In this How To we will look at the benefits and drawbacks of either buying or building your own garden shed. We will consider the costs and availability of materials and what extras you may not have considered when you thought you just wanted that extra room for the lawnmower.
Many people don’t realize that when you are building something as insignificant as a garden shed in your backyard you most likely will have to pay for a permit and get plans that can be reviewed by your local building official.
Since the Shed won’t normally have the same improvements as an actual outbuilding the cost might not include additional property taxes but if the shed is more like a garage that has electrical, water and heating then you might be looking at a lot more than just a quick trip to the permit office and a $75 one time payment.
These costs will be incurred whether you build or buy a shed but buying a shed normally includes a set of approved plans. In my area all of the companies that sell sheds have already submitted the plans they use to the Permit Office. When you want to buy a shed they simply fill out the paperwork that needs to be submitted and then a building official will come to your property to make sure the shed was installed correctly. Installing a shed correctly includes adding screw tie downs that use a cable system to harness the bottom framing of the shed and tie it into the ground. On a home the way this is done is the bottom 2×4 plate of the wall that sits on your concrete foundation is attached with heavy bolts. The reason you need to do this is because sheds do fly in high winds and most areas can see gusts over 50 miles per hour at different times of the year. You don’t want your shed flying through the wall of your home or your neighbors.
So these things are going to be required whether you buy a shed or build one yourself and there are probably some other considerations where you can’t get away from one or the other.
The main reason you might want to build your own shed is for control over the design, size, materials and maybe the cost. Although it is easy to build a shed if you already have some scrap lumber to start your project but if you have to start from the beginning and you need to special order things like windows, door hinges and locks and you have to pay for delivery of your materials the cost might start getting close to what you can buy.
If you do find this to be the case then you should really look for used sheds because there are people that purchase sheds for temporary use and then need to sell them. Often you can find them listed in online classified sections. If not you might be able to find some used materials.
If you have construction going on in your area you might be able to pickup a few sheets of scrap plywood to make a door and 2x4s are easy to come by but they will have nails. Always Ask before you take materials even if you are grabbing them out of a dumpster. If there are contractors there you always want to ask so it doesn’t look like you are taking new materials.
The variety of new materials you can use will allow you to make your shed your own and you can even match siding and shingle colors to your home if thats what you are looking for.
Building also takes time and requires a helper for some tasks. If it is your first framed building you will probably make a few mistakes that will slow you down but building something like this is a good way to gain some skills.
There are positives and negatives of building vs buying a shed. The permitting process is not that difficult if you go it on your own and building officials are normally pretty kind to home owners but they will require a plan and an inspection. If you are pouring concrete they will require a separate inspection for that before you continue with the framing.
The main thing you want to consider is cost and time. Do you have the time and it might take you a couple weekends or nights after work. And is the cost of a prebuilt shed close enough to the cost of your materials that having someone deliver the shell and then you modify the interior to fit your needs ends up being a better deal.
Take your time and do the research.