Some Things to Think About When Buying Your Shed

When it comes to buying your backyard storage shed, there are a lot of decisions to make about the style of shed you want, the best material to use, and whether you want to buy a pre-built shed or have them come build one on your property. Knowing the right choices to make is important, so here a few things to consider before you make that purchase.

What Style Do You Want?

Sheds come in lots of shapes and sizes, but there are really just two basic styles: garden sheds and barn sheds.

Garden-style sheds, also called utility sheds, are the most popular style sold in the US. They have the typical A-frame roofline found on most residences, and their low (6–7 ft. height with a 5:12 to 6:12 roof pitch) help them blend into most neighborhood landscapes.

Barn sheds—sometimes known as lofted barn sheds—feature a distinctive, gambrel roof (also known as a “Dutch roof.”) which provides more vertical storage space. Many manufacturers also include a loft area inside the shed, which tend to be taller than a standard garden shed. While barn sheds are perfect storage solutions for a rural setting, many suburban areas have restrictions on these types of sheds. If you live in a neighborhood, you may want to check with your HOA first.

What Kind of Siding Material Is Best – Wood, Metal, or Vinyl?

Wood sheds come in the greatest variety of styles and colors, and have increased dramatically in quality and performance over the last 10 years. Most wooden sheds come painted in standard colors, but manufacturers typically offer the option to match specific colors. To save money, you can even buy a wooden shed already primed and then paint or stain it yourself.

Most wood sheds are built from either T1-11 or engineered wood. T1-11 is a plywood-based material that comes either treated or untreated. Untreated T1-11 must be painted to prevent rot, is susceptible to termites, and generally needs a lot more regular maintenance. Treated T1-11 is better but can sometimes delaminate without warning. Engineered wood looks like T1-11, but is more resilient and it’s treated, meaning it won’t warp or rot.

Metal sheds are popular in the Southeast US. Made of either aluminum or steel, they do not rust and require a lot less maintenance than other sheds. In the past, metal sheds were also less expensive than wooden sheds, which led to a surge in their use. Manufacturers offer numerous color options to match your home, but aluminum is limited to a choice of stock colors. Aluminum’s main drawback is how easy it is to damage; even a fallen tree limb or a strong gust of wind can do a lot of damage.

Steel sheds are fairly new to the market, but manufacturers have made a big push to make steel siding a practical choice. Steel siding now comes in many colors, and is much stronger than aluminum. They can also be more expensive than aluminum sheds, but their durability is often worth the added price.

Vinyl sheds aren’t a huge part of the market anymore, but they’ve been around a long time. Their popularity endures because they can be easily matched to any home—which is very important to some customers—but they tend to be expensive. They are also not available in a lot of markets as there aren’t many manufacturers left. Even if you find a manufacturer, you will likely have to pay a lot more to have a custom shed built for you.

What Size Shed Is the Right Fit?

Storage sheds come in a wide range of sizes, from 6 ft. wide by 6 ft. tall, to 16 ft. wide by 40 ft. long. When deciding on the size of your shed, ask yourself what you will use it for and what you will be storing in it. You should also check to make sure the shed’s dimensions don’t violate any local neighborhood covenants or city zoning issues.

Pre-built storage sheds also carry delivery and installation limits as well. For example, the Dept. of Transportation has regulations requiring that most pre-built storage sheds be under 13 ft., 6 in. high on the trailer, and can’t be over 12 ft. wide without escorts. In addition, a pre-built shed may not fit the space you want to put it in due to property lines, fences, or landscaping. A special forklift called a “delivery mule” is often used to move a pre-built shed into the right spot, but small yards, fences, and mature landscaping can still cause problems.

Pre-built vs. On-site Construction

Pre-built storage sheds allow you to check out the inventory of storage units that are ready to install right off the sales lot. They’re usually delivered faster than on-site sheds, too. Once you buy a pre-built shed, the dealer delivers the unit to your property and installs it where you want it. Note: If you want to customize your shed beyond what’s available in stock, you’re looking at adding 2–3 weeks to the delivery time.

With sheds built on-site, you can look at fully-built displays on the lot to get ideas, then order a shed custom-built for you. The shed manufacturer sends a crew to your property to actually build the unit, assembling the shed’s pre-cut components in just a few hours. The biggest downside: a longer wait while the custom shed is built at the factory before being delivered and put together. You also can’t actually see your finished shed prior to buying it, and certain financing options—such as leasing or rent-to-own—are off the table with on-site builds.

Do you know you need a shed but find yourself wondering, "What size shed do I need?" We've found that most people underestimate how much room their belongings will actually take up. Before you buy or build a shed, use this tool to help you estimate what shed size you should get based on how you want to use it and what items you want to keep there.

Backyard Storage has been in the shed business for over 15 years, and we have the outdoor storage solution for you. So, plan ahead and let our team help with any questions.

All Articles