If you’re finding your home a little more cramped this winter, you may consider adding a shed to free up some space.
A shed is an excellent way to move items from your garage or home into an outdoor space. It can give you a little more breathing room in your home, or it may open up a spot to finally park your car in the garage (wouldn’t that be great next winter?).
If you’re considering putting a shed on your property this year, there are a few questions you’re going to want to ask yourself before you get started.
WHAT PERMITS DO I NEED?
Before you even consider building a shed on your property, this is the first question you should ask.
Every place is different, so you need to make sure that local guidelines or homeowner associations will allow it. If you’re able to proceed you need to know what restrictions, if any, there are on the size and location of the shed.
Sheds as small as 8’ x 8’ can sometimes be built without a permit, but it’s better to act as though you need one until you know one way or the other. Contact your local zoning board to find out what building and restrictions apply to your property before you build.
WHAT’S THE PURPOSE OF MY SHED?
Now that you know whether or not you can build a shed, it’s time to think about what you’re going to use your shed for.
Will your shed be a new home for your lawn and garden supplies like your lawnmower, hoses, rakes, and fuel? Will it be an outdoor workshop where you tinker with machines or do woodworking?
The answers to these questions will help you decide if you need extra things like electricity, reinforced flooring, or wall space to hang tools.
WHAT SIZE DO I NEED?
With a solid understanding of how you will be using your shed, figure out all of the equipment, tools, and workspaces you’ll need to have in your shed for your current goals. Measure everything or use an online tool to figure out the minimum space to accommodate your needs.
Consider how you may use your shed in the future and add additional space as needed. Take care not to build a shed that’s too small, or you’ll find things feel just as cramped as before. If you build too large, you run the risk of spending more money than you need to.
WHERE WILL I BUILD MY SHED?
Where you build your shed on your property is affected by many factors.
First, consider any building placement restrictions that you need to adhere to related to your shed permit. After that, you’ll want to consider where and how you’ll be using your shed the most.
If your shed will be a hobby space, you may want to locate it closer to your home so you don’t have to walk as far in the colder months and so you don’t have to run electricity as far.
If your shed is for lawn or garden work, you’ll want to locate it near your garden, or a convenient spot to begin doing yardwork.
You’ll also need to consider the natural landscape when siting your shed. You always want to build on level ground. Don’t position your shed in a low-lying area — like the bottom of a hill — as water runoff will rot and destroy your shed quickly.
WHAT FOUNDATION DO I NEED?
A solid foundation is the bedrock for every well-built shed. Like any type of building, your shed needs to be constructed on solid, level ground.
If you’re building a larger shed (12’ x 12’ or larger) you’re pretty much guaranteed to need a concrete or gravel foundation.
On the other hand, smaller sheds can sometimes be built on-grade. That means they can be on a moveable base that’s elevated off the ground. This can give you extra flexibility if you decide to move your shed elsewhere on your property after construction.
You should design or purchase your shed before you construct your foundation. It will need to be built to the specifications necessary for your shed.
WILL I BUILD IT MYSELF?
This might be the most important question that you need to answer — it can inform the rest of your decisions.
If you’re in a pinch and need space fast and are looking for an inexpensive storage solution, then you may want to consider a prefab shed. There are different styles and sizes to choose from, but because they’re prefabricated they are severely lacking in customization. Ultimately, you get what you pay for here — four walls and a roof in a generic design and style.
You have more control over a kit-built shed when it comes to materials and design. More often than not, a kit-built shed will come to you partially constructed, which can make building it a more simple process. If you’re into DIY jobs and have skill, you can put a kit shed together as a project. If you’re not up to the task, professionals can construct your kit shed, too.
The final option is to build a custom shed. As the name implies, a custom shed offers you the most versatility in designing and building the shed you want that meets your needs. Custom-built sheds will likely require a professional to build.
WHAT MATERIAL WILL I USE?
Sheds are generally built out of metal, resin, or wood. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of each.
Sheds made from metal tend to be the least expensive to build. They have several major drawbacks, however. You would think that metal would be highly durable, but metal siding is thinner and prone to denting and rusting, especially if you run the lawnmower into it (who would do that?!).
While there are plenty of colors to choose from in metal siding, the design styles are limited, particularly when compared to resin and wood.
Resin sheds need almost no maintenance to keep them in good shape. That means you only need to give it the occasional rinse and don’t have to worry about painting or repairs.
They’re the most durable option for sheds. Despite their durability, the walls can’t support heavy objects being hung on them. Like metal sheds, you’re limited in colors to what the manufacturer provides. Customization is limited on resin sheds, so don’t expect anything special.
Wood sheds are a fully customizable option, inside and out. You can build a wood shed in any size and shape you want, and they’ll be strong enough to hold just about anything on the walls. That comes at a cost, though, as wood sheds are the most expensive option for a shed.
They’re the most aesthetically pleasing option on the list, and can be designed to match your home. Wood sheds require the most maintenance and can rot if not properly cared for.
Are you ready to build a new shed to store all of your extra equipment? No matter what size shed or outbuilding you want to construct, Big C Lumber can help. We’ve got the knowledge and experience to walk you through the planning, design, and estimation phases of your project. We’ll even deliver your materials right to your project site! Request a free quote today by visiting our website.