There are lots of options for creating the perfect storage shed to store and organize anything from riding lawnmowers to outdoor tools and supplies. Possibilities range from small, prefabricated sheds that are virtually preassembled, to larger, site-built sheds that can be custom designed to any size, shape and architectural look.

The first step is to decide what it is you want to store. Will you need drive-in access for a riding mower or yard tractor? Will you want an area for hanging shovels, rakes and other items? How about shelving and storage of things like gasoline that require ventilation? Will electricity — lights and outlets — be important? What about future needs?

Next to consider is what your lot will accommodate as well as what is allowed in your neighborhood. Smaller sheds, up to about 10 feet x 12 feet in size, typically do not require a building permit for construction, and therefore are also not subject to setback requirements for placement on the lot. However, there may be homeowner’s association rules, local ordinances or other restrictions that govern where you place the shed, so be sure and check with your local building department and homeowner’s association for all rules and requirements that affect your proposed shed installation.

Floor, or no floor?

Whether your shed has a floor depends on your needs and the particular shed you choose. Some vinyl and prefabricated woodsheds already have floors in them. Others such as some of the higher-end metal sheds have floor kits available at an additional cost. Other options include pressure-treated wood decking, concrete slabs and crushed rock.

You also need to carefully consider how the shed will be anchored. Options range from heavy, pressure-treated timbers to concrete slabs with anchor bolts to hold-down anchors that screw into the soil. Even if your shed installation is not subject to local building codes, it’s a good idea to check with your local building department for suggestions on wind resistance and anchoring methods.

Lots to choose from

Once you have an idea of the size and appearance of your shed, you’ll find lots of options. Here again, don’t forget to check with your homeowner’s association or architectural review committee to be certain that the shed you’re proposing meets all neighborhood requirements.

Metal Sheds: Metal is the “traditional” material for manufacturing small, prefabricated sheds you can assemble yourself on-site. Metal sheds are relatively inexpensive, come in a variety of sizes and styles and many also offer optional, add-on accessories to further improve the shed’s usefulness. On the downside, metal sheds do not age gracefully, especially at the lower end of the cost range. They are prone to rusting in harsher climates, lightweight doors and metal shelving have limited strength, and there are typically a lot of parts to assemble.

Vinyl:  The vinyl resin materials now being used by some manufacturers can make for attractive and low maintenance sheds, but you may be limited in size. Vinyl sheds are virtually impervious to dents, rot, insect damage, rust and any of the other maladies that can beset wood or metal, and their molded-in colors eliminate painting. Most of the vinyl sheds require only limited assembly on-site, and some types can be added on to as your storage needs grow.

Prefabricated:  Prefabricated woodsheds offer a great option if you are looking for a sturdy, attractive wood shed with no assembly. These sheds are factory-built in a wide variety of sizes and styles to complement any home, and are available either pre-painted or unpainted if you want to match specific colors. Options include doors of different sizes and styles, windows, interior shelving and different roofing and siding styles. Best of all, they are completely preassembled, including the floor, and are delivered to your site and set into position by the dealer, ready for immediate use. They can also be lifted and moved to another site if needed.

Site-Built:  Site-built sheds allow you to custom build exactly what you want, from the size of the floor to the pitch of the roof. You can make it as large as you want — subject to local codes — and can utilize materials that match or compliment the look of your home. On the downside, they are more time consuming and costly to construct, especially if you have to hire out most of the labor. Another option is to check with your local lumber yard or home center — some offer prepackaged shed kits with all the materials you need for construction, delivered right to your site. And if hammer swinging is not your idea of fun on a summer weekend, they can also help you locate a qualified, licensed contractor.

Remodeling and repair questions? E-mail Paul at paul2887@direcway.com.

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