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Outdoor Storage Provides Quick Fix
By: Paul Bianchina
July 11, 2003

Storage seems to be a premium in any home, and that applies to outdoors as well as in. If you're searching for someplace to store anything from lawn clippers to a lawn tractor, a handy outdoor storage shed may be just what you need.


For a quick and efficient solution to smaller storage problems, there are a variety of storage buildings made from vinyl composites. You'll find small bins with lift-up tops, larger bins with single or double doors and even small storage sheds that you can walk into.

Vinyl sheds and bins have the distinct advantage of being pre-assembled and ready to go – just slip it out of the box and install any shelves that come with it. They are impervious to insects and just about any weather conditions, and won't dent, chip, rust or otherwise deteriorate.

One popular style is the shed-roofed bin, which can be mounted against a wall of the house or left freestanding (if you opt to leave it freestanding, it should be anchored down to a deck or other permanent base). These typically have a pair of interlocking doors and space for some movable shelves – a 4-foot-by-6-foot unit will run you around $250, and there are plenty of sizes and prices above and below that.


One of the most common solutions for backyard storage is the metal shed, available in kit form. There are a wide variety of sizes and styles to choose from, as well as many different colors, roof designs, door configurations, and price ranges.

You'll find metal shed kits in sizes ranging from as small as around 6 feet by 6 feet to 10 feet by 25 feet or even larger. Smaller sheds may have only a single door, and the headroom will be limited. With the larger kits, you get double doors and enough clear height inside to stand and move around comfortably. For the average-quality kit with no special options, expect to pay around $175 for a 6-foot-by-8-foot model, and around $300 for an 8-by-10 model.

Metal sheds are sold in kit form, and while they're relatively easy to assemble, they do require a few basic hand tools and fairly large amount of patience – the typical kit has a plastic bag full of screws and nuts that seem sufficient to assemble a small battleship. This is one time where it really pays to lay out and check all of the parts, and follow the instructions carefully to ensure a trouble free assembly.

Most metal shed kits do not come with a floor, and setting the completed shed directly on the ground can lead to rust problems – not to mention insects and a lot of ground water getting into your stuff. For best results, mount the shed on a floor of concrete or pressure-treated lumber, or use one of the metal foundation kits that are sold as an option with many kits. Mounting the shed to a solid surface is especially important in high wind areas, where the lightweight enclosures might otherwise have a tendency to depart your yard at an inopportune moment.


For a step up in both quality and durability, you might want to consider investing in a wooden shed. Wooden sheds typically come complete with a raised wooden floor, seven feet or more of interior headroom, sturdier doors and roofs covered with residential-type composition shingles – some even have windows and skylights.

Wooden sheds are available with shed, gable or gambrel roof structures, and with everything from inexpensive wafer board panels for siding up to clear cedar lap siding. They are also available pre-painted, or you can get one that's either unpainted or pre-primed so that you can paint it to match your home. Due to the weight restrictions imposed by the solid wood construction, sizes are a little more limited – you can find a moderate quality 8-foot-by-8-foot shed for around $625, or a nicer cedar-sided 6-foot-by-8-foot model in the $700 range.

Wooden sheds are available as both kits and completely pre-assembled units. The kits may be either a box full of pre-cut parts or several pre-assembled wall, floor and roof sections that join together pretty quickly. The pre-assembled models are often mounted on raised wooden skids – usually 4-by-6 or 6-by-6 pressure-treaded lumber – and can be lifted and moved around easily with a forklift.

Sheds of all types are available from many home centers, department stores and discount stores – you'll usually find a basic selection in stock, with others available by special order. Depending on the size and installation method of the shed, a building permit may be required, so be sure and check with your local building department. Also, check with your homeowner's association to make sure there are no restrictions on installing a shed in your neighborhood.

Copyright 2003 Inman News Features

Distributed by Inman News Features

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