How to build a shed door from plywood and cedar
Building a shed from the ground up is a huge endeavor, no matter how skilled you are. We started the project as an economical way to get more storage and it was a wonderful learning experience.
One of the things we quickly realized was how many design elements we could add to this functional space. We installed some old wooden windows that we had been saving for years.
Then, we looked for other ways to add a personal touch and a pop of color. We love the cedar fence we had done previously so we decided to build a wooden door for the shed.This cedar door was very simple to build, probably less than an of hour of work. Want to see how we build this shed, start at creating a shed plan.
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BUILD A SIMPLE CEDAR SHED DOOR
- 6″ cedar board (we used fence pickets but make sure that will fit in your opening)
- 7/16″ plywood (sheathing from shed)
- 3-4 : 1″x3″ cedar boards
- liquid nails
- 1.25″ screws (we used exterior screws)
- 3/4″ finishing nails
- 1.5″ finishing nails
- gate hinges
- exterior door handle
- gate latch
- exterior stain & waterproofer (we used Ready Seal in Natural Cedar)
- scrap board for a template
- paint string sticks
- miter saw
- circular saw
- Rip-cut (optional)
- nail gun (15, 16, or 18 gauge)
- air compressor
- tape measure
- safety glasses
- face mask (for dust)
- ear protection
Something to note: The cedar boards will dry out in the sun (shrink). Let them sit in the sun for a couple of days before using. Unfortunately, we didn’t do this and now our boards have a 1/4″ gap between the boards.
CREATE THE BASE
Because this door is made from pickets, you need to build a solid wood base to support it. We are using a piece of plywood for this (you probably cut this out if you added sheathing to the shed wall).
This base needs to be smaller than the door opening, 1/4″ on all sides. Measure the door opening and subtract 1/2″. This is the size of your base plywood.
TIP: Measure at least two sides and take the smallest measurement.
Cut the plywood to the size you need. We used a circular saw attached to the Rip-Cut.
SIDE NOTE: You can see more information about the Rip-Cut in my post on how to use a Rip-Cut.
Also, cut the 6″ cedar boards to the same length, with either a miter saw or circular saw. You may have to cut one board’s width so all the boards fit on the plywood.
Now that the boards are cut, it’s time to attach them to the plywood. First, put some Liquid Nails on the back of one 6″ board. Then, place onto the plywood (start at one edge) and adjust until the sides are equal.
Using the 3/4″ finishing nails, nail the 6″ board to the plywood. Continue this process until the plywood is completely covered with cedar boards.
Let these boards sit for 24 hours to let the Liquid Nails dry (this way, boards are not moving around). Once the 24 hours are up, it’s time to add the trim.
ADD THE TRIM
When you created the actual shed and added the trim around the door, you left a 1″ gap. The trim on this door will sit on this gap.
To make sure you give the door the correct overlap, create a template from a scrap board. Mark a line on this board that is 1″ from an edge. This edge will then sit against the base (plywood and cedar boards) and the trim will extend to this line.
But before you can put it all together, you need to cut the top and bottom trim piece. You will cut the width of the plywood piece plus 2″ – cut this twice (top & bottom).
Then, just like adding the cedar board to the plywood piece, apply some Liquid Nails to the top of the base.
TIP: Make sure the trim piece will cover the Liquid Nails.
Using the template, position the trim piece in place (all sides will fit this template because all sides have a 1″ overhang). Take the 1.5″ finishing nails and nail only the part of the trim piece that sits on the base. Repeat these steps for the bottom trim piece.
Once both top and bottom trim pieces are attached, you can add the sides. Measure the distance between the top and bottom trim piece and cut a board to this size. Then, install just like the top and bottom pieces. Do this for both sides.
You could stop here if you would like but we decided to add a little bit more trim. To do this, measure the distance between the sideboards (where you would like to add the board). Then, cut the board and attach using liquid nails plus 1.5″ nails.
For the angled board, place a cedar board across the area (corner to corner). Next, trace where the cut should be to fit the board. Then, cut the board at the traced marks.
TIP: I would recommend cutting one at a time, checking the fit between cut and adjusting if needed.
Attach this trim piece the same way as the last one, using Liquid Nails and 1.5″ nails. Next, flip the door over, being careful with the edges. At each corner and some places in between, attach the 1.25″ screws (these will help keep everything together).
TIP: It’s always a good idea to pre-drill the holes to prevent the wood from splitting.
APPLY SEALANT TO THE DOOR
You do not need to finish the cedar door with a sealant but I would recommend it to protect the wood from water damage. We used Ready Seal in Natural Cedar, which is a stain and waterproofer in one (same stuff we used on our fence). Let the door dry before continuing.
INSTALL THE DOOR
This next part is a two person job: installing the door.
First, attach the hinges to the door (we liked the look of three, and it matches our back gate). Then, with someone inside the shed, place the door in the opening. The person inside the shed will place the paint stirring sticks at the base of the door (between the door and the floor). This will give the door the gap it needs. Also, check the other sides, placing a paint stirring stick if needed.
Once everything has an equal or good gap (about 1/4″ but not less than 1/8″), the person on the outside (holding the door) will mark where the screw holes should go for the hinges on the shed.
Ideally, without moving the door, pre-drill a 1/8″ hole where you just marked. Then, attach the screws (place at least 4). If you do have to move the door, you already marked the spot so place the door back on those marks.
Once the hinges are installed, check to make sure the door swings and closes correctly, adjusting if needed. Then, install the latch and handle.
And that is how to build a simple cedar door for a shed. What do you think?
I love how the wood looks again the blue/gray siding. But now we want to add a little window planter box next to it. Also, I want to paint the siding on the garage. There are so many ways you can personalize your shed!
Hope this helps you build your own shed.
How come you decided to go with a plywood backing and not cross-spars?
A cross brace would have looked nicer but we decided to use plywood because it was easier (building) and the inside of the shed is not finished so plywood is showing on all the walls, making the door match. If we were going to finish the shed with drywall, we would have not used plywood. Hope this answers your question!
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