If you are looking to buy a new outdoor storage shed, there are several things to consider before making your purchase. Obvious factors include the size and cost, and maybe the colour or style, but you do not want to stop there. A storage shed can be a pretty big investment, and you will be looking at it—and relying on it—for the next 15 or 20 years. Asking a few more questions at the outset will help you make the best choice for the long run.
Outdoor storage sheds with higher-quality materials and solid construction last longer and look better than the cheapest options. Paying just a few hundred dollars more for an outbuilding is usually a smart investment. If budget is a primary consideration (it so often is), focus on simple, well-built sheds made with basic materials rather than those with fancy details or premium materials.
Outdoor structures are not merely for storing things away. The appearance of an outdoor storage shed can be just as important as its usefulness and can affect the overall appearance of your property. Ideally, the unit you choose should complement the style of your home.
Think about how you might integrate your outbuilding into the surrounding landscape. Plants can help outdoor storage sheds blend into a yard, rather than sticking out like sore thumbs. You can establish garden beds around a shed and plant them with annuals or perennials. If the shed has wood siding, you can install trellises up against the walls to grow vine plants.
There are three main materials options for storage sheds: wood, metal, and plastic. Wood sheds typically have stud-framed walls, much like a house or garage, that are covered with plywood siding.
Metal sheds typically have a simple metal framework covered in a skin of factory-painted or vinyl-coated metal for both the walls and roof. Plastic sheds often are vinyl (polyvinyl chloride or PVC) or another type of plastic. Their colour is inherent to the material so there is no paint or coating to worry about. Both plastic and metal sheds come in kits designed for do-it-yourself assembly.
A woodshed needs about as much maintenance (repainting, repairing damaged or rotted parts, and refastening loose parts) as a house. Metal and plastic sheds do not need to be painted and require very little maintenance.
Some sheds include a floor while others do not. Wood sheds typically have standard framed floors with plywood flooring. With most metal and some plastic sheds, flooring is sold separately from the shed structure, and you can opt for the manufacturer's floor system or build your own. Regardless of the floor type, it is best to install a shed on a foundation that keeps the shed off of soil or wet ground.
If you would prefer that most of the work be done for you, then select a shed from your local home improvement store and ask that it be delivered and assembled by their professional installers. But, if you are handy, you may wish to save some money and order an outdoor storage building kit that comes with assembly instructions. Building wood sheds requires carpentry skills and tools. Metal and plastic sheds are designed for easy assembly and can be built by two average homeowners in about a day.
Make sure the entryway to the unit is wide enough to accommodate your largest piece of equipment, such as a gas snow blower or a lawn tractor. And once it is inside, there should be plenty of room to spare. Many outdoor storage buildings that are at least 8 feet by 10 feet come with double doors, which usually eliminates this concern. If your shed will sit off the ground, will you need a ramp or steps to get into the shed? Consider access with heavy equipment as well as everyday foot traffic.
Small touches can make a difference. Some outdoor storage buildings come with French doors or cupolas. You can also add personal touches, such as window boxes, shutters, or weather vanes. Remember that you will have to look at this outdoor storage building every day for the foreseeable future. A few decorative details could make the difference between something that is an eyesore or eye-catching.
If the clutter on your property makes you feel that one unit is not enough, but your wallet disagrees, you can supplement your main shed with a less expensive, smaller model. There are three main types of units:
Another option is to go for a slightly larger shed with a storage loft so that you will not need a second unit. If you need a place for firewood but do not want to give up interior space for storing it, you can build a lean-to shelter attached to the outside of one of the shed walls.