If you’re looking for a space to store things, create a hobby room, or turn into a work-from-home office, garden sheds are the perfect solution. These range from small, child-friendly playroom sizes to larger areas for adult workspaces. The downside, however, is that garden sheds are quite expensive.
Garden sheds can be expensive because of the cost of materials, assembly, and expertise. Most sheds are made with wood, metal, or plastic, of which the first two cost a lot. You also have to pay for professional design and installation if you buy a premade shed.
In the rest of this article, I’ll give you a detailed explanation of what makes garden sheds so expensive. So if you’re interested in finding out why you have to pay so much for a garden shed, keep reading!
1. The Cost of Building Materials
One of the biggest expenses in garden sheds is the cost of the materials you’ll need to build them. Whether buying a pre-made shed or building one yourself, the base materials are where you’re likely to spend most of your money.
There are four materials that are most often used in building sheds:
Plastic is definitely the cheapest of the lot, but that also shows in the final product. Plastic sheds are often considered cheap-looking or tacky, and many shed owners refuse to have plastic sheds because they ruin the look of the garden.
However, they are better protected against mold and insect damage than untreated wood.
Wood is the most common material used, but it’s also quite expensive to buy and maintain. In general, you can use two kinds of wood for your shed – regular wood or engineered wood.
The price of regular wood depends on the type of wood you buy. Woods like pine are much cheaper options, while cedar and white oak are more expensive. The cheaper woods are also likely to be flimsier, easy to break, and quicker to burn, while the more expensive woods are harder and more durable.
With regular wood, you also have additional maintenance costs to ensure it doesn’t get moldy, damp, or insect-ridden. Fungi and mushrooms can be a major pain point with untreated wooden sheds.
On the other hand, engineered wood is pre-treated to be resistant to insects, mold, fungi, and other issues. Consequently, it’s also a lot more expensive than regular wood.
Metal sheds are more durable and fire-resistant than wood sheds. You can get cheaper steel sheds or use more expensive metals.
The downside to using metal is that it doesn’t usually fit the natural look of the garden. While it provides the most protection against rain, insects, and mold, it also looks more industrial and clinical. So if you’re looking for an aesthetic shed that blends with your garden, metal might not be the material for you.
Vinyl sheds are the most fire-resistant of the lot and can withstand extreme temperatures. These sheds are perfect for hot and humid climates since they’re usually rust-proof, insect-proof, and fire-resistant.
Vinyl sheds are often considered a subset of plastic sheds, but many consider them a separate category. The main reason for this differentiation is that vinyl sheds are generally more durable than other plastic sheds.
2. High Demand, Low Supply
Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, shed prices have skyrocketed due to low timber production. In early 2021, shed manufacturer Kybotech announced that shed prices could double due to a worldwide timber shortage.
In parts of Sweden – one of Europe’s main timber suppliers – fewer trees were felled due to warm winters. This shortage was also affected by COVID rules that made many factories shut down or operate with a staffing shortage.
Couple that with an increase in the creation of home offices, home renovations, and house upgrades due to COVID, and you then have a classic case of high demand and low supply. This market condition allowed suppliers to increase their prices, forcing customers to buy the product at a higher price than normal.
Since the timber supply decreased due to staffing shortages and climate conditions, shed manufacturers have increased the price of their sheds. This price increase was made to ensure that the manufacturers avoided missing out on profits by selling in-demand products at a cheaper rate.
Since many people use sheds as their work-from-home offices, the demand for pre-made sheds increased drastically during the pandemic. This increase in demand, combined with the shortage of timber, led to dramatic increases in shed prices.
3. Professional Design and Installation
With pre-made sheds, another cost is the professional design and installation cost. If you’re making your own shed, you can save approximately 40-60% of your total cost on this area alone.
Pre-made sheds are professionally designed and built by carpenters and architects. So the shed’s quality is likely to be much higher than an amateur DIY attempt. Unless you’re a skilled architect or carpenter, it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to match the quality of professionally made sheds.
Remember, you’re not just paying for the materials when you buy a shed. You’re also paying for labor, which includes the time to design the shed, build it, and install it in your garden. Each of these steps is probably done by different people, so you’re not just paying for one person’s labor; you’re paying for a whole team’s.
4. Delivery Charges
Another cost that comes with pre-made sheds is delivery costs. Most shed manufacturing companies charge an extra amount for delivery, which may or may not be included in the advertised cost of the shed.
So you’re not just paying for the shed, but also the cost to transport it to your home. Delivery charges can differ based on the distance from the manufacturer’s factory to your house.
Even the price of gasoline can affect delivery costs. If you’re given an astronomical delivery charge, check to see the current global fuel prices.
Pre-made sheds also come with a warranty. These warranties may last a year or two and protect you from defects or mistakes in the manufacturing process.
Essentially, a warranty is an agreement that the company will pay for certain procedures or repairs for a year (or however long the warranty period is). So if you find your brand new shed getting moldy within a couple of months, the company will pay for it to be fixed so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket.
Warranties may or may not be included in the advertised price of the shed. And extended warranties may be an additional cost.
6. Upgrades and Miscellaneous Costs
Another thing that makes sheds expensive is that they’re rarely used purely for storage anymore. You’ll probably save a lot of money if all you need is four walls and a roof. But most sheds are made with a purpose in mind.
Whether the shed is meant to be a playroom, office, hobby room, or indoor garden, you’ll need more than the bare essentials.
Earlier in this article, I talked about how the price of building materials makes sheds more expensive. But those aren’t the only costs of a shed. For example, let’s assume that you want your garden shed to double as an office.
That means you’ll need the following features added to your shed.
- Charging points
Each of these things is going to cost extra money. You can either build the furniture and shelves yourself or buy them separately. Even if you build them yourself, you’ll still need to buy the materials to make them.
Once again, the costs of materials, labor, professional design, and assembly are added.
For charging points and lights, you’ll need a professional electrician to safely wire your shed and connect it to a power source. Apart from the electrician’s labor costs, you’ll also need to pay for wiring, materials, and probably a generator (if needed).
Some pre-made sheds come with these options, but they are often listed as extras or upgrades, so you need to pay more.