If you own a house, at some point the need for extra storage space soon becomes evident. Arguably the most common solution is to purchase a storage shed. There are hundreds of styles and options available, but taking the time review these 5 key steps will enable you to make a smarter decision.
1. What is the primary function of the shed? In most cases, storage space is the key requirement, so figure out how much space is needed. A small 4′ x 8′ lean-to style provides sufficient space for small tools, but larger items do require more space. I strongly recommend choosing the largest size that you can afford, which still blends in with your landscape. Remember that most municipalities require building permits for any building over 100 sq. ft.
2. Is the shed going to play a prominent role in your day to day activities? If so, make sure that you choose a style and options that give you good access and provide adequate lighting. Windows and skylights provide plenty of natural light, but it is common to run electricity to the shed. For easy access, make sure that the doors are at least 34″ wide, as most lawn mowers will easily pass through.
3. How important is the look of the shed to my property. Remember that anything you erect will either add or impair on your property value. Metal and vinyl are the least expensive options, but these tend to look ordinary. Wood and pre-finished sidings normally add character and value, but are usually more expensive.
4. Consider the grade and accessibility of the location. A level site is the starting point for all shed construction The greater the grade, the more work needs to be done. Typically a grade of 6″ or less over the dimension of the shed can be compensated for by using patio stones, especially for smaller units. In areas faced with frost upheaval or poor drainage, it is recommend that at least 6″ of topsoil be removed and filled with screening stone (1/2″ or smaller gravel is also acceptable).
5. Be considerate to your neighbors! Don’t put up something that belongs in a junkyard beside your neighbor’s manicured backyard. Most municipalities require that storage sheds be 2 ft from the fence or property line, so be sure to check ahead of time to avoid any aggravation. Talk to your neighbors about your intentions – 99% of the time they will appreciate your concern and be very supportive of your project.
The internet is an excellent source for information on the hundreds of suppliers and styles available. If ordering online be sure to read the warranty and returns information carefully as often goods of this nature cannot be returned. Just because a company has a fancy website it does not mean it stands behind its product – try searching for articles or information on the particular company. Most companies offer either pre-cut or pre-fabricated kits delivered to your residence. If choosing a fully installed product, deal with a local company with a fixed location (avoid the ones that set-up at seasonal locations), and again be prudent with your research. I strongly recommend avoiding companies that require more than a 30% deposit – you’ll end up waiting longer than you should. A storage shed is an important purchase – a little research will go a long way in helping making the right decision.