If you’re in the market for an outdoor storage shed, you’ll need to know a few things before you go out and buy that shed. The main considerations are the cost and the size of shed you need. You might also be looking for one that’s a particular style and color.
An outdoor storage shed is going to be a large investment especially if you’re planning on building it yourself. You can expect your shed to last at least 20 years and if you’re putting it on a foundation it can last much longer.
10 Tips For Buying an Outdoor Storage Shed
Tip Number 1] The Cost… Don’t go out and buy a storage shed based on the price alone, many folks believe that the cheapest shed will be the best. A cheap shed is just that… Cheaply made with inferior materials that just won’t stand up to the test of time.
Spending more money on a higher quality storage shed will give you years of durability and will outlast the cheaply made storage sheds. If you have a budget [which many folks do] get one that’s very simple and well-made rather than getting one with options you really don’t need.
There are still some decent quality storage sheds that you can buy that will fit your budget. You can read my article “What are The Best Cheap Plastic Storage Sheds to Buy?” where I go over some things to look for in a plastic storage shed, as well as my recommendations of the best plastic sheds. You can read the article here.
Tip Number 2] The Sheds Design… Exterior storage buildings don’t just provide storage for your extra stuff they also can add to your property’s value and overall appearance to your landscape. If you can get a shed that will fit in well with your homes style and finish it can really add value to your home.
A good example of this is if your home has a peaked roof and vinyl siding you can build a storage shed with the same type of peaked roof and you can match the vinyl siding and trim as well. Or maybe your home has flower boxes and shutters on the windows; you can easily match you shed to this too.
Tip Number 3] Blending In… Another factor for choosing the perfect outdoor storage shed is having in blend into the surroundings. Many sheds you see in folks yards tend to stick out and don’t fit into the landscape, you can avoid this by locating the shed where it blends into the area.
You can place the shed near some trees that will provide shade in the summer or you can put it beside your garden. Other ideas are to add planters around the shed or you can even consider installing a wall trellis for some climbing plants.
If you need some ideas I have 2 articles that will help get you started, the first is “Choosing the Best Location for a Storage Shed” you can read it here, the second article is very helpful when you’re deciding on the size of the shed. “Choosing the Right Size Storage Shed” and you can read it here.
Tip Number 4] Shed Material Type… When it comes to the type of materials sheds are made from the choice is wood, metal and plastic. There are some better quality types of metal and plastic to choose from. Let’s look at each briefly:
Storage sheds constructed from wood are usually constructed similar to how a house is constructed using a wood floor, framed walls and a framed roof. There also sheeted with plywood or OSB which makes them much stronger than metal or plastic.
You can apply a nicer exterior finish and you have the option to add insulation to the floor, walls and roof if you’re planning on using your shed as a work shop or office. With wood you also have many options of roofing type from rolled roofing to metal roofing.
Metal sheds are much lighter and are not as strong or durable as a shed constructed out of wood. They do however have prefinished panels for the walls and roof that don’t require any maintenance like a shed made from wood. You can also get them with a metal foundation kit and they are available in many designs and colors to choose from.
Plastic sheds are also known as resin or other type of plastic. Like metal there’s not any maintenance and like metal they won’t rut or be eaten by insects. These are very simple to assembly but you’re going to need a foundation kit and a way to anchor it the ground.
Tip Number 5] City Bylaws and Codes… Most places have bylaws and restrictions that will only allow for certain sized storage sheds as well as height restrictions. There’s usually no restrictions on storage sheds that are less than 100 square feet and not built on a foundation.
There still will be regulations on where you can put the shed on your property. It’s quite common to have limits on how close you can put a shed to your property lines as well as limits on how far from existing buildings you can put a storage shed.
If you live in a complex that uses a homeowners association they may have restrictions on size, height and even what your shed will look like. It’s better to ask before you go out and spend 1000,s on a shed only to have to remove it for some reason.
You’ll also want to find out from your local building authority if you’re going to be required to submit a plan and site plan and buy a building permit. I go over how to find out and prepare if you require a permit in my article “Do You Require a Building Permit to Build a Shed?” You can read it here.
Tip Number 6] The Foundation and Floor… If you’re going to be building a storage shed out of wood then you’re going to need a floor and some type of foundation. There are a few options for a shed foundation from treated skids to a concrete slab.
Most of the metal and plastic sheds won’t come with a floor and you’ll need to make your own floor or buy a kit. This flooring kit can cost you an extra $100 or more and the anchoring kit can cost about the same. I like to use some ½ inch re-bar and put a small bend at one end and cut them about 4 feet long and hammer them into the ground to secure to floor kit.
It’s highly recommended you use one of the few shed foundation options to keep your floor off the ground which keeps the contents up higher to keep them dry. My favorite foundation is the treated wood foundation. You can read my article “What’s the Best Shed Foundation Option For You” for the best foundation for you. You can read it here.
Tip Number 7] Build it Yourself or Hire a Contractor?… I love building my own structures; however that may not be something that you want to do. If you’re handy and have the tools building your own storage shed may be a good option for you. Not only will you get the satisfaction of using your own hands you’ll also save money.
If you just want a quick place to store some yard tools and toys than maybe a metal or plastic shed kit will be right for you. This types of sheds come with pieces that lock together and have pretty good instructions.
Another option is to have a pre-built shed installed or you can hire a local contractor to build a shed for you. This will cost you more money, but will save you time and energy. This may be a good option for some, I go over the pros and cons of each in my article “Should a Beginner Build Their Own Shed?” You can read it here.
Tip Number 8] Plan Out Your Access… It’s important to go over the layout of your property and choose the spot for your storage shed wisely. Depending on the size of the shed and what you’re going to be storing in it access may be necessary to store stuff or having a wide enough door so your riding mower will fit thru it.
Also consider the height of the shed floor and you may need to construct a ramp to make moving larger pieces of equipment in and out easily. I like to place a shed close to the driveway so I can access the storage from the back of my truck.
Tip Number 9] Features and Details… With the many options you can add to your shed you can turn a cheaper one into something decorative. Adding some matching shutters or even some nice cedar window boxes and planters can really make your shed stand out.
If you have the room you can add a small covered deck for some lawn chairs or some deck storage boxes. If you’re building your own shed you have many options on roofing styles and exterior finish to really add some character to your plain shed.
Tip Number 10] Adding Extra Storage… If you find that one storage shed just isn’t giving you all the space you need for storage you can get another smaller unit. There are 3 types that are less expensive and be a solution for you:
Portable Storage Unit
These are smaller and all fully self-contained and will protect your items from the elements and there are many different types and sizes to choose from. I have an article “What’s The Best Outdoor Waterproof Storage Box?” where I review some of the better ones. Read it here.
Vertical Storage Unit
These are portable and can give you some extra dry storage wherever you need it. I like using them on the deck under the overhang for storing chair cushions and other smaller outdoor items.
Horizontal Storage Unit
These are shorter and wider and can be used anywhere you need some extra storage; a good example would be pool side to store pool accessories and extra towels or whatever else you need to store. Some can even be used as a poolside table that opens for extra storage.
If you need lots of storage from your outdoor storage shed you should look at a larger sized storage shed that will meet your needs. If you don’t have the space you can build a lean onto the side of an existing shed and close in the sides and add a door. This is easy and fairly inexpensive to do.
I hope you have found these 10 tips for buying an outdoor storage shed. There are other factors that can come into play, but I have only covered the main ones that will affect the purchase of the shed. If you have found this article helpful please give it a share. Thanks for reading.