Updated: Jun 16, 2020
Creating extra storage and de-cluttering is a great idea for any homeowner. Upgrading to an actual storage building to create space and help organize is a plus-not only for the homeowner, but for resale value as well. Thinking about a she-shed? What about a storage area in your back yard for lawn equipment, pool equipment and supplies, or holiday décor? Let me share with you our journey in building this cute little mini-version of our house in the tiniest corner of our backyard, and why you should consider building your own.
I am sure most homeowners have been tempted to buy the pre-fabricated storage buildings that most home improvement stores offer, as we were. #tempting They are usually set up right in the parking lot to entice you to buy one and just have it delivered to your back yard. We certainly felt like doing this – I mean, it seemed really easy at the time. But then when we really looked at the sheds, the materials they were built with and how much they cost, we decided to build it ourselves. Here is what we learned:
1) Consider your space:
Why try to put a pre-fabricated building in your backyard when you can custom build one to suit your needs and your space? In our case, we had a very small space to work with, and wanted it “tucked away” in a small corner of our yard. This would have been very difficult if not impossible to accomplish with a pre-fab building.
2) What About Those Building Materials?
This was the part that shocked us the most: what were these pre-fab sheds made of, anyway? We found out they are made from pressed board, then dressed up with some trim board and paint to make them look pretty. Ironically, the roof on most models is a metal roof – one that will last for many more years than the actual building itself! Pressed board does not hold up in the weather for very long, no matter how much paint you put on it. We found that we could build ours and cover it with Hardie-board siding, like our house, to protect it from the elements for a lifetime.
3) What Is The Purpose of Your Building?
We needed a narrow building for the space that we had, which meant the storage space inside was not as great as the pre-fab models on the lot at our home improvement store.
We remedied this by building two additional feet up, then created a loft storage space near the ceiling on both sides. Although the higher building was a major pain when roofing and painting the structure, in the end we gained a ton of storage space without sacrificing more of our yard. Overall, this was a major plus, and we highly recommend doing this.
4) Upgrades and Such
I know someone who put a window unit air conditioner in their storage shed because he was going to be spending so much time out there. Of course, this is something to consider, but also, do you need/want electricity? Do you need venting? We needed ventilation because we store gasoline inside. I also loved the idea of a round vent on the front for aesthetic purposes.
Do you need a ladder? Stairs? We are considering installing a straight ladder on railing that can be moved from side to side to access the loft storage area. What about the outside? How do you want it to look? We put glass French doors on the front mainly because we were able to get an old display unit from our hardware store for free. It fit in nicely with our house, because we have doors exactly like this on our back porch. #winning 👏👏
Maybe you would like a single garage type door or a barn door look. What type of siding do you want it to have? We opted to create a mini-version of our home, adding a front porch with columns, cedar shakes, and a ramp for easy maneuvering of the lawn mower. None of this would have been possible if we had chosen a pre-fab building.
5) The Expense
This is the part that had our mouths hanging wide open with shock. The pre-fab buildings in our area were selling for around $5,000. We were able to build our own, out of far better materials, for around $3,000.
This was simply a no-brainer when making the decision to build it ourselves. The downside is that it took forever. We can only work on the weekends, and usually only about one day per week, so we had to be very patient. But, in the end, we wouldn’t have gotten near the quality of building for the price if we hadn’t have. Even if you hire a handyman to build it, crunch the numbers and do a comparison. I think you’ll find out you will be better off having one custom built.
Whatever you decide, adding extra storage and de-cluttering is a great project to take on. Ours took awhile, but we got our garage back. No more dirty lawn equipment in our garage. Now everything lawn related is in one place. By building the loft storage we were also able to get all of our outdoor holiday décor in there for easy access rather than having to climb into our attic every year. Originally, I wanted a she-shed. I had great ideas of a yoga studio out there and everything, but I lost out this time. #compromises Whatever yours is going to be used for, remember this: you do not want to be hiring someone to demolish what is left of it and hauling it off in several years because it fell apart. Build it right, and build it for your specific space and needs and you’ll be glad you did.
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