Is It Cheaper To Buy A Shed Or Build One? (Find Out Now!)

Chad Kilpatrick
by Chad Kilpatrick

Adding a shed to your property is an excellent investment. You may need it for storing tools, building a workshop, or extra storage for seasonal decorations. Whatever the reason, you must investigate the cost, in time and money, of building a shed on your own versus buying one and having it installed professionally.

Building a shed to your own specifications will cost less than purchasing one already built, delivered, and professionally installed. However, you should also consider the time it takes to build and your construction skill level before deciding whether to build a shed or buy a shed. On average, a 120 square foot homemade shed costs $20 per square foot while a prefabricated and professionally installed 120 square foot shed averages about $40 per square foot.

Provided that you have the tools, equipment, and skills, building your own shed with the features you want is less expensive and more satisfying than purchasing a pre-made shed. On the other hand, buying a kit or a pre-made shed will be much easier, faster, and less stressful than building one on your own.

Continue reading for the pros and cons of both building a shed yourself and purchasing a pre-built model.

Do You Need to Hire Shed Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

The Benefits of Building a Shed

Building your own shed instead of purchasing one provides you many benefits. One benefit is the sense of satisfaction of designing and building a shed by yourself. You can also choose the materials like wood, metal, or vinyl that best work with the aesthetics of your yard.

You can also add any upgrades like windows or electricity that suit your needs. Furthermore, if the area where you need to build is an unusual size or shape, a purchased shed may not come in an appropriate size.

The Benefits of Purchasing a Shed

If you are not inclined to build a shed on your own, buying a pre-fabricated shed is the way to go. It will likely cost more, but it has some advantages that homemade sheds do not have. First, Many purchased sheds have a warranty, so if anything fails in the construction of the shed, the company will repair or replace the defective part.

Secondly, the shed company will deliver and set up the shed. Installation can be done quickly, often in just a few hours. If you need a shed soon, purchasing a shed is an easy path to take. Finally, pre-made sheds are available in a variety of sizes, finishes, and designs. You will most likely be able to find a shed that meets your needs.

Buying a Shed vs. Building One: Which Is Better?

You have a few different options when you are buying or building a shed. You can build the whole thing from scratch, or buy one already completed. To buy one already built, you must have access to the area where it will be moved.

For instance, if you are having an already built shed delivered in a backyard, you cannot have a large fence obstructing the path, because they have to drive it to the spot and drop it. You do, however, have the option of removing part of the fence.

If you are building the shed, then you have two options, you can build it from scratch, or you can buy a kit, with prefab walls, that you will have to put together.

For a smaller shed, that may go in your driveway, or front yard area, it may be the best option to buy an already built shed and have it delivered. For larger sheds, as long as you have some construction experience, you can build it yourself.

Even with the kit, you will need to have some experience, as well as a set of tools for putting walls together, such as a nailgun and compressor.

Pros and Cons of Buying a Shed

Buying a shed has its pros and its cons. We are gonna take a closer look at those, to help you decide if buying a shed is the right choice for you.

It is less work buying a shed. You can buy a shed completely built, pay someone to come in and build one, or put one together.There are not as many options for customizations. You will need to pick from a design or pay to have one custom built.
Many sheds that you buy, will come with a warranty if anything goes wrong with the shed.If you have a fence, you are limited in where it can go. You may have to order a kit and have it brought in in pieces.
You have the option of buying a cheap shed, such as a hard plastic shed if you only need it to store small items.Cheap sheds do not hold up as long as sheds that are built with high-quality materials.

Buying a shed may be the right decision for you. Anyone who is not handy, or wants to save time, will benefit from purchasing a shed over building one.

Pros and Cons of Building a Shed

Building a shed also has its pros and cons. Let’s look at why building as shed may be the right way to go for you.

You have to option to build custom parts of the shed, for working spaces, or top-level storage.A shed can be expensive, depending on the size, and the materials that you plan on using.
You can put it anywhere on your property since you will carry in the materials yourself, through a gate.Building a shed can take a lot of time and energy, be prepared to work on it for a full weekend, or even week.
Putting together a prefab shed kit is easy to do, with little experience needed.You have to have a large number of carpentry tools, and skills to build a shed.

How Much Does it Cost to Buy a Shed?

Buying a shed is a big step. You are going to want something that uses quality materials but isn’t too hard on the budget. Shed companies are a great choice, for someone who just wants to get it done and out of the way.

It can also be the best option for someone who just doesn’t have the know-how or tools to pull off a custom build. If you are in the market for buying a shed, you have a few options. We’re gonna look at some basic pricing.

Option 1 – A basic plastic shed. If you just need something smaller, for storage, then a basic shed will probably be all you will need. A small 7ft x 7ft plastic shed will set you back around $600-$700. A small, basic wooden shed, will cost you $800-$1500.

Option 2 – A larger shed with a workspace. A large shed will cost you about double what a smaller shed costs. A large wood shed will set you back around $2,000 to $3500. The price on larger sheds, goes up, with more options, and size.

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Shed?

Building a shed can save you money. Shed companies may get their materials in bulk, which saves them money on the material cost, but they also mark them up, two or three times, to make a profit. The amount you will save building one yourself will be cheaper than their total costs.

To build a shed you will need to know how to use basic carpentry tools, and tools such as nailguns, stapler guns, and other tools. There are many options for building a shed, you can get a kit with prefab walls. Or you can build it from scratch.

Option 1- Building a shed from a kit, with prefab walls. Kits come with the walls already framed, you just have to fasten them together. Other less expensive kits, are made out of hard plastic and are easy to put together. Expect to pay around $200-400, for a small shed kit, and up to $1,000, on a large kit.

Option 2 – Building a shed from scratch. If you have experience with construction and have decided to build a shed from scratch, then you have different options for materials. A small shed built from scratch, with wood, will cost around $300-$500, a large shed would cost $1,000 to $2,000.

The price goes up, depending on how large you want it to bed, and what materials you plan on using to build it. For example, metal sheds can be much more expensive to build.

Breaking Down the Cost of Building a Shed

When pricing the materials for a shed, you will probably notice that the cost is less than a pre-made, assembled, and delivered shed. Building a 10 x 12 foot shed on your own costs about $2,500 at around $20 per square foot. Of course, the cost rises with more expensive materials and extra features like windows, electricity, and insulation that you add.

Necessary Tools for Building a Shed

However, if you have decided to build a shed, you should consider the cost of the tools you will need to build it. Consider the cost of the necessary equipment like table saws, circular saws, a pneumatic nailer, and other power tools. If you already own these tools or intended to purchase them anyway, then the cost wouldn’t add to the total cost of your shed.

The smaller hand tools you are likely to need are a drill with assorted bits, screwdrivers, a hammer, and sanding equipment. Then you will need paint or sealant to protect the wood after you have finished the project.

Investing Your Time in Building a Shed

Following a plan that you have purchased or created is essential to a successful construction project. One thing that you should consider when beginning your shed project is how long building it will take. If you are a weekend warrior, it could take several weeks to complete the project since you would only have the weekends to work. Be sure to take your construction experience into account when you calculate the time needed to build the shed.

Materials for Building a Shed

When you decide to build the shed, you should carefully determine what materials you need from the foundation to the roof so that you purchase the correct amount of materials. You will need foundation materials like gravel and concrete for the foundation.

Materials like 2x4s and 4x4s are used for framing the shed. You can use plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board) for the siding. OSB has a more consistent density and may cost less, while plywood holds up to becoming wet then drying out better. If you live in a damp environment, plywood may be a better choice.

You will also need to consider what roofing materials you want for the shed. You can use roll roofing for your shed, which is both inexpensive and easy to use, although it is not attractive. Corrugated panels made of metal, fiberglass, or plastic are also good options. Finally, you can use composite shingles that are the same ones used on houses.

Other possibilities for materials would include insulation, electrical wiring, windows, or whatever other bells and whistles you choose to add to your shed. Remember that any upgrades you make will increase the cost of the shed.

Breaking Down the Costs of a Shed Kit

The average cost of a basic shed is $500 for a plastic 50 square foot shed up to $4000 or more for a 120 square foot shed. The complexity and materials the shed is made of change affect the final price. Plastic sheds are the least expensive, but they are not the most attractive.

Metal and vinyl buildings are the next most costly and also the most sturdy and resilient. Wooden sheds are the most expensive and can be just about any color to match your home. They will need to be maintained so that they do not rot or become infested with insects.

For those who are willing to do some DIY but don’t want to build an entire shed from scratch, a Shed Kit is a good choice. Your local home improvement stores have shed kits in multiple sizes and materials to choose from.

These may range from a shed made of molded resin panels to wood or galvanized aluminum kit. These kits are designed to be easy to assemble with basic tools you most likely have on hand, such as screwdrivers, pliers, tape measure, level, a cordless drill, and a ladder.

When you purchase a kit, you will need to prepare the shed’s foundation on your own. You will need a shovel, lumber or concrete, a level, and a saw.

When you begin work on assembling your shed from the kit, you should ask some friends for help, and you ought to consider the cost of lunch and beverages in the total budget for the build. With some careful planning and a little help, you can assemble a shed kit on the weekend. Many of the home improvement stores also offer installation services for shed kits at an additional cost.

Breaking Down the Price of a Pre-Made Shed

The fastest and easiest way to install a shed is to purchase one that is pre-made, delivered, and professionally installed. Buying a pre-made shed is also the most expensive route.

One consideration for these portable buildings is that they have to be portable, meaning that they are put on a truck and driven to your home. They are restricted to the size that will fit on the truck. So, if you need an overly large shed, like a 2-car garage, you will most likely need one that is assembled on-site.

Portable building companies offer many different sizes and finishes. Many of these companies also offer upgrades and modifications to their buildings so that you can get precisely what you want for your shed.

Buying a basic pre-made shed and having it installed can cost an average of $2,000 for a small tool shed up to $10,000 for a large 160 square foot storage shed. Of course, any additional upgrades, better materials, or larger sizes will increase the cost of the pre-fabricated shed.

The benefit of purchasing a completed shed is that you can count on the installation being quick and professional. The only tool you will need is likely to be a screwdriver to attach a hasp and a padlock. You will be able to relax while others do the heavy lifting.

Also, the installation will likely be done in one afternoon, so you can start using the shed right away.

Consider Shed Maintenance

If you have a wood, plywood, or OSB shed, you need to check it regularly for damage from insects, rodents, and water. Be sure to seal it with a water protectant every one to three years. You should also treat to prevent insect and rodent infestations.

Plastic or resin sheds can be washed down with water and gentle soap, like dish soap. You may also add some white vinegar to the wash water to kill any mold or mildew growing on the surface. Scrub gently with a brush and rinse with clean water.

If you have vinyl siding on your shed, you can clean it with a garden hose, a soft bristle brush, and a gentle cleanser like dish soap. Powerwashing could damage the vinyl siding, so use a regular sprayer on a standard garden hose.

Sheds with metal siding and roofs need regular maintenance as well. Keep them clean to identify any places that have holes or rust. If rust develops, clean the area, let it dry and paint it with a rust neutralizer and a sealant.

Do You Need to Hire Shed Installers?

Get free, zero-commitment quotes from pro contractors near you.

Related Questions

How long does a shed last before you have to replace it?

If your shed is made from quality materials, it should last you for as long as you need it. Some cheaper hard plastic designs may wear out faster in the sun than a wood shed, or metal shed.

Can you build a shed with little to no experience?

You need to have some carpentry experience, to build a shed from scratch. We do not suggest building a shed on your own for beginners. However, you may be able to put a shed kit together, with some limited experience.

Chad Kilpatrick
Chad Kilpatrick

I'm a writer that is passionate about home improvements, remodeling, and renovating. I enjoy learning new skills and techniques and sharing them with others.

More by Chad Kilpatrick