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Storage Sheds — Should You Buy or Build?

Storage Sheds — Should You Buy or Build?

Storage sheds are extremely useful and are a mainstay for many outdoor spaces across the world. They can make a yard looker nicer and have plenty of storage for all of your tools, gadgets, and toys.

When installing a shed, you can either set it up completely on your own or buy a prefabricated shed and simply place it where you want. But which approach should you take, really?

Naturally, there’s no one-size-fits-all solution here — different folks are going to make different decisions and find different aspects appealing.

So let’s go ahead and lay out the factors to think about when deciding whether or not to build or buy a storage shed. With this knowledge in hand, I’m sure you’ll be able to make the best decision for you.

What’s the Cost?

Buying a Shed

When you buy a shed, you can expect to spend some more money. This is because that price tag usually includes the labor and more added to the cost. Plus, retailers often mark up their products to make a profit.

Sometimes, however, you might be able to find a good deal.

I have seen sales and promotions on storage sheds that end up making them super affordable.

Overall though, buying a shed is probably going to cost you more than building one yourself.

According to HomeAdvisor, you an expect to spend between $1,500 and $4,000 on a prefabricated shed.

Building a Shed

Building your shed is typically the cheaper choice.

You save a lot on retail markups and do not have to pay anyone else for labor.

However, think of the materials and tools you need. Whatever you are missing will be an expense. On the plus side, you can use the savings to justify getting some new toys.

Here are some of the tools that you’ll need to build a shed, and this is by no means an exhaustive list:

  • Hammer
  • Sawhorse
  • Circular saw
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Nail gun
  • Framing square

Depending on how you plan to build your storage shed, you might need more or less!

Additionally, the type of wood you buy is also going to affect the price.

Looking at HomeAdvisor again, they estimate it costs between $5 and $75 per square foot for shed materials alone.

How Long Does it Take?

Buying a Shed

If you do not want to invest a lot of time into your shed, then buying is the way to go. It does not take a lot of time, since you just need to find one that you like and get it home.

This is a good option if you just got a new lawnmower and need a place to store it. Or, suddenly have more tools on hand and do not have room for them in your house.

Building a Shed

If you do not have the time to spare, then I do not recommend building your shed.

This project will take up a lot of your time. Many people do not have enough time between work and do not want to give up their little bit of free time to tackle this task.

However, if you are passionate about constructing, then it can feel good to have a project to sink a bit of time into. Plus, you will feel satisfied seeing the final creation. I think that how much time you are willing to spend on your shed is up to you.

How Can I Customize the Shed?

Buying a Shed

Since store-bought sheds are premade, customizing it at all is pretty rare. If there is any customizing, they are typically a lot more expensive. If you decide to choose a custom-built shed, you might have to still do a little bit of construction on your own.

This is because the company might require that you have a shed base before the team arrives to install your shed. The base is usually a solid layer of concrete for the structure to sit on, so be sure you are familiar with the policies of the brand that you buy the shed from.

Building a Shed

When building your own shed, you have a ton of flexibility to make it look however that you want. The only thing that limits you, is your own ability. If you want to learn and have more time to put into the project, you can make it look more detailed.

However, be sure that you do not place the shed directly on your lawn. You will need to give it a solid foundation to sit on. Without it, the shed will likely sink into the soft earth and not be as structurally sound as it needs to be.

I have seen many people forget the shed base. This causes a lot of problems- if you do not want your shed to fall over, be sure that you give it a base.

What Materials are Best?

Buying a Shed

Store-bought sheds are most likely made from wood or plastic. Sometimes metal is an option as well. Plastic is the most popular choice since it is lighter and easier to bring from one place to another. It is also low maintenance.

Metal costs a bit more but is probably going to last you longer than wood or plastic. It also is very low maintenance, meaning you do not have to paint it yearly- which you might wind up doing for a wooden shed.

Building a Shed

When building your shed, it can be hard to determine what is best for your first project. You will probably want to start out with some type of wood since it is easier to manage than stone or metal. Plus, it requires more commonly available tools.

Whatever you want to make your shed out of is up to you though. I have seen plenty of interesting ideas in my time, so do not be afraid of experimenting.


No matter what you decide, you want to be sure that it is the best option for you. For instance, if you love building and feel you can make a great shed- go for it! If you think building might be a waste of time, then buying a premade one is fine too.

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