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Outdoor storage sheds are an easy way to add the much-needed storage space on your property. However, buying a shed that’s perfect for your house is more than choosing its material and cost. There are other important considerations to look out for too.
A storage shed is a considerable investment, one that you will be relying upon for the next 15 or 20 years. Getting all your questions answered at the outset will help you make the best choice for the long run.
This article will make buying an outdoor shed easy for you by listing out some considerations that you must keep in mind before constructing one.
1. What is the purpose of the shed?
The first question you need to ask before buying outdoor sheds is the reason you want them. Are you building a garden storage shed to store your tools, bikes, pool, or lawn equipment or do you want one for your workshop?
In case, it’s the latter and this is where you’re going to spend a lot of time — be sure to think about lighting, ventilation, and roof height. You can even add in extra features such as windows, skylights, customizable shelving, hooks, and overhead storage space. The idea is to make the space as comfortable as possible. Psst, psst, with planned remodeling, you can even turn your outdoor shed into a summer home.
If storing large items is your primary goal for investing in a garden shed, look for spaces with double doors that open wide for easier access to all the stored items.
2. Which shed material will suit your storage needs?
When it comes to shed sidings and materials, there are three main options to choose from: wood, resin, and metal. Let’s explore all three in some detail to help you make an informed decision.
The best part about this traditional type of shed is that it can be completely customized to create any size or shape. You can even paint it in any color to match your house or surroundings.
A wood storage shed allows for multiple shelves, cabinets, and overhead loft areas to provide extra storage area.
On the flip side, if you opt for wooden shed kits — know that these are more expensive than their resin or metal counterparts. And, while wood is a strong material, it is also very vulnerable to the effects of harsh weather, water, and insects.
These outdoor sheds, if not maintained properly, may deteriorate over time. Peeling and fading of paint finishes is not a rare sight on wooden sheds.
Resin sheds aka plastic sheds, vinyl sheds, or high-density polyethylene sheds, are gaining more and more popularity. The reason is that these are made of high-quality plastic material — making the shed lighter, stronger, and durable. If you want an even more upgraded option, you can opt for lifetime sheds that are made of high-density polyethylene.
What’s more, these attractive sheds are maintenance-free; stain-resistant, weather-resistant, and UV-protected. An ideal choice, they do not crack, fade, rot, or rust. Also, they don’t need painting or staining.
Resin sheds are also the easiest and quickest to build — requiring fewer tools and very little expertise. What’s more, you can always add options such as skylights, windows, lighting, shelving, and peg strips.
The only downside to installing a resin shed is that while it will be extremely strong, it won’t be able to bear as much weight hanging from the walls as a wooden shed. The best option is to go for kits with overhead loft area — allowing you more storage space more items.
Since such a shed has neutral colors and simulated wood-textured panels — you cannot paint it to match your house to the T.
Metal sheds are typically made of steel or galvanized steel or aluminum. They are the least expensive shed kit option. However, they are not as strong as resin or wooden sheds. Therefore, are susceptible to denting and rusting.
Metal sheds need to be painted frequently in order to maintain a fresh look. When it comes to metal sheds, you need to have a strong foundation to build your shed on. If you have gravel as the base, a metal shed may not be a good idea, especially if you live in a stormy area. You may want to buy an anchoring kit to ensure it stays in place.
Furthermore, installing a metal shed kit can be complicated, with difficult customization. If you’re a little overwhelmed by it, it’s best to check with a home improvement store to see if they offer installation services in your area.
3. What kind of shed covenants and permits are required?
As mentioned, before contemplating buying a shed, you need to check all the zoning law restrictions or covenants that your neighborhood might have. You do not want to install an expensive shed only to learn that you are breaking a law.
See if you have to submit any architectural forms to your neighborhood HOA or acquire a building permit from your city? For instance, a large number of cities may even dictate the exact distance from a shed to the property or fence line. In many places, sheds up to 120 square feet are allowed by zoning laws without prior approval.
For all your queries, it’s best to call your city officials and get everything clarified. Only after doing so must you determine what type and size of shed you can build.
4. What is the ideal shed foundation?
The most important part of your shed, regardless of the type or size of the shed, is your foundation. For a shed to be installed properly, it should be built on a level surface. The ideal choice is to create a cement patio, compacted road base, or a pad with compacted pea gravel.
You must build your foundation only after you’ve bought your shed kit. Many manufacturers include step-by-step instructions for how to build the right foundation for your outdoor storage sheds.
Apart from this, you must also do some research on how to build a level foundation that’s perfect for your outdoor shed. Also, ensure that it is not in a low-lying area. You don’t want water draining into your shed, do you? An elevated or well-draining foundation will go a long way in preventing corrosion of shed materials.
Most wooden sheds include flooring while others may not. You can opt for a manufacturer’s floor system or build your own. A separate floor will add $100 or more to the total cost of the shed.
5. What shed size is appropriate for you?
Since shed kits — whether wood, metal, or plastic — come in almost every size, you can evaluate your spatial needs. A word of advice? Always buy a size bigger than you think you need in order to be better equipped for your future storage needs. So, whatever size you want, add an extra 25% space.
Make sure your shed entrance (especially if it’s a tool shed) is wide enough to accommodate your largest piece of equipment. And once it is inside, there should be plenty of room to spare.
However, remember to check if your neighborhood has covenants that prevent you from building a shed that’s taller than your fence line.
6. How can you have additional storage?
If you need more than one unit on your property, there is always an option to supplement your main shed with a less expensive, smaller model.
There are three main types of storage solutions:
- Corner storage sheds: They run about 3 feet tall by 3 feet wide by 2 feet deep and fit precisely into a corner.
- Vertical storage sheds: Usually 5 feet tall by 4 feet wide by 3 feet deep.
- Horizontal storage sheds: Usually 3 feet tall by 5 feet wide by 4 feet deep.
If you don’t want to install a second unit, go for a larger shed with a storage loft like we mentioned.
7. What shed design should you go for?
Outdoor storage sheds can affect the overall appearance of your property. Therefore, it’s important that the unit you choose complements the style of your house. For instance, if you have a country-style house, opt for a rustic design for your shed — with board and batten siding.
Small touches can make a difference. You can add French doors, cupolas, window boxes, shutters, or weathervanes.
Apart from your house, a shed also must match the rest of the surrounding — the landscape.
Integrate outdoor plants — annuals or perennials — to help the outdoor storage sheds blend into a yard. Go for garden beds around your shed or trellises up against the walls to grow vine plants.
8. Should you choose a professional installation or a DIY project?
The final question that you need to answer is whether you want to do most of the work yourself or hire professional installers. If you choose the former, it will save you a significant amount of money. Just order an outdoor storage shed kit (especially metal and plastic sheds) that comes with assembly instructions and you’re set.
Whether you install an outdoor shed yourself or hire installers — go for simple, well-built sheds that are ideal for storing your lawn equipment and other household items. Of course, you can always convert them into workshops for all your DIY hobby ideas. Outdoor storage sheds with high-quality materials and solid construction last longer and look good too.
We hope our article helps you choose the best outdoor storage sheds for your property. After all, buying such a storage building is a smart investment.
Read more: Cleaning and reorganizing your shed
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