The Shed Buying Guide
What to look for when buying a shed? You want to make sure you're getting the most out of your shed for the money paid, evaluate the quality of the shed by using our guide below. Also don't forget when buying check for quality guarantees and manufacturer specifications, also look at companies that specialize in garden buildings and online for customer reviews. At Buy Sheds Direct, we have it all.
(1) Shed size:
Be realistic on the size of the area that is available for your garden shed. Take in to consideration what you will be using it for and calculate how much garden equipment you will need to store inside it. You should also think ahead as well - you don't want to buy a shed so small that you have to cram everything in it, leaving no room for future purchases.
- Obtain additional storage space for your shed by adding shelving or even loft space. Do ensure that the height of the eaves allow enough room for standing space as well as storage.
- Always check the specifications for each of our products as we display friendly (category) sizes for each product’s name. The specification will provide precise dimensions for the garden building.
(2) Shed Material:
Have you decided on a construction material for your shed? Wood? Metal? Or how about plastic?
Why choose Wooden sheds…
- Many would argue that wooden storage sheds are the most durable as they have been in use for thousands of year
- Wooden sheds are generally considered to be the most attractive – it’s nicer to have a natural looking building in your garden as opposed to one made of metal or plastic.
- Wood sheds seem to be the most popular and traditional shed of choice.
- Be careful: when choosing a wooden shed ensure it’s supplied with at least a 10 year guarantee against rot and fungal decay. Take a look at our Dip Treated range, or if you are looking for a longer lasting guarantee on your timber make sure you check out our Pressure Treated shed range.
Why choose Metal sheds…
- Metal garden sheds have a number of advantages over their wooden counterparts. For the security conscious, they offer the benefit of having integral locking systems which prevent the doors or roof from being prised open. They also don’t have any windows, which keeps valuables out of sight and away from prying eyes.
- You can also be safe in the knowledge that pests will have a great deal of trouble entering your metal shed, so the contents inside will remain protected at all times.
- Metal garden storage units are covered in powder coat paint. This makes the steel not only weatherproof but tough and durable too.
Why choose Plastic sheds…
- Plastic sheds are generally the cheapest type of garden building and are widely available throughout the UK.
- They are maintenance free! Whilst metal and wooden sheds needs a little attention from time to time, apart from the damp proof membrane needed when installing, plastic sheds requires very little maintenance.
- If you are looking for a lightweight garden storage option, we recommend plastic every time over wooden or metal as it is significantly lighter. We would also advise that you anchor down these buildings to protect from high winds.
(3) Garden Storage Construction:
Overlap sheds are the entry level of the three wooden cladding options. 8mm sawn timber boards are nailed to the shed framing and overlapped. The overlapping of the boards allows the timber to shrink and expand easily, something that it will naturally do throughout the changing seasons of the year. The overlapping also allows the rain to run off the shed. However, overlap boards do not form a closed seal so they are more prone to moisture and draughts. This is not a problem if the shed is to be used for garden storage, however if you intend to spend a lot of time in your wooden shed, for example for a hobby or leisure activity, you should consider a tongue & groove or shiplap shed.
A shiplap construction is usually the material of choice for premium sheds and garden buildings. Shiplap sheds use a thicker, smooth-planed slow grown kiln dried 12mm board that combine the best of both material and interlocking tongue & groove construction techniques. The boards interlock which makes them draught and rain proof. Shiplap is a smooth cladding construction and therefore less likely to bend and warp.
Tongue and Groove
Large wooden sheds that are more likely to be used as garden workshops are made using a tongue & groove construction (also known as shiplap sheds) and with thicker, smooth-planed boards. We do also offer a selection of smaller sheds using this sturdier construction. The interlocking of the thicker boards leaves no gaps and means that the wooden tongue and groove shed is better protected from draughts and rain and provides a robust stable shed structure - essential if you spend many hours in there. Additionally, because 12mm slow grown kiln dried timber boards are used, there is less movement in the wood due to seasonal variations in temperature and humidity.
Click here to view a video about construction
(4) Treatment For Wooden Garden Storage:
Dip-treated sheds are the most common and they can be recognised by their orange/amber colour finish. Dip-treating is the quickest and cheapest method of applying preservative to the shed’s timber. However, it is not as long lasting as pressure treatment and so requires annual applications of preservatives to maintain protection.
Pressure-treated sheds have the preservative forced deep into the heart of the grain of the wood under great pressure and can be recognised by the tonal green colour. In effect, the preservative becomes an integral part of the timber giving it a long life and effective protection against rot. Anti-rot guarantees with pressure treated sheds can be as much as 15 years, saving you both time and money as there’s no need to apply treatment every couple of years.
(5) Shed Base:
Where is the shed going in your garden? What base are you using?
Before building your shed, it is important to make sure you have a solid, firm base for your shed to sit on. It should sit on a level base of either concrete, raised concrete, tarmac, paving slabs or timber.
The typical materials used for laying a shed base are concrete or paving slabs. If laid correctly, concrete is the most solid base for a garden building. Paving slabs are a fairly easy option, although bear in mind you may still need to lay a concrete and sand mix first in order to make it as sturdy as possible. Another option for the base of your shed is to use timber bearers. These are quick, cheap and easy to lay – simply place them directly onto the ground with no need for concrete. One key point is to ensure that the surface is level.
To avoid undertaking any major DIY there are pressure-treated wooden shed bases or plastic shed bases that come in range of sizes and can be placed straight onto the earth without the hassle of laying concrete. Plastic bases do require pea gravel which can be sourced from your local DIY store.
We are all looking for a simple environmentally sound solution, which is why perforated plastic tile base components are now one of the most popular choices. Not only are they easy to move about but once laid down on a hardcore gravel bed, levelled and part filed with pea gravel, they will remain firm and level for many years. They also allow for air circulation and drainage under the shed base. The Pro-base tiles are made entirely from recycled plastic too.
As with roof bracing, shed flooring is not normally a top consideration when selecting your next shed – though it should be! Some cheap sheds are supplied with thin chipboard flooring made from wood chippings glued together. Unfortunately chipboard flooring is not well suited for garden buildings: it’s fairly weak due to its minimal thickness and as it isn’t water resistant, it may swell and break up if it gets wet.
OSB (Orientated-Strand Boards) flooring is much better suited to sheds than chipboard, yet still remains inexpensive. OSB looks like large flakes of wood compacted together into a sheet. There are about 50 layers of these sheets arranged perpendicularly and sealed together with phenolic resins to make a single sheet. OSB is the material for basic shed flooring. For heavy duty applications, tongue & groove flooring or boarded floors might be a better choice.
Tongue & Groove Flooring
If you are going to put very heavy items in your garden shed it is advisable to choose a shed that has a tongue & groove floor, such as one of our premium sheds or our heavy duty range of garden workshops. Tongue & groove flooring provides more strength than OSB as the thicker boards interlock and so work together to spread the load in the garden building. What type of flooring comes standard on the storage shed? If you’re evaluating the cosmetic exterior of your storage building only, you’re making a big mistake. That’s because a poor foundation sets you up for not only moisture problems (which can wreak havoc on your expensive storage equipment) but also invites insects (which can damage the entire framework of your storage shed). A sturdy, Tongue & Groove floor or an OSB floor with pressure-treated floor joists and runners is optimal in any storage building.
As well as flooring type, it is important to make sure that your shed has bearers on the underside of the flooring to keep it raised from the damp ground and to ensure adequate ventilation. Also check that the bearers have been treated with a preservative to avoid rot.
(6) Shed Access:
Where do you want to enter your garden shed? Which side does the shed door need to be located?
Many of our sheds have the ability to hang the door on either side of the frame, with the door hinges attached on either side. Think about access: which would be the easiest way to enter your shed and how much surrounding space do you have in your garden? Do you need more than one door for your shed?
Single or double doors
Will you be moving large objects in and out? If you are thinking about storing larger objects in your garden building, such as furniture, large lawn mowers or gym equipment, you may need to think about double door access. This will make moving bulky pieces in and out of your shed much easier. Bear in mind, however, that single doors maximise internal storage space as they take up less wall space.
What are you storing in your shed? If there are valuables inside you may want to think about securing your garden building. What kind of locking system does your shed need? Will you need to add a padlock? Some sheds are designed to be more secure – for example, hidden hinges mean that an intruder cannot unscrew the hinges from the outside
(7) Shed Windows:
Windows make the interior of a shed light and airy and this will be a key feature to consider based on what you will be using your shed for.
Is light required?
If you will be using your garden building simply for storage then you may not require windows. A solar light or shed light may be installed to add the necessary light. If you are to be using your shed for potting plants or as a place to relax, think about how much natural light you want in your shed. Windows are perfect for bringing the outdoors inside and creating a nice bright space. If you plan to use your shed as a ‘man cave’ or ‘she shed’ and as a nice place to get away, read a book and relax with a cup of tea, then you will need to consider the need for windows. Typically, large sheds will have more windows and on some of our sheds we give you the option to add more windows.
Positioning of windows
Which direction is your shed going to be facing? Windows will affect the privacy of the shed and you should bear this in mind when choosing where to put the windows. You may want the windows to provide views onto your garden, or instead you might want them for more practical purposes such as to provide natural light for when you are working in your shed.
Do you want the windows to be open? Windows which can be opened will allow ventilation throughout the shed and this will be great on warmer days.
As with the doors and locks, windows also play a key part in shed security. If you are storing valuables in your shed then to maximise safety ensure you choose a security shed with no windows. This means that none of your items will be on show and this will help deter thieves.
Click here to read a helpful article on how to secure your shed
The majority of our sheds have windows made from Styrene as it is a safer alternative to glass - it’s 100% shatterproof and eliminates the chance of damage from smashed glass. Sheds with styrene windows are usually cheaper than glass. Styrene is just as sturdy as glass, however it is much safer as well as being more environmentally friendly.
We only have a few sheds with glass windows as these are more costly. The glass is a traditional material which is heavier and a toughened safety glass. Summerhouses and log sheds are more likely to have glass windows fitted.
Unbreakable and more secure than most other shed window materials, Polycarbonate is unbreakable unlike glass and plastic windows.This is the same material which is used in the visor of an astronaut's helmet and also won't discolour or become brittle over time.
See our video below explaining the features:
Don’t worry - there may be a lot to take in but if you have any other questions please feel free to contact us. We are here to help and have a team of experts waiting to answer your questions and give you the advice you need.