The Tools needed to build a shed

Below is a list of essential tools you will need to build a shed from start to finish. It’s always annoying to start on a project then realize you forgot an important tool. Go over this list and figure out what you have and what you need to buy (or borrow).


Blueprint or Plan – Start with the end in mind. Find a plan that suits your needs and will help you complete the project correctly.

Safety Glasses – This is a must when working around power tools.

First Aid Kit – Hardly thought of until the moment it is needed.

Measuring Tape – You will use this throughout the project. Make sure it’s the proper length.

Foundation Tools

Stakes – Use wood or metal stakes to mark the corners of your proposed shed. This will give you a general idea of the footprint of your shed.

Hammer – Use this to hammer your stakes down.

String – Run the string from stake to stake

Line Level – This is used to determine how level your site is. Raise or lower your string until all the strings are level. This will give you a sense how level your site is and how much dirt needs to be removed or gravel needs to be brought in.

Shovel – You will need a shovel to clear the land in preparation for gravel as base

Rake – Rake out the gravel so it’s level in preparation for your skids.

Wheelbarrow – Use this to move dirt or gravel

Post Hole Digger – If you are using a pier foundation, you will need this to dig the holes.

Magnesium Float (Mag Float) – For creating a concrete foundation

Finishing Trowel – This is a tool for finishing the concrete foundation

Concrete Edger – Also used for finishing the concrete

Framing Tools

Pencils – Always have a couple around in case you lose one (which I always do)

Tape Measure – Lot’s of measuring involved

Framing Hammer – A framing hammer that has a waffle head which prevent the head from slipping off the nail. Also a straight claw is important when removing bent nails.

Speed Square – Use this to quickly mark straight 90 degree lines to be cut

Circular Saw – A good quality circular saw (or skil saw) doesn’t cost that much and is versatile.

Level (Spirit or bubble Level) – Extremely important when building a shed. A four foot level is a good size for most purposes. A level is very important when raising the walls and assembling the structure.

Chalk Line (Chalk Box) – Multiple uses for shed building. You can quickly mark straight lines where walls and trusses will be located.

Cordless Drill with bit – A corded drill will work too but it can be inconvenient working around an extension cord. You will need a drill to screw things and drill holes.

Suggested but non-essential Framing Tools

Saw Horse – This can be useful for cutting material at a good working height (about 30 inches). Can you cut things on the ground with a 2×4 as a spacer? Yes, but it’s not ideal.

Ladder – A six or eight foot ladder can be great for reaching those high spots. Especially when installing the trusses and roof material.

Miter Saw (chop saw) – A miter saw with a stand makes cutting quicker, safer and way more convicent than using a circular saw. There are certain cuts that can’t be made with a chop saw, but it’s great to have.

Pneumatic Framing Nailer – A nailer makes framing go a lot faster if you can afford it. Of course you can get by with a hammer and 16d nails. But who can argue that a framing nailer isn’t fun to use.

Air Compressor – If you want to use a nailer, you will need to power it with an air compressor. These are loud and you need a good power supply to keep them running. But very important if you are building a large shed.


Utility Knife – Use this to cut the asphalt shingles and roofing paper to size.

Tin Snips (Metal Shears) – You will this scissor type tool to cut the metal drip edge and fascia to give your shed a nice finished look.

Pneumatic Roofing Nailer – If you have access to a roofing nailer, it can make things a lot easier and faster than manually nailing each nail in with a hammer.


Finish Hammer – Slightly different than a framing hammer, a finish hammer has a smooth hammerhead which keeps from denting the wood.

Caulk Gun – Of course for caulking seams and joints.

Pneumatic Finish Nailer – Also called a brad nailer, it is a smaller nail that leaves less of a mark. You would use this to install the trim around your shed.

Nail Set – Use this to set the brad nail below the surface of the wood if it’s sticking out.

Putty Knife – A putty knife is used to install putty over the nail holes so they disappear after painting.

Painting – Slide 7

Paint Sprayer – If you are building a large shed, you may want to go with a good quality paint sprayer. They can save you many hours but they can be expensive, and they clog easily.

Paint Roller with Extension – An economical alternative to a paint sprayer, a roller is easy to use and is much faster than using a paint brush. Make sure you get a roller with an extension so you can easily reach those high spots on the gable ends.

Paint Brush – For hard to reach areas like corners and joints, a good old paint brush does the trick.

I hope this list will help you understand the tool requirements for building your own shed. Maybe, just maybe, we will save you at least one trip to the hardware store!