Sheds - build yourself or buy a used shed?

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Forum topic by Loren posted 04-18-2012 01:30 AM 21295 views 1 time favorited 40 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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10264 posts in 3614 days

04-18-2012 01:30 AM

Like many folks here I am perfectly capable of building my own shed,
but I’ve been checking around and I have noticed a fair number
of used sheds for sale… many of which are solidly built.

The issue is how to move the things. We all know energy and time
are factors. Shopping around it doesn’t seem difficult to acquire a
shed for less than the new material cost to build one the same
size. The issue is disassembly and/or transport to the new location.

What’s your preference?

40 replies so far

View SnowyRiver's profile


51457 posts in 3446 days

#1 posted 04-18-2012 01:39 AM

I have built sheds from scratch, but ironically, I am building a 12X16 shed right now. I chose to do a kit this time. Simply for the time factor. I guess I would rather be buiding furniture in my shop or fishing than building a shed, but I felt bad about having someone assemble it for me considering what we do here :-) So I thought I will have them deliver it pre-fab and assemble it on my own foundation. It happens to be a Tuff Shed if you have ever heard of them. I have a grade drop of about 14 inches front to back, so I had to dig trenches and I am using 6X6 landscape timbers for the foundation. I will have to go 3 high to level the grade.

-- Wayne - Plymouth MN

View jordanusmc's profile


42 posts in 2379 days

#2 posted 04-18-2012 01:48 AM

I have never built one or bought a kit, but I can tell you that I have seen a few people have a flat bed tow truck transport them from one place to another. Hope that helps.

View Martyroc's profile


2712 posts in 2272 days

#3 posted 04-18-2012 01:55 AM

I built a prefab one with my brother-in-law a couple years back, it came out pretty good and since I don’t live that close to him we needed to minimize the time cutting and measuring. We got it together in a day, it took longer to sort the lumber than anything else. If you buy a used one and have to disassemble, reassembly could be a nightmare. Full transport of a used one is a good option depending on the cost of the shed and how much to transport it. Just my 2 cents.

-- Martin ....always count the number of fingers you have before, and after using the saw.

View bullhead1's profile


228 posts in 2215 days

#4 posted 04-18-2012 03:22 AM

Out here in the plains people use the old hay mound movers to move small structures. They usally have three to four chains roatating on a flatbed trailer that tilts. I don’t know how big of shed that your talking about but i’ve seen peeople move double garages with these.

View Doss's profile


779 posts in 2231 days

#5 posted 04-18-2012 06:14 AM

I’m building my own shed and a workshop right now (well, still designing them actually). I prefer to build them from scratch b/c I know the quality of the pieces and construction. All too often when I buy a kit of some sort or help someone assemble one, the materials are pretty bad and the product is mediocre at best. I’d much rather use my money to buy quality materials (for what I’m spending) for X amount instead of paying for [materials and someone else’s design and marketing and overhead] for the same X amount.

If you have to move one, try to disassemble the thing into the largest pieces you can transport safely.

-- "Well, at least we can still use it as firewood... maybe." - Doss

View Kelby's profile


134 posts in 2377 days

#6 posted 04-18-2012 06:33 AM

I’ve been building one from scratch; it’s just about finished. (We need to paint the trim and install some siding.) Most sheds deteriorate pretty badly over time. Building it yourself gives you the assurance that it will last a lifetime.

-- Kelby

View Charlie's profile


1100 posts in 2252 days

#7 posted 04-24-2012 11:52 AM

For the time and effort it would take to dismantle and move an existing shed (again, depending on the size you’re talking about) I think it would be faster, easier, and probably safer to just stick build it. When you talk about breaking something down into large but manageable pieces, you’re still talking about big, bulky sections requiring several people and possibly some equipment to safely move, load and unload, and get to your site location.

I built what is essentially a 1 and a half car garage sized “shed” (pictured in my icon thingie over there to the left). It’s at the back of my property and there’s no driving access. So all materials were dropped off at the street and I CARRIED everything back to where my concrete pad was located. That’s LOTS of 2×4s and MANY sheets of 3/4” T-111, and plywood for the roof deck and the roofing. My son and I even carried all the trusses back there. Once the materials were there, I could set up my sliding miter saw to size all the wall studs, cut sills and plates, etc, and get the frame up. Day 1 was just carrying all the materials. I’m almost 60 and did this myself except for the trusses. Day 2 was warm soaks and drinking coffee. :) Day 3 was frame and sheath. Day 4 I had a couple extra bodies for setting the trusses, sheething the roof and getting the ice&water shield and felt paper up. Day 4 I came home from work, ate dinner, and did the roofing on one half. Day 5 same thing but roofed the other half.

After that it was just setting windows and doors, one interior partition (my wife got 6 feet at one end for her gardening stuff) and exterior trim, gutters, downspouts, soffits, running electrical circuits, etc. I ran out of money when I got laid off from the university so insulation actually waited almost a full year, but it’s done now.

Buying an existing one may LOOK easier, but I really think it would be more work than what I did. The kits I looked at all used materials and/or methods I wouldn’t use.

Again, this all depends on the size of the shed. If you’re just talking about a 6×8 footer or something… heck I can buy those premade and the guy rolls them into place using a lawn tractor and pvc pipe.

View helluvawreck's profile


30765 posts in 2833 days

#8 posted 04-24-2012 12:49 PM

I personally believe that you’ll come out with a better shed if you just build it from scratch – especially if you want something that is a little different. For example, I want a shed that is 12×14. I want the depth to be over 12 ft inside so that I can store 12 ft long hardwood. I plan on having a 2ft door near the right or left front corner which opens up to reveal a two foot wide lumber rack with plenty of cross rails to keep my lumber sorted. I also want some storage overhead. There wood be a 4 foot wide door in addition to the 2 foot door. There would also be proper ventilation to keep my wood in good shape. I’ve never seen a ready made shed or kit that is going to fit this bill.


-- helluvawreck aka Charles,

View crank49's profile


4030 posts in 2937 days

#9 posted 04-24-2012 01:04 PM

How big of a shed are you planning Loren?

Up to a point it’s not too huge of a task to get one on a trailer or truck and just drive it to a new location.

I moved a 12×16 on a 6×12 utility trailer once. Jacked the shed up, backed the trailer under it, installed a couple of beams across the top of the trailer and set the shed down on the beams. Then drove it 40 miles. Of course, I was only 22 years old then and nothing was impossible ;-)

View dhazelton's profile


2756 posts in 2263 days

#10 posted 04-24-2012 01:42 PM

If you want to move a one of those prefabbed sheds then go to a place that sells them and ask how much they would charge to move one. I would not attempt it myself, if it’s a wide load you may need special permits and insurance that these guys probably already have

View Myk_Rian's profile


6 posts in 2216 days

#11 posted 04-24-2012 02:20 PM

I stick built mine. An 8×10 was big enough for the lawn tractor, lumber, and other junk.
I looked at used ones, and those at the box stores. For $2k I feel I came out ahead of the game. That thing will outlast me, for sure.

-- Never, under any circumstances, take a laxative and sleeping pill, on the same night....

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3275 days

#12 posted 04-24-2012 02:30 PM

Interesting…I have a neighbor coming over in about an hour that is a contractor and we are going to discuss building a 12×20 shed behind my workshop. The plan is that I work with him to build it and save money at the same time by doing some of the work. This way i know i will get it built just the way i want it and will work with someone who has been a neighbor for years.

Trying to get a portable shed moved is a joke. I have a 10×12 shed at another house I own about 60 miles away and called Morgan portable buildings and they said they could move it. They came by to look at it one day when i was not there and I haven’t heard from them since. I called twice and they didn’t even have the professionalism to return my calls. If the did not want to do it just say so. Talk about poor customer service.

I also called a local company that makes portable buildings and they also said they could move it for about $500. never heard from them either.

View waho6o9's profile


8165 posts in 2543 days

#13 posted 04-24-2012 03:31 PM

There’s a lot of new products on the market for the foundations.

The one I tried to find escapes me now. Basically, it’s an adjustable plastic post that accepts 4x material. Dig a hole, insert the adjustable plastic post, add 2 part polyurethane (better than concrete and cleaner as well), level floor etc. Build to suite.

Personally I would build it before purchasing a used one. When you disassemble the used one odds are you’re going to mess something up. No? You pry the roof off, cut nails, take out screws and they break, holes in the plywood by accident, walls fall down etc.
I demoed one and can’t see installing said messed up shed anywhere.

Good luck Loren!

View pintodeluxe's profile


5620 posts in 2779 days

#14 posted 04-24-2012 04:24 PM

I think the debate would be between building yourself, and buying a kit like tuff shed. I can’t see disassembling one and being able to salvage the trim, siding etc. You would likely have to replace the roof too. I think any savings would be lost in transport.

-- Willie, Washington "If You Choose Not To Decide, You Still Have Made a Choice" - Rush

View Brrman's profile


65 posts in 2639 days

#15 posted 04-24-2012 04:56 PM

I built my own last year. Wasn’t hard at all. Took a couple weekends. I wanted it fairly deep and a custom door. In these pictures, still needs to be trimmed out on the windows, and corners, and then painted.

-- "Being a perfectionist does not make one perfect..."

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