We all want to know the best, quickest, and cheapest way to do most things in life. And who can blame us? But knowing how to build a shed involves more than design and location alone.
Sure, making a DIY shed has a lot going for it, but you’ll have to be honest with yourself as to whether you’re up for the task. And if you do build your own shed, it requires a lot of labour and guarantees.
These include guarantees such as delivery times and the quality of the timber you use. One guarantee you won’t get, though, is any form of warranty. So you’ll want to be sure of your abilities before you start building a shed.
That’s why we’ve come up with this guide to help you decide whether to buy or build a shed and which is cheaper.
Why Buy a Shed?
Before we get into the question of why buy a shed (rather than build it) we have to answer – why buy a shed?
Wooden, plastic, and metal sheds can be anything from a bit of extra storage space to a workshop or home office. With more people having to work from home (WFH), it’s no wonder that sales of sheds soared during lockdown.
So if you’re tired of your tools sitting out in the rain or you need a get round to some woodwork, a shed’s the answer.
As to why you should buy a shed instead of the materials and tools and assemble it yourself – let’s have a quick look.
Some of the best arguments for buying a shed are:
- Ease of purchase
- Easy to assemble
- Quality and warranty guaranteed
So, if you’re not that handy or don’t already own the tools necessary to build your own shed, this option could be for you. By skipping the shed construction stage you can have something ready to go in your garden in no time.
You’ll be assured of quality materials, a professional design and a warranty. However, the argument against this option is the cost.
Whilst that price tag might seem off-putting at first, just remember that it includes not only materials. You’re also paying for the labour and construction as well as delivery etc.
This begs the question:
Why Not Build a Shed?
One of the biggest draws for building your own shed is the romantic element. There’s enjoyment to be had when building your own shed, especially if it’s on the cheap.
But the question is – is it really cheaper? The outlay for the initial materials may well be. But there’s a number of factors to consider when constructing your own shed.
- Are you ‘handy’? – If you haven’t got any experience with carpentry or building then you might be shooting yourself in the foot here.
- Can you transport materials? – Have you got a vehicle capable of picking up things like timber? If not, then you might end up spending more on delivery costs.
- What’s your timeframe? – Can you afford to wait if fixings and materials aren’t in stock? How quickly do you need your shed finished?
Of course, building your own shed can be a great experience. And there can be a real sense of achievement at the end of it.
But what happens if your friend can’t help you out on such short notice? What happens if it rains when you haven’t got the roof on yet? Unless you’re a skilled carpenter, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to construct even a medium-sized shed in a single weekend.
If you do decide to build your own shed, our best advice would be that age-old saying – ‘measure twice. Cut once’. If you mess up instructions or measurements then you might even have to start over.
On the other hand, one of the best arguments for building your own shed is customisation. You can decide on the materials, quality, and price range. But even these costs can run away with you!
With buying a shed you can cut down on timeframe and you’ll have a warranty to fall back on if anything goes wrong. Whereas, if you build your own shed you can personalise it to suit your needs.
And then there’s the third option – the BillyOh option.
Flat-pack or Using Your Own Materials
But what if you still want the experience of building your own shed without the extended labour and waiting time? Then boy, have we got a surprise for you.
Our range of garden sheds use pre-assembled tongue and groove boards for easy construction. Plus, you can customise the overall size of your shed to suit your needs and your garden.
With this third method, you’ll also require fewer tools. At most you’ll need a hammer, drill, and a screwdriver. With all of your panels pre-cut you won’t need tools like a framing gun or a circular saw.
And with European-sourced timber, you’ll still get a high-quality, durable DIY shed.
But, to play devil’s advocate, let’s have a look at the costs involved with building and buying a shed.
The Costs of Building A Shed
Whether you opt to construct a DIY shed or buy a cheap shed, there are some factors that are always going to affect the price.
Obviously, prices are going to vary depending on whether you’re just buying a shed to use as a storage unit or a large workshop.
By deciding on whether you want your shed to be used as, say, a workshop, craft room, or potting shed, you can narrow down your price range.
Once you’ve decided what you want to make a shed for, you should decide on a design. First off, figure out whether you want a pent, apex, or reverse apex roof.
A pent roof is a single slope on an incline for drainage. Whereas, an apex roof is slanted in a ‘v’ shape and drops off to the sides of the shed. A reverse apex is similar, but slants down to the front and back of the shed (in relation to the door).
Then, you’ll need to go a little further and decide what design of shed you want. Refer back to your shed’s purpose that you settled on to get a better idea.
Do you want a lean-to, a saltbox shed, or a summerhouse? These decisions will affect the price of your shed. They’ll also require more carpentry knowledge if you’re looking to build your shed.
Tools and Construction
These increasing demands on your construction skills go hand in hand with the tools you’ll need.
At the very least, to build a shed using materials you’ve bought you’ll need:
- Drop saw (or mitre saw)
- Circular saw (or hand saw)
- Drill (and bits)
- Impact driver
- Pencil, set square, and tape measure –
- Straight edge
- Hammer and chisel
- Spirit level
- Basic staple gun
For ease of construction, or depending on the size and thickness of your shed, you might even want a framing gun.
And this is all before you’ve purchased materials. So what you have to ask yourself first is whether you’re going to rent or buy these tools (and if so, will you use them again?). Then there are obvious safety issues that come into play if you haven’t used them before.
If you are looking to invest in some tools, though, building your own shed could be the perfect excuse to pick some up. But you’d be wise to do some research into reliable brands like DeWalt, Milwaukee, and Makita. And be prepared to wait if something isn’t in stock.
Still set on the idea of building your own shed? If so, let’s have a look at one of the biggest hidden costs of attempting to build your own shed – time.
Shed construction takes a lot of time, from planning a design to choosing materials and assembly. Which leads us to the big question – what do you value your time at?
Offsetting the upfront cost of buying a shed by using yourself for labour can save you money. It can also slowly eat into that initial saving if it takes a long time, though.
Let’s have a look at the rough steps you’d need to take to construct a shed. Then you can think about whether it’s worth your time and effort.
The steps to making a shed look a little something like this:
- Measure, clear, and level your desired space.
- Mark your shed out.
- Dig footings for support slabs for the four corners and backfill with hardcore and soil. At this point, you could also opt to pour a full concrete slab or footings depending on how big your shed is.
- Cement in further support slabs along the edges of your foundation.
- Construct a level frame to rest on your slabs.
- Lay OSB board on your ground frame.
- Build wall frames.
- Insulate and waterproof your shed.
- Frame the roof.
- Fix cladding to the exterior.
- Fit plywood and shingles to the roof.
- Fit the windows and doors.
- Any additional steps like installing shutters, drainage, ramps, soundproofing, internet etc.
Check out our quick guide to building a shed if you want to refer back to these steps.
Obviously, with a pre-bought shed, you won’t be required to do anything of this – except maybe the foundation. And if this is your first shed, always opt for a wooden one. Wood is a sturdy material and it’s easier to build with. Plus you won’t need tools for metalwork like an axle grinder.
So whether you’re looking to construct a storage shed or a summer house – how long do you think it’ll take you? If something goes wrong, like your foundation isn’t level, it could put strain on your shed. Then this could cost you further down the line.
In contrast, the BillyOh construction process goes a little something like this:
- Order online
- Panels made from high-quality European timber are built whilst you wait
- Panels are delivered to your door
- You and a friend use our tongue and groove design to fit the panels together in a matter of hours
- Kick back and relax in your brand new shed
We’ll just leave that there.
But besides shed assembly prices, there are certain things that you’ll need to consider when buying or building your own shed.
Planning Permission and Positioning
As we’ve made clear throughout this guide, you need to plan ahead. This is true whether you’re buying or building a shed.
And one of the first steps is figuring out where your shed is going to go. Besides the aesthetics of where it’ll look best, you need to think about the following.
1. Access and doors
You will want at least one metre (3ft) space around your shed to give you access. Plus, you’ll need to make sure your entryway is clear for easy entry.
If you’re buying a storage shed, you need to choose a convenient location. It’s no good if your shed is too far away and no-one puts their toys away (children and adults that is!).
Will your shed be a focal point of your garden or should it be located in a more discrete location?
When buying a shed, you need to think about existing and planned landscaping. It’s no good for drainage if your shed is in a gully at the bottom of your garden.
Equally, it’s wise to plan ahead. Are you thinking about adding any features like flowerbeds, shrubs, or even a path to and around your shed?
Making sure you get this right the first time can save you time and money down the line.
3. Planning Permission
Depending on where you live and where your shed will fit, you might need to check planning regulations.
For example, you’ll need to see what the rules are if you live in a listed building. Some rules are more general, such as not exceeding 2.5m at the maximum height of your eaves. But again, it’s no point waiting until your shed arrives to find out that it’s not up to specification.
So if you want to read up on it, check out this useful mini-guide on outbuilding planning permission.
Is It Cheaper To Build Your Own Shed?
Phew! We’ve come all that way, from talking about roofing felt to shed installation costs. And…we’re right back where we started. So is it cheaper to build your own shed?
Well, there’s a short answer and a long answer. The short answer is: ‘yes…probably’. This ‘yes’ means that if:
- You’re skilled enough to measure, cut, and build a shed
- You have all the tools on-hand
- You have at least one skilled friend to help you out
- You have time on your hands
- All the materials and fixings you need are in stock. And you have the means to transport and store them (somewhere like, say, a shed!)
- The weather is on your side and doesn’t waterlog or rot your shed before it’s built
Then yes, building your own shed probably is cheaper upfront. And the alternative – buying a ready-built shed – can come with a hefty price tag. Plus, one of the biggest pros of building your own shed is making it perfectly fit your space.
This is why we’re advocating for a third option. Why not get the best of both worlds? You can still have the thrill of construction and the feeling of achievement. Just, you know, contained within a weekend.
And, you can still customise features like guttering, wood treatment, bases, and interior shelving. This way, you get a fantastic compromise between stock-size sheds and your own DIY shed.
So if it’s the price tag that’s still worrying you, check out this cost comparison between a BillyOh and a DIY shed. The savings on building your own shed might not look so appealing afterwards. Plus, you have to factor in your own time (and whether or not you’ll get it right!).
Do you want to feel like you’ve had a part in designing, customising, and building your shed without all the hassle? If so, choose the third option – the BillyOh option.
Check out our range of easy-to-assemble sheds to find the perfect fit today!Shop Sheds
Is it cheaper to build your own shed?
Great question – the short answer is, probably. But once you’ve factored in time, material costs, and labour, that price tag isn’t that much cheaper. Plus, it depends on how skilled at carpentry you are.
Remember, with your own shed you won’t have a warranty if anything goes wrong, either.
How to build your own shed
Check out our quick guide on how to build a shed for more information.
Is it worth it building your own shed?
Look, we all love getting our hands dirty and making something that we can be proud of. But you also want a durable, well-made shed from quality materials. So if you’re tight on time, or looking for a more customisable experience, why not build a BillyOh shed without all the hassle?
How much does it cost to build a shed on your own?
Let’s start by saying that we think you should always have at least one other person to help out. This goes for safety reasons and for ease of manoeuvring materials. In this guide, we’ve provided links to price comparisons, but ultimately, it’ll depend on the materials you use.
Plus, you’ll have to put a value on your own time. However, a BillyOh Master Tall Store starts at just £219 and is easily put together in a couple of hours for reference.