A shed is a structure that is built to store tools, equipment, and other items. Sheds can be made of wood, metal, or plastic. They are usually small in size and are designed to fit the needs of the owner. A shed may be used for storing lawnmowers, gardening equipment, or even cars. Small sheds can also be used as playhouses for children and as storage places for holiday decorations.
A shed is a small building that is used to store tools, equipment, and other items. Sheds can be built in many different shapes and sizes. There are many different materials that can be used to build a shed, including wood, metal, plastic, or concrete blocks.
Many people use sheds for storage purposes, either for gardening tools or things like bikes, golf carts, and motorcycles. But sheds can have a wide range of purposes, which dictate how large it is, the flooring, and how it is laid out and finished inside.
Typical uses for sheds include:
- Gardening sheds – These are usually large enough for a potting table and storage of basic gardening equipment.
- Storage shed – A storage shed can be any size depending on what you plan to keep in it. People use sheds to store lawnmowers, rakes, gardening equipment, bikes, golf carts, sports equipment, and more.
- Workshop/office – If you want to work in your shed and have a space separate from your home, you need to fully finish, insulate, and wire your shed for electricity. These sheds are more like small houses and have much higher costs to build.
- Child’s playhouse – A simple shed can also be used as a child’s playhouse. These sheds can be any size and may be finished or unfinished, depending on how you intend your children to use them.
Factors in Calculating Cost to Build a Shed
While the national average cost to build a shed is $2,500, this will fluctuate based on the size and the style of the shed, the material, and the cost of labor. When estimating the cost, consider the following factors.
The larger the shed, the more it will cost. A small 4-foot by 7-foot shed ranges from around $100 to $1,000, while a larger 12-foot by 16-foot shed runs about $3,000 to $15,000. It’s not just floor space that counts, consider height as well. A shed with a low roof will cost less than a shed with a higher roof.
The shed’s style and purpose are also related to the final cost. A simple garden shed might cost between $100 and $1,000, while a storage shed can run $300 to $15,000, depending on its size and whether it features amenities such as shelving. An open-stall shed might run $1,500 to $10,000, while a shed used as an office or a shed typically runs $5,000 to $15,000.
Labor and Permits
Communities vary in ordinances and building codes, and if you have to pull a permit, you could pay $100 or more. The cost of living also varies from community to community, so the going rate of labor will impact the final cost of the shed. In general, a contractor will charge between $50 and $100 per hour per worker.
Additional Costs and Considerations
Storage sheds can come with a few added costs you may not have considered. While the average price tag of a shed ranges from $200 to $30,000, factors such as whether the shed will have a foundation or finished interior living standards will also figure into the final tally. Before choosing a shed, consider the following aspects that may come into play.
Land Clearing and Excavation
A backyard shed must sit on level ground to be functional and efficient. If the spot where the shed is to be located currently has shrubs or trees or sits on a slope, the land must first be cleared and leveled. This excavating process could cost anywhere from $1,300 to $4,400.
Not all prefab shed manufacturers require concrete slab foundations, but most large custom-built sheds will start with one. Some municipalities require both prefab and custom-built sheds to have a slab foundation. Check with your local building authority for the rules in your community. If a foundation is necessary, it could add a substantial amount to the final cost, from around $4,000 to $12,300.
Electrical and Plumbing
If the shed will be used as an office, guest quarters, or shed, you’ll probably want to have it wired for electricity so you can install lights and plug in a coffeemaker, laptop, or other small appliances. In most communities, wiring must be done by a licensed electrician, and it could cost $600 to $2,200 to have electricity run to the shed.
Many sheds do not have insulation, but if you’re going to use the structure as an extension of your living space, you’ll want to have it insulated. Since most sheds are relatively small in size, insulating one isn’t a pricey proposition most of the time. The cost to have a shed insulated starts at around $200, depending on the insulation used.
Prefab vs. Original Construction
Most home improvement centers feature a handful of available prefab sheds on their parking lots. Customers purchase the sheds in kits and then have them assembled at home. The average price of a prefab kit is $1,500 to $4,000. Having the kit assembled by a pro will add about $10 to $20 per square foot, depending on the complexity. In comparison, having a shed built from the ground up with raw materials runs more—about $40 to $75 per square foot, not counting the cost of the materials.
Customizations and Enhancements
Any unique additions or enhancements will increase the cost of building a shed. For example, having a shed constructed to serve as a custom playhouse for the family’s youngest members will cost $60 to $150 per square foot, depending on style and amenities. A prefab playhouse runs $500 to $5,000 before labor assembly costs.
Individual needs vary, and fortunately, there’s a shed type for just about everyone wants or need. The type of finish that goes into creating different kinds of sheds will affect the overall cost. Before buying a shed or hiring a contractor to build one, determine the scope of its intended usage.
Storage Shed Cost
With the high price-per-square-foot of home construction, homeowners often find themselves with inadequate room to store spillover items, such as sports equipment or bicycles. A shed designed for storage often has several wall shelves to organize items and can cost $300 to $15,000. Sometimes called a garage shed, this extra space can also hold a mechanic’s tools and auto supplies or serve as a workshop.
Garden Shed Cost
Garden sheds are among the least expensive types of sheds available. They are often small, resembling a standing wardrobe with cabinet doors that enclose several shelves. A garden shed can usually be attached to the back or side of a garage for stability, and it will cost $100 to $1,000.
She Shed Cost
She sheds have been trending for a few years now, and they resemble storage sheds but may be upgraded to include a few windows. The interior is often finished with paneling or drywall to resemble the interior finish in a home and make the structure suitable for relaxing or for use as a home office. Expect to pay $5,000 to $15,000 to build a shed.
Horse Run-In Shed Cost
For those who own a horse or raise other animals, an agricultural run-in shed is just the ticket to offer the animals a modicum of protection against wind and rain. A run-in shed is open on one side so livestock can enter and exit at will, and the cost to build one range from $1,500 to $10,000, depending on size and materials.
When additional space is needed, a shed makes sense. The main goal is to ensure that the shed will meet the user’s needs. While the average cost to build a shed ranges from $200 to $30,000, the benefits will outweigh the price in many cases. Sheds offer some expected, as well as some surprise benefits.
The most obvious benefit of a shed is typically the additional storage space it offers for storing lawn and garden tools, equipment, or other items, keeping them safely out of the elements. Starting at around $300 for an inexpensive shed kit and running as high as about $15,000 for custom-built wood storage shed, the structure allows users to store items they don’t have room for elsewhere.
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Many prefab storage sheds or sheds kits come with the ability to add a padlock to the doors to help keep bicycles and other pricey possessions safe. Leaving bikes and sports equipment in plain sight is an invitation to thieves. In higher-end sheds, such as she sheds and home offices, a steel entry door can be installed for added protection against break-ins.
Return on Investment
Whether or not a shed will raise the value of a home depends on many things, including the size of the shed, the quality of the materials, and how well it blends in with its surroundings. You’re more likely to see a return on your investment (ROI) if the shed can be used as an extension of the home’s living space: In fact, you could see up to a 200 percent ROI for the money you spend.
Average storage shed kits, which range from $1,500 to $4,000, can be a DIY project in some cases, especially if the buyer is handy with a few basic tools, usually a drill or screw gun, and knows how to measure and level. Assembling some larger prefab sheds can be quite complex, but a DIYer may be better off hiring a builder to complete it.
If the community building codes require a concrete foundation, which adds between $4,000 and $12,300 to the project, this step is usually best left to the pros. In general, expect to pay around $50 to $100 per hour per worker for either assembly or custom building.
How to Save Money on the Cost to Build a Shed
Getting the most benefit for the amount of money spent is important to buyers, and while the average national cost to build a shed is around $2,500, that price will vary based on many factors. The following tips may help save some money.
- Purchase a shed near your home. Shed companies will often deliver free within a certain mile radius but may charge an additional delivery fee if they have to deliver the kit farther. For example, they may deliver free up to 100 miles away but charge a fee, such as $4 per mile, after that.
- Choose less expensive materials. A roof with asphalt shingles runs about $2.10 per square foot, while a tin roof runs as little as $1.50 per square foot, and a metal roof typically runs $5.00 to $20.00 per square foot. Talk to your builder about material options.
- Opt for skids rather than a concrete foundation. While a concrete foundation is the most structurally sound, it’s pricey at about $4,000 to $12,300 to have installed. If building codes allow, consider positioning the shed on pressure-treated timber supports (skids), which can save $1,000 or more.