The Top 10 Questions to Ask When Buying A Shed

A new shed should last for decades, so ask yourself a few questions and get the choice right. 

Metal, plastic or wooden shed? Small, medium or large?

1. How much space have I got?

A good first question because the answer determines where you should start looking. It’s rather obvious to say this, but I will anyway, go for the biggest shed you have the space for. You will quickly fill a shed, whatever the size, and there is nothing more frustrating than a shed that’s too small, where you need to climb over boxes and trugs of gardening equipment just to get at your mower. Go large. As large as you can. 

2. What do I want to use it for? 

Simply storing garden furniture, a spade or two, a bag of compost and a rusty old mower requires a different building to one that has to double up as a home office, gym or games room. You may want to really exercise your shed and use it as a growing room - an extension, or even partial substitute, for a greenhouse. Therefore, you’ll need windows. So, decide on what you want to use your shed for and, again, you will be narrowing down the vast choice. 

Storage shed, potting shed or corner shed?

3. What does it have to look like? 

Without doubt, a wooden shed does blend nicely into most garden settings. But wood isn’t the only material. Both metal and plastic sheds look great when featured in modern, contemporary gardens. The colour of wooden sheds can also be changed as you follow those trends in the garden, so, perhaps, it’s a wooden one? Or you know that you’ll never change the colour of your shed, meaning a plastic or metal version is the best choice. 

4. Where is it going? 

Obviously in the garden, but is it going to be tucked under trees (metal or plastic won’t collect algae and moss as much as wooden sheds), near to the house (wooden roofs don’t sound so loud in the rain) or out there, loud and proud, for all to admire (perhaps wood looks better)? Whichever you choose, it will need a firm and level base. Wooden sheds are heavier, plastic and metal will also need bolting down to ensure stability - all factors to guide you when choosing your perfect shed. 

What's my budget?

5. What’s my budget? 

Actually, this is probably the biggest question and therefore the starting point for many potential shed owners. If you have under a hundred quid, you'll be looking at garden storage items - wooden or plastic chests, that kind of thing -  but push it a little and you are in shed territory. Do push it, though, as the answers to the above questions (size, material, position) plus budget = you are close to your ideal shed. 

6. How much maintenance do I want to carry out? 

Wooden sheds can be dip treated or pressure treated to protect against rot. Dip treated sheds have been dipped (this isn't rocket science you know!) in preservative. This results in a good coating of preservative but one that needs topping up every couple of years. Pressure treated sheds have had the preservative forced, under pressure, into the wood. Such treatment results in sheds not needing any real maintenance for 15 years. Metal sheds don't rot. Plastic sheds are the same. So, if you want to do nothing except a quick wipe down with soapy water, a metal or plastic shed is best (if they fit into your answers to the questions above, of course). If you don't mind whipping out the roller or paintbrush every couple of years, go for dipped sheds. If you want a shed you can change the colour of, will need to spruce up occasionally, but fades without any loss of performance for the next 15 years, then I reckon you should be leaning towards a pressure treated wooden shed. 

Shed bases and accessories

7. How secure does it need to be? 

Wooden sheds can be hacked open. It would be noisy but, with a few blows from a lump hammer, thieves would be in. Metal and plastic sheds are more difficult to prise open. It’s a tricky one, really. If you are in a crime hotspot area, or your shed is to be left on an allotment, where it may be at risk, go for a security metal shed. Remember to bolt metal, plastic and, ideally, wooden sheds to a firm base when erecting the structure. Padlocks are essential for all sheds (check your insurance documents - often no padlock = no claim), whilst alarms and security lights are available for all sheds. Don’t skimp on security. Quickly tot up the value of everything in your shed. A tenner for a padlock doesn't seem too bad after all. 

8. What about accessorizing my shed? 

I’m not on about cushions and curtains (although many people do dress their sheds - see the ‘what are you using it for’ question above) but more shelving, hooks, lights, power, heating, insulation - that kind of thing! With a little planning and expert installation, power is easily put into sheds. Solar lights take the hassle out of wiring and alarms can be battery powered. It is simple to put shelves up in wooden sheds as screws fix easily into the wooden framework. I’m not sure one type of shed is easier to rig up - but wood has to edge the simplicity stakes, surely? 

Why not customise your shed?

9. What are my DIY skills like? 

Take your time, get help, choose a calm, windless day and any shed can easily be put up. Plastic is lighter to handle, metal marginally more difficult, and wood is easy with help. I would say, read the instructions, ensure you have the right tools and that the base you are fixing your shed to, whatever the type, is firm and level. Paving slabs are good - naked soil not a great idea. Get that lot right and putting a shed up is highly satisfying. Or pay to have it done for you! 

10. What about my old shed? 

Of course, your new shed may be a replacement, leaving you with the ‘problem’ of getting rid of your old one. Plan carefully. Get the delivery day sorted for the new one. Empty the old, throw away/ recycle anything you can and store the rest under cover until the new one arrives. The old carcass will be snapped up by allotment holders - get them to come and take it down and away. Don’t be surprised if you see mice scurrying around when the base is lifted. Or offer it up on Freecycle. Or carefully dismantle and take for recycling. I bet the allotments are your best choice, though. 

If you already know the answers to these questions, or even if you fancy a little bit of inspiration to help you decide, you’re in exactly the right place. Shedstore is the leading supplier of garden sheds, of all shapes, sizes and types. Click here to view our fantastic range of garden sheds for sale.