Kids, Don’t Try This at Home

I am a sucker for advertising. I like nicely designed things which appear easy to make. As you may have read on this blog, M&I are attempting to built the ReadyMade MD100 shed. Neither of us has any construction experience whatsoever, but they claim two people can build this in one weekend for the relatively small sum of $1500. A bargain! Maybe this would take one weekend if you had two highly trained, seasoned carpenters. And that is only if they have the site prepared (or are building on a perfectly level site) and have all of the material delivered and pre-cut. I hate to sound bitter here, but as M&I forge ahead with these plans, we are noticing a lot of things that were designed in the name of cheap instead of right. There is nothing 16″ on center, which means when we are interested in putting up paneling instead of the corrogated metal, uh oh, nothing is 4′ wide so we have to put in extra studs. Yikes, we have a significant snow load, the roof they designed may not be enough… sigh. I would like to thank my dad and grandfather again for coming out and helping until late last night. We got A LOT done. The frame is up, the roof has plywood, we even have some of the siding in place. We still have at least a long weekend of work ahead of us to put in the doors (one sliding glass and one steel) and to finish the roof (we still aren’t exactly sure what has to happen there) and finish siding the whole thing. I am not going to say don’t buy the plans if you have your heart set on one of these, but keep in mind, one weekend and $1500 IS too good to be true.


4 Replies to “Kids, Don’t Try This at Home”

  1. What do you get for $1500??? That seems like a lot of money for a shed the size in your picture. Also, as you have learned, site prep is often the hardest part of building one of these. Your plans stud spacing might have been designed to accommodate steel siding or some other material. What kind of paneling are you thinking of using and where? That could be a bad idea or a good one depending on your material choice.

    Anyway – Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions along the way.

    Handyguy Brian

  2. Handyguy Brian,

    Thanks for the offer. I may just take you up on it. We are such newbies when it comes to building. I had no idea. For $1500 we got the privilege of using plans designed by an architect. The plans are $35, the materials are when they are estimating will cost $1500. The learning experience? Priceless.

  3. I am “adapting” the ideas of the MD100 for my own shed, but only very loosely. Mostly what I am borrowing from it is the idea of a sloped flat roof & the plexiglass wrapping around the top couple feet, vs. windows.

    I was talking with a friend and googled to show him a picture and thus stumbled on your site. It’s interesting that you came to a lot of the conclusions I did after looking at the plans. From the start I knew I would not build it directly, 10′ 10′ was not a good fit for the spot I wanted it, 8′ x 12′ worked better, so that probably helped me leave a lot of other silly things behind as well And one look at the 2×4 construction and ~20″ spans for everything, I knew I’d have to beef up at least the floor, and probably the roof also to handle the snow load in WI. From there, I decided I’d design around the materials if I could, to ease construction, hence the 8′ /12′ wide, 8′ tall walls (up to that upper wrap-around of plexiglass. In other words, I am basically building an 8′ x 12′ x 8′ open box using different plans, then adapting the top/roof from this design to cap it.

    To that end, now that you’ve been through five winters — and I’m guessing at least one heavy snow one — any wisdom you’d be willing to share about what’s gone right and wrong with the roof design, including whatever you might have done to improve it? Would be greatly appreciated, thanks!

    1. Mark,

      I hate to say that if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t. This set of plans was just terrible. We were much happier with a shed we had built by a local company that built it off-site in panels and then put it up in 3 hours. In the 5 years since I bought this set of plans there have been many tiny house plans posted on the internet if you were interested in building yourself. My advice would be to run, not walk, away from the MD100.

      That said one modification we made worth noting if you do decide to go ahead with these plans is that we spaced the joists 12″ apart instead of whatever they recommend.

      Good luck!


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