When you hear the term “metal shed,” you may think of a shed built with a wooden frame and metal siding. What we’ll be talking about is an all-metal shed. You can get them prefabricated and built to order or buy one that you assemble yourself.
Either way, a metal storage shed is a great option and there are sturdy and fairly easy to assemble. They have far fewer structural items that need to be connected, and the sheds come with instructions for assembly.
What Are the Pros and Cons of a Metal Shed?
Pros: Metal sheds are durable, due to the fact that they resist rot and insects. Those made of galvanized steel are resistant to rust. You aren’t limited to the bare steel look; these sheds are available in various colors. They aren’t affected by weather or temperature variations. They also don’t require much to maintain. They don’t need insect treatment or painting to keep them in shape. These sheds are also very fire resistant.
Cons: Metal sheds aren’t amenable to customization. You get what you ordered and can’t make any alterations. If the steel isn’t galvanized, the shed is vulnerable to rust, especially in humid climates. In very windy locations they may seem a bit flimsy. Check out my article Wood Vs Plastic Vs Metal Shed [Which is Best Choice?] if your still on the fence about which type of shed is better.
Are Metal Sheds Better Than Plastic Sheds?
Metal sheds are definitely more durable and sturdy than plastic sheds. Plastic sheds are assembled from panels attached to each other and don’t have any interior framing, which limits the size that’s practical. Metal sheds usually have some sort of framing and bracing made of metal. The larger ones may have framing elements spaced along the walls, not just at the corners.
Are Metal Sheds Noisy in the Rain?
The all metal shed will be noisy in the rain. Since the roof is made to attach directly to the framing, there is no place to add any noise dampening, such as insulation. However, unless your shed has a flat roof, the pitched or tapered roof helps lessen the noise and it should not be bothersome.
It’s not loud enough to be very annoying while you’re in the shed unless the rain is very heavy or turns into hail. It won’t be obvious from your home, so it’s not something that will keep you up at night.
Do Metal Sheds Get Damp?
Metal sheds can get damp. Moisture will condense on a metal shed, especially on the roof, when conditions are right. In addition, once the outside air starts to cool at night, if the air inside the shed is still warm, any moisture inside will rise and condense on the inside of the roof. Installing your shed on a concrete pad or gravel base will exacerbate the problem.
These foundations, especially concrete, can feed moisture into the shed. Not having the shed raised up from the foundation does not allow airflow to help moisture evaporate and it’s much more likely to gradually seep into your shed. If you use your concrete foundation as the flooring, this will enhance the problem, especially if no vapor barrier was installed under the concrete or gravel base. Read my article How High Should a Shed Be Off the Ground? for more information on keeping the shed off the ground.
What is the Best Base for a Metal Shed?
A galvanized steel shed can be placed right on the ground. Of course, the ground needs to be leveled. If your shed doesn’t come with a floor frame, creating a gravel base is a good way to level the area. It will also help to raise the shed flooring to meet the door threshold.
Once you mark out your shed space, dig out about four inches of soil. For a larger shed, eight inches of depth is recommended. While digging, make sure to make the walls of your dug space straight. Fill the area with crushed stone, not actual gravel, which usually has rounded edges and won’t tamp down solidly.
Tamp the gravel down firmly and evenly, keeping the surface level, every two inches of gravel you pour. Inside the shed, you can add more gravel to raise the floor level so that your flooring will be even with the door threshold. Give my article What’s The Best Shed Foundation Option For You? a read to see what foundation option will best suit your situation.
How Do You Insulate a Metal Shed?
Using closed-cell spray foam is the easiest way to insulate your metal shed. It won’t require the extra framework to hold typical fiberglass batts or foam panels. Both fiberglass batts with facing and foam board can be used, but unless you want to add some framework to hold them or you plan on putting wall covering over them, they will be hard to install.
You’ll have to ensure that the seams are fully sealed. Any open spaces in the seams will allow moisture to form, and may even damage fiberglass, which loses some of its insulating properties when wet. While not hard to do, it is time-consuming, so it will require planning for a day-long job.
The rigid foam panels can be used when installing your shed, laying them before installing the flooring. This will not only insulate the shed as far as temperature but help prevent moisture condensation, especially on the inside.
Spray the foam on the walls in two-inch layers, making sure to apply a thorough, even coating. Let the foam dry before applying more. Continue spraying foam layers until you get the thickness you want. You can use the foam on the ceiling the same way. Be sure to wear old clothes and protect your eyes, as some foam from the spray may settle on you.
Does a Metal Shed Need to be Anchored?
Unless your shed is large enough to have steel framing or girders, it should be anchored. Metal sheds aren’t as heavy as some other types and can be moved by winds or even water. Even frost heave can cause the shed to move a bit.
Some localities have requirements that some buildings such as sheds must be anchored to prevent them from being blown or washed away, perhaps causing damage to other property or an accident if you find your shed floating down the street. Insurance companies sometimes require outbuildings to be properly secured in order to be insured against damage to the shed itself or its contents.
Spending a few hours in a metal shed on a gusty day listening to rattling and creaking will probably be enough to convince you of the need to anchor it.
How Do You Secure a Metal Shed to the Ground?
There are several choices of methods for securing a metal building. One benefit of a metal shed is that it has a metal frame that makes a sturdy attachment to whatever you wish to use for anchoring. If your shed is being installed on a concrete pad, anchor bolts can be inserted into the wet concrete.
Expansion bolts may be used with an existing concrete pad, you can use a T-strap, drilling a hole in the concrete to insert bolts on the upside-down T shape. The other end is attached to your shed frame. If you don’t have a concrete pad, pouring concrete piers is a great way to anchor your shed.
Dig or drill holes near each corner, using an auger or post hole digger. Insert a sonotube, which is made of cardboard, into each hole to make a form, then pour concrete into them up to ground level. Position a galvanized anchor bracket on each pier before the concrete sets.
Another option is to use is an augur style anchor. These are rods with an eyehole at the top and an augur-like piece near the bottom. They are meant to be screwed right into the ground, but you may need some help, as they are tough to insert, especially if you have stony ground. A cable or strapping attaches to the top rings. To add stability, you can choose to use straps or a cable up the wall, between the roof and metal rafters, and down the other side. For full details on attaching a metal shed to the ground read my article How Do You Secure a Metal Shed to the Ground?
How Do You Stop Condensation on a Metal Building?
The problem can be addressed by installing anti-condensation roofing sheets to your shed roof. This will increase the lifespan of your shed by keeping moisture from condensing on the roof. Any time you have dew or frost on your lawn, you will also have just as much, if not more, on your shed roof.
Protecting it can help keep this moisture from forming and eventually damaging the roof. Providing adequate ventilation is another great way to combat this problem. A roof vent or vents installed in the gable ends near the roof peak will keep air flowing and the moisture flowing with it. It’s much harder for moisture to condense in moving air, so this airflow can make a big difference.
Other ways to improve moisture conditions are to install some kind of drainage. This could be a French drain or tile drain if you live in an area with a lot of rain or an extended pad of gravel around the shed. If you plan for a gravel base for the shed, you can dig it out farther all the way around the shed space to accommodate extra gravel space. Keeping plantings away from the shed also helps a great deal. Check out my article Do I Need a Vapor Barrier Under My Shed? for tips on keeping dampness out of your shed.
How Do You Finish the Inside of a Metal Building?
First of all, did you know that winter may be the best time to finish the interior of your shed? Building projects are down, and material prices often are lower at this time of year as well. There are several ways to finish the interior. Whatever you choose, remember to get some sort of base strip to go under your wall material if you have a concrete floor to prevent the wall material from absorbing moisture from the concrete.
Drywall is one choice; however it takes some skill to hang and finish drywall, and it may not be the best pick for the interior of your shed. If you order a large shed to be custom made and plan to install drywall, let the builder know. The walls may need to be stud framed, and this will be done during construction.. If using drywall, you will need to install insulation first even if you hadn’t planned to insulate the shed so that the drywall is protected from moisture.
Plywood is popular for finishing sheds. It can be painted or stained and can be screwed right into the metal framework. If the panels rest right on the metal frame on the bottom, you won’t need an extra strip to protect them from moisture.
Choose a better grade, thicker plywood so you can install hangers and shelves to store materials and to hang up your yard tools. If in doubt about the kind of plywood needed, advise your supplier that you want to be able to hang shelving from the plywood and he will help you find what you need.
Oriented strand board or OSB is another choice. It would be a good idea to choose a grade rated for moisture resistance in case of moisture condensation forms on the walls behind it. Besides generally being less expensive than plywood, one benefit it has over plywood is that it comes in larger sheets, so you may be able to use one piece for each wall, eliminating seams.
This comes in handy because while the surface of OSB is moisture resistant, any cut edges will not be and will need to be treated before your cut panels are used. Shelving and hooks can easily be attached to OSB. One disadvantage is that it is very hard to paint without a lot of prep work. The protective coating must be stripped off first, along with several coats of primer.
Metal sheds have become popular for several reasons. They are lighter to move if needed, and are much easier to assemble than, say, building a wood frame shed. They are less expensive compared to some other types, come with warranties, and are fairly maintenance-free.
You can get metal sheds with a floor already installed so you don’t have to add one later. Even if you don’t, flooring is fairly easy to install. The potential problems of moisture condensation and wind damage can be prevented with a little work and material. All in all, metal sheds are a good type to consider.