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Build a storage shed or buy it?

Could you use some extra storage around the house? If your garage is bursting, or you’ve been toying with the idea of actually parking your car in there, then you’ve probably come to the conclusion that you need a storage shed.

The next step is to figure out your budget and then decide whether you’re going to build your shed or buy a prefab shed kit? Actually there are three options here and not two, but let’s start with prefab vs. building one from scratch.

Sweat Equity

Prefab:  If you’ve never purchased a shed before, you might be surprised to know that they aren’t usually plug and play. Sadly, it’s not just a matter of heading down to your local home store. You’re going to have to put it together. The good news is that they’re fairly easy to put together. If you can assemble a flat pack bookshelf from your local scandi store, you can assemble a shed. Keep in mind that you also need to lay a foundation.

From Scratch: Building a shed is like building a house, only smaller. If the thought of that sounds intimidating, then you might want to just scratch this off of your list (or your honey-do list) now.

If you’re still undaunted, then you’ll need to think about the fact that you won’t just be assembling pre-drilled walls. You’re going to need some construction know how and a selection of tools. Of course, you will also need to purchase lumber and hardware.

Ready to get started? Chances are this build is going to take more than just a weekend. You’ll need to construct the floor, build walls, and build a roof that is able to sustain the weight of snowfall (because Canada). Then you need to think about the exterior finish and also about whether you want to add electrical or not … and don’t forget to pour your foundation.

Building a shed from scratch is a lot of work.  However, if construction is something that you are good at and happen to enjoy, then this probably sounds like a great springtime project to take on alone or with some skilled friends or family members.

Appearance and Construction

It is inadvisable to just slap something together and walk away. We have personally seen sheds that looked like something built by scavenging rodents. We’re talking bits of scrap wood, tarps and corrugated plastic, all lashed together with a wish and some chewing gum. Yes, we know; it’s just a shed. However, you’re likely planning to store things inside that you will want to be protected from the elements, so the quality of your shed’s construction does matter. This means that if you aren’t completely confident in your ability to properly build a shed from scratch, you might end up with something that leaks, leans or worse.

Above all else, please be sure to make your safety and the safety of those who might be in or near your shed the top priority!

As far as appearance goes, some homeowners like the thought of their shed being their home’s mini me. This is where a scratch-built shed really shines, because it can be designed in a style that mimics the house. Others simply want something with sturdy, ample storage and a neutral appearance. It’s up to you to decide which side of that fence you happen to be on.


storage sheds

Metal Sheds:  Prefab metal shed kits tend to be the least expensive, and also make great starter sheds. However, they generally aren’t as strong as sheds made from other materials. They’re also notorious for denting and rusting over time.

Vinyl Sheds: Vinyl shed kits have become extremely popular in recent years. They are easy to assemble, long-lasting and require next to no maintenance. While they are attractive, they don’t aren’t as customizable as wooded sheds. They also tend not to be as strong as wood, when it comes to how much weight can be borne on their walls.

Wood Sheds: Here is where you can find the most versatility, because you can have the option of not only building a wood shed from scratch, but you can also purchase them prefabricated.

As you might imagine, they can be painted and customized as you see fit. The downside is that they require maintenance. They need to be repainted and shingled over time.

You will also find that the quality of wooden sheds will depend greatly on the type of wood that is used in the build.


Despite the fact that many DIY projects are seen as cost-effective alternatives to purchased goods or services, this does not apply in the case of storage sheds. A well-built scratch-made shed is not a mass marketed product, but rather something made from equal parts wood and pride. This typically means that the materials used in a scratch-built shed are likely to be of a higher quality.

If you visit any of your local home builders stores, you’re likely to find a pretty close price comparison for all three types of sheds. We had a look at what Home Depot, Home Hardware, Lowe’s and Canadian Tire had to offer and this is what we found:

Metal Storage Sheds

8 x 6-ft metal storage sheds: $279 – $330

Vinyl Storage Sheds

8 x 6-ft vinyl storage sheds: $587 – $1,449.99

Wood Storage Sheds

8 x 8-ft storage shed: $749 – $1,599

Option 3: Hiring a custom shed builder

At the start of this post, we’d mentioned that there is a third option, where sheds are concerned. In addition to building your own shed, or assembling a store-bought shed kit, you can also choose to contract the services of a custom shed builder.

Choosing a professional builder is the ideal way to get a high quality, custom shed, but without having to build it yourself.  Going custom built is the ideal solution for many homeowner’s and for many different situations.

  • You’re not an experienced builder
  • You want a shed that matches your home
  • You plan to use the shed for something other than storage
  • Your landscaping has a specific theme
  • You want top quality materials

If two or more of the above apply to you, then you should definitely contact your local custom shed builder. You can choose the style, materials and finishes. Best of all, you won’t have to lift a finger.

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