Buying a shed can make for a difficult decision, but there are so many possibilities when it comes to its uses. You can also choose from different materials, windows and more. Check out this guide to find out more about buying a shed.

Table of contents:

What size shed do I need?

The size of your shed will depend on what you decide to use it for and what you plan to store in it. Regardless of the use, you will need to measure certain aspects to ensure your shed fits the required usage.

How much space do you have?

Make sure to measure the available space you have in your garden. Take into account any roof overhangs or window openings as this will extend the total size. If the garden area allows, go for a slightly bigger shed! After all, you can always have that little extra space to use than having to squeeze everything into a tiny shed space.

What will you use your shed for?

A shed can be used for a variety of reasons. It really depends on whether you plan to have the shed built for personal or work-based usage. Here are some of the ways you can use a shed:

Storage: Typically storage is one of, if not the main use of a shed for many homeowners as it allows easy access to garden maintenance tools, bikes and more.

Pavilion: The great outdoors gives many people peace and comfort. So a shed can opt as a summerhouse to offer you that option to really take in the nature of your garden.

Greenhouse: Glass isn’t the only option when it comes to housing plants. A shed can give you that ideal space to take care of your flowers and greenery. All the while still being used as an ideal storage space for those all-important garden tools.

Work: Homeworkers might want that space away from the kids or general home feeling during those key working hours. A shed of the right size can be the perfect space for you to work in peace without distraction. On top of it, you can have the added bonus of admiring your garden when you need some downtime too!

Personal: You might be into DIY or have a hobby that needs an ideal working space to perform. A shed can give you that much-needed space and ensure you can store related tools or such to save you the clutter that could build up inside your home.

What is your budget?

A shed’s initial cost will depend on the size and typically has to be installed by you. Though this will depend on the shed, so do make sure to check the details before purchasing.

Having said this, if you do need help then some sheds can be installed with support from the supplier. However, some builders may have a separate installation cost for the shed, so make sure to confirm any installation costs prior to your purchase.

Do you want single or double doors?

A single door will be more suited to those who desire a smaller shed. Somewhere to store typical garden tools and smaller objects.

Double doors are more suited to those who want a shed with larger storage capabilities. This could be as a workshop, larger tools or similar.

Make sure to think about what you will be using your shed for and think about how easy the access will be.

Which material shed should I choose?

If the answer is wood, then you may be thinking about the traditional shed. However, many modern sheds also come in plastic and metal with their own pros and cons. Here’s some information about the types of material to help you choose which one is right for you.

Wood•Popular option
•Easily customisable - inside and out when painting and decorating
•Long-lasting - built for durability
•Can suffer from the weather - will require maintenance
•Wood at risk to pests
•Can rot overtime
•Wood appearance can be flawed
Plastic•Great if you need little storage space
•No additional painting required
•Can have a skylight added for extra sunlight
•Can be combined with metal for extra strength
•Low maintenance
•Lighter than wood and metal
•Low security
•Resistant to strains
•Resistant to rot
•Expensive to customise or cannot be customised in some cases
•Can be restrictive in size
Metal•Can have sliding doors - easier to move tools in and out of the shed
•High durability
•High security - great for keeping expensive tools and more within
•Can rust overtime
•Can corrode overtime
•Heavy material - difficult to set up and move around
•Can be costly

What type of shed roof should I choose?

There are three main types of shed roofs to choose from; each with its own pros and cons. Here’s a little information to help you understand why the roofing choice for your shed matters:

Pros and cons of an apex roof

The apex roof is your typical pointed roof style. Pointed in the middle to allow rainwater runoff and a design that gives you optimal headroom when standing in the middle of the shed. Typically the door will be placed under the apex peak to allow water to flow away from the entryway. The style can also allow you to install double doors if you have a wide enough shed to do so.

There is also a style of apex roof called a Dutch apex roof (or barn roof) that has two-section slopes. These offer more height and headroom around the edges of the shed. Perfect for taller items and people! However, they can be more difficult to put together and add felt too because of the height. So having support from an additional person will help.

Pros and cons of a pent roof

A pent roof is one step short of a flat roof, having one side lower than the other to allow rainwater runoff. With this type of roof, you can choose whether you want the height as you enter the door or as you reach the back of the shed.

Another type of pent roof is the curved pent roof. This design is one of the more modern designs, with the roof hanging slightly more over the sides of the shed. Not only does this support protection for the walls but also windows and/or doors – especially important for when your shed is more exposed in places like allotments or areas with no shelter (from trees etc).

Pros and cons of a flat roof

Flat shed roofs are for those who want a level roofing space. These will typically be zero to ten-pitch roofs and can be easier to add felt to them because of the level spacing.

However, a flat roof is also more likely to become damaged and leak over time. So maintenance will be more common; especially when the roof slant is further from the ten-degree pitch.

Shed floors and shed bases

You might feel silly asking if the shed comes with a floor, but don’t fret. This is a perfectly valid question. In fact, there’s a good reason to ask it!

A shed floor and a shed base are two different things. Unlike a shed floor, a shed base sits between the ground and the floor which creates an even surface. Simply put, a base is a solid foundation for the shed to sit on.

Some sheds come with a pre-ready floor, but typically a base will be needed to be purchased separately. So you’ll need to check whether there is in fact a shed floor or if you need a shed base as this will be a factor for your budget.

Check if your chosen shed comes with a floor

A floor isn’t necessary as long as you have a base capable of the shed sitting on. If you do decide to check if your shed comes with a floor you can do so. Most wooden sheds will need a floor added using OSB (oriented strand board) or tongue and groove flooring.

OSB is the more common type of shed flooring. It is an engineered type of wood flooring, manufactured of compressed layers of wood strands that are stuck together to make the flooring.

Tongue and groove or timber floors have been known to be more durable. They are also more resistant to sagging and arguably more has more strength than OSB board.

OSB, tongue and groove or timber all have varying thicknesses so make sure to check the thickness and material are suitable for the shed.

What about plastic shed floors and metal shed floors?

For plastic sheds and metal sheds, the same approach applies. However, many do have available floor support kits which are frames that allow you to add a wooden floor in place using your own timber.

Some sheds also provide a metal or plastic floor. You will need to make sure that there are anti-slip features to reduce the risk of injury when the floor is in use.

Do you want your shed base to act as the shed floor?

All sheds need a base, but you can also use the shed base as a floor with the right know-how. There are four shed base types, allowing you to choose the ideal one to suit your needs for your shed:

Wooden frame: A timber frame that lifts the shed off the ground

Plastic: Can be laid anywhere on level ground if you want a non-secure solution. Ideal if you want something to take with you when you move house or if you live in a rented property.

Paving: If you have leftover slabs or bricks from other paving projects, you can use these for the base of the shed.

Concrete: This is an option to consider if you want something permanent. It is tougher than other types of base and can be laid in whatever size shed you decide to have.

Whichever shed base you choose, the most important thing is to make sure the ground is level and durable enough to carry the weight of the shed. Do not put up a shed directly onto a surface that will risk waterlogging your shed as this will cause the structure to be damaged more quickly from bad weather.

Should I install a damp proof membrane below my shed?

Surprisingly, a wooden shed and bases aren’t always in need of a damp membrane. However, using one for plastic and metal sheds and plastic bases is typically more important.

Note: Using a membrane regardless of wood, metal or plastic not only minimises the appearance of damp, but can also reduce the appearance of weeds beneath the shed.

Shed windows

Many sheds allow for shed windows to be installed on different parts of the shed, but not all can be installed for free. So make sure to consider the options.

When it comes to types of shed windows, typically there are four main glazing types to choose from:

Polystyrene: This is the traditional glaze solution for shed windows and is ideal for those looking for a low-cost option.

Acrylic: This option not only comes with the low-cost benefit and it’s easy to clean. Having said this, it isn’t as flexible as materials like polycarbonate. So there is a much higher risk of it chipping.

Polycarbonate: This is a more modern material that has been admired for its unbreakable feature. It doesn’t lose colour or gain a yellow hue as time passes and can be secured with security screws. Ideal for those who want additional protection on their shed.

Glass: You can choose typical glass or safety glass depending on security needs. Safety glass is designed to break into tiny pieces, unlike traditional glass which more commonly breaks into shards. It is also tougher when hit with impact.

Do you want or need windows in your shed?

You might not need shed windows if you’re using your shed for storage. This can be great for added security, so if you don’t need windows then don’t worry about the design.

On the flip side, adding windows to a shed can make for better ventilation. So if you’re planning to use a shed for anything other than storage (workshop, hobbies etc), then windows can be ideal if you plan to spend long amounts of time in there.

Do you need windows that open?

Opening windows may be worth the ventilation, but that doesn’t mean they’re always needed. For example, you might just need a natural skylight for plants so skylights might be preferable.

Additionally, keep in mind that the more windows you have, the more access to the inside. This can mean the risk of animals, insects or even thieves getting into the shed. So if you plan to keep important objects inside the shed, sealed or no windows might be worth considering.

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