Yaro is a licensed building practitioner who is based in the Nelson/Tasman region, New Zealand. He owns his own firm called Craftmak and has had plenty of years of experience in the building industry. Yaro has also built almost every single style of SheShed with success, so he comes with a wealth of valuable knowledge that is definitely worth passing down to the next prospective SheShed builder!
We happily sit down with Yaro to ask him some key questions about building a SheShed Cabin, and delve into some critical details that are worth noting down, as well as some top tips based on his building experience.
We are looking forward to learning how to build a SheShed successfully from a very experienced builder's perspective, and we are very excited to be sharing this information onto you - so you are well equipped with the best information before you get onto building your dream SheShed!
What do you suggest people should do in preparation before buying a SheShed?
Consider your budget as well as the size of the SheShed in relation to the size of the location you are wanting to build your cabin on. Considering the right location is important, especially if you have an area exposed to specific elements, such as high wind zones. You can still have a cabin there, but you will need to add some extra structural elements such as a storm brace kit - which can be bought from SheShed. Adding these elements might increase the budget for your build project. I would also suggest a thicker wall if you are worried about the wind or other high weather exposure elements too, so instead of a 28mm thick cabin, you can look at a 44mm or 45mm thick cabin instead. As a builder, it is also important to have the land space to be cleared as much as possible for the cabin build - you need to consider the size of the cabin as well as the space needed for a builder to move and use their tools for the job. It is also good practice for safety as well. Sometimes I have worked with tricky and narrow spaces where there are more challenges to work with, as well as a risk to health and safety.
What are some important tips to keep in mind when building a SheShed?
The most important thing for both builders and DIYers is to follow the SheShed instructions and to watch the detailed how-to videos! I have actually had an experience where I was called to go and fix a SheShed Cabin that someone else had attempted to build - without following the instructions from the start. This made it really challenging to complete the project because all the parts had been mixed up - the boards that had to be on the floor were on the roof, so it was hard for the original builder to fix it because the parts needed down the track for the build were missing. So you can see, one small mistake has a massive knock-on effect in the future.
Often people say they don't need to read the instructions because they have had plenty of experience building structures in the past, or have got a building license, so they already know the ins and outs of building, but these cabins are slightly different to regular builds as they are not timber framed and they follow a unique methodology from start to finish.
What other sort of materials does someone need to source separately for building a SheShed?
This usually depends on where the cabin is going to be built. If is going to be on a flat surface, then you can buy treated H4 timber bearers from SheShed, and then simply install these on the ground. From there, the SheShed Cabin can be built straight on the bearers. If you are going to use a concrete pad, you might need to source the concrete and boxing timber too, as well as some reinforcing mesh.
If you are building on a slope or elsewhere, you may need to build a wooden sub base made of H4 or H5 treated timber - so this will require making piles, drilling holes for the piles, and setting them into the ground with concrete. You will then need some floor joists and structural brackets. You will also need some paint for finishing your built cabin, as well as some filler for the joins, cracks, corners and knots in the wood. So normally I would seal in these bits (especially the corner joins), and then do one coat of primer, and then two coats of good exterior paint. The paint protects the wood in general, so it is great protection for your cabin. It is also good for long term maintenance and will do a much better job than a regular clear coat.
What should you absolutely AVOID doing when building a SheShed?
There are two things that you really need to avoid. One is to make sure that the timber is dry and not soaking wet. When you have wet boards, the tongue and groove system does not really work as it is very hard to put the boards together - especially when the timber is swollen. So make sure the timber is dry before building. The second factor is the sun, as the New Zealand and Australia sunshine is very strong and intense. It is a good habit to keep all the parts covered when building the cabin so that you are not working with materials that have been damaged by the elements. Covering your building parts also prevents damp wood from drying too quickly in the sun - as this causes cracks and splits in the timber, as well as warping, which causes difficulties as the boards become harder to put together. So it is good practice to place your boards under cover right after you unpack them, and maybe even place them in order under a tarpaulin, so that the boards you will use first can sit at the top.
You have built many SheShed Cabins before, what is it like to build them compared to a traditional timber frame build?
The smaller cabins are great for builders and experienced DIYers to build. As long as you follow the instructions, you should be alright. The larger cabins, such as the Brook River or the Lake Cabin, require a bit more work (especially when there is a deck or verandah involved as well), and can sometimes even be a bit challenging for qualified builders! There are a few details that you really need to process, or have someone who has had experience building a cabin to guide you. Compared to a regular frame build, which requires years of training and experience, you do not need too much experience to build a SheShed. I would say after building a couple of these cabins, you become somewhat of an expert in the building process.
Finally, what would be your top three tips to share with future SheShed customers or builders?
I would say it is really important to plan ahead before building a cabin. You really need to have a good sketch of what you are building and where, as well as measurements of the site that you are building on. You also need to consider the landscape and think about whether you need to raise the cabin off the ground and add retaining walls to make the building platform level. If you are also adding a deck, you will need to think about the edges, will you need some hand rails for safety? Once you have a plan, stick to it. I have seen people change their minds about the plan in the middle of the project, and this causes things to go wrong (especially structural complications when the sub base is changed), often resulting in building costs to go up too.
I would also suggest planning to build your cabin in good weather, so check the weather forecast and select a fine series of days to build in. The sub floor and deck can be built in almost any weather condition, but the SheShed cabin needs 3 -4 good days where there is no exposure to wet or extreme weather.
Health and safety is obviously one of the most important factors to think about when you are building a cabin. Working with heights, power tools, sharp objects and heavy materials requires a lot of space in the working area, especially around the cabin. Installing a roof on the tallest cabins is challenging, so I would suggest some kind of edge protection, scaffolding, or potentially a harness with a rope that is attached properly.
Yaro is a licensed building practitioner who is happy to help people build their SheShed in the Nelson/Tasman region. He owns his own firm called CraftMak and has built plenty of SheShed Cabins in the past for many happy customers. Yaro can be contacted here: