Shed. The word is evocative. For those of us of a certain age, everyone’s dad had a shed. Either in the back garden or on the allotment. They were the stuff of dreams, a retreat of quietude and repose for us blokes.
The unique smell of pine, creosote, potting compost and tobacco. Flaky green paint. The sun streaming in the single window, dust motes dancing in the beam of light, and spiders snoring in their webs on the ceiling.
A small paraffin heater creating a fusty fug in the winter. Shelves carrying all sorts of oddities. Orange ceramic flowerpots with dried-out plants resembling wizened homunculi. Paint brushes of inordinate hardness. Stuff that is spell binding in its strangeness to a small boy.
That was then. But I suspect that not much has really changed.
Sheds will still be the storage place of last resort for things that should be, but can’t be thrown out, and places where blokes can escape to.
By now you have decided you need a shed, so what do you look for:
Things to look for When Choosing a Shed
Is it to be purely for storage and general gardening activities. Some garden sheds are man caves, some work-from home offices. Usage will be important in deciding the extent of installing shelving, workbenches and other work surfaces. You need to see what your utilities, power and communications needs are. Power is almost certain, if only for lighting. Paraffin stoves and lamps are ok, but a bit of a fire risk.
Wood or Metal. Wood is traditional, metal will last longer. A solid load-bearing floor. Windows. A roof, capable of supporting a snow load if necessary. Wind and waterproof.
Some other considerations particular to garden storage sheds:
Will the internal area be large enough to let you do what you want to do. For example, can you store stuff and have a workbench to do your gardening work in a gardening shed. For a man cave, can you get a large screen TV, a wet bar, a pinball machine and a hot tub in it. Is the door tall enough to let you in without banging your head. You need a layout plan to make sure.
Some places have severe weather, and you need to make sure that the shed will stand up to it. That may mean a concrete base to which the shed is bolted, additional strengthening to the roof to cope with high winds and possible snow loads. It may also influence the way in which the shed is designed and constructed.
Double walls with cavity-wall insulation and double glazing might also be needed for home offices in very cold areas. Or lots of heaters.
Sheds aren’t the most secure of places, and most self-assembly sheds have poor provision for implementing security measures. You need to think about security for what you keep in the shed and for that matter, what you are going to keep in it. This is a particular concern for garden sheds used as home offices containing electronic equipment.
Here are three self-assembly sheds you might like to consider.
If sheds were motor cars, this would be a Rolls-Royce among sheds. It is an impressive 10×8 feet in size, and is described as a tall walk in shed (73 inch tall). It has wide double doors (61 Inch wide x 71 Inch tall). Ideal for the man cave, home office or garden workshop.
- It’s made from all weather durable long lasting and maintenance free vinyl that won’t rust, rot, dent or mildew. The manufacturers claim that it will never need painting.
- It does have some security. The door has a lockable handle, although we suspect that won’t be enough for some locations.
- It allegedly is easy to assemble
- Sheds typically have only 1 window. The Duramax has three, 2 in the front & one in the right hand side.
- A foundation kit where the shed needs to be securely mounted on the ground.
- The strong metal structure has been successfully tested for a 20 lb/sqft Snow load
The Duramax manufacturing facility adheres to ISO9001 principals and meets all ASTM standards. Duramax also possesses the German TUV certificate (A State accreditation quality certificate) for its vinyl and metal sheds.
Customer reviews are generally very favourable, commenting on the large size and height. Assembly seems to be quite easy, though it takes some time, and will probably require two people. Unlike some others, it is rigid during assembly before the roof is put on.
On the downside, A common complaint is that the shed is delivered in one box weighing over 130Kg. That seems to require several people and a trolley to move it. Better in two or more boxes.
One other comment was in regard to the floor. The kit comes with a foundation kit on which the floor is to be put. That needs extra wood. Dimensions are provided.
Finally, you will need access to all sides of the shed during assembly. If you are putting it next to a wall, this might cause some delay and access problems.
If you need only a small shed for equipment storage, then this shed is a serious contender. It is 4×6 feet in size, but you will need to bend over going onto it if you are tall. Larger sizes, at an equally larger cost are also available.
- A wood affect exterior with double doors
- Ventilation grills for air circulation
- A heavy duty floor panel
- An integral window giving natural lighting.
- It has a sufficiently high ceiling for an adult to move without banging their head on the roof.
- It is made from durable maintenance and fade-free plastic with steel reinforcements
Customer reviews are positive and the Amazon website has many useful comments from purchasers as to the best assembly techniques. It will take two people to assemble, some tasks can be quite fiddly, and it is better to have a foundation plinth larger than the shed itself.
Again on the downside, it is delivered in a single very large very heavy box (7’ by 5’ by 2’). Unless you are a professional weightlifter or Samson, you won’t be able to move it by hand by yourself.
You will need to buy a padlock for the door.
This is probably the most secure of the three sheds reviewed. It is a reasonable size, 6’x4’. Ideal for garden storage and a little pottering about, but probably too small for a man cave or a home office.
Other features include:
- British Made using FSC certified timber from sustainable sources
- It’s made of straight cut, overlap timber board. The boards overlap which allows for the natural expansion and contraction of the timber. It also helps water run-off.
- A Dip Treatment protects the timber from rot and fungal decay. A 10 year guarantee against rot is included. Please note that an annual retreatment is required to keep the warranty running.
- The roof and floor are made from hard wearing sheet material and the roof is finished with black sand felt.
- 1 window made of unbreakable polycarbonate glazing with security screws The single fixed window installation is made with security screws that cannot be unscrewed.
- A strong door with double “Z” framing, hidden door hinges and hasp. The door of this building can be padlocked to make it secure (padlock not included). The door can be hung either side of the opening and the window placed on either side of the shed.
- Attractive smooth-planed barge boards and decorative finial (whatever that is).
User comments are that it is ok, but to put it kindly that the quality reflects the budget price.
Specific complaints were that the window was not good quality, was easily removed, and that the window glass wasn’t glass but something that looked like cheap plastic packaging material.
If you want a large sturdy shed that you will bequeath to your children, and they to your grandchildren then the Duramax at the higher end is the best buy. If it’s a tad too big or expensive then the Keter being more affordable will fit the bill. If you can afford it, the Duramax is the one.