Build A Shed Using Shed Kits

This is the fifth installment of our “How To Build A Shed” series, by Ryan Henderson author of My Shed Plans

Using Shed Kits Instead Of Building a Shed From Scratch

If you are planning on building a storage shed, garden shed, boathouse or any other kind of shed or garage, make sure you do some homework first. Planning and knowledge will make the difference between building the shed your really want and can use, versus something you may not like, or worse.

If you are a carpenter or experienced handyman you have the advantage over the novice, in a few ways. As a carpenter you will be able to determine what would be best for you, either using a shed kit or building your shed from scratch. With your experience your have more options based on your knowledge.

Novice builders have the same options, but it’s a matter of what would be the best for you. It really would be worth your while to check out the wide range of shed building options and selections that are available.

Many home improvement building supply stores sell “shed packages” that come with everything you need to build a particular style of shed. They are not exactly the same as prefabricated sheds, but they do come with the roof trusses, doors, windows etc. Prefabricated sheds usually come with the walls, roof, pre-built. You just put them together.

A Wise Decision

I know, you really wanted to build your garden shed from scratch, and maybe feel like you’re cheating if you use a pre-built shed kit. On the contrary, you are making a wise decision, and besides, someone has to still put it together, and that will likely be you. In addition, you can customize it to suit your personal needs.

Remember, it’s that overall finished look of the building project that a person takes pride in, not in how many pieces of wood they had to cut. When it’s all said and done, a pre-fabricated shed kit will be just as useful as one you built from scratch.

Pre-Fabricated Storage Sheds

Prefabricated storage units or sheds give you many options and have lots of advantages and these days there are lots of options and models to choose from. Including the latest PVC plastic materials that are virtually maintenance free.

First of all, you can have a choice of materials such as wood, vinyl or metal. If you were to build the shed from scratch, you probably would only be able to use wood, if you didn’t have any knowledge or tools to work with vinyl or metal. Building from wood means you will probably have to factor in painting or siding your shed to protect the wood. Most metal and vinyl materials are already painted or coated.

Because of the way the prefabricated sheds are constructed, there are many models you don’t need to worry much about insulating. So that eliminates your problem of having to work with insulations.

However, if you do want to insulate your shed, you will have already taken that into consideration when you developed your shed plan. It depends on the size and use of your shed. If you are building a workshop you will probably want to insulate it quite well, if it is a storage shed and will not be heated, insulation is likely unnecessary.

If you purchase one of the self locking units, that is a pre-built shed that “locks” together, then you don’t have to be concerned about installing rafters, which is great, because that also gives you more usable space on the inside. You never have to worry about warping provided you have put it together properly.

Buy A Customizable Shed

Remember I said that you could accessorize it? In other words add your own creativity and requirments to your building. You did that when you planned your shed, deciding what it will be used for, how big you need it, the location on your lot etc.
For example, you can plan where you want the windows and doors to be, or perhaps the size of the door to allow you to drive your garden tractor right in the shed, or if it is a garage, where you will bring in your boat.

You could even choose to put in skylights which are not only practical, they modernize the décor and add light during the day. What you want to do, and with what accessories are available to you, depends on the style of shed you are choosing, plus the materials you are building it from. If you are accessorizing, it is usually an added expense over and above the shed package.

You will be pleased with how simple it is to erect one of these sheds when you buy the package. There are so many advantages to it. For example.

Advantages Of Pre-Fabricated Sheds

-All the material comes with it, There’s no running around trying to find everything you need

-You are not restricted to style because of your limited building knowledge

-Your choice of building material allows you to choose something that will blend in and enhance your home and property

-They are sturdy, durable and a real bonus is they are maintenance free

-If your needs grow, and you need more storage space then you can either add an addition to the existing one, or purchase another one the same.

-There are no hidden costs. Everything you need is in the shed package and paid for at the time of purchase, so you know what its going to cost you.

Remember if you don’t buy one a pre-fab kit that comes with a base or floor, you will incur extra costs with that, plus don’t forget about the accessories you might want to include.


Generally speaking, building your own shed from scratch might be a little less expensive than using a prebuilt shed kit. But it depends. If you can do all the work yourself, including things like wiring, if you want electricity in your shed, and depending on what accessories you include in your plan. Windows and doors add to the cost. Building your own shed also increases the chance of suprise costs for things you hadn’t thought of, or buying more wood if you make some incorrect cuts.

Pre-built sheds might be a little more expensive, at least on paper, but it depends on the materials, the options and accessories, type of siding you choose etc. However, most of them cost what they say they cost, and come as a complete package, as long as you don’t change your mind in the design halfway through the project. Remember, prefabricated sheds are designed to be “assembled” as opposed to “built”.

Pre-fabricated shed kits take the guesswork out of the your building project and are certainly easier to build than a shed from scratch. However, building your own shed is also a great way to learn some carpentry/building skills that will come in handy for all your cottage projects.

Who knows where it might lead, today a shed, tomorrow a picnic table and the next day a second story addition on the cottage!!

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Our thanks to Ryan Henderson for this information. If you are considering building a shed at your cottage, Ryan has a downloadable e-book with over 12,000 woodworking projects, everything from small birdhouses to large outdoor sheds, perfect for your cottage. Ryan’s e-book has materials lists, blueprints, step-by-step instructions and easy to follow guides.

The Rest of The Shed Building Series

Part 1: 7 Steps To Building A Shed
Part 2: How To Choose The Right Shed
Part 3: How To Get Free Shed Plans and Blueprints
Part 4: 10 Steps To Build A Shed
Part 5: How To Build A Shed Using Shed Kits

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