Building a Storage Unit

Jim can use tools!I’m starting a new project, a small storage unit attached to the side of my apartment on the back patio. Wait just a darn minute here, you say? That’s right, I’m not so bad with tools. Did I forget to tell you I did flooring for 35 years? Have I not mentioned… well, no, I haven’t written about my little projects here yet. Sorry. I’m kinda jumpin’ around here because last year I did a major remodel of my main living space. And just a month or so ago I finished building a nice arbor and some fencing. I’ll link to those when I get around to writing about those. 😉

I am real anxious to get started on remodeling my bedroom, but I can’t start that until I have some storage for some of the junk littering my room now. Hence, this article. Or, part 1 of who knows how many to get this thing built. My landlord is letting me do just about anything I want, so my plan here is to add a storage unit to the inside corner of the building on my back patio.

The storage unit will be 4′ wide by 2′ deep. It tucks up under the existing eves of the roof. Because the dimensions are limited, I have to be very frugal with the space. Instead of using regular 2×4 lumber, I am using 2×3″ studs I bought at Home Depot. I’ve used them before, when I made a 2-sided surround for my refrigerator. As long as the demands for structural integrity are minimal, this lumber should work just fine. Should.

The base of the storage unit is going on a concrete slab. Because moisture tends to wick up through concrete, it could rot wood framing placed on top of it. For this reason, it’s wise to use treated lumber. Redwood or Cedar are 2 wood species that can withstand the elements, but they aren’t suitable for the base of a storage unit.

Constructing the base was simple and straight forward – with the exception of having to work around the existing pipes for waste water and water heater blow-off. Don’t ask me why the builder did it that way. All I know is I have to work around it. There’s also a clothes dryer vent that I will have to deal with. I used 3″ deck screws to assemble the base. It went smoothly, but it takes me an extraordinarily long time to do these kinds of things because the exertion taxes my lungs pretty heavily.

Storage on back patio   Storage unit base

The project has taken several days so far – actually, about 4 hours to do the framing for the base and about 2½ hours today on the plywood floor, with the access for the waste clean-out, and the framing for the front of the storage unit. Your mileage will no doubt be much better, especially if you ain’t sucking oxygen through a hose in your nose. 🙂

But there was a little snag. I shoulda known the lumber would not be the best, but my previous experience was a whole lot better – and more fun. This batch of 2×3’s is really dry and brittle. I’ve tried to pre-drill for the screws (hey, if screwing insteada nailing framing is good enough for Holmes on Homes, it’s good enough for me), but this lumber was still splitting. I broke my drill bit on it, so I resorted to nailing. I had 2 different kinds of 16 penny nails, as you see in the picture, but neither prevented the terrible splitting.

Splitting lumber   More splitting lumber   The last stra... nail

That was enough for me today. I decided to ease my tension by writing this. I am either going to try the screws again (with a slightly bigger drill bit starter hole this time), or I will hook up the compressor and nail gun. That might have been easier to begin with, but I don’t have any 16’s for the framing nailer and you have to buy enough for practically a whole house around here. Maybe in Reno, I can find a smaller quantity. For now, this is all I have done. It’s a start and I really do enjoy doing it.

Storage unit floor

Read the continuing saga of Building a Storage Unit in Part 2. Your comments are welcome.

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