Category Archives: Outdoor Structures

Storage Building Buyers Guide

What is involved in buying a storage shed? There are several factors, the most important of which is not cost, or availability, but what you need. Buying a storage building involves defining what the needs are, determining how much space is needed, determining available space, determining the best materials for the building, deciding on proper placement, and the actual process of buying a building with one of the many possible methods available.

Defining your storage needs

Ask yourself: What do I need? Do you need a little extra space to store a few gardening hand tools, or do you need a building large enough for a house full of furniture? Do you plan to work inside, or just reach inside for a rake or shovel? What will you need in the future? Answer those questions, and you will be on your way to picking the right utility building for you.

Determining needed space

If you need space for basic yard tools, an 6’x8′ small shed may give you ample space and more. If you are planning to store the overflow from your garage, you may need to pick a larger structure, and add a loft. If you know exactly what you want to store in the building, you can measure the items to get the number of square feet, or even cubic feet if they need to be stacked, and determine your need for space in that way. You could even set the items out the way you plan to store them, and then make your measurements. You should attempt to leave enough empty space to provide a path from the front to the back. The same is true for your lawn and garden tools. You will need ample space to store them and to access them without frustration. Whatever size you decide on, add an extra 10% for future growth.

Determining available space

Do you have space available for the building? You might want to get a measuring tape and some stakes to be sure. Take into account such things as landscape and mower access. Buying a building that will not fit in your yard could be a problem. One other spatial consideration is height. Some Home Owners Associations require that buildings do not rise above the height of privacy fences.

Determining delivery accessibility

If you plan to buy a pre-constructed portable utility building, you will have to get it into your yard. Fences, and other structures can present barriers. There is no better way to check this than by using a tape measure to be certain. Finding out that it won’t fit when the delivery crew shows up is a little late, and will cost you in the long run.

Deciding on placement

If you place the building too close to another structure, it might make mowing difficult or impossible. If the structure blocks sunlight to sun loving plants, they will suffer. If the shed sits atop an irrigation head, your irrigation will not function properly, and if it sits between your irrigation heads and a part of your lawn or landscape, some adjustments may need to be made. This could effect your choice of building sizes.

Brown storage building with white door

Deciding on the right materials

In most cases, the most durable material is the most desirable material, but in some situations this may not be the case. On case in point is communities with Home Owner Associations. HOA’s may require wood sided buildings, a regulation that needs to be reaccessed because those with painted steel are more durable and will last longer with less maintenance. There may be other cases, such as design considerations like blending the building in with the landscape.

The buying process

You can buy a storage shed in a number of ways.

  1. You can purchase a kit online, or at most home improvement stores
  2. You can have a building built on your property
  3. You can have a building of your design built and moved onto your lot
  4. You can buy direct from a builder off a lot

Buying a kit online, or at a hardware outlet will require payment up front, the prices may be somewhat less than buying a completed building. Having a building built at your home will probably cost about the same as having one delivered. If you plan to buy on a “lease purchase” agreement, this is probably out, since most suppliers will not lease a building that is built on site. If you buy from a small shed supplier, whether from a lot, or have one built to suit your needs, rent to own, or lease purchase may be a reasonable option. Beware that in most such programs you will pay almost double for the building. The dealers are not trying to trick you, they are just covering all the bases. Most dealers will tell you this up front. Even with this, rent to own can be a good option for a small storage building, and early payoff will save you money.

Some suppliers offer other buying programs, such as local bank financing, 90 days same as cash, secured credit card payment, and, of course, they will always take cash!

Storage Shed Tips: Getting The Most From Your Storage Building

Insulated utility building

Your storage shed can be a handy place to toss a few things inside to get them out of the way, but if that is all you do with your building you are missing out on a good opportunity to improve your quality of life. With just a little creative thought and work, sheds can make your life a lot easier and less frustrating.

With that in mind, we thought we would offer a few tips on getting the most from your storage shed.

  1. If you plan to use your utility building for storage, adding shelves or a loft will give you a lot of extra space without taking up more floor space. It can be done pretty easily with pre-built shelf kits, or just a little ingenuity on your part. Two 2×4’s screwed to the studs with a piece of plywood for a shelf or loft is really all you need for storing light materials like Christmas decorations.
  2. Leave some space for aisles. This can save you a lot of frustration when you decide that you actually need that old TV in the very back corner for a video game monitor.
  3. On the subject of boxes, color coding them before you store them, and keeping a list in the shed can be really helpful when you need something. You can get some colored adhesive dots, and put a number on each to match your list.
  4. If tool storage space is what you need, consider magnetic strips for steel handled items, or installing a pegboard with pegs for them. For larger tools like rakes and shovels, a peg system works well, and, in a pinch, a small 30 gallon drum, or heavy trash receptacle can be used to keep them with the handle down so that you have less tangling. A section or two of large PVC pipe can also be attached to a wall stud with the top about 3′ from the floor to get similar results.
  5. If you are going to store heavier lawn equipment like gasoline powered mowers, consider buying, or building a ramp to make getting them inside easier. Ramps are cheap and easy to build, and whatever effort you put forth to get one, will be save a thousand times over, and you will have fewer backaches.
  6. If you plan to do light work, like sharpening tools, or potting plants in your storage shed, you can easily install a work bench in most shed types, and most dealers will build one for you for a small fee as well.
  7. If your sheds purpose is as a garden shed, adding a slatted potting bench can be a very valuable addition. Some extra shelves for holding plants as you pot them, or let them harden off will maximize it’s usefulness.
  8. Adding an electric line to your storage shed can give you that little bit of extra light you need to do your work or find your stuff. Be sure to follow local ordinances with all electrical installations. Even if your local ordinances won’t allow you to wire your shed for electricity, or if you want to be more environmentally friendly, you can still have lighting by purchasing a solar powered lighting unit. There are many available.

This is not an all inclusive list, and I am betting that you can come up with more ideas to maximize the benefits of your storage shed. Just be creative, think outside the box, and you can find other ways to use your storage building to solve some of your chronic and frustrating common problems without spending an arm and a leg.