The cost of building a shed can range from a few hundred dollars for a small prefabricated shed to $5,000 or more for a custom-built model. The cost includes materials for the walls and foundation, labor costs, and finishing touches like lighting and paint. Many costs will be calculated by the square foot, so you can add them up based on the size of your shed.
A shed can be a great addition to your backyard, providing extra space for storing lawn equipment, sporting goods, garden tools, and more. It can even be made into a relaxing hangout space. But the costs of building a shed can add up quickly.
Before you build a shed, you will need to decide how you will use your shed and map out all of your potential costs. The type of building materials you use and the amount of labor you want to do yourself will make a big difference. We break down all of the cost considerations for different types of sheds below.
How will you use your shed?
You first need to determine the purpose of your shed. Is it a utilitarian shed that needs to be a certain size or shape to hold furniture or tools? Is it a cool hangout for you or your kids with a Pinterest-worthy modern look? That will help you determine which materials you need to purchase for your shed.
If your shed is going to be used for storage, you can probably go with a more bare-bones setup. But you will need to make sure it is large enough to hold everything you want to put inside it, and that it will protect whatever is inside from the elements. You may need to budget extra money for insulation if you live in a place with temperature extremes.
However, what your storage shed costs may differ depending on what you plan to store. For instance, if your shed stores your homemade pottery pieces or delicate glasswork, you’ll likely want additional shelving units in place. On the other hand, you probably won’t need to budget this cost if you plan on storing lawn equipment or furniture.
Garden sheds will probably require more shelving and perhaps some type of workspace inside. Depending on the type of gardening you do, you may not need as much square footage as you would for a storage shed.
That being said, if you want to combine your shed with a greenhouse, you may need to chip in some extra funds for materials.
You could create a playhouse for your kids out of a storage shed. You could even add some colorful shutters to the outside and maybe a porch to make it look like a mini house. Be sure to budget some money for colorful paints.
She shed, office, or tiny house
You could spend extra money to outfit your shed as an outdoor room, such as a “she shed,” tiny house, or office. You will probably need some building plans and potentially permits for this type of setup. But it could be a fun DIY project that adds value to your house.
Since this setup will likely require more intensive electrical — and even plumbing — work, expect the construction costs to be higher than the other types discussed.
Once you’ve determined how you will use your shed, you can decide how big to make it. The bigger the custom shed you plan to build, the more expensive it’s likely to be. This is for obvious reasons — you’ll need more physical materials — and also for some less obvious ones. Preparing and leveling the land, pouring a concrete slab (if that’s the direction you’re going), and even transporting materials to the job site all increase in price the larger your plans get.
This size-to-cost relationship is illustrated by the fact that most shed pricing is estimated in price per square foot. While the price per square foot will actually decrease the larger the shed you build, ultimately you’ll still end up spending more money. This information from Tuff Shed illustrates how costs escalate with the size of the shed:
|W x L x H||Base price||Painted price|
|10′ x 12′ x 10’2″||$4,697||$5,027|
|10′ x 16′ x 10’2″||$5,795||$6,125|
|10′ x 20′ x 10’2″||$6,887||$7,217|
|12′ x 12′ x 10’6″||$5,452||$5,882|
|12′ x 16′ x 10’6″||$6,683||$7,113|
|12′ x 20′ x 10’6″||$7,952||$8,382|
|12′ x 24′ x 10’6″||$9,169||$9,599|
|16′ x 20′ x 11’2″||$10,474||$11,054|
|16′ x 24′ x 11’2″||$12,121||$12,701|
A couple of items to note: This price guide is for a pretty basic shed made from quality materials (the siding, for example, comes with a 50-year warranty). Also, note the difference between the painted price and the base price; you can save some money if you’re willing to paint the shed yourself.
After you choose a size, you can start thinking about the materials you will use. The building materials you choose when constructing your shed will play a major role in the overall cost per square foot. This is, as you might expect, because some materials cost more than others. It’s also because — if you’re paying someone else to construct the shed — some materials are easier to work with than other building materials.
Here’s an overview of some common shed materials, along with the pros and cons of each.
If you’re purchasing or building a custom shed, it’s highly likely that you will use a wood frame construction. Wood is easy to work with and strong enough to offer the necessary structural support for most sheds.
Using wood as a siding material for your shed is also an inexpensive option, though it does come with some maintenance costs. A basic plywood siding job can cost as low as $250 in materials for an 8′ x 10′ shed. However, it will need to be painted or stained regularly to prevent rotting or insect damage.
You can upgrade to a cedar shingle, which comes packed with natural oils that help resist weather and insect damage (plus it looks amazing), but it’s a more expensive option. Siding that same shed with cedar will cost nearly $1,000 in materials.
Building a brick shed is one of the most expensive routes you can take. The brick and mortar necessary to side a basic 8′ x 10′ shed will run you upwards of $1,200, and that’s just the siding materials.
Hiring an experienced mason to do the work will cost more than the labor would cost working with other building materials. And, unless you really know what you’re doing, you should not attempt a brick shed as a DIY project — the expense of fixing the mistakes you’re likely to make may cost more than putting the shed together in the first place.
What do you get for all this expense? An incredibly durable and attractive shed. A brick shed will last until your great-grandchildren or a natural disaster decide to tear it down.
Vinyl is an incredible building material. Not only is it relatively inexpensive (you can side your imaginary 8′ x 10′ shed for under $300 if you don’t mind white), but it’s tough too.
Some will say, perhaps correctly, that a vinyl shed just doesn’t look as nice as a wood or a brick shed, but those people aren’t the ones paying for it. If you’re looking for an inexpensive, low-maintenance option, vinyl is the way to go. Vinyl sheds don’t necessarily look bad either. Vinyl comes in a wide variety of colors and you’ll never need to paint or stain it.
A metal shed will be as durable as a vinyl one, if not more so. Though, if the protective coating gets scratched off, it could rust if not treated. It’s also a more environmentally friendly siding material.
It does, as you might expect, cost more as a result. Part of this is base material expense: metal costs more than vinyl or wood. It also requires more expertise and special equipment to work with, so you’ll probably need to hire professionals if you plan to go this route.
Labor costs aside, you can expect to spend between $500 and $600 on the materials alone if you want to build a shed out of metal.
Location and base
Once you’ve settled on a material for your shed, you can decide where you want to put it. You might think you can just plunk it down on the ground, but you actually have to build a foundation for your backyard shed to sit on. This way, the shed will be completely level and have adequate drainage.
There are many different types of foundations you can build yourself or hire a professional to build for you. Some of them are similar to the type of preparation you have to do before you build a patio (digging out some dirt, pouring some gravel, etc.). These are the two basic types.
- On-grade foundation. This is also called a floating foundation because it sits above the ground. They are easier to build and suitable for most small- to medium-sized sheds.
- Frost-proof foundation. These are also called permanent foundations because they are sturdier and last longer. They are better for very large sheds. You may need to pour concrete footings or a concrete slab for this type of foundation.
The costs to build a foundation will vary depending on which type you choose. But using a concrete slab for a 10′ x 10′ shed as an example, you would need to purchase these materials:
|4 inches of gravel||$145|
If you figure the cost at between $4 to $5 per square foot, then a 10′ x 10′ shed base should cost $400 to $500 and a 10′ x 20′ shed base would cost $800 to $1,000.
Labor costs can vary greatly depending on the region where you live, the current demand, and the scope of your build. If you just need someone to help you assemble a shed, that will cost less than having someone custom build your shed.
A general estimate would be around $10 to $20 per square foot for labor. So for an 80-square-foot shed, you would be looking at $800 to $1,600 for labor.
Your shed is really starting to come together! But you might still be missing some important elements to make your shed comfortable. Here are some additional costs to consider.
- Insulation. Ideally, you would add some insulation to your shed to keep the temperature more steady and prevent various creatures from getting inside. You could opt for fiberglass insulation or spray foam for about $1.50 per square foot.
- Electrical and lighting. Depending on the size of your shed and what you are using it for, you may or may not want any lighting or electrical outlets. But if you do, you’ll probably want to call a professional to install the electrical wiring. This could cost $50 to $100 per hour, plus more for any light fixtures or plugs.
- Shelving. Any good storage shed will need some shelves. You could build them yourself or purchase a shelving system for about $100 per 3-tier shelf.
- Paint. If you opted for a wood shed or a design that requires painting, you’ll have to purchase that as well. Again, the cost depends on the size of your shed, but it probably won’t require much more than a $30 to $50 can of paint and some brushes.
Buying a prefabricated shed
One of the best ways to save time and money building a shed is to purchase a prefab shed kit. These shed kits come with most of the materials you need to build a shed, and some of them are preassembled. The paint and shingles, for example, may not come with the shed, so you can match them to your own home.
Some prefabricated sheds may even include installation in the cost. The prices vary wildly, depending on the size and whether or not they include windows, doors, and other features. You could spend anywhere from $400 for a small plastic garden shed to over $50,000 for a shed that is more like a large garage. A medium-size shed with room for storage and some nice trim features costs about $3,000 to $5,000.
How much does it cost to build a shed?
Let’s put all of the costs together to find out the total cost of building a shed. For simplicity’s sake, we will use an example of an 8′ x 10′ storage shed with metal siding.
|Extras (paint and shelving)||$300|
Let’s compare that with a 10′ x 12′ prefabricated shed that you put together yourself on top of a concrete slab. You save money on labor, but end up paying more for the larger shed kit.
How to finance a shed
As you can see, the costs associated with building a shed, even a DIY shed, can be high. Fortunately, there are many ways to finance the cost.
Home equity loan or line of credit
Using the equity in your home is a common way to finance a home improvement project, such as a shed. You can take out a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC), both of which use your home as collateral to get a low-interest rate.
A HELOC might be a better option for a shed that costs a few thousand dollars, as it’s easy to use and pay down, like a credit card. This way you also have the option to add more to your custom shed down the line.
If you don’t want to use your home’s equity, you can get a personal loan instead. Because personal loans are generally unsecured, you may be subject to higher interest rates. And, while your house won’t be at risk if you miss a payment, your credit score can still take a hit. That being said, repairing your credit score is an easier task than buying a new home.
Check out our list of the best personal loans for home improvement as well as the list of personal loans below.
Rewards and 0% APR intro credit cards
If you think you will be able to pay off your balance within one payment cycle, you might consider using a rewards credit card to get extra points or cash back. This option will undoubtedly have the highest interest rates, but it may be worth the additional rewards if you can pay down the balance before you have to pay interest. If you need some more time to pay off the cost, consider a credit card with a 0% APR intro period.
Is it cheaper to buy or build your own shed?
While you can save money on labor costs by building your own shed, you can easily spend just as much money or more on a prefabricated shed or expensive materials.
Why are sheds so expensive?
Once you get into the size of shed that is basically a small building, it requires sturdy materials that can hold up to all types of weather. It also has to sit on a sturdy foundation that can cost several hundred dollars to build. If you can’t build it yourself, you’ll have labor costs, too.
Can a shed sit on grass?
The smallest storage sheds that are made of plastic can probably sit on grass. But larger structures will need to be built on a base, which could be a raised platform, poured concrete, or another type of foundation.
Can you put a shed on concrete blocks?
There is a specific type of concrete block called a deck block that is ideal for building a shed base. They only cost about $10 each.
- The cost to build a shed can range from a few hundred dollars to $5,000 or more. Of course, this depends on the type of shed you choose and the amount of work you do yourself.
- First, you need to decide how you will use your shed and find out if your city requires any permits to build that type of shed.
- The cost of materials varies a lot. You can choose from wood sheds, vinyl sheds, brick sheds, and metal sheds. Brick will be the most expensive.
- You will need to build your shed on a sturdy foundation, which can cost $4 to $5 per square foot.
- If you need to hire someone to build your shed, labor costs could range from $10 to $20 per square foot. A prefab kit could save you some money on labor costs.
- Don’t forget to factor in extra costs, including insulation, lighting, paint, and shelving.
- If you need to finance your shed costs, you can get a home equity loan or line of credit, a personal loan, or use a rewards credit card.
View Article Sources
- Repairing and Improving a Home — USA.gov
- Fixing Up Your Home and How to Finance It — U.S. Department Housing and Urban Development
- How to Build a Tiny Home and 6 Ways to Financing It — SuperMoney
- How Much Does It Cost to Install a Hot Tub? — SuperMoney
- What Does It Cost to Build an Outdoor Riding Arena? — SuperMoney
- How Much Does it Cost to Install a Pergola? Pergola Average Cost — SuperMoney
- How Much Does a Patio Cost? Best Ways to Finance — SuperMoney
- How Much Does It Cost to Build an Outdoor Basketball Court? — SuperMoney
- What Does It Cost to Build an Outdoor Kitchen? — SuperMoney
- Best Personal Loans for Home Improvement | August 2022 — SuperMoney
- 2021 Personal Loans Industry Study — SuperMoney