Menu Close

Is It Cheaper to Buy a Shed or Build it Yourself?

Cheaper to Buy a Shed or Build it Yourself

Having a shed is something that most homeowners have on there to do list. It just makes sense to buy a shed to have a secure dry place to store yard and garden tools or even have a small workshop in your shed when you want some alone time to tinker on something.

So… Will it save you money to build your own shed or just buy a shed already assembled? In this article I’m going to look at the various types of sheds and the advantages and disadvantages of each type. 

Being a Journeyman Carpenter that was an easy decision to build my own shed, but for you may be buying a shed kit might be a better choice. I looked at the various types of kits and considering the cost I could build it cheaper myself.

Download Shed Plan

No matter what choice you make your going to have to install the foundation [or hire someone to do it] and the foundation is the hardest part when it comes to building a shed. Let’s look at some of the options you have:

Buy a Shed That’s Already Pre-Built

The Advantages

– Time… Most of us never seem to have enough time, so buying your shed already built is definitely going to be a real time saver. You’re still going to have to prepare the ground and have a foundation in place for when they come to install your new shed. Another issue is what size storage shed do you need?

I have an article “How do I Choose the Right Size Storage Shed?” that goes over the 5 factors that will help you determine what size of shed you need, and what you should do before spending any money on a storage shed. You can read the article here.

– Don’t Need a Lot of Tools… When you buy a storage shed that’s already built your not going to need any power tools. The delivery person will typically install the shed onto its existing foundation. Make sure you check out the terms and what’s included when you buy a pre-built shed and have it delivered and installed.

– You Don’t Need Any Skills… Choosing to buy a pre-build shed doesn’t require and carpentry skills and time needed to build it.

– Warranty… This is another perk of buying a pre-built shed, ifs there’s any problems with it the warranty will repair or replace it if needed. When you construct your own shed you have to repair any defects yourself.

Buy a Shed or Build

The Disadvantages

– Price… Having a pre-built shed installed on your property can be quite expensive, not only do you have to pay for the shed itself you’ll be paying for the installation and delivery on top of it and depending on the size you have chosen that can cost a lot.

Buy a Shed Kit

You can choose to buy a shed kit that will have all the hardware needed to build the shed, but not the lumber and other material. Another option is a pre-fab kit which is the complete shed in pieces and you need to assemble it.

The Advantages

– Time… Just like the pre-built shed you will save a lot of time when using a shed kit. Depending on how big and how many bells and whistles you’ve chosen you should plan on a weekend or two to assemble it.

The Disadvantages

– Can Be More Costly… Not a good cost-effective option especially if you’re not a handy person with building and using hand tools.

– Need a Helper… You’re going to need a good helper that is able to follow directions.

– Quality Kits… To get a better quality shed kit it’s going to cost you more and if you have to have it delivered that will add to the expense.

Build Your Own Storage Shed

The Advantages

– Its Quality… You don’t have a lot of choice when you buy a pre-built or prefab shed kit in regards to the quality of the material used. When you build you own shed you purchase the materials and can use the better quality grades of material. You decide on the roofing and siding materials and can use good quality materials for long durability.

– You Control Your Budget… How much you spend and on what is totally in your control, you get to decide where to save a few bucks and where to spend a little more for some extra features. You may want to add a second window or even a small skylight, and there’s lot of good quality options to choose from.

– Satisfaction… One thing that you won’t get from buying a pre-built or hiring someone to build it for you is the satisfaction of sitting back knowing that you built it.

– Less Costly… The cost of a pre-built shed works out to anywhere between 35% to 55% in labour costs of that shed being built and delivered by someone else. When you build your own shed your don’t have to pay for the labour which means you can spend more on your shed. You may need to get some help from a friend for some parts of the construction.

– Construct Something That You Design… With building your own you have the freedom to do something unique to make it yours.

– Get What You Want… Building it yourself gives you many benefits and customizing it for your needs is a big benefit. With a pre-built shed if it’s not quite what you want you’re going to have to spend more on making alterations to suit your needs.

Ryans Shed Plans

– You Can Build to Suit Your Space… Due to bylaws and regulations you may not find a storage shed to fit in the size of space you have available. When building your own you can change its size to suit the requirements of any bylaws.

– It’s Yours… Building it yourself will mean you’ll be careful to make square cuts and use good quality materials. If you do make any mistakes you can fix them as you go.

– Include The Family… Invite your family over for a barbecue work bee, kids love to take part in helping out Dad. Don’t forget to invite your brothers and sisters too. Just make sure you have all the materials on site and go over basic safety with them.

– Very Flexible… When you build your own shed you have lots of flexibility, you get to decide where the windows and doors will go and what size you want them to be. You can choose the type of roof and the slope; the most common roofs are the gable or a lean-to with the ideal slope to keep water off being 4/12. This pitch is easy to work on and provides good drainage.

– Personal Satisfaction… Once you’ve completed your storage shed you can stand back and admire your accomplishment. Hopefully it’s been a fun learning experience for you. If you’re not quite sure if you can do it… Check out “Ryan’s Shed Plans” you sure to find a great shed plan that you’ll fall in love with. See the plans here.

The Disadvantages to Building Your Own Storage Shed

– Time Consuming… If this is your first shed it may take you a couple weeks or more by the time you install the foundation to completing the finishing touches. And having a detailed plan to follow will really speed things up.

– Tools… You’re going to need a skill saw, extension cord, tape, square, tape measure, utility knife, pencil, hammer, chalk line and depending on if you’re going to screw your shed together a cordless impact driver. Having a good set of sawhorses to cut on will be real handy.

– Some Help… Putting up the walls and roof framing and installing the roofing material will require a helper. I just traded my skills for some help on my shed, you may have some buddies that might come over on the weekend and you can offer them beer and pizza.

– Lifestyle… You may have to give up your weekends to build your shed and if you’re lucky your wife may offer to help. Just remember that this shed is an investment and you’ll certainly recover your costs when it’s time to sell and move on.

So Is It Cheaper to Buy a Shed or Build it Yourself?

In my opinion after you look at the various options it is much cheaper to build a shed yourself. Here are a few other materials to consider before deciding:

Ryans Sheds Plans

-Wood… This has to be the most common type of material for manufactures and DIY folks to use. Wood does have a unique character of its own, but it will require maintenance.

– Engineered Wood… This wood is pre-treated against bugs and moisture and is much more expensive. If your using wood ties for your base make sure that its pressure treated and suitable to be in direct contact with the ground. I also recommend you use treated wood for your floor joists.

– Plastic… This material is the least expensive to buy in a kit, it has no maintenance and bugs won’t eat it. The only issue is its very light weight and not very sturdy, if you choose a plastic shed be sure to anchor it securely to the foundation to prevent high winds flow damaging it.

– Metal… Is also a less expensive choice but it too will need to be securely attached to the foundation.

– Vinyl… Also known as “resin” and is much more durable than the plastic or metal option. It is much more costly, but does offer a more aesthetic look.

If you want you can finish your own built shed with metal or vinyl and they come in a wide variety of colors. You can also use metal roofing and trims to add some unique character.


I’ve taken a look at the various types of sheds you can buy and have gone over some of the advantages and disadvantages of each type. If you want to build you own I highly recommend you check out “Ryan’s Shed Plans”. These are the most complete plans you can get, you can check them out here. If you have found my article helpful give it a share. If you have any questions just leave a comment, I’ll do my best to answer your questions.