Category Archives: Outdoor Structures

Shed Materials What Is The Best Material

Shed materials

Storage sheds can be built from materials that might not be practical for larger buildings. Of course, they can be built from standard building materials as well. I have seen brick and stone buildings built for the sole purpose of storage, and while that is nice if it fits your overall look, and you are willing to spend the money, it is not necessary in most cases. There are cheaper materials available which can be coordinated with most other building materials and landscapes.

Plastic sheds

Plastic sheds can be molded, or extruded. Plastic sheds offer a measure of style and versatility, as well as an added level of durability for the shed buyer, and they can be watertight. The earliest plastic models suffered from ultraviolet rays which produced some brittleness and powdering, but newer generations have suffered much less from this problem. Plastic sheds can be made as horizontal boxes for storing small equipment like patio and pool tools, as well as standard gardening tools. They can be vertical buildings more akin to standard storage buildings as well.

Vinyl sheds

Vinyl sheds, are closely related to plastic sheds in material, and wood sheds in construction. They work well for common uses, and can be built to match most home siding without interfering with the overall aesthetic.

Wooden sheds

Wood sheds are excellent as garden sheds. They can fit into all types of surroundings from ultra modern to aged Japanese tea rooms for more detailed gardens, and as long as they are properly maintained, they will last a lifetime. Do not underestimate the need for maintenance. You should be prepared to clean and reseal the building once a year, or at least every 18 months.

Steel shed with window and roll up door

Metal sheds

Metal sheds are durable and last a long time with little maintenance. Of the different types available, steel sheds with galvanized primed and painted sheet steel are some of the best values on the market. Many have as much as a 25 year warranty on rust through, and most will last much longer without problems. Minimum maintenance can easily expand the life of such buildings beyond that of their users.

Shed plans are easily available, so are kits, or if you are not the do it yourself type, the prices for such buildings are already pretty low.

What is the best shed material for you?

The best shed material for you and your shed depends mostly on what you want and need, and it’s intended use.  Do a little research, and find out what will work best in your situation before you jump in. You can find a lot of information right here on this site.

Storage Shed Preventive Maintenance

After you buy or build your storage building, there will still be a little work to do from time to time. There will come a time when you will need to perform maintenance and minor repairs. This section will guide you through the basic process and offer information on setting up a preventive maintenance program that will not eat all your spare time.

Whatever material your storage building is made of, it will last longer and serve you better with preventive maintenance checks and good maintenance practices. Maintenance is the life of your storage shed.

Storage shed preventive maintenance

First and foremost, prevention is the key to any good maintenance program. This should start at the very beginning of the process. Your choice of materials will set the pace for your maintenance needs in the future. Some materials are just more durable than others, but some of the less durable materials may be needed to fit some applications. Other preventive measures would include things like avoiding tool and equipment dings, dents, and damage which can compromise the integrity of the structure.

Tools for shed maintenance

Storage shed materials

It is just hard to avoid the fact that galvanized and painted steel will outlast wood or composite sidings. It is not a sales tactic, it is just the truth. It is also true that such materials will require less maintenance over the extended life of the building than their wood and composite counter parts. These are just the facts. Knowing this to be true, makes choosing material based on ease and longevity a ‘no brainer”. However, ease and longevity are not the only factors in choosing a building or the materials used to build it.

Other factors may include, appearance, price, and local restrictions. Sometimes it may be necessary to blend an additional feature such as a shed with the home and landscape, and in such cases, wood may be the best choice. Budget restraints may make wood or composite siding the initial best choice, although the additional maintenance costs over several years will probably make the steel siding a more economical choice in the long run. Home Owners Associations seem to prefer wooden structures over metal structures, so if you have a HOA where you live, you may have little choice in the matter. Whatever the reason, wood and composite sidings will require a higher level of maintenance.

Metal storage shed preventive maintenance

Maintenance for metal sheds is simple. Once a year, or more often if you like, you should perform the following inspection and follow up:


Keep the top free of debris like tree limbs. Such things can cause a build up of organic materials that can add stress to the structure. Denting or sagging could result, and water damage could be a consequence.


Give the building a good cleaning to remove grime. Use a mild detergent with no abrasives.

Touch up

During the cleaning process you may have noted some scratches or dings to the siding. In such cases, let the spot dry completely, and then use a little oil based paint matching your color to touch up those spots.


Check the building to be sure it is level. The first indication of this will probably be sticking doors. If the doors should become “sticky” between annual inspections, check the structure with a spirit level, and adjust it as needed.


Tighten or replace loose or missing screws. This will help to avoid water and wind damage. check with a nut driver and tighten as needed. The addition of a small amount of silica sealer to the threads of screws that were extremely loose may help to prevent this in the future.

Wooden storage shed preventive maintenance

Wood rot occurs only in the presence of moisture. There is no such thing as dry root, If wood is dry and rotting, water was present at some point to initiate the rot, and the rotting will stop once the moisture is removed.

Knowing this, we can understand that the most significant danger to a wood or composite structure is moisture, so preventing moisture is our main objective. This simply means, that we need to keep the wooden surfaces from being penetrated by moisture by sealing them with paint or sealer and caulk. Some woods are resistant to moisture damage, but even these will benefit from proper sealing.

Once a year, your wooden or composite structure should be:

  • Inspected
  • Leveled
  • Cleaned
  • Re-sealed

This is the best preventive maintenance possible. Special attention should be paid to any openings in the structure such as doors, windows, and vents, as these are usually the primary entrance points for rain or irrigation water, and the first places to show signs of damage. Look for discoloration around the frames of the openings, and seal with caulk or weatherstrip, whichever is needed. This should be done whether it appears to be needed or not. All joints should be re-caulked, and all surfaces should get a coat of paint or sealer. Shingles should be inspected and replaced if needed. Doing this consistently will add years of life to your wooden shed.

Vinyl storage shed preventive maintenance

All of the applicable points for wood and metal sheds should be taken into account with vinyl sheds. They should be cleaned, sealed, and leveled at least once per year.




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!