This article is aimed at those looking to take down a garden shed themselves, saving money compared to paying a professional to do the work for you. But how hard it is really does depend on the shed itself, who built it and how old it is. I’ll explain in more detail below.
Assess the garden shed before attempting to take it down
Before taking down your garden shed it’s best to assess the situation beforehand. Firstly, look inside and double check that everything is removed.
Next you should check for any signs on damp or rot, meaning that you may have a weak structure. Whilst this may be fine, keep in mind that the garden shed could fall and cause harm to you and others, especially as you start unscrewing panels!
Finally, check that the area around the shed is clear from anything that you would like to keep safe. I have had many sheds collapse and damage garden furniture, ornaments and the like in such events.
How to take down a wooden shed
You should be able to take a garden shed down in the same order that it was built. A standard wooden shed, as with almost all structures are built from the ground up. In theory, providing that the screws are healthy, you should be able to start with the roof and work your way down, removing any screws as you go along.
If conditions allow, follow these steps when taking down your garden shed.
- Remove the felt on the shed roof (this should be easy to tear off)
- Remove the roof panels. There will be screws or nails along the top edges of the walls as well as any beams on the inside for apex roofs
- Unscrew the door hinges and remove the door
- Lots of garden sheds have plastic instead of glass for windows, but always check first and use appropriate PPE (personal protective equipment) when removing the shed windows
- Now it’s time to go inside what’s left of your wooden shed. One panel at a time, remove the screws or nails and remove
- Finally you should be left with just a wooden floor to lift and remove
What if I can’t undo the screws on my garden shed?
The first thing to check before attempting to take down your shed is the screws as I have been stuck trying to remove these on many occasions and have even had to result in drilling them out too, although this is painless with the right tools. There are 2 problems that can occur with the screws when trying to take down your wooden shed, the first being that they have rusted away, leaving hardly any screw head left. You may also find that they have became weak and brittle, meaning that they are rounded off as soon as you attempt to unscrew them.
The other problem I have encountered with the screws on wooden sheds are the people that built the garden shed in the first place! If they have used an incorrect drill bit or held the drill at the wrong angle then they will have rounded the screws off before you’ve had a chance to even undo them!
The first thing I would do if you have a screw that you can’t undo is to put a metal drill bit (usually gold coloured) onto the end of a drill and drill into the screw head. I promise this is a quick and painless method.
The only other way is to grind them out with a small 4.5 inch grinder, providing that there is a gap in the join, wide enough to put a cutting disc through to reach the screw thread.
Can I take down my garden shed with a chainsaw?
Yes it is possible to take down your shed with a chainsaw, I have done this many times to save time on jobs. But. And it’s a big but. It really isn’t safe, either for a DIY person or a professional. The problem you have when trying to take down your garden shed this way is that as you cut through the shed, the shed loses shape and loses its strength. As it moves, the chainsaw can get caught and cause kick back, meaning that it will kick back towards you!
Not only this, but there is a high risk of the shed falling, with no way of stopping it as both hands are on the chainsaw. Having a shed fall on you is one thing, but to fall on you with a running chainsaw in your hand is quite another!
Can I take down my shed with nothing but a sledge hammer?
It may seem crazy to write a paragraph clarifying whether or not you can take down your garden shed with a sledge hammer, or any other form of brute force for that matter, but I’ve been asked before and have known people to take down their shed this way.
Ofcourse with enough force, anything can be taken down but I certainly wouldn’t recommend it. You will not only have pieces of timber flying all over the place but you will have no control over the shed collapsing and in which direction. It would be a danger to yourself as well as others around you.
The best way to take down a garden shed
As written above, avoid using any heavy machinery such as chainsaws and dont use brute force either as both of these will not do the job without posing a threat to your safety.
Start from the top and work your way down removing one screw at a time. If screw heads are rounded off then simply drill them out. If experienced, you can also use a small angle grinder if there is enough clearance between the joins.
It is also likely that the shed is held together with nails instead of screws. If you cant remove the nails with a claw hammer then you may need the pry the joins apart with a crowbar and club hammer.
If your taking down your garden shed and get stuck then feel free to comment below for a quick response or alternatively you can head over to our forum and pop your question there.