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If you’ve considered buying a storage shed but don’t know where to start, congratulations! You’ve already begun the first step in the process: research. Here at Overholt Storage Buildings, we believe preparing for a shed is one of the most important things you can do. We have over 25 years of experience in the shed business. We’re here to walk you through every step of the process of choosing a shed, from size to color, to quality.
Reasons for Buying a Shed
A storage shed can be used for many things. If you have a full garage or a small house with limited storage space, a storage shed can take some of the pressure off as you relocate your rarely-used items, such as your Christmas lights or the extra set of folding chairs you only use when you host the extended family Thanksgiving.
Or maybe your yard is looking a bit messy, with your rake leaning against the house, your child’s scooter abandoned in the driveway, and your lawnmower parked off to the side under the eaves. By moving all this stuff to a garden shed, you can have easy access to all your outdoor equipment while keeping it out of the elements. And just think about how much better you’ll feel about your backyard when it’s all cleaned up!
Even if you don’t need extra storage space, a storage shed can be a great place to practice your hobby. By setting up away from your house, you have more freedom to create mess and noise. A backyard shed also provides a place to “get away from it all,” and after indulging in your hobby for a while, you can return to your regular duties relaxed and refreshed.
You can also use your backyard shed as a place to start your new business. Some of the most successful businesses have started in the most humble locations. Do you know who also started small, making circuit boards in his garage and starting what went on to become a trillion-dollar company? Steve Jobs!
And if that isn’t enough to convince you to set up the office in your backyard shed, consider the benefits of working from home. You can set your own hours, stopping early to pick up your children from school and staying home with them when they’re sick. And you don’t have to worry about the time and money wasted by commuting every day.
Planning and preparing for a shed (7 Steps)
You have many choices when it comes to storage sheds, and it may feel overwhelming at times. As you start thinking about what size of shed you’d like, what you want it to look like, and where you want to place it, it is helpful to talk to people who have already gone through the process. Do you know people who have bought storage sheds? Talk to them about their experiences. Were they happy with their decisions? What would they change if they were buying it all over again?
You may also find it helpful to talk to people who have experience in the shed business. Here at Overholt portable Buildings, we’ve been in the shed business since 1982. That’s 37+ years of helping people find the shed that suits their needs! Feel free to call us with your questions at (270) 726-7948.
1. Choosing a Shed size
In order to figure out what size of shed you need, begin by making a list of what you plan to place in your shed. Remember, this will depend on how you want to use your shed. If you plan to use it as a garden shed, how much equipment do you already own? How much would you like to own?
For general storage, walk around your house, current storage spaces, and grounds, noting items that will eventually be stored in the shed. Think about what items you might purchase once you have a little more space. Estimate how much space will be required for each item. The LP Corp shed space estimator website can help you with that process.
For a home office, the most important thing to think about is what size of desk you want. Do you want plenty of room to spread out papers, or a smaller desk to hopefully keep you more organized? Once you’ve figured out your desk size, figure out how you’ll store your paperwork. Do you need room for a file cabinet, or will your desk drawers suffice?
Divide your list of stuff into small items that could go on shelves, and larger items that need to be parked on the floor. Then draw a floor plan, noting enough shelf space to accommodate all your smaller items. If you wish to add a workbench, allow enough space to be able to maneuver around it without bumping your ankles on your equipment. Finally, leave enough space that your tractors, ATVs, mowers, and bicycles will not only fit in your shed but will be able to be maneuvered in and out with ease.
2. Define your budget
At this point, when you have an idea of what size of shed you want and how much it will cost, you should take the time to figure out your budget. Having an idea of what you can afford will help you as you choose your quality, features, and payment plan.
Here are some important things to consider: Will your shed save money in the long run by protecting your equipment? If you’re using your shed as a home office, will your shed end up earning you money? Will your shed add to the value of your property?
Remember that there are two ways to purchase a shed. You can buy a shed with a one-time payment, which is ultimately the cheapest way. However, if you don’t have the savings for a purchase of that sort, consider a rent-to-own option. While a bit more spendy in the long run, it’s a way to get a shed fast, with affordable payments.
3. Choose your quality
High-quality materials may cost a bit more, but they’ll pay off in the long run when they last for a very long time.
When it comes to roofing materials, you have two options: Metal and shingles. Metal roofing will cost a bit more but will last much longer than shingles will. Still, some people prefer the look of shingles.
Siding is another issue you’ll have to consider. Often, you will have the option of using generic wooden siding or vinyl siding. Here at Overholt sheds we use roseburg duratemp siding. This siding is made of wood, so it has all the advantages of looking more natural and being a renewable resource. However, since it is engineered to be durable, it won’t split or crack like regular wooden siding.
The best way to check the quality of your building is to examine it in person. You should look over your storage building to make sure that it’s well-built. Grab a measuring tape and calculator, and check to make sure that the building is square. Examine the boards. Are nails sticking out? Is the lumber rough or smooth? Make sure there are no cracks where mice could come in. Check to see if there is sunshine coming in around the door of the shed. If so, the shed or door is not built square, and you may want to keep looking!
4. Pick your shed style and features
Here at Overholt Storage Buildings, we offer many styles of sheds. You probably have some idea of what you want, based on your personal taste, your budget, and your friend’s recommendations. Look over this list to see what your options are.
One important consideration for almost any shed is lighting. Is a lighted area important to you while inside your shed? If you’re using your shed for hobbies or an office, you will probably want lots of natural light, which means lots of windows! If you can’t see it while you’re in your storage shed, it won’t be of much use to you. If you’re spending a lot of time in your shed, working on hobbies or using it as an office, you’ll want to make sure you have plenty of natural light. Decide how many windows you would like, and what size you would like them to be. A dormer window will add a cute touch, as well as an extra light. If you want to work late, or access stored items after dark, add our electrical package to add electric lighting to your shed.
You will also want to think about ventilation. Our standard shed package comes with two vents near the peak of the roof on either end, but there are more ventilation options to keep your shed really cool in the summer. A simple upgrade would be to opt for larger vent sizes. This can make a real difference in letting cool breezes through your work area. For the ultimate solution, opt for a ridge vent, which runs along the entire length of your roof, allowing hot air to escape in the very area where it accumulates.
When it comes to access, you’ll need to carefully think about where you want your doors placed, and what size you’ll need for your equipment, furniture, and storage items. Look at the floor plan you created earlier. What door placement will allow you to easily move your equipment in and out? How often will you be using your equipment? Come summer, you might find it unhandy if you have to move your 3-wheeler out of the way every time you take your lawnmower in and out of your shed.
And remember, any time you’re storing wheeled equipment in your shed, make sure you have a ramp for easy access!
Finally, think about the things you could add to make the shed lovelier in appearance. Do you like the look of shutters beside your windows, or flower boxes beneath them? Would you like a cupola placed on top? What colors would go well in your garden?
For a full list of the included and optional features we offer, see our building features page. You’ll also want to choose your own unique style from the paint colors we’ve listed on our website.
5. Deal with Permits
According to SECTION105/PERMITS in the International Building Code (which is largely adopted by the state of Tennessee, and in a modified form in Kentucky) permits are not be required for “One-story detached accessory structures used as tool and storage sheds, playhouses and similar uses, provided the floor area is not greater than 120 square feet.” IF this code is honored in your local jurisdiction, that would allow you to install a shed up to 10×12 in size without first needing to secure a permit. However, building codes vary by location, so always be sure to check with your permit/zoning office, municipality, or neighborhood association.
6. Choose your location
You probably have somewhat of an idea of where you want to put your shed, but now is a good time to decide for sure. A garden shed should be placed near your garden, but on a side, that won’t block the sunlight. For an office or hobby workspace, consider a spot in your yard that gets good lighting and has nice non-distracting views. Do you want your shed close to your home, so you can access it easily, or further away, where your electric guitar won’t wake the baby?
Also, consider the following points when deciding where to place your shed:
- You should also think about what spots in your yard are the most level. It will be easiest to prepare a foundation for your shed if the ground underneath is flat and level.
- Access is another thing to be concerned about. You have to get your shed into your yard somehow! Make sure the area you choose has enough space for equipment to maneuver your shed in.
- Finally, if at all possible try to keep your shed away from trees. This will keep the roots from messing with your foundation, and keep the leaves from gathering on your shed and rotting.
7. Prepare your site
You’ve picked out a shed, and you’ve decided where you want to put it. Only one step remains before your brand new shed graces your backyard. You need a foundation to place it on.
It’s important for your shed to have a good foundation. If you set a shed directly on the ground, the moisture will rot the wood of your shed. An uneven foundation will put unnecessary strain on your structure, but a good foundation will help it last a long time. A level foundation will make your floor level, which will look nicer and keep all your stuff from rolling to one side of your shed.
You can choose from three different types of foundations: Cement blocks, crushed stone, or a concrete pad. Some options are easier than others, and if you choose a more elaborate shed pad, you’ll have to decide whether to hire someone to lay the foundation or to lay it yourself. Let’s walk through each option.
The quickest, easiest, and most inexpensive way to make a foundation is to prop your storage shed up on cement blocks. This method of leveling a shed is a standard service to all Overholt Shed customers. Although it’s a relatively simple way to make a foundation, you’ll still need to clear and level the area and make sure your foundation is square and level.
As long as your placement area is suitable, the Overholt delivery personnel will set and level cement blocks, according to what’s appropriate for your shed size and weight. If that’s sufficient as a solution for your shed, there’s no need to worry about getting the shed set right yourself!
For a solution that looks better, can accommodate uneven surfaces, and may last longer than cement blocks, you may consider a bed of crushed gravel for your shed foundation. Although making a crushed gravel foundation is a bit more complicated than simply setting your shed on cement blocks, it provides a sturdier foundation for bigger sheds and heavier equipment. Gravel also provides good drainage. A gravel foundation will make your shed sit a bit closer to the ground, making it easier to maneuver equipment in and out.
A crushed gravel foundation is made by clearing the ground and leveling and compacting the dirt. Then, gravel is poured into the area, leveled, and compacted. For details on how to make a good, sturdy crushed gravel foundation yourself read a how-to guide here.
Concrete Shed pad
A concrete pad is another option for a foundation for your storage shed. Concrete pads are the sturdiest option but don’t provide the handy drainage of gravel foundations. They’re also your shed doesn’t have a floor, because it can function as the floor of your shed. Mixing and pouring a concrete foundation is a complicated process. However, a handy step-by-step guide can be found here. Remember, no matter what type of foundation you choose, always check it with an accurate level if you’re making it yourself.
If you’d like to hire a trustworthy, local contractor for preparing a gravel or concrete pad for your shed, we can recommend Jonathan Stoltzfus from Bedrock Siteworks. You can reach him by phone at (615) 283-7021.
Enjoying your new shed
Congratulations! You’ve completed the research phase of your new shed-buying endeavor. Color ideas shed designs, and foundation options are swirling around in your head. You know how to choose a location for your shed, and how to figure out what size of shed you need.
What’s the next step? Buying a shed, of course! Here at Overholt Storage Buildings, we are more than happy to help you out. Browse our website, or call (270) 726-7948 to get answers to all your remaining shed-related questions.