Updated on December 12, 2022
Sheds are used by gardeners, farmers, and outdoor hobbyists alike. They not only add value and appeal to your space but also offer additional storage to keep garden tools, equipment, and other items.
When it comes to getting a shed, you can either buy and install it as is or decide to build from scratch. Below we discuss both options to help you decide which route to take.
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BUILD Versus BUY
Several factors play a role in determining the decision to buy or build a shed. However, a comparison between the two options can help you choose the best course to take.
#1 – Cost
Building a shed can certainly be a cheaper option considering all the money you can save on the purchase cost as well as potential transportation and installation fees.
Instead of splurging all your money aimlessly on different tasks, it is best to create a proper budget for the build and stick to it. Once you have calculated all the costs, it gets easier to keep a track of progress and move forward with the project.
Another tip is to take advantage of tool rentals so you don’t have to buy everything required for construction. If you currently have a good selection of tools, it will save on the amount you will need to rent (if borrowing from a neighbor is not an option).
While not an exhaustive list, below are some of the tools required to build a wooden shed structure.
- Circular Saw
- Nail Punch
- Tape Measure
- Framing Nailer
- Air Compressor
- Safety Glasses
- Spirit Level
- Framing or Speed Square
When buying a shed, your costs tend to be higher. The total is usually the sum of labor costs, service charges, time and expertise put into manufacturing and retailing the product.
Although you can find seasonal promotions featuring good deal, remember that you will still be paying a considerable profit to the retailers. In either case, buying is generally costlier than building.
Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Shed?
In general, yes. It’s cheaper to build your own shed. However, there is much more to it than simply the cost of materials. But if you have the tools, ability, and time, you can save a lot of money by doing it yourself.
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#2 – Time
Time is a valuable asset to many. If you are someone who works all through the week, it may not be an enjoyable task to spend your weekend building a shed. Shed construction takes a lot of time, which starts from planning a design and choosing materials to assembling everything and adding final finishes.
If you are a hobbyist who likes to build, time may not be an issue and many people love the sense of accomplishment from completing the projects on their own. However, if you do not particularly enjoy DIY projects, be prepared for some hard graft after work and at the weekend.
If you are in urgent need of storage for your valuable tools, lawnmower, or other equipment, purchasing a shed is likely the best option. It takes very little time as you only have to choose the product you like, pay for it and get it delivered and installed at your home.
#3 – Material
Building from scratch is not an easy task. If building for the first time it would be wiser to opt for a wooden structure. It is easier to work with compared to metal or plastic and requires less specialized tools like welders and angle grinders.
Ready-made sheds are produced on a commercial scale and made mainly from wood, plastic or metal. As mentioned above it is a lot more difficult and time consuming to build with plastic or metal.
If you would like yours to be one of those materials it would make more sense to buy rather than build. The plastic options have the benefit of being light which makes them easier to transport and move to a new location if need be.
Metal as you can guess is a lot of heavier but also sturdier. They will last a lot longer and require little maintenance.
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#4 – Customization
Building structures requires experience and expertise but it offers a lot of flexibility for customizations. You can not only add decorative elements of your liking but also modify the design and dimensions to a look and fit made for the space available.
Do not forget you will also need to build a shed base to ensure it is on a secure platform. Many people miss this step and suffer the consequences of a structure that will lean or tip over.
You cannot simply place it on the grass as soil moves over time. A bout of heavy rainfall could result in you not being able to open the shed door or waking up to find it on its side.
Retail sheds are either Pre-fabs or custom-made. Pre-fab sheds offer limited customizations. Whereas, the custom-made offer more options. Pre-fabs are cheaper but custom-made sheds are a lot more expensive.
As with above you will need a suitable shed base to fit any custom size you may order. Even with custom built sheds, you are usually responsible for making sure a good shed base exists prior to the builders arriving.
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The Bottom Line
The choice between building and buying can be a tough one to make. Whichever option you choose, ensure the shed is structurally sound and fit for purpose. Ensure that you apply proper maintenance practices to prolong its life.
4 thoughts on “Building vs. Buying a Shed (Which is Better?)”
I like how you mentioned that one of the advantages of buying a shed is that you don’t have to wait for too long for it to get delivered to your home. My uncle has a large property that he has to take care of, and he is running out of space in his garage to store things. He has to store his lawnmower outside because there is no room for it. I think it would be a good idea for him to buy a shed to store it and other things.
Thanks this is helpful. We have a couple acres and family and needs are growing so we need more and more things. So we need a shed and I would rather build and this helped me to lay things out. I will do a cost breakdown for myself and go from there thanks.
whats the cost difference?
I don’t like giving the “It Depends.” answer but it definitely applies here. Is it a shed “kit” you would buy at Home Depot? Are you buying through a shed builder that provides all materials and build it onsite? Are you buying the materials and having someone else build it? Or are you buying all the materials and building yourself? If building yourself, do you have all the tools required or do you need to buy/rent some? On top of that, you’re looking type of foundation, size, materials used, etc.
For reference, our neighbor wanted a 10×14 shed built and he received 3 quotes ranging from $2800-$3600 to have it fully built and painted (he already had the foundation ready). Cost of materials to his surprise was at the time almost $2000 so he decided to pay the $3400 to have a reputable company take care of everything.