When you need additional storage for tools or firewood, you’ll begin to question how much it costs to build a shed. Maybe buying one is better. Perhaps having someone build one from a kit is the best option?
There are many things to consider along the way, such as size, shape, and function, but on average, it costs between $800-$20,000 to build a shed.
Yes, that’s a massive range, and there’s a good reason for it. Actually, there are several reasons, including material selection and whether you have a foundation or not.
For a standard wood shed, you’ll likely be looking at costs around $20 per square foot.
Therefore, once you have a size in mind, you can answer the question “How much would it cost to build a 10x10 shed?” with some easy math ($2,000). Similarly, if you want to know how much it costs to build a larger 12x12 shed, the amount goes up to $2,880 (144 x $20).
Factors Affecting Shed Building Costs
Let’s address some of these factors in more detail. After all, the best way to create an accurate budget is to start with a comprehensive and well-thought-out plan.
The size of the shed is one of the most significant factors that affect the cost. A larger shed will require more materials, which will increase the cost. Similarly, a smaller shed will require fewer materials, reducing the overall cost.
When you look at the calculations above that outline costs based on an estimate of $20 per square foot, it’s easy to see how this number changes as you adjust the size.
Obviously, a larger shed will cost more to build than a smaller one. However, the price difference can be substantial. For example, a 6x8 shed might cost $500 to $1000, while a 10x12 shed could cost anywhere from $1500 to $5000 or more.
To calculate the size you’ll need for your shed, start by clearly defining what you want to use it for. If the primary goal is to store the lawn mower and garden tools, measure the mower and add in a bit of length and width for the shed so you can maneuver around it. That will be your minimum size.
Picture how you will store tools. If they will be mounted to the wall, you won’t need as much space as if they will be in a garbage can or elsewhere on the floor.
If the shed will be used to store wood, calculate how much space will be required for one cord, two cords, five cords, or whatever your goal amount is.
For a workshop, you may need space for specialty tools or a workbench, so begin your plan with those measurements.
When it comes to size and costs, it will be less expensive to build a shed based on standard materials sizing. For example, use eight or ten-foot boards pre-cut to length for a 10x10 or 8x10 shed. This way, you will have nearly zero waste, and the shed will go together quickly with few cuts required.
The same tip applies if you’re working with other materials, such as metal sheeting.
Speaking of materials, your selections for building a shed can vary from inexpensive options like pressure-treated lumber to more expensive options like metal or concrete. The type of materials you choose will significantly affect the cost of building a shed.
Wood is one of the most popular materials for building sheds because it is affordable and easy to work with. However, the cost of building a wood shed will depend on the size and type of wood used.
For example, a 10x10-foot shed made from pressure-treated lumber will cost around $2,500-$3,000. A larger 16x20-foot shed will cost around $6,000-$8,000.
Many people are surprised that a wood shed often costs more than a metal one. It’s something to think about when considering materials costs.
Like anything else, the quality of the material is a big factor here. A high-grade wood and a low-grade metal may be closer together in price, but if you want all of the benefits of a high-quality metal shed you’ll pay significantly more for the better materials.
Metal sheds are a popular choice for those who want a durable and long-lasting shed. They are also easy to maintain and weather-resistant. The cost of building a metal shed will depend on the size and thickness of the metal used.
For example, a 10x10-foot metal shed made from galvanized steel will cost around $1,000-$2,000. A larger 16x20-foot metal shed will cost around $3,500-$4,500.
Vinyl sheds are another popular option because they are low-maintenance and long-lasting. They are also easy to assemble and come in various sizes and colors. The cost of building a vinyl shed will depend on the size and type of vinyl used.
For example, a 10x10-foot vinyl shed will cost around $1,500-$2,500. A larger 16x20-foot vinyl shed will cost around $3,500-$5,000.
Concrete sheds are the most durable and long-lasting option, but they are also the most expensive. The cost of building a concrete shed will depend on the size and type of concrete used.
For example, a 10x10-foot concrete shed will cost around $10,000-$15,000. A larger 16x20-foot concrete shed will cost around $20,000-$30,000.
The location of the shed will also impact the cost. If the shed is in a remote area, it may be more expensive to get the materials to the site. If the shed is in an urban area, the labor costs may be higher.
Where you decide to place the shed on your land can also affect the costs. For example, if you need to clear trees or excavate to level a slope, you’ll incur significant additional costs compared to a site that is flat and ready for a build.
4. Labor Costs
Labor costs will also vary depending on the location and the contractor. You may need to hire a contractor to build your shed, and the cost of labor will be a significant factor in the overall cost of the project.
The cost of labor can vary widely depending on where you live and who you hire. If you decide to build the shed yourself, you'll obviously save money on labor costs. However, if you hire a professional contractor, the cost will be higher.
Additionally, if you need to hire an electrician or plumber to run wiring or install plumbing, this will add to the cost as well.
Call around in your area and get a few bids for the work you want to have done. Even if you’re not having someone build the actual shed, you may be planning to pay for site preparation, the pouring of a concrete foundation, or certain aspects of the build such as the installation of windows, roofing, or siding.
Create space on your budget to calculate what these expenses look like for you.
Does a shed need a foundation? More specifically, does a 10x10 or 10x12 shed need a foundation?
The foundation is an essential component of a shed. A sturdy foundation will help the shed withstand weather conditions and prevent damage. The larger the shed, the more important it is to have a foundation to support it.
However, you can build any type of shed without a foundation. At the very least, you will want to prep the land, removing trees, shrubs, and sod. Level the area and tamp it down. Then add layers of crushed gravel or other aggregate and pack it into place.
Why put gravel under the shed? There are several reasons. The first is that gravel offers great drainage, which means you’re less likely to have standing water in or around your shed. It also means you won’t be battling mud every time you go into the shed.
Gravel also offers a solid footing and level surface, which is crucial if you plan to use the shed as a workshop. A properly installed layer of gravel will block weeds and grass from growing in your shed too.
Many people ask, “Can I put a shed directly on grass? or Can you put a shed on dirt?” The answer is, yes you can. However, allowing the shed to come into contact with the moisture from the ground will cause premature rusting of metal and rotting of wood.
You could also use a base of paver stones or bricks. The most expensive, and also the most durable, choice is a concrete slab. You may be comfortable framing and pouring concrete yourself, but it’s more likely you’ll pay the pros for this task.
Regardless of the foundation material you use, you’ll want to ensure proper drainage to extend the life of your shed. Most often, landscaping can take care of potential drainage issues.
The solution might be as simple as planting some water-consuming trees or as complex as re-sloping the grade of your yard. You may also need to install a French drain, or irrigation pipes and pumps. Evaluate your situation and consider whether any of these steps apply.
Depending on where you live, you may need to obtain permits and adhere to building codes when building a shed. This can add to the cost, as you may need to pay for permits or hire a professional to ensure that your shed meets code.
Also remember to check the CC&Rs of your housing division. Many outline restrictions for the size and location of backyard sheds, such as not allowing them within three feet of a fence or ensuring they aren’t taller than eight feet.
Tips for Keeping Costs Under Control
While building a shed can be expensive, there are some steps you can take to keep costs under control. Here are a few tips.
1. Choose the Right Size
As we mentioned earlier, the size of the shed is one of the biggest factors that will impact the cost. Therefore, choosing the right size is important. Think carefully about what you need to store in the shed and how much space you'll need. Don't go too big if you don't need to, as this will only increase the cost.
2. Shop Around for Materials
When it comes to buying materials, it pays to shop around. Don't assume that the first price you see is the best one. Check with multiple suppliers and compare prices. Additionally, look for deals or discounts that may be available.
If you’re using wood, head to the home improvement store, the discount wood center, and the local lumber yard.
If you want to get really creative, you can save a significant amount of money by sourcing used materials. Scour online marketplaces for building materials that others are giving away or selling.
Consider using pallet boards you can pick up free all over town. Or look into salvaging wood from a building or barn that’s being torn down.
3. Build it Yourself
As a reader of this site, you’re likely already considering tackling the build yourself, in whole or in part. This will save you money on labor costs, and you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that you built it yourself.
Do sheds add home value?
The short answer is maybe. A large, high-quality shed will add value for its functionality and storage potential. However, a basic, small shed won’t measurably improve the value of the home.
What is the life expectancy of a shed?
Material selection makes a big difference in the answer to this question. In general, though, a wood shed can last 10-20 years while a metal shed should stand 20 to 30 years. A vinyl shed will net you over 20 years of useful life and a concrete shed should hold its integrity for 30 years or more.
Building a shed is an excellent way to add some extra storage space to your property. Whether you're looking to store gardening tools and outdoor equipment or just need some extra space to store household items, a shed can be a great solution.
However, before you start building, it's important to understand how much it will cost to build a shed. By working through each component of the build before picking up a hammer, your budget should hit the nail on the head.
Looking for more inspiration? Get some specifics on How to Build a Bike Shed and brush up on How to Wire an Outdoor Shed.