Build or Buy???

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Forum topic by DarthMaverick posted 05-08-2015 06:55 PM 886 views 0 times favorited 11 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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31 posts in 1000 days

05-08-2015 06:55 PM

Topic tags/keywords: shed buy build yard question

Hello All,

I have a question. I need to decide on whether I should buy a shed or build one. I am thinking about 12×12 in size. I want it to store some of my yard tools but most importantly, I want it to function as a SMALL shop for myself. It will help me move my tools out of my basement into a place that is less distracting to the family. My major concern is just cost. Is it that much more cost effective to make one as compared to buying one?

Any thoughts, links, or advice that anyone has will be very much appreciated.

Thank you all in advance.

11 replies so far

View Joel_B's profile


292 posts in 797 days

#1 posted 05-08-2015 07:10 PM

If you build your only option is likely wood and then it would have to be rot resistant wood like cedar and/or pressure treated lumber. If you buy then there are other options such as metal or plastic.
Are you putting it on a concrete slab?
I had a small storage shed that I built from DF and cedar. It had the problem of water, dirt and bugs getting into it.
I recently replaced it with this plastic one and its much, much better:

If you are using it for a shop you might want something that is constructed more like a garage than a shed.

-- Joel, Encinitas, CA

View BurlyBob's profile


3446 posts in 1682 days

#2 posted 05-08-2015 08:11 PM

Where you live and your weather will determine a lot about what you built. There is no substitute in learning by doing.

View JayT's profile (online now)


4669 posts in 1627 days

#3 posted 05-08-2015 08:46 PM

Is it that much more cost effective to make one as compared to buying one?

- DarthMaverick

Depends on what your time is worth. I built the 10×12 shed that my shop is in with the help of a some friends. Did the concrete pad one weekend, framed, sheeted and roofed it on another and then did the painting, interior insulation, wiring, etc over the course of the next couple weeks as I had time. The material cost (outside of the slab) was a little less than half the price of a ready build shed and I was able to build it to meet my needs, not try to modify someone else’s design.

The other consideration is your experience level with construction. If you don’t know what you are doing to get a strong & stable structure, then the short term savings are not worth the cost of rebuilding later. In that case a prebuilt shed might be a better option.

-- "Good judgement is the result of experience. A lot of experience is the result of poor judgement."

View DrDirt's profile


4133 posts in 3158 days

#4 posted 05-08-2015 09:38 PM

+1 to Jay…

Also how much HELP will you have?

If it was solo or just some occasional help from the wife, buy it. You can likely just have the 12X12 delivered intact
In our area there are some ‘professional’ shed builders and some Amish carpenters. So there are a lot of choices to have them customize it and drop off exactly what you want.

Regardless you have to prepare a spot for it – and decide how accessible it is to drop off without destroying yards/sprinklers/fences. that may force you into building just to mitigate damage..

-- 'Political correctness is fascism pretending to be manners' ~George Carlin

View knotscott's profile


7144 posts in 2792 days

#5 posted 05-08-2015 09:52 PM

Most of the prototype bugs are all worked out with the kits, so it should go a lot faster. Building my own shed wouldn’t quite give me the same satisfaction as building a piece of furniture from scratch. YMMV!

-- Happiness is like wetting your pants...everyone can see it, but only you can feel the warmth....

View Richard H's profile

Richard H

483 posts in 1097 days

#6 posted 05-08-2015 10:08 PM

If you live in a active HOA building your own may very well be a lot cheaper as you would have to buy one of the higher end ones to meet their requirements. I ended up building mine but I honestly doubt it was any cheaper than some of the kit ones you can buy at the big box store. It did let me get the look I wanted however and match the trim and siding style of the house which keep the HOA (censored) happy.

12X12 is small especially if you are sharing it with yard stuff. I had a 12X12 one and it was full to the brim with the lawnmower, rakes, shovels and other associated yard tools, potting materials, gardening supplies, wheelbarrows, and fertilizer spreaders. I had originally wanted to put lumber in it but ended up not having room after we put all the yard stuff in it. The big advantage of that shed to me was getting all that stuff out of the garage where my tools where.

View Firewood's profile


88 posts in 1050 days

#7 posted 05-08-2015 10:31 PM

I built a 12×20 shed a few years ago. I think it did save some money but was a time investment for sure. I found plans for it here They have plans for quite a few options and sizes available.

-- Mike - Eagle, WI

View Ghidrah's profile


667 posts in 638 days

#8 posted 05-08-2015 10:32 PM

Building your own will allow you to place the door and windows where you want, prefabs are WYSIWYG. If you go with a slab follow the code for above grade minimums. If the local code permits elevations of less than 6” I suggest you use 4X4 PT for a main sill plate bored for hurricane bolts. Seal the sill to the slab with PL400, (drafts and bugs don’t like it). You can go with standard spruce framing on top of the sill. Distance between wood to grade is 6 to 8” in the NE, (termites), allows you to see their dirt tunnels.

You can use 1X6 PT as an apron interface between the sill and slab, apply window flashing on top of it then ply the shell from it. The apron will allow you to replace it 20 30 yrs later without interfering with the rest of the shed.

-- I meant to do that!

View DarthMaverick's profile


31 posts in 1000 days

#9 posted 05-08-2015 11:26 PM

All of the advice is FANTASTIC, I love the community that we have here. This gives me a great start on what to do as far as my decision and if I do go the route of building one, I got some great tips on what to do.

View firefighterontheside's profile


13053 posts in 1273 days

#10 posted 05-08-2015 11:58 PM

I say build it. I built my 12×24 shop almost entirely from materials I bought off of craigslist. The only thing I bought new was a 2×10 for the roof ridge beam and a few treated floor joists. The osb for the walls and roof plus the 2×4’s for the walls all came from a guy who just got married and built a temporary dance floor in his back yard. It was almost the perfect amount. The plywood for the floor cam from a hospital that had used it for a while to protect the floors in a hallway during construction. Most of the floor joists were culls from a lumber yard. I just bought longer than I needed and cut them to length. Windows came from habitat for humanity. You can do it.

-- Bill M. "People change, walnut doesn't" by Gene.

View MrRon's profile


3888 posts in 2660 days

#11 posted 05-09-2015 08:16 PM

I would say building is your only option. Those aluminum foil sheds that are sold by the big box stores are worthless. They don’t come with a floor, so that is an extra cost. Those sheds are very flimsy and they are not weather tight. If you don’t want to pour a concrete slab, you can build a perimeter wall with concrete blocks; place a 2x framework on top and cover with 3/4” plywood or OSB; then build up the walls with 2×4’s; sheath the outside with T1-11 plywood. A sloping roof with tar paper and gravel will finish it. One further note; most counties require a building permit for a structure larger than 100sf and if it will have electrical service, you may need an electrical permit. If you live in an unincorporated area, you may be able to get away from permit requirement, as inspection can be quite lax in rural areas.

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