Shed Buying Guide: What To Look For In A Shed

Your garage is bursting with tools, boxes, toys, and bins. Deciding that you need to buy a shed for additional storage was an easy decision to make. But where do you go from there? What size, materials, and features should you choose? Our shed buying guide has numerous tips on buying an outdoor shed that can help you make the best decision.

Skip Ahead:

  1. Buying a Shed vs. Renting a Storage Unit
  2. How Big of a Shed Should I Get?
  3. What is the Best Material for a Shed?
  4. What Shed Styles Can I Choose From?
  5. Do You Need a Permit to Buy a Shed?
  6. How Do I Prepare My Yard for Shed Delivery?

Buying a Shed vs. Renting a Storage Unit

Shed vs. Storage Unit

When you’re looking to clear out space in your home, two popular options for additional storage include backyard sheds and off-site storage units. But which one makes more sense for your needs?

Cost is one of the major factors when choosing between these two storage options. With a storage unit, you pay a monthly fee and may also need to pay a security deposit, administration fees, or purchase a specific lock. Close to one-third of renters will keep their storage unit for several years, so, in five years’ time, you could pay $4,315 on a 5′ x 10’ storage unit — on rent alone.

Meanwhile, the average cost of a larger 8′ x 10′ storage shed is around $2,000. Rent-to-own programs are also available, which allow for smaller monthly payments and ownership within just three years.

How Big of a Shed Should I Get?

To answer this question, you should first take a look at the size of your backyard and the amount of usable space you have available. If your home sits on a lot of property, size may not be an issue. However, if you have a smaller yard you’ll want to be sure you don’t choose a shed that will overwhelm your outdoor space.

You must also consider all the additional space that needs to surround your shed. For any size shed, you must also account for:

  • At least 1’ of space on all sides for your foundation.
  • At least 3’ of space between your shed and any fencing or trees.
  • Additional “setback” from property lines, roads, or floodplains that is regulated by your municipality.

Another consideration in determining how big of a shed to buy is figuring out what size shed will fit all your stuff.  Here are a few general guidelines for the different shed sizes we sell:

  • 8’ x 10’ Sheds — Perfect size for a small yard.
  • 10’ x 10’ Sheds — Suitable space for use as a gardening shed.
  • 10’ x 20’ Sheds or 12’ x 24’ Sheds — Plenty of room available for a workshop.
  • 14’ x  28’ Sheds — Available room for riding lawn mowers or ATVs.

What is the Best Material for a Shed?

Wood is a popular material for building sheds.

When buying a shed, you’ll encounter styles constructed of wood or vinyl. These are two of the most popular outdoor construction materials. Both are quality materials that are durable and will last for years.

Wood is an in-demand material that many homeowners prefer for sheds because it offers a natural aesthetic that can blend in seamlessly with your outdoor environment. At the same, there are many paint or stain options available that can make your wooden shed truly stand out. Popular wood species used in shed construction are Southern Yellow Pine and Western Red Cedar, which are softwood species.

Wood structures will require regular maintenance as wood has a greater chance of warping, splitting, or degrading when exposed to the elements. You will need to complete regular upkeep to avoid a dull or run-down appearance. For best results, you should power wash your shed each year and repaint or re-stain it yearly or every other year.

Vinyl shed materials are highly-durable and require less maintenance. Vinyl is also resistant to moisture and insects and stands up well to extreme weather conditions with minimal risk of splintering, twisting, or warping over time. With vinyl, you avoid the need for annual staining, painting, or sealing. Outside of an annual cleaning, there is very little maintenance necessary for a vinyl structure.

However, when choosing a color for your vinyl shed, the options are more limited. Manufacturers offer a variety of vinyl colors to pick from, but there is less opportunity for an exact color match.

What Shed Styles Can I Choose From?

  • A-frame Has a popular peak roof style with a lower (5/12) pitched roof.
  • Cape Cod Features a 7/12 roofline that’s taller than an A-frame, but lower than a Classic.
  • Carriage Has an offset roof and features 84” front walls and 72” back walls.
  • Classic Offers the steepest roof at 9/12, but has lower walls to accommodate the steep roof.
  • Dutch Barn Has high side walls to accommodate doors on the sides. A gambrel roof provides a lot of headroom and loft space.
  • Mini Barn Economical storage from a compact design.  Features 4’ walls and a gambrel roof.
  • New England Deluxe — This design upgrade features larger windows, extra wide trim, and unique transom windows in the doors and dormers.
  • Quaker Features an offset roof with an overhang, 84” front walls, and 72” back walls. Also features plenty of headroom and open rafters.
  • Villa New design features a contemporary hip style roof.

Do You Need a Permit to Buy a Shed?

Do you need a zoning permit or building permit to add a shed to your backyard?  Unfortunately, there is no single answer. Each municipality will have its own rules around permits. Contact your city, borough, or township office and inquire about the necessary permits you’ll need before you buy a shed.

You may need to look into both zoning and building permits. Zoning regulation governs the placement of structures like garages, sheds, or barns on your property. Building permits regulate the structure itself and specify the quality and safety standards, ensuring your structure meets local code.

How Do I Prepare My Yard for Shed Delivery?

Site Preparation

Once you’ve purchased a shed, you’ll need to do some prep work before your shed is delivered and installed. This includes installing a quality shed base. We recommend a layer of crushed stone that is 4” – 8” deep and at least 1’ larger than your sheds on all sides. For example, the base for an 8’ x 10’ shed should be at least 10’ x 12’.

Crushed stone is sturdier and more stable than other materials and allows for better drainage, which is why it’s the recommended material.

View Our Sheds For Sale

All of Penn Dutch Structures’ sheds come with a 5-year warranty, delivery & installation services, and are Amish-built in Central Pennsylvania. Find your perfect shed with Penn Dutch Structures.

10' x 14' Elite A-frame Shed - Wood
A-Frame Elite