Asked on Aug 2, 2012

What is the least expensive way to build/buy a garden shed?

DeeHistoric ShedWoodbridge Environmental


I am considering different options for a garden shed. My husband is willing to build it for me (yay!). But I've been hearing conflicting info with regard to the least expensive way: kit or stick built. What are your thoughts and experiences folks?
4 answers
  • Both have their advantages and disadvantages. The stick built will end up costing more. But will last much longer and can be built to blend into the house or area in which it will be placed. The Kit sheds. Come in both wood and metal. The metal ones are the cheapest by far, but you will still need some sort of foundation that it can be fastened to so it does not move around in the wind and screw up the alignment of the doors in the process. They do last a long time as long as you clean it and put a coat of auto wax on the finish every few years or so. Then you have the wood kit types. As with the the rest you need a foundation, but you do have the ability to fasten things to the shed and the ability to paint it to match the surrounding area. The wood shed kits cost a bit more the metal, much less the stick built and are not to hard to put up with some pretty standard wood working tools. Lastly you have the pre-made wood sheds that they deliver. You simply place some pancake cement blocks down according to the size of the shed your buying. Have a clear path ready and in a few hours you have a competed shed. One you can paint or stain anyway you want. These are a bit more money then the stick built ones. But they are made really well. I have seen people install these in their yards, the big ones and insulate, heat and put in a wall AC and end up using them as a craft house or office. Spending a bit more is sometimes difficult, but if you can afford it those are pretty much the best thing you can do. And do not undersize it. It will fill fast and having a bit more room is well worth the cost.

  • Historic Shed
    on Aug 6, 2012

    I would at what will last you longer in the long run. Not all kits are the same, and it should come down to which materials will work best in your area, along with which architectural details work well for your climate. Some wood kits (and some prefab sheds) are built with inferior materials since they are lighter to ship/ deliver. And they may have little eave overhang allowing water to drool down the walls, insufficient framing for snow loads or other design details that don't work. I've seen really nice sheds offered in kit form, and ones that will begin rotting in 2 years. Site built allows you to control these items more, but it can be time consuming and you have to figure out the construction details on your own.

  • Dee
    on Jul 22, 2015

    I did a stick build, but I salvaged most of the materials. If there are people building/renovating in your area, watch for the enviro bins (I hope you have enviro bins!!) and you can find a lot of material. I always ask before accessing bins. Also watch your local recycle/upcycle ads. I just reconstructed a 10 x 12 deck and have only spent about $15 so far. (I bought one board and a couple bits, had deck screws already). I tore down the old deck and the only thing reuseable were the corner posts and one set of joists (the double-board??) on one end that I lay my new topon. The boards were all reused from a deck someone torn down. They were in very good condition, but a bit short, so I had to use my imagination. I bought an $8 treated deck board for the middle and angled all the used boards so it is kind of a chevron type pattern. The 8 X 12 I purchased had a bad end and was cheaper than buying a good 8 x 10 (which is what I needed), so I just shortened the 'bad' right off. If you are building a shed, I really recommend getting some lino to put down on the floor BEFORE you build the walls. If you glue some lino down it really helps with keeping the floor clean and dry. If you get creative you might find some old signs for the walls . . . I got some really nice plywood that had advertisements (which I used on the inside) . . . they were very good quality. I painted the outside of the shed; 2 weeks after that, I saw an ad for salvaged vinyl siding from someone taking down a garage.

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