring the rotten beams.

Here is my dilemma list:

1.)  A carpenter, I am not.  Not even a little.  I only somewhat kind of approximately understand what’s happening here and I only somewhat kind of approximately understand how to fix it or how to keep it from getting worse.

2.)  There is no budget for this project.  None.  Zilch.  I’ll be relying on the ever-present junk pile that the aforementioned previous owner left.  Plenty of plywood.  A few short 2x4s.  I’m going to have to get creative.  I know I’ll have to cough up some cash to fix it and I’m slowly buttering up the CFO (read: wife) for some scratch to put into it.

3.)  I have no jacks.  In my plan, I think I’ll jack up this area and attach 2x4s (or something) into the rotten area.  Gotta figure out the jack thing.

4.)  This area is reserved for things I haven’t thought of.  I’m keeping numbers 5 – 1,942 available as well.

Here is my benefit list:

1.)  The junk pile of wood.

2.)  The previous owner left two rolls of roofing felt, some sort of membrane and what appears to be a pack of shingles.

3.)  The other side of the roof is still holding out water.  I think if I can get this side done, the other side can wait a year or two.

This has to happen before snowfall.  It might get interesting.  Or hopeless.  Either will be worth writing about.

Pax Domini Sit Semper Vobiscum,

Mike Oscar Hotel



6 thoughts on “Something is Rotten in the Shed

  1. Rick Searles says:

    Don’t sell yourself short…I’VE seen the bus !!!…Just get going w/ what you have and before you know it…voila !!!…it will be whole again.

  2. Brian says:

    Got a jack in your car/truck? I used one to plumb up my leaning shed. Lots of junk yards around if you don’t.

  3. Steve says:

    Great to hear of your “new” projects. You don’t need a jack to tilt a building up to plumb. Use a long 2×4 at an angle. Put the top end of the 2×4 against the inner wall or doorway top and wedge the bottom in the dirt or floor. Push in the middle of the 2×4 bowing it and inch the bottom closer to the wall. The top of the 2×4 will push the top of the wall to plumb as it straightens out from the bowing. My explanation may be bad, but it does plumb a shed straight.

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