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11 Considerations When Buying Outdoor Storage Sheds

Updated: Mar 18

So you’re interested in buying an outdoor storage shed. This new investment is exciting, adventurous, and full of potential. However, you have a few considerations to consider before purchasing a storage shed, such as materials, size, permits, warranties, and more. 

Let’s dive into our first section and answer any lingering questions before you decide to purchase this addition to your home.


The reputation and core values of the company you are doing business with

If the reputation and core values of the company you are doing business with are not good, can you trust what they put out? We don’t believe so, and with this being such a significant and considerable investment, the company you choose to do business with is just as important as the product itself.


What we do and how we do business are very important to us. So important that we have four core values that guide everything we do both internally and externally.


Our reputation is important to us, and we want our customers to know who they are working with. Unlike big box stores, Ulrich is a group of family-run businesses in local markets with the same passion for serving families and helping people create memories. This passion has allowed us to have the reputation we have in the markets we serve.

Material and Quality

Materials are essential to consider when looking to buy a storage shed. You don’t want to cut costs when it comes to what your shed is made of. You want the material to be durable, strong, and withstand the environment (storms, wind, and direct sunlight). In addition, considering this in advance will prevent needing repairs later on.

Sheds come in a variety of materials, like:

  1. Wood

  2. Plastic (Vinyl)

  3. Metal

Metal sheds are great to prevent rotting (and insect infestation) yet are more liable to rust or leakage. Plastic sheds are low maintenance and easy to move but cost more. Finally, wood sheds are strong and can last several decades if properly cared for but take a more significant investment.


Depending on what you intend to use the storage shed for and your aesthetic preference, there is a wide variety of materials to choose from, but remember that quality is essential.

What will my shed be used for?

Perhaps you fantasize about making a “she shed” cottage with a home gym in your backyard. Or, maybe you dream of an art studio to practice your painting skills. Perhaps you’re looking for a “man cave” to kick back with your friends and watch sports in. Regardless, you should factor in ten to thirty years plus into the future when considering total usage. 


If you plan on finishing out your building, ventilation is one of the most critical aspects of your structure. This goes to everything from the type of windows and doors you choose (single pane vs low e) to the kind of climate control system you want (window unit, mini-split, etc.). Poor ventilation could result in damages to your belongings and the structural integrity of the building itself.


Think about your hobbies and interests. If you intend to improve your gardening skills or spend more time playing active games with your family, the shed should work now and later on. You don’t want to go through the hassle of replacing it, and you want to get the most out of your investment currently.


Having the extra space in your storage shed is a great option and can fully well be used to pack items away that you may not use all the time, such as:

  1. Lawnmower with properly designed access to floor space

  2. Holiday decorations can be stored in lofts.

  3. Gardening tools with ample wall space

  4. Extra supplies in shelving and workbenches

A shed adds a charming addition to your property, and it’s best to make sure it complements the style of your home. If you have a modern house, opt for more modern material; the same goes for rustic or country.

Doors and hardware

Doors are the number one thing to fail on sheds traditionally, and that can end up being a costly fix if a warranty does not cover it or they have to keep coming out to fix it. A warped door can cause several issues, not closing correctly, not properly sealing off, and other issues.


How does a door warp? Over time, as the wood expands and contracts, if not secured properly, it can sag, preventing a proper seal and allowing more moisture to get in the shed, affecting the wooden door’s structural integrity. The best way to prevent this is to seal the door, have the proper hardware, and make sure the hinges you use are built for the job.


At Ulrich, we paint both sides of the door. This effectively seals the door and allows an additional barrier to protect against moisture. We also have exclusive hardware available for all of our sheds that was designed just for us. These are 18” Strap Iron hinges secured with carriage bolts and are by far the most heavy-duty hinge options available. With the combination of the hinges, sealing of the door, and our industry-leading warranties, you can have peace of mind that this won’t be an issue for you during the lifetime of the shed.

Size and budget

Ask yourself: “What items will I be storing?” That question will help answer what size shed you’ll need.


If you’re only storing a few things, you don’t need a massive shed. Of course, if you have more extensive equipment and not enough garage space to house them, then a bigger shed makes sense. One common regret most homeowners have once buying their shed is that it quickly fills up, and the need for more space is a problem they face again.


Another question to ask is: what is my price range? Consider the material if you’re on a budget. The shed’s size, style, and features contribute to the total cost.


Speaking to one of our experts can help guide you through determining which size is best for you.

Permits and building codes

You must consider the local building codes and homeowners’ association regulations before you can fulfill that dream of a separate recreation room or woodworking paradise. There could be strict rules in place regarding the construction of outdoor structures.


These limitations could impact the size and placement of your shed. You want to do your research sooner rather than later to avoid issues down the road. Typically, a building permit is needed, but check if the area you live in requires one based on the local laws.


At Ulrich, our unique process actually includes the option to have us completely take care of the permitting process for you. It ensures you have a stress-free experience and it is done right.

Warranties and value

Most sheds that you can purchase from hardware stores (like The Home Depot, Lowes, other nationwide brands) come with a warranty of up to 1-5 Years.


Ulrich’s warranties start out at 10 and go up to 20 years. This helps take a lot of the risk out of making such an investment as you will have peace of mind knowing if something was to go wrong, you will have it taken care of for years to come.


Sheds should always come with a warranty to ensure good quality. 


The old way of thinking was that sheds did not add value to your home. However, make the investment and get something that is high quality and used for something useful. Depending on its use, it could potentially add value (for example, storage vs. liveable space). This includes air-conditioned spaces, offices, craft sheds, etc.


When you go to sell your home, you have made the investment upfront in a quality building that can add value to your property. As opposed to if the shed is worn down, failing, or not aesthetically pleasing. This would detract from the value of your home and could be a roadblock in getting it sold.

How Will the Shed Look With My Landscape and House?

Do you want the storage shed to blend in or stand out? If you’re opting for the latter, you can establish gardens or landscaping, like shrubs or trees, to highlight it. Remember not to let the foliage grow too close because it can wear away the shed’s sides and weaken its durability.


Think about the preparation ahead of time. You need to ensure the option or builder you go with provides a solid foundation. Or else you risk the shed collapsing or sinking into the ground over time.


Designers at Ulrich take this and much more into consideration when going through the design process to get the perfect building.

Flooring, Roof, and Walls

Hardboard, Masonite, and Flap Board siding are all susceptible to buckling or warping. Generally, you should avoid these materials, especially if you experience high moisture conditions. You can particularly see the effects in the edges and joints of your shed over time.


Engineered siding such as LP Smartside or Smart-Lap is much more durable and can be sealed for further protection. Furthermore, in the colder to milder weather climates, vinyl siding is easy to care for and can last for 20 years with the over-sub sheathing application, unless in hotter climates which affects its performance due to warping and deterioration.


Sometimes, plywood or other cheap materials are used for the walls, which can buckle over time. High-quality lumber is more practical for structure because of its rigidness. Low-quality walls mean more painting and the risk of wearing down, and ultimately risking the protection of your valuables.


Proper rafter spacing and roof sheathing ensure long-term roof durability. Poorly constructed roofs with cheap roof materials can sag over time. Shingles are something to consider as well. Avoid 3-tab shingles because they do not last long and often have a limited warranty. Residential shingles are a much better option; these are standard shingles you see on most houses and come with a better warranty and offer better protection. These shingles are also standard on all Ulrich buildings.

Can I DIY My Shed?

You can DIY your shed. However, it’s less of an investment and less stressful when considering the money spent and time spent buying a constructed shed built by professionals. You can also add more style and customizations when you opt for a builder. 


Companies usually buy their materials in bulk, meaning it’s more reasonable for them to build the shed than yourself as an individual, who would have to factor in transportation (see the next section for more details) and material and tool cost.


You won’t have to worry about extra materials, and generally, sheds last longer when professionals build them.


Therefore, you won’t have to spend more time and money repairing them. In short: it’s more cost-effective to get a professional. Especially if you value your time, consider not DIYing your storage shed.


A few other benefits of getting a professional shed built are:

  1. You can add unique designs (doors, windows, roof options)

  2. You can complete this project quickly and safely

  3. Headache-free building experience for you!

Installation

If you’re thinking of purchasing a pre-built shed, it can be challenging to transport. You’ll need the proper tools and equipment to bring your shed back to your home safely. This is why it is best to make sure a highly-skilled group or company is the one handling it.


Ulrich uses only employees for transportation and onsite builds, and we do not use 3rd parties like most of the industry. That allows us to ensure your expectations are exceeded and things run smoothly. If there is an issue, we can address it quickly and make it right.


You can ask about delivery methods from the company you’re buying from. Some places have delivery fees, so it’s best to consult a representative before purchasing to know your options.

Final Thoughts

After reading this article, you hopefully have a better understanding of what to consider when buying an outdoor storage shed. 


Remember that you can always reach out to a professional if you have any questions about the buying process. Contact us if you’re ready to start the shed buying process today. 

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