A cheap DIY shed is an excellent option for homeowners looking to add extra storage or workspace to their backyard without breaking the bank. By using affordable materials and doing the work yourself, you can save hundreds or even thousands of dollars compared to buying a pre-made shed or hiring a professional to build one for you.
Not only is a DIY shed cost-effective, but it’s also a great way to exercise your creativity and customize your shed to fit your unique needs. You’ll need to plan carefully and choose the right materials. Some of the most affordable options include using recycled materials such as pallets or repurposing old windows and doors.
You can also save money by using corrugated metal or vinyl siding for the walls and roof instead of pricier options like wood or brick. With the right tools, materials, and a little bit of elbow grease, you can build a high-quality shed that’s both functional and stylish, all while sticking to your budget.
Having some plans to follow will make the job even easier and save you in wasted materials and time. Check out my article How Do I Choose the Best Shed Plans? (Paid and Free) for all the options. If you’re in a hurry you can check out Ryan’s Shed Plans Here.
How to Build a Cheap DIY Shed: A Beginner’s Guide
Building a cheap DIY shed can be a fun and rewarding project for homeowners of all skill levels. However, if you’re a beginner, it’s essential to start with a solid plan and the right tools and materials.
Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build a simple, budget-friendly shed in your backyard.
Step 1. Location and Foundation… Decide where you want to build your shed and prepare the ground with a level base. You can use a concrete slab, gravel, or cinder blocks for the foundation, depending on your budget and preference.
Step 2. Check your Local Building Codes… Before you start building your shed, make sure to check your local building codes to ensure that you’re complying with any regulations or requirements.
Step 3. What is the Purpose of the Shed… Think about how you plan to use your shed and choose a location that’s convenient and accessible. For example, if you plan to use your shed as a workspace, you may want to build it closer to your home or power source.
Step 4. Choose a Level Spot… It’s important to choose a spot that’s level to prevent water from accumulating or the shed from leaning. If the ground isn’t level, you can use a shovel or rake to level the spot, or you can build a foundation to level the ground.
Step 5. Foundation… Depending on your budget and the levelness of the ground, you can choose from several foundation options, including concrete, gravel, or cinder blocks. A concrete slab is the most durable but also the most expensive, while gravel is the cheapest but not as stable as concrete.
Another great option is to use pressure treated wood for a foundation, if you’re not sure on any risks with treated wood, check out my article What is Pressure Treated Wood? A Comprehensive Guide.
Step 6. Construct the Floor, Walls, and Roof… Building the structure is one of the most critical steps in constructing a cheap shed.
Here are some tips to help you build a sturdy and affordable frame for your shed:
Layout and mark the dimensions. Use a tape measure and marking tools to mark the dimensions of the frame on the ground where you plan to build the shed.
Cut the lumber. Cut pressure-treated lumber to the appropriate lengths for the walls, roof, and door frame. You can use a saw or circular saw for this.
Assemble the frame. Begin by assembling the wall frames, securing the lumber with screws and nails. Attach the walls together using corner braces or framing brackets. Next, install the roof frame and secure it to the top of the walls.
Install the door frame. Cut and assemble the door frame, making sure it’s level and square. Attach it to the front wall frame.
Reinforce the frame. Add additional support to the frame with bracing or diagonal supports to ensure it’s stable and sturdy.
Secure the frame to the foundation. Use anchor bolts or screws to secure the frame to the foundation or base.
Add siding and roofing. Choose affordable materials such as corrugated metal or vinyl siding for the walls and roof. You can also install roofing felt or shingles for added protection.
Adding siding and roofing to your cheap DIY shed is an essential step to protect the contents of the shed from weather elements.
Here’s how to add siding and roofing:
Choose affordable materials. To keep costs down, choose affordable materials like corrugated metal or vinyl siding for the walls and roof. These materials are durable, easy to install, and will provide adequate protection for your shed.
Measure and cut the siding. Measure the dimensions of the walls and roof of your shed and cut the siding to the appropriate size. Make sure to wear safety glasses when cutting the siding to protect your eyes.
Install the siding. Begin by installing the siding on the back and side walls of the shed, securing it to the frame with screws and nails. Work your way around the shed, overlapping each panel slightly to ensure a watertight seal. You can also use trim pieces around the corners and edges for a finished look.
Install the roofing. Measure and cut the roofing material to the appropriate size, making sure to leave an overhang on the edges. Install the roofing, starting at the bottom edge of the roof and working your way up. Secure the roofing with screws and washers, making sure to overlap each panel slightly to ensure a watertight seal.
Install doors and windows. Add a pre-hung door and any windows you desire for ventilation and natural light.
Installing doors and windows in your cheap DIY shed can enhance its functionality and provide additional natural light.
Here’s how to install doors and windows:
Use affordable materials. To keep costs down, choose affordable doors and windows made from vinyl or metal frames. These materials are durable, easy to install, and will provide adequate protection for your shed.
Measure and mark the location. Determine the location of the door and window openings and mark them on the frame of the shed.
Cut the opening. Using a saw, cut the opening for the door and window in the frame of the shed. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the size of the opening.
Install the door and window frames. Install the frames for the door and window in the openings, securing them to the frame of the shed with screws.
Install the door and window. Once the frames are in place, install the door and window in the frames, securing them with screws and ensuring that they’re level.
Seal the gaps. Seal any gaps between the frames and the shed with caulking or weather-stripping to prevent drafts and water leaks.
What is the Cheapest Style of Shed to Build?
When it comes to building a shed, the cheapest style depends on various factors, such as the size, materials, and location. However, there are a few shed styles that are generally considered to be the most affordable to build:
Lean-to shed: A lean-to shed is a simple structure that leans against an existing wall or structure, such as a house or garage. This style of shed is usually smaller in size and requires fewer materials than other styles, making it one of the most affordable to build. Check out my article How to Choose the Right Lean to Shed Plans for more information.
Gable roof shed: A gable roof shed is a classic style that has two sloping sides that form a triangle at the top. This style is relatively easy to build, and the materials required are affordable, making it another cheap option.
Saltbox shed: A saltbox shed is a traditional style that has a long sloping roof that slopes down to the back wall of the shed. This style is typically smaller in size and requires fewer materials than other styles, making it an affordable option.
What is the Cheapest Wood to Build a Shed With?
The type of wood used can greatly impact the cost of the project.
Here are some of the cheapest types of wood:
Pine: Is one of the most affordable types of wood and is widely available at most lumberyards. It is lightweight and easy to work with, making it an ideal choice for DIY shed builders on a budget. However, it is not as durable as other types of wood and may require regular maintenance.
OSB (Oriented Strand Board): OSB is a man-made material that is made from wood chips and adhesives. It is an affordable alternative to plywood and can be used for the walls and roof of a shed. However, it is not as strong as plywood and may not last as long.
Fir: Is a softwood that is widely available and affordable. It is durable and can withstand harsh weather conditions, making it a good choice for sheds that will be exposed to the elements. However, it may require more maintenance than other types of wood to prevent rot and decay.
Spruce: Here’s another softwood that is affordable and commonly used for sheds. It is lightweight and easy to work with, making it a popular choice for DIY shed builders. However, it may not be as durable as other types of wood and may require regular maintenance.
What is the Cheapest Easiest Shed Base?
When it comes to building a shed, having a stable and level base is crucial.
Here are some of the cheapest and easiest shed base options:
Gravel: A gravel base is an affordable and easy option for a shed base. Simply level the ground, add a layer of landscape fabric, and pour gravel on top. This will provide good drainage and a stable base for your shed.
Concrete blocks: Can be used to create a simple and affordable base for your shed. Simply level the ground, place the blocks in the corners, and add more blocks in between as needed. The blocks should be level and stable to ensure the shed is well-supported.
Wooden Pallets: If you have access to wooden pallets, they can be used as an inexpensive base for your shed. Simply level the ground, lay down the pallets, and secure them together with screws or metal brackets. This will provide a stable base that can also help with drainage.
Plastic grid system: These grid systems are another easy and affordable option for a shed base. These systems are designed to support the weight of a shed and are made from lightweight, durable materials. Simply level the ground, lay down the grid, and fill it with gravel or other materials.
These are only a few options, check out my article What’s The Best Shed Foundation Option For You? For more options and how to choose the one that’s right for your situation.
What is the Most Affordable Shed Size?
When it comes to building a shed, the size of the shed can greatly impact the cost of the project.
Here are some of the most affordable shed sizes:
6′ x 8′: A 6′ x 8′ shed is a popular size that can provide enough space for basic storage needs. This size is small enough to be affordable, but large enough to store lawn equipment, bicycles, and other items.
8′ x 8′: An 8′ x 8′ shed is another affordable option that can provide a bit more space than a 6′ x 8′ shed. This size is great for storing larger items such as a riding lawn mower, but still small enough to be affordable.
10′ x 10′: A 10′ x 10′ shed is a mid-size option that can provide even more space for storage. This size is ideal for those who have a larger yard and need more space for storage, but still want to keep the cost down.
12′ x 16′: A 12′ x 16′ shed is a larger option that can provide plenty of space for storage and even be used as a workshop. While this size is larger and more expensive than the previous options, it can still be considered affordable compared to other larger sheds or outbuildings.
I find that building a shed that matches with the size of standard materials can be much cheaper to build. Plywood comes in 4×8 sheets, so a shed that is 8 x 12 uses all the plywood. Also use standard size doors and windows, check out your local building supply stores for materials that are in store and ask for what’s on sale and use these for your shed build.
Building a cheap shed can save you a lot of money on labor costs. But I highly recommend you get some plans that will guide you thru the process. At the high cost of materials, you’ll need to know what materials you’ll need to build your shed. Having good plans with cutting lists and detailed drawings are essential. Check out Ryan’s Shed plans here.