Building or buying an outdoor storage is an easy way to increase the amount of functional space in your home. Whether you intend to use the shed for storage or as a private space for mum, dad, or the children, it is important that you choose the right material so it can fulfil its purpose well.
Most storage sheds are made from one of three materials: wood, metal, or plastic (vinyl or resin). All three materials have unique properties that make them good for outdoor sheds, but they also have a few limitations that may make them unsuitable for your specific purpose.
Knowing the pros and cons of each material will help you make the right pick:
Traditionally, sheds have been made from wood. Wooden sheds are easy to customize in terms of design, shape, size, and colour. You can customize the inside depending on the intended use. For instance, you can add cabinets or hang multiple shelves from the overhead loft of walls.
You can change the internal or external colour to suit your needs or match the surroundings. These sheds are also easy to decorate by adding unique features such as window flower boxes and cupolas.
The advantages of wooden sheds include:
- Easy to customize.
- Visually attractive.
- Strong and durable.
The disadvantages of wooden sheds include:
- They tend to rot due to poor construction or use of low-quality timber.
- They’re expensive to acquire and maintain, requiring repainting and treatment for insects.
Wooden sheds cost more compared to both plastic and metal sheds. Although wooden sheds are also the strongest, they are also vulnerable to water, harsh weather, and insects, which can cause them to deteriorate. The wood needs to be treated and repainted frequently to preserve the wood and integrity of the shed.
Wooden sheds are recommended for property owners looking for more aesthetically pleasing storage or functional space in their yard. They have a multitude of customization options, which makes them a great option for DIY individuals, as well as those looking to maximize on the function of their shed as storage space, a home office, a man cave, she shed, mini-library, or children play area. But keep in mind that they cost more in terms of purchase and maintenance.
Metal sheds also have a mix of good and bad attributes. They are durable, and will provide good service in extreme cold or excess heat conditions. They are resistant to insects and require little maintenance, since you don’t need to treat them for insects, sand them, or repaint them.
Metal sheds do not rot, but are prone to rust, which can cause the shed to wear down and expose the inside to the elements. But this is mostly a wet climate concern. Metal sheds are also difficult to customize, and often require advanced tools and skills to modify, which is quite limiting to the average homeowner. Their construction is also not very strong, and are considered the least attractive type of shed.
The advantages of metal sheds include:
- Resistance to rot and vermin.
The disadvantages of metal sheds include:
- They are not customizable.
- Their bland appearance.
- They’re prone to leaks and corrosion.
Metal sheds are the least expensive type of shed on the market. They are ideal for homeowners looking for a low-cost, simple storage solution that does not need custom features. Because of the rust issue, they’re likely to last longer in warm and dry climates.
Plastic sheds are the newest types of sheds on the market. They are quickly becoming popular among shed buyers because of their many advantages. To begin with, plastic sheds are constructed from high-quality plastic material that is strong, durable, and light. Some options are integrated with steel supports, as well as double-wall-resin panel construction for greater rigidity.
Plastic sheds are also stain-resistant and UV-protected. The material will not crack, fade, rust, or rot, plus you will never need to paint, stain, or treat it. The sheds come in a wide range of sizes, and some even give you the option for expansion. They are the easiest to build, so expanding a plastic shed is a job that the average homeowner can handle.
Most plastic sheds are made from resin materials such as polyethylene, though some are made from vinyl. It can be hard to distinguish between resin and vinyl sheds, though they have some unique differences that may influence your choice:
- Vinyl sheds are fire retardant, whereas resin sheds are not.
- Vinyl sheds last longer.
- Vinyl sheds are more resistant to adverse weather and cracking.
- Vinyl sheds are tougher than other types of plastic, and can withstand extreme temperatures much better.
Overall, plastic sheds are more resistant to the elements compared to both metal and wooden sheds. But vinyl is the superior plastic material, and the ideal choice for hot and humid areas.
Although plastic is durable, it is not strong. It cannot support much weight on the walls, which limits the number of hooks, shelves, or items that can be stored vertically. Moreover, plastic is difficult to customize without drilling holes on the body.
The advantages of plastic sheds:
- Resistant to rot, insects, and rust.
- Easy to move.
- Low maintenance. They are easy to clean with just soap and water.
- Stain-resistant and UV-protected.
- Come in a wide range of shapes, sizes, and colours.
- Allow for easy additions or upgrading with windows, skylights, shelving, lighting, and peg strips without any additional drilling, wiring, or cutting needed.
- Attractive and decorative with simulated wood-textured panels.
The disadvantages of plastic sheds:
- Not sturdy, though they are durable.
- Not customizable and cannot be shingled or painted to match your home or surroundings.
- Not aesthetically pleasing.
Verdict: Which Type of Storage Shed is Best?
In terms of customization and decoration options, wooden sheds are an attractive option for most households. But plastic sheds are quite tolerant to adverse weather, which is important when you need to use your shed year round. But they’re not strong enough to withstand heavy precipitation, unless they’re reinforced. Metals sheds, on the other hand, can withstand extreme cold or heat very well, and require virtually no maintenance. But they are not recommended for multi-purpose rooms or workshops.