Buying a Shed Guide
A shed is an essential part of any garden. It not only provides invaluable outdoor storage for garden equipment and furniture, but can make a great garden workshop for DIY and other projects.
As a garden shed is a big investment and should last for decades without needing to be replaced, it is essential to be aware of all the steps you need to take when choosing a shed.
As one of the UK’s leading suppliers of sheds and garden buildings, Shedstore are experts in how to choose the best shed. Our guide covers all you need to know.
This guide will cover the topics below. Click a topic to go straight to the information you need.
Find the best location for the shed. Pay attention to whether it affects views from the house and any seating areas in the garden.
Measure the location and mark it out. Remember to include 1-2 feet of space around the perimeter of the shed for treatment and maintenance, particularly if buying a wooden shed.
Consider what will be stored in the shed now, as well as future needs. A small shed makes the ideal home for a basic selection of garden tools. For a bike or ride-on mower, something bigger is required. A 10x6 shed is usually the minimum for a comfortable workshop.
Calculate your budget. Consider the cost of the shed, installation and base materials.
Having considered location, use and budget, the size of shed required should be clearer.
Remember to check the shed’s specification details and whether these include overhanging roofs, log stores or other features. Make sure there is space for doors and windows to open.
Now you are ready to consider which material is best for your shed.
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A wooden shed’s traditional appearance helps it complement the natural aspects of a garden. Wood sheds are also the easiest to customise with shelves, hooks and insulation. Their only downside is that they need maintaining. A dip-treated wooden shed requires treating with wood preservative annually, although a pressure-treated model could be left untreated for up to 15 years without any danger of rot.
Metal sheds are known for their strength and durability. As such, they usually come with long guarantees. They are also renowned for their excellent security, so are a great choice for storing valuable tools and equipment. Available in a range of colours and designs, there’s a metal shed to suit most types of garden. Be aware that they are usually more difficult to assemble than wooden or plastic alternatives.
Nowadays, there are some incredibly high-quality plastic sheds on the market. They are strong, long-lasting and very low maintenance sheds. Available in a range of colours and styles, some plastic sheds are designed to resemble other materials; many are supported by robust metal frames; and most are UV-protected to maintain their attractive appearance.
Dip-treatment is where the manufacturer applies a coat of preservative to the wood’s surface to protect it against rot and fungal decay. Although this ensures a decent level of protection, the shed will require retreating annually, and sometimes upon assembly too. Dip-treated sheds can usually be recognised by their orangey hue. They tend to be cheaper than pressure-treated sheds but are usually still supplied with excellent guarantees of up to 10 years, when supported by annual retreatment.Shop dip treated sheds
Pressure treatment involves the preservative being forced deep into the wood, ensuring an unbeatable level of protection against rot and fungal decay. In most cases, this means that the shed will not require retreating for up to 15 years, saving time and money. Pressure-treated sheds are paler in colour than dip-treated ones. They tend to be a little more expensive but the 15-year guarantee and less maintenance are worth the small extra cost.
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Overlap cladding is the simplest way to construct a shed, so is also the cheapest. The boards are nailed to the shed’s frame in an overlapping fashion, allowing the timber to naturally contract and expand over the course of the year. Overlap sheds are usually constructed from thinner boards, so are more prone to damp and draughts. This is not an issue when the shed is used for simple garden storage.
Shiplap Tongue and Groove Cladding
Shiplap tongue and groove cladding has a tight interlocking construction for significantly improved weather resistance compared to overlap cladding. The result is fewer draughts and less damp. The boards interlock via a tongue and a groove for a stronger construction. Shiplap refers to the scallop in the face of the board.
Tongue and Groove Cladding
Standard tongue and groove shares the same tight interlocking construction as shiplap. In this case, the face of the board is flat for a sleeker, more modern finish.
Cladding thickness is measured in millimetres. Most standard shed cladding is 8-12mm thick.
Solid wood floors and roofs, such as tongue & groove, offer superior insulation and strength to OSB options. As with the wall cladding, the thicker the better.
A traditional apex roof has a high peak which runs from one gable end to the other. This offers increased headroom along the middle. The doors will be sited in one of the gable ends.
A pent roof does not have a peak and slopes from front to back. This can make it easier to site under trees or alongside a fence. The sleek lines are popular in modern gardens. A lean-to roof refers specifically to a pent roof which slopes away from an adjacent wall or fence.
Reverse Apex Roof
A reverse apex roof has the high peak of an apex roof. However, the doors are positioned on one of the longer sides, not a gable end. This may better suit some interior layouts, for example workshop sheds.
A shed’s roof covering is usually made from felt. The most economic option is black sand felt which generally has a life span of 5 years. A stronger option is polyester-backed felt which benefits from extra fibre support and a longer life span of 15-25 years.
EPDM is the ultimate shed roof covering option. It is made from a robust, durable and completely weatherproof rubber. Though it claims a minimum lifespan of 25 years, it is capable of lasting twice that length of time.
Certain high-end sheds may come with shingle roofs. They are long-lasting, very attractive and do not require a felt or EPDM covering.
Glazing, either in terms of windows or a skylight, is essential when carrying out practical tasks inside a shed. For pure garden storage, it is not required. In fact, windowless sheds generally offer higher levels of security.
Opening windows provide ventilation, ideal for garden workshops and potting sheds.
The glazing in sheds will be real glass or an alternative such a styrene. The advantage of alternatives is that they are shatterproof. If the shed features real glass, toughened glass is a better alternative to horticultural glass.
Single doors allow for more wall space to be used for storage.
Double doors are particularly useful when storing larger items such as ride-on mowers
Sliding doors are a sensible choice if the shed situated in a confined space.
Ideally, shed doors should be lockable to protect valuable tools and equipment. Mortice locks and rim locks, set in the body of the door, are best. A hasp and staple or similar non-key lock is a cheaper alternative. Turn buttons are purely designed to prevent the door(s) from swinging open, so offer weatherproof protection and privacy, but no real security.
For optimum flexibility of window and door placement, take a look at The Better Shed range from Forest Garden, one of the UK’s leading shed manufacturers.
The Better Shed is designed using a modular construction. This means that same sized panels are interchangeable allowing you to choose the door and window positions to suit your garden and storage needs. Each size allows for a different variety of configurations.
As well as convenient flexibility, the modular design also benefits from increased framing and being far easier to build. The range includes a choice of overlap, shiplap tongue & groove, apex, pent and reverse apex designs. Plus, each Better Shed has a strong 14mm solid wood floor.
Choose from The Kielder dip-treated overlap shed, The Epping pressure-treated overlap shed, and The Delamere dip-treated shiplap tongue and groove shed. All are available in a range of sizes and offer the choice of apex or pent roofs and single or double doors. Whichever you choose, you can be sure you’ve chosen The Better Shed.
A shed must be built on a level, strong surface. An inferior base will result in the structure shifting, causing issues with doors, windows and cracks.
If using an existing base, ensure it is level and reliable before the shed is installed.
If installing a new base onto grass, the ground must be suitably prepared to make sure it is level with no more than a 65mm gradient across the width. All rocks, tree roots and other obstructions must be removed. A damp-proof membrane should be used.
More information about ground/base preparation before installation can be found here.
A concrete base can either be poured into a frame or consist of multiple concrete slabs. Both options benefit from the use of damp-poof membrane. If using slabs, ensure that there are no gaps between the slabs. Both a poured or a slab base should sit on a dressing of hardcore and sharp sand to allow for drainage. The resulting base should be level.
A wooden base is a frame of pressure treated joists which protect the shed from contact with the ground. If a wooden base is available to purchase with one of our sheds, it will appear in the shed’s accessory menu. If you want the shed AND the wooden base installed as part of our installation service, you must select this specific installation option.
Shedstore sell plastic shed bases as an easy to assemble kit. 100% recycled, these eco-friendly bases include membrane and, though light, are extremely strong and durable. They should be filled with pea gravel before use with larger sheds, as indicated by the instructions. Please note that plastic base installation is not offered with our installation services. It must be installed before the team arrive.
Once the shed is constructed, a power source can be added, if required. Solar power hubs offer easy DIY installation with power for lighting and other devices. Alternatively, a qualified electrician can run an armoured cable to the shed for mains electricity.
If a large shed is being used as a hobby room or workshop, portable gas heaters are a convenient way to provide a comfortable working environment. Solar power hubs or mains electricity will enable the use of a plug-in heater. Heaters should never be left unattended.
The lead time listed on the product page indicates when a shed will be available for dispatch. During that time period, the manufacturer will be in touch to arrange the delivery date.
Any changes made to an order can cause the delivery date to change, so check everything is correct before ordering.
Delivery is free with the vast majority of Shedstore’s sheds. However, some remote postcodes incur surcharges. Use the postcode checker on the product page to check if surcharges will apply to your delivery.
For those competent at DIY, each shed is supplied with an instruction manual. Be aware that constructing a shed is usually a two-person task due to the size and weight of the various components involved. An instruction manual will be provided and some manufacturers also provide links to videos that will support construction.
For those who would prefer a no-hassle, expert assembly, a professional installation service is available from most manufacturers. For more details, check the installation section under the full description on the product page for more details.
A suitable base, as described above, must be ready prior to the installation team’s visit.
Our friendly, UK-based customer service team are available to help answer any questions. Call them on 0333 003 0518 or use the Live Chat option onsite.
Take a look at our bestselling sheds below or view all our sheds here.