January 26, 2007

What's the Cost of Building a Shed?

"What does it cost to build a shed?" is one of the most common questions we receive. The bottom line is on the minds of most homeowners - whether they're looking to build a cheap shed, put up a utilitarian steel building or have something more extravagant custom-built.

So how do you set a baseline and determine your potential savings?

The easiest way is to look at the complete installed cost of a pre-finished shed. What will they charge to simply drop off a prefabricated unit onto your lot? This is easiest to compare with smaller units that do not require a foundation -- just level ground and a gravel base.

In order to estimate costs based on square footage, you'll need take construction techniques and materials into consideration. There are many factors that will cause one shed to cost more than another - most commonly the framing, siding, roofing, flooring, windows, and doors.

It's not always apples to apples. For example: some kits use remarkably light engineering. That's not a good thing if you expect your new outbuilding to hold up for the long-run.

I brought my greenhouse shed in for roughly $10 per square foot, way back when. A similar unit at a local garden center was priced at three times that amount. There were some subtle differences in trim, but nothing hugely substantial - for the most part, it was a case of comparing T-111 siding to T-111 siding and asphalt roofing to asphalt roofing. I briefly considered purchasing a kit, but the total costs (including shipping) put the kit out of my price range. But it was apples to oranges ... the materials used in the kit were of higher quality.

The fluctuating cost of lumber and - even more importantly - the local labor rates cannot be discounted. The fees involved with trucking a finished shed from an economically-depressed location to a more affluent area can be minimal when compared to the hourly rate. But the trade-offs include a reduction in design choices. There's a big reason why most truck-delivered sheds are short and squat: transportability.

When it comes down to it, the total cost is often the final factor making the decision to build from scratch, assemble a kit, or buy a ready-made shed. It's up to you to decide if aesthetics, versatility, and value for the dollar are worth the purchase price over time.

Posted by geekbooks at January 26, 2007 11:09 PM

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