12 x 20 classic quality shed with reversed gable.

How to Choose an Affordable, Quality Shed For Your Yard

A quality shed is a long-term investment, which means that if you’re in the market, you probably haven’t bought one in years. Maybe you’re even searching for your first shed and feel overwhelmed with options. Either way, there are easy signs you can keep an eye out for to make sure that you select a shed that will last for years to come. Here is a quick overview on what to look for when buying a shed:

  • High-Quality Structural Materials
  • Finished Wood or Vinyl Siding
  • Flush, Accurately-Cut Joints
  • Lengthy Manufacturer and Installer Warranties
  • Level Doors and Tidy Details

What to Look for When Buying a Shed

While it’s easy to focus only on color and style when selecting a shed, it is important to also keep quality in mind. A high-quality shed will last for years to come without extensive maintenance or repairs — a quality that is worth its weight in gold. Here are some further details on what to check for when buying your new shed.

High-Quality Structural Materials

For the best defense against moisture and mold, shed floors should be made of pressure-treated plywood, not strand or particle board, which will buckle and warp with moisture. Tongue and groove plywood flooring is even better, and may be worth the price of upgrading if available. The flooring should either be finished or sanded smooth for you to finish yourself.

2x4 studs are essential to building a quality shed.

The walls of your shed should be constructed with 2×4 studs and plywood, not particle board or any other wood composite. If a shed looks like it could blow over at any minute, it probably will. Make sure the structure feels strong and sturdy, especially if you live in a climate with harsh temperatures or weather.

The roof and rafters should also be constructed out of 2x4s and plywood, with 30-year architectural or three-tab shingles. A sturdy roof will keep your structure square in high winds and prevent it from sagging. Shingles will protect the structure inside from moisture and mold.

Finished Wood or Vinyl Siding

Storage sheds are most commonly made of wood or vinyl. If you select a vinyl style, make sure that the siding is truly made of vinyl, and not plastic. Plastic will crack and mold over time, and will require more upkeep than low-maintenance vinyl siding.

Flush, Accurately-Cut Joints

As you look at the in-stock sheds on the lot, don’t be afraid to take a closer look at the joints and overall carpentry of the structure. You want to see flush, well-cut joints that look neat and level. Looking for an Amish-built shed is a great way to ensure craftsmanship, as they are known for building quality sheds and structures in a traditional style.

Flush joints are a sign of good craftsmanship in a quality shed.

Lengthy Manufacturer and Installer Warranties

Warranties not only ensure low maintenance and repair costs for the coming years, they also prove that the company is willing to stand by their structure. Some elements of your shed, like shingles, may come with a product warranty of up to 30 years.

The builder and installer should also offer a warranty on their construction and installation. As a rule of thumb, look for a warranty of three to five years. 

Level Doors and Tidy Details

Buying a quality structure means checking every last detail. Don’t be afraid to open a door or window, or examine the shingles a little closer. You’re paying for a long-term investment, so every detail should be just right. If you’re not finding what you’re looking for in-stock, you may also consider building a custom shed or structure.

10 Questions to Ask When Buying a Shed

There are a number of logistical questions to ask when buying a shed. How large should it be? Should it be made of vinyl or wood? But there are also a few questions you should ask your shed builder to make sure they are a reliable source for such a big investment.

Here are the top ten questions to ask when buying a shed:

  1. How long have you been in business? A builder of quality sheds will likely have been around for years, and should be able to provide reviews or testimonials from existing customers.
  2. What is your shed building process? What materials do you use? Materials matter when it comes to buying a shed that will last. Listen for mentions of 2×4 studs and plywood, as well as traditional Amish craftsmanship, which is known for its longevity. Steer clear of any builders who mention strand board, particle board, or plastic siding, all of which are prone to buckling and mold.
  3. What warranties do you offer — on both the materials and the structure? Many structural components have warranties of up to 30 years, and the company should offer a three to five year warranty on the actual structure itself. Offering a warranty not only protects you as the customer, but it shows that the company believes in the quality and craftsmanship of their structures.
  4. Who will be installing my shed? Workers from your company, or a third party? Ideally, the people building your shed will be the same people installing it. Third parties may not be as familiar with the construction or installation required for your specific structure, which can cause repercussions in the long run.
  5. Do you offer shed maintenance and repair? For convenience, it’s a good idea to choose a shed building company that also offers maintenance and repairs — or can recommend a local partner instead. This means they are invested in the long term success of your structure, and also eliminates the hassle of finding a maintenance worker.
  6. What standard maintenance and repairs should I expect in the next five to ten years? A reputable shed builder should be able to provide you with a typical schedule of maintenance and cost for the lifetime of your shed. This can help you to budget and show the value of buying a quality shed now, since it will need less maintenance and repair later.
  7. Can you relocate my shed if I move? Since storage sheds can last for 10 to 15 years, you’ll want to make sure your shed installer can relocate it if you move. While this service typically isn’t free, it is almost always cheaper than purchasing a new shed for your new home.
  8. What zoning laws should I be aware of? While it is the buyer’s responsibility to do research on HOA and zoning laws for their address, local shed builders should be able to give you a general idea of the laws in surrounding townships and counties. This is a great question to test how long a company has been in business and how up-to-date they keep their employees.
  9. Where should I install my shed? While the location of your shed install will likely be up to personal preference, your shed builder may have some input on the best placement for enduring harsh weather. Being able to provide suggestions on location demonstrates their knowledge and experience in the field.
  10. Why should I buy a shed from your business? This question is what separates big box stores from local shed builders. If they can explain their company values in addition to answering the questions above, you’ve found a reliable source for your next quality shed. If the only answer they can provide is that they want to make a sale, move along to the next builder on your list.

Elite A-frame quality shed from Penn Dutch Structures.

Now that you know what to look for when buying a quality shed, contact us for a quote on an in-stock or custom built structure. We’re happy to share our experience, knowledge, and expertise with you.