Shed Building 101

. 4 min read

Storage sheds are a staple in any yard. They can house anything, from the kids’ sports gear to your lawn tools and equipment, outdoor furniture, and favorite seasonal decor. A durable shed (also called an ‘outhouse’ or ‘outbuilding’) is crucial for keeping outdoor stuff organized.

Decide the Purpose of Your Shed

The first step in building your garden shed is to decide how you will use it and as such what size shed you will need. You might plan to store just garden tools, or you might be looking to create a workspace. Generally it's good to get a shed a bit bigger than you think you need for flexibility.

Where Should You Put Your Shed?

Be careful not to place your the shed so that it is blocking the sun. Also, sheds need to be placed on some sort of flat level base. The best option for longevity is a concrete slab, which you can lay yourself or have a concreter do for you, however if you think you might want to move the shed later then perhaps it is not the best idea after all as concrete is hard to remove. Other options include gravel, brick or over an existing paved area.

Hiring a Contractor vs buying a kit

With the rising popularity of do-it-yourself (DIY) sheds, is it still worth it to hire a contractor to build you a new storage outhouse? There are many kits available that provide easy-to-assemble parts for your garden shed. Though the kits are easy to put together, you will not get the same control over materials and design if you construct a garden shed yourself.

If you are happy with that tradeoff there are a wide variety of DIY sheds you can choose from. Companies like EasyShed specialise in selling garden sheds, workshops and garages. These companies will sometimes deliver the walls and roof pre-assembled so that all that you only need to screw them together.

Some companies will even send someone out to put the parts together for you. If you get a kit from bunnings or mitre10 then those will be flat packed in a set of boxes, easy to get home, but requiring more work to assemble. If you don't fancy assembling it yourself you can always hire a handyman, which of course will be a lot cheaper than hiring a builder to construct a customised shed.

The third option of constructing a unique shed yourself can be quite rewarding, though of course it will take a lot more time to complete. You can still purchase a properly thought out shed plan online that will provide a list of materials you will need and some instructions.

The Pros of Hiring a Contractor

There are definite benefits to hiring a professional. Here are the reasons you should consider hiring a contractor:

  1. Quality contractors get you quality sheds. Hiring an experienced contractor is almost a guarantee that you’ll get a shed that will last you several years (if not generations). If you want something done well, you should consider hiring a professional.
  2. You can customize your shed to your heart’s desire. If you’re after a specific look or a particular type of wood, it’s best to get your shed customized for your needs.
  3. Contractors can help you make decisions. Wooden sheds give off a rustic appeal, but they’re expensive to build and will need protection from insects, fungus, and extreme weather conditions. Metal sheds are fireproof and cheaper than wooden sheds, but they also rust over time. When choosing between materials, it’s best to have a professional give you advice.
  4. You’re helping boost the local economy. Every time you hire someone local, you’re helping encourage local businesses and livelihood.

The Cons of Hiring a Contractor

When you’re not after a highly specific shed for a highly specific purpose, hiring a conductor might not be the best course of action. Consider these disadvantages:

  1. Contractors can be expensive. The cost difference between buying a shed and hiring a contractor can be upwards of a thousand dollars.
  2. You need to make time for the duration of the construction. If you’re going to hire a construction team, you’ll need to make sure there’s always someone at home to oversee the process. Since the contractors will have access to a large portion of your home, it’s up to you to secure your house, family, pets, and valuables.
  3. Custom sheds will take longer. Constructing a new shed will take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the number of construction workers and the kind of shed. If you need a storage shed as soon as possible, then buying a shed might be the best option for you.
  4. You might need to secure building permits. Any kind of construction will require you to cover your legal bases. If you’re pressed for time or unwilling to go through paperwork, consider buying a shed instead, as its assembly doesn’t require any permits.
  5. Contractor-built sheds are rarely portable. If you’re thinking of moving to another city in the next decade, you might want to hold off from hiring a contractor. Otherwise, you’ll be splurging on a shed that you won’t be able to take with you.

Before hiring a contractor, consider the following: your budget, your time, and your backyard needs. If what you need is a shed to last you decades, then getting a contractor is definitely your best option. If you’re looking for a portable or budget-friendly shed, then you’re better off purchasing a shed online.
Like with all home renovation and construction situations, the best option isn’t always what’s most expensive — it’s what meets your requirements and what makes you happy.

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Finding the right contractor

There’s no shortage of builders in Australia. It’s a matter of picking a contractor you want to work with. When choosing a contractor, your three key requirements should be:

  • Proximity. Get a contractor who works in your area, so you don't need to pay additional expenses for materials transportation.
  • Experience. While sheds are relatively easy for any skilled contractor, getting someone with experience in a similar project is always a bonus.
  • Paperwork. Any contractor worth their salt should have up to date business licenses and insurance for their workers.