Storage Shed Buying Guide - Part 1

Before You Shop: Creating Your Ideal Shed Profile

There could be many reasons why you are wanting to purchase a shed. Maybe you are simply needing more space for storing your treasures. Or maybe you are wanting to add a building to your property for a home office or hobby shop. Whatever the case, it is important for you to do your homework before you start shopping so you can have a clear idea of what kind of building you are looking for. Creating your ideal shed profile before you start shopping will make the shed buying process much simpler for you, helping you avoid getting sucked into buying something that does not fit with what you need.

main photo for part 1 of storage sheds buying guide

What Are the Things I Should Consider Before Buying A Shed?

  1. What Will I Use My Shed For?
  2. What Size Shed Do I Need?
  3. What Quality and Features Are Important for My Shed?
  4. What Is My Budget for Buying A Shed?

When you’ve answered these 4 questions, you should have the ideal shed profile you need to be able to start shopping for your dream shed. Let’s look at each of these questions in depth.

What Will I Use My Shed For?

This is likely the easiest of the 4 questions for you to answer since you already have an idea of how you will use your new building. As we mentioned earlier, there are many ways that sheds are used, and this usage will play a large role in answering the following questions. In order to give a good answer to this question of shed usage it is important to get very specific. Think past the general usage and start answering detailed questions. Here some examples of types of questions you should be considering.

Storage Usage Questions

  • What will I be storing in my shed?
  • What is the widest possible item I will want to move in and out of my shed?
  • Will I be using the shed to store any outdoor or heavy equipment?
  • Will I need to roll items in and out of the shed?
  • Will I be using the space to store items that need electricity (e.g. chest freezer)?

Workshop Usage Questions

  • What type of projects will I be doing in my shed?
  • How much open space do I need for working in?
  • How many tools or how much work equipment will be necessary in my shed?
  • Will my work require electricity, lighting, or heating and cooling?
  • Will I need to use wall space for my work?

These are simply questions to get you started thinking. Spend some time thinking through all the specifics of how you intend to use your shed. It may even be wise to write down a list for this.

What Size Shed Do I Need?

The question of size is one that is worth spending some time thinking about. One of the most common shed buying mistakes is buying a shed that will be too small for its intended purpose within a short time after buying. We encourage you to plan to purchase one size bigger than what your current need is so that you have space to grow into it.

In order to determine the size of the storage shed you will need, there are a few simple steps you can take.

Choosing Your Shed Size

  1. Make a list of all the items you plan to put inside your shed, with the approximate size of these items
  2. Using this list and these sizes, try drawing several different scale model floors plan with these items placed in a way that still gives freedom to move about the floor.
  3. Select the floor plan you prefer and draw a rectangle around your items. The size of this rectangle is the size of shed you need to accommodate your current needs
  4. Add at least 2’ feet to the length of your shed to ensure you will have room to expand past your current needs.


Examples of Shed Floor Plans

10x16 garden shed floor plan
12x20 office shed floor plan
10x16 workshop shed floor plan

What Quality and Features Are Important For My Shed?

Shopping for a shed is similar to shopping for ice cream in a grocery store. There are so many different brands, different varieties and styles, and different opinions about which brand is the best. Your personal preferences and your goals for your shed should make a big difference in which shed you choose. Local climate should also play a large role in choosing your shed’s quality and construction features. Here in the North, the harsh winter climate creates unique strains on building structures and materials. The extra snow loads can quickly weaken a shed that is not built with this in mind. The extreme cold can also wear down the strength of low-grade materials, comprising the life of your shed. You will need to decide what quality standards are important to you.Here are some specifics areas to consider in this process.

Siding Material

A common way to classify sheds is by their siding material. Wood, vinyl, and metal are the three most common siding types used by quality shed builders. There are varying styles and levels of quality materials that can be used for each of these types. Many shed companies use an engineered wood siding, either in the vertical panel style or in the classy horizontal lap style. Vinyl and metal siding both offer a bit more of a uniform style, but still offer variations that change the overall impression of a shed. Whether you choose wood, metal, or vinyl siding, pay attention to the thickness of the material that is used, the damage resistance factors, and the warranty that is offered. There are many levels of quality in each of these siding types. Your shed’s siding is a big factor in protecting your sheds structure. We recommend choosing a siding type that looks appealing to you and either matches or complements the look of the other buildings that will surround it. When you are shopping for your shed then, you can look for a builder that offers sheds with a quality version of your siding type.

A plastic resin material is also used for some of the cheap and mass-produced storage sheds that are sold by large manufacturers. Unless you are planning to purchase a small shed that will be protected from the weather, it is advisable to avoid this.

Roof Material

There are two primary types of roof materials for storage sheds: shingles and metal. One of the main factors in determining your roof material should be the type of roof that is on your house or the buildings that will surround your shed. You will likely want to match your shed's roof with these. Most custom shed builders should be willing to match your roof style and color.

Shingle Tips
  • 3-tab shingles are the traditional variety of shingles
  • Architectural shingles are a classier and more durable shingle variety
  • We recommend shingles with at least a 20-25 year warranty
Metal Tips
  • Metal thickness is classified by gauge
  • HIgher gauges mean thicker metal
  • Thicker metal means a better protected shed
  • A good metal should offer a 30-50 year warranty
Frame Quality

You’ll also want to be educated and prepared to inspect the quality of your sheds frame. Again, you will need to determine to what level you are willing to invest in a good quality shed. Factors to think about with frame quality include:

  • Should the ground skids and floor boards be treated or untreated wood?
  • What should be the wall stud spacing: 16”, 24”, or 36”?
  • Should the roof trusses be built for extra heavy snow load?
  • Does the floor need to be reinforced for any extra heavy equipment?

These are just a few of the questions you could ask when considering the quality that your shed’s framing should have.

Interior Features

There are many more elements to a shed’s quality. You should consider the thickness and style of the floor material. If you want a shed with a finished interior then you’ll need to know what kind of wall and ceiling material you would like. What quality do the windows need to be? Should the shed be insulated? Do you need a loft for added space? How high do the sidewalls need to be? If you at least have an idea which of these things are important to you, then your shopping process will be made much easier.

What Is My Budget For My Shed?

Now that we’ve given you all the other considerations and you have developed your idea of an ideal shed, for your situation, it is time to consider how much you are willing to pay to find a shed like this. If you are like most people, money is king. It will most likely be a determining factor in which shed you purchase. As you set a budget for buying a shed here are some key questions to ask your-self.

  • Am I purchasing a shed as a long-term investment for my property?
  • Will I pay upfront and get a better deal or will I need to look for rent-to-own options and spend more money on my shed?
  • How much value will my shed add to my property?
  • What would I consider to be a good deal for a shed?
  • What is the most that I am willing to pay to get my ideal shed?
  • Is price or quality going to be the biggest purchasing factor for my shed?

Shopping Time?

Now that you have spent valuable energy planning for your shed, it is time to start shopping. We encourage you to make a list of all your preferences from the items we have covered above and use this as a guide for the shopping process.

What's Next?

Part 2 – Finding and Purchasing Your Dream Shed

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