Friday, July 16, 2010
TUFF SHED is already offering Free Paint with your TUFF SHED building purchase during the month of July. But customers will get extra style points with a free window box, a free pair of shutters and a free, third-color accent paint for their doors, shutters and window box.
*Dial up the Style online offer is valid for storage building purchases at TUFF SHED factory-direct retail locations now through July 31, 2010. All Free Paint selections must be chosen from standard 24 paint colors. An extra charge will be applied for any custom colors. One free window box and one free pair of shutters with first window purchased on TUFF SHED building.
Builders – garages, barns, sheds:
1. Do homeowners in your region prefer to build garages, barns or sheds for storage? (Which is more common?) It really depends on the customer's needs, preference and what type of neighborhood they live in. For instance, a customer with a small yard living in a development with a Home Owner's Association probably has some size limitations that a rural customer doesn't have. Different munipalities also have different rules. Like when we build a garage, the foundation requirements vary from one jurisdiction to the next. The good news is that we have sales and construction professionals that can guide the process so the homeowner gets the building that works best for them. From a sheer numbers perspective though, we do build more sheds than garages or specialty buildings.
2. Are there special licensing requirements needed for contractors to be able to do so? What about if I am building it myself? Do I need a building permit for such a small building? We carry all required local/state licenses for construction of these types of buildings. We also are fully insured and bonded, which is required by the State of California. In addition, we have our field employees background checked and vigorously trained. Customers should always make sure that this is the case with any contractor that they hire. Requirements for building permits can vary by municipality, size of building, desired placement on the property, etc. These types of requirements are the same even when the homeowner wants to build the shed or garage themselves. But for the most part, in the City of Milpitas, where our Bay Area factory is located, a homeowner can have a shed installed without a building permit, so long as it is 120 square feet and under.
3. Should I have the structure custom-built, or should I buy a prefabricated model? Where can I buy the model kit, or the plans to have it built? Most customers are better off having us install their storage building. Our installers assemble alot of buildings, and they have the right tools and training for the job. That means that on a typical storage building, we can have a customer's building fully installed within an afternoon. And our buildings are designed to be very sturdy, and not neccessarily lightweight or simple to install. That's not to say that someone who's really handy couldn't install one of the kit buildings that are available. We just have never seen a kit building that would perform as well, or last as long as a TUFF SHED building, and constructing a building from the ground up would take the average homeowner several full weekends by the time they source and haul all the needed materials and tools to their site. And that's even before driving a single nail. I'd suggest leaving all of that headache to a company that has local building professionals, like TUFF SHED.
4. What are the pros and cons to custom building versus prefabrication, and what is the cost range difference between the two?
We prefabricate several key parts of our buildings inside our local factories. The advantages are many. Material doesn't sit out in the weather. It's easier to keep doors and wall panels true when you can use inside-the-factory tools like wall tables and door jigs. We also manufacture our own rafters and trusses inside the factory, precision cutting them to size and joining them with steel plates. It would be impossible for us to deliver the same quality rafters and trusses if we had to build them in the field. And because we've already got some key components like doors and rafters and wall panels prefabricated, we can install the building on site more quickly. This process is actually a "greener" approach too, since the typical shed install requires only one trip instead of several back and forth trips by one of our trucks.
5. When’s the best time for such building? Our busiest time of the year tends to be March through October. We do build year-round, and even in the busiest of times can generally schedule installation of storage buildings within 2-3 weeks. Garages can take a little longer because of site specific engineering and obtaining permits.
6. How should I determine the best size/scale and location for the structure? The right size for a building is really dependant on what you're going to use it for, plus local building rules. The customer's budget also comes into play. We always tell customers to consider going with a little bigger building, because we all tend to collect more things through the years that need to be stored somewhere. As far as the location of the structure, customers should choose a clean and level site, and also need to consider local setback requirements (i.e. how far the structure needs to be from the property line).
7. What kind of roofing and wall material should I use? Our roofing system is just that...a system. Rafters joined with steel plates. Heavy Duty 1/2" roof decking. 15# felt paper. All topped with Owens Corning shingles. And we add a baked enamel steel drip edge around the roof perimeter to protect the fascia. It's all about being sturdy and watertight. You've also got to consider what your roof load will be, which is a consideration up in the mountains where they get heavy snow.
8. Are there “green” building materials available for such a project? Yes. There are some green materials available. Just how green certain materials are depends on your perspective. We focus on our processes. Because of our prefabricating/on-site installation process, we spend less time going back and forth over the road to a customer's site. We also use a method of painting that allows us to reuse paint rollers without washing them. That's good for the landfills and the water table. Part of the reason we went to steel foundations many years ago was because of concerns we had with treated lumber (some lumber treatments used arsenic years ago). The way lumber mills are treating their wood products is different now, but we feel we were on the forefront at looking at alternative raw materials.
9. What types of foundation options would you recommend to support a structure? Our sheds come with a galvanized steel foundation, which can be placed right on level ground. Foundations need to be strong enough to support not only the weight of the building, but also what's going to be placed inside. Don't skimp on foundation materials, or the floor decking. We use 3/4" tongue and groove floor decking, with Sturdi Floor rating. Garages need concrete foundations, and local building codes vary as to the types of footings, and depth of the concrete slab.
10. When the foundation settles, should I build a ramp up to the structure so I can roll my lawnmower in?
Ramps are a great option, but aren't really a fix for buildings that settle. Homeowners with settling issues on any building should first address the root cause of the problem (generally a drainage issue caused by misdirected sprinkler, downspout or a slope issue on the property). After fixing the cause of the settling, the customer should then get their building re-leveled. This will allow the building to operate correctly (i.e. doors and windows on a out of level building tend not to open/close correctly. Our storage buildings come with a steel foundation that elevates the floor decking so that it's not resting directly on the ground. Because of this, ramps are a great option from the beginning for customers wanting to roll a lawn mower, wheel barrow or even motorcycle into their shed. We sell some great, heavy duty diamond plate ramps for less than $100 a pair...or we can build custom ramps for customers who need them. If one of our sheds settles, this typically can be remedied fairly easily by adding pressure treated wood shims or concrete blocks.
11. What other specific parts of the building process should I consider (i.e. for instance - windows, doors, siding material, and electricity and plumbing), and what tips can you share regarding these? We always encourage customers to add ventilation to any building, especially if they are going to spend any time in the building and/or if they are going to store any materials like gasoline for their lawnmower. There's a great radiant barrier roof decking product on the market right now called LP TechShield. It comes standard on our Premier PRO Series sheds and garages. Adding shelving and windows/skylights is also a good idea, as this makes the building more functional and introduces some ambient light inside. Whether you do it yourself or have a contractor build your structure, make sure you've got solid bones to the building, with 16" wall framing, a roof system and foundation like I described above, and high quality exterior grade siding. You'll also want to pay particular attention to the door of your building. Use heavy duty hinges. Sheet the door on both sides. And use a high quality, locking handle. We are really proud of our patented door system that incorporates all these features. There's really nothing else like it on the market today.
12. What kind of light source works best for such buildings? Customers not wanting to add electrical service to their building still have a couple of options for a light source. Windows and skylights are easy options to add. Make sure you (or your contractor) use caulking around the opening to make them weather tight. We also sell solar lights. The radiant barrier I mentioned earlier also helps brighten up the interior as it reflects whatever light comes into the building. For customers wanting to add electrical service to their building, we recommend hiring a licensed electrician.
13. How long do such structures usually last? Several factors determine how long a building will last. The biggest three factors are: 1) the initial quality of the materials; 2) the quality of the construction; and 3) how well the building is maintained. A well built and maintained structure should last many years. At TUFF SHED all of our buildings come with warranties that cover workmanship and materials. Some of these warranties are as long as 10 Years (compare that with most new home warranties of 1-year). If you have a contractor install your building, get a copy of the warranty BEFORE you finalize your purchase.
14. How can I maintain the life of the building? Just like any outside structure, the homeowner can really prolong the lifespan of their building by keeping up with regular maintenance, like painting, removing debris or brush next to the structure, inspecting door/window openings, etc. Be especially mindful of water. If you sprinkler system hits your structure several times a week, 26 weeks a year, you're asking for trouble.
15. Will it add any value to my home? A quality shed or garage adds value to a home. A poorly built structure does not. We frequently see real estate listings that include references to "includes a TUFF SHED building in the backyard"...so we know it can be a selling point.
16. How can I keep insects and animals out of the structure? As with any outdoor structure, keep the openings closed when not in use. Remove any nests you see at the first site of them. And when storing any items that could be a potential food source (i.e. bird seed, pet food, etc), make sure these are in metal or heavy duty plastic bins with lids that can be snapped on tightly.
17. Do you have any other words of advice for homeowners on this subject? Be careful of choosing the least expensive option when it comes to installing a shed or garage in your backyard. Your structure should solve your storage problems for years to come...not create new problems for you. Make sure that any contractor you hire carries insurance, does employee background checks, and is a member of the Better Business Bureau.
With summer heating up around the country, it's a great time to focus on the benefits of LP TechShield Radiant Barrier Roof Decking. This material is standard on our Premier PRO sheds and garages, which is another reason these buildings are the coolest in town! The foil-backed LP TechShield keeps buildings up to 30 degrees cooler by blocking 97% of the radiant heat in the roof panel from entering the building.
This photo was sent in by a customer in Illinois, who added some finishing touches to his 8'x10' Premier PRO Ranch to complete the nautical theme in his backyard. TUFF SHED installed the building in an afternoon...the customer provided all the exterior landscaping including the ornamental weather vane. No anchors were required :)
Our roofing system has strength in layers. Sturdy, 1/2" plywood roof decking on top of our heavy-duty rafters or trusses sets the tone for one TUFF roof. Thick, 15# felt paper under Owens Corning© 20-year shingles provide excellent protection from the elements. Baked enamel, steel drip edge provides additional protection against moisture.
One TUFF Boxer! A regional sports network television advertising buy provided TUFF SHED with the added benefit of ringside signage during the 2010 Golden Gloves Amateur Boxing Championships this past May in Little Rock, Ark. Pictured here is Erick Deleon of Detroit, Mich., who won the 132 pound class for his second straight Golden Gloves Championship and was named Outstanding Boxer of the entire tournament. The event has been carried across the country on various regional sports networks since then, and includes two 30-second TUFF SHED commercials during the broadcast.
SONS OF TUCSON
Sunday Evenings on FOX
Sons of Tucson, a new comedy that airs Sunday evenings on FOX, features a dad-for-hire character who lives in a backyard shed...a TUFF SHED Premier PRO Tall Ranch that is. Click on one of the pictures to see the pilot episode.
USA Today writes this about the sitcom:
The "sons" in the title are 8-year-old Robby (Benjamin Stockham), 11-year-old Gary (Frank Dolce) and 13-year-old Brandon (Matthew Levy), on their own thanks to an absent mother and an imprisoned father. So they can stay together, they hire a homeless sporting goods salesman, Ron (Labine), to pretend to be their father — and then they force him to live in the backyard shed.
Why stick him in a shed instead of in a bedroom? Apparently because the producers think it will be endlessly hilarious to watch Ron try to scheme his way into the house, like Lucy trying to break into show business.
ABC WORLD NEWS WITH DIANE SAWYER
Sunday, March 14, 2010
ABC World News with Diane Sawyer recently ran a feature on Bo Shaffer and his duties packing dry ice in a Nederland, Colorado TUFF SHED building, where Bredo Morstoel's body remains frozen. The story, reported by Clayton Sandell and Sidney Wright IV can be viewed at the following link:
ABC posted the following text online:
Every month, high in the mountains of Colorado, Bo Shaffer makes an unusual delivery to an unusual customer. In the town of Nederland, packed inside a creaking shed, lies the resting place of a Norwegian man known as "Grandpa" Bredo Morstoel. He died in 1989 and has been frozen ever since.
The shed is kept at a cool minus-100 degrees.
Morstoel's grandson Trygve dreamed of coming to the small town to start a cryonics research center. His theory was that future technology might one day bring grandpa back to life.
"They plan to rebuild the body with nanobots," Shaffer said. "Theoretically, these nanobots could rebuild an Egyptian mummy . Just add water."
The only problem is that Trygve was deported back to Norway for overstaying his visa and had to leave grandpa behind.
When the Nederland City Council found out about Grandpa Bredo in the mid-'90s, they immediately passed a law saying you couldn't keep frozen dead bodies on your property. By that time, Grandpa had become such a local celebrity that the town made an exception, and he was allowed to stay.
So every month, for the last 15 years, Shaffer's job has been to replenish Grandpa's dry ice supply, 1,600 pounds worth. Even in death, Grandpa Bredo is helping breathe life into the local economy.
Eight years ago, Nederland created the Frozen Dead Guy Days festival . Complete with its famous coffin races, frozen turkey bowling and "Frozen Dead Guy" look-alike contests, the festival draws approximately 10,000 tourists, which took place this year from March 5-7. Their spending helps shopkeepers survive the slow winter season."It's vital," shop owner Teresa Warren said. "This is the busiest weekend of the year. This supersedes Christmas."
TODAY SHOW on NBC
March 24, 2010
A feature on political cussing featured No Cussing Club founder McKay Hatch, and showed him in front of his No Cussing Clubhouse, built by TUFF SHED. Click the following link to see the segment, which appeared on Wednesday, March 24.
End of Month Deals
Security Packages $19.99
As if TUFF SHED buildings weren't secure enough, customers can add an extra Security Package this month for only $19.99 Preferred by many of our commercial customers, the Security Package includes an additional lockable door hasp, and special carriage bolts that twart the removal of door hinges from the outside. Normally sold for $55, the special price is valid on new building purchases through the end of July.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Just Build It! These two identical buildings are custom 6’x8’ PRO Ranch's loaded with options and built for the daughter of Nike founder Phil Knight by the crew at Store #160 (Portland). They are used to provide shelter for the customers’ turtles and are rumored to be even stronger than the turtles’ shells. Store GM Ben Grimes says “only in America” and praises RSC Charles Williams for the sale and the construction team of Jestin Collins, Shane Baltus, and Heath Parker for perfect execution of the project.
TUFF SHED will officially unveil this new product for 2010 in April. Surprisingly affordable, this PRO Tall Ranch Weekender is fashioned after our Premier PRO Tall Ranch shed, and includes a porch on the end wall. While many of our stores have been building variations of this product as custom projects for some time, the PRO Tall Ranch Weekender joins the selection a standard TUFF SHED products available only at TUFF SHED Factory Direct Retail locations.
Although the weather patterns around the country (i.e. March snowstorm in Texas!) haven’t necessarily been supporting the notion, it is officially springtime. And that means it’s time for one of the great American seasonal pastimes…Spring Cleaning!
Since spring cleaning applies to your backyard too, here are some backyard spring cleaning tips from your friends at TUFF SHED.
Inventory your backyard tools
Check the condition of the weed trimmer, lawn mower, wheel barrow, garden sheers, rake, shovel, hoses, etc. Look for extra line, sharp blades, inflated tires, rubber washers, and fill that gasoline can up at the pump. Don’t forget to make sure you’ve got a couple pairs of garden gloves (without holes).
Make a To Do List
Timing is key to gardening. Making a list of timeframes for your project is a great way to ensure you don’t miss your mark. Pre-emergent weed preventing fertilizer, for instance, needs to be applied BEFORE weeds germinate. This varies based on your area and type of weed…but April is a great month to apply in almost all areas of the U.S. If you’re planting a vegetable garden, how about getting a head start by starting seeds indoors in empty egg cartons? You’ll have a jump on the growing season when you transfer your seedlings to the outside. If you’re planning on repairing some bare spots in your lawn, scatter that grass seed before the heat and dryness of summer hits. Set a date to aerate your lawn and turn that sprinkler system on. If you have a professional aerate your lawn or service your sprinkler system, its better to get on their books early. These yard pros get very busy come May.
Commit to Outdoor Storage
Make your life easier this spring, summer and beyond by having TUFF SHED install a storage building in your backyard. Imagine how great it would be to have a designated space for all your backyard tools, furniture cushions, entertaining items (can you say tiki torches?), bags of charcoal, etc.
Tammy, a TUFF SHED customer from Maryland Heights, MO sent in this photo of a TUFF SHED building that was in the path of a falling 70-year old tree last August. Tammy wrote to us, saying she was happy to report that the TUFF SHED survived the incident with flying colors. "If our old metal shed would have still been there, it most definitely would have been flattened like a pancake! Thanks again for the TUFF SHED. I'm telling everybody I know if you're in the market for a shed, you better purchase a TUFF SHED. It's well worth the investment."