Side panels are not so much difficult as tricky. If approached carefully, they can be consistently built with little effort. Please review the side panel cut guide for notes on making the angle cuts.
To build a side panel:
- Build a 'U' of the bottom 48" stud and the two angle-cut verticals. Make sure that the slope of the verticals are pointing the same way, with the shorter vertical's slope pointing towards the longer vertical. Do not attach the top stud yet!
- Attach the U to the sheathing (plain plywood for a storage unit; plywood/insulation for a living unit). The bottom of the sheathing extends 1 1/2" past the bottom of the bottom plate; since a 2x4 stud is actually 1 1/2" think, you can use the top stud as a convenient spacer. First connect the bottom stud to the sheathing, then the sides.
- Bring the top stud to the top of the U; it won't quite cover both of the vertical studs completely, but that's all right. Nail the top to the verticals, and then nail the sheathing to the top stud.
- Repeat for the opposite panel, making sure that it's a mirror image of the first panel!
There are two common mistakes made with side panels:
- The top edge of the sheathing doesn't quite align with the top edge of the stud. This is usually OK, as long as the discrepency isn't over 1/4". 1/2" is probably OK, but any further is pushing it.
- You've built two identical panels - "two left feet". You'll have to take one apart and rebuild. Good thing there are only four studs!