Tips and Solutions Detail
5 Things to Know Before Buying a Shed
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You know you want a shed. But, before you start shopping for shed materials, make sure you've done your homework. If you know the answers to these quick tips you'll be able to pick a shed that best meets your needs and adheres to proper codes in your area.
1. Shed Covenants and Permits
Check the restrictions or covenants your neighborhood has for building sheds. For instance, many cities and neighborhoods will dictate the specific distance from a property line or fence line that a shed must be built. This may determine what type and size of shed you can build. Also, do you need to submit any architectural forms to your neighborhood HOA or acquire a building permit from your city?
2. Shed Purpose
Think about how you are going to use your shed to help determine what size of shed and features will work best. Are you building a shed for a workshop or gardening where you plan to spend a lot of time in the shed? If you're going to spend a lot of time inside, be sure to think about lighting, ventilation, and roof height needs. Many sheds have extra features like windows that open and full-length roof skylights.
Or, is it simply for storage? If it's for storage, what kind of storage? Large lawn equipment and hanging tools? Outdoor toys, bikes, or pool equipment? Or extra "attic" type items like clothes and holiday items that are stored in bulky containers? Do you need customizable shelving, hooks, or overhead storage space?
Also keep in mind how you will use the shed to help determine the type and placement of shed doors that will work best for you. If you are storing large lawn equipment, be sure to look for sheds with double doors that open wide. Do you need your doors to be on the shorter side of the shed to give you more straight and deep "parking" space inside, or on the longer side for easier access to all items?
3. Shed Size
Sheds kits are available in almost every size. Always plan on a bigger size than you think you need. For general storage, evaluate your current spatial needs and increase it by 25% to accommodate future storage needs. Just remember, some neighborhoods may have covenants preventing you from building something taller than the fence line so always double check.
4. Shed Foundation
The most important part of your shed, regardless of what kind or size of shed you build, is your foundation. Your shed must be built on a level surface or it will not assemble properly. We recommend a cement patio, compacted road base, or creating a pad with compacted pea gravel. Be sure to wait and build your foundation until after you've purchased your shed kit. Some manufacturers will include step-by-step instructions for how to build a foundation specifically sized for the shed you purchased. If your shed does not include foundation instructions, be sure to do some research to learn how to properly build a level foundation. And, make sure your shed is not in a low-lying area to prevent water draining into your shed.
5. Shed Materials
The final consideration is what type of shed material you prefer. Basically, there are three options: wood, resin, or metal. Each material offers different advantages. To learn more about each type of material, read our article called "Which Shed Material is Best for You?"