At Wonkee Donkee Forest Garden we’re often asked why shed prices vary so much. Size is obviously one of the chief factors, and roof shape will play a part. You also have to bear in mind what the sheds are made of, and how they’re constructed. It can all seem a bit confusing, but these are the main things to look for:
When it comes to garden sheds, size really does matter. The most popular shed proportions in the UK are 6ft x 4ft, 7ft x 5ft and 8ft x 6ft. As these types are made in large quantities by a wide range of manufacturers, there is a plentiful supply – so they will normally be cheaper than less common sizes.
When you’re wondering which shed to go for, take a good look at the colour. Golden brown means it’s almost certainly made from dip-treated timber, which looks great but has to be re-treated every couple of years to keep it in good condition. A greenish brown shade indicates that pressure-treated (tantalised) timber has been used. This is more durable and requires very little maintenance, but costs more.
There are two main types of shed wall construction: overlap and shiplap. Overlap walls consist of horizontal boards laid to form a series of gently sloping surfaces, just like tiles on a house roof. It’s a rustic-looking but effective design that lets rainwater run off quickly, and is easy to maintain – any damaged boards can be individually changed just by slotting a new one into position.
Shiplap sheds tend to cost more but are stronger and more weatherproof because the boards are specially shaped to tightly interlock, leaving no gaps. They are also made with an extra groove, or lip, between each panel to encourage water to run off easily. Even better, shiplap sheds are usually produced from superior, thicker timber which has been slow-grown for maximum strength.
There is a third type of construction, again at the higher end of the market, which is often called shiplap but is not exactly the same: tongue & groove. Although this is very similar, with a tight interlocking design, it doesn’t include a groove between each board.
Wall and floor thickness
Cheap sheds may have walls only 7-8mm thick, whereas premium models tend to measure at least 12mm. Floors are worth checking, too. Most are made from 8mm OSB (oriented strand board, similar to chipboard), but high quality sheds tend to have 12mm solid wood floors – so are less likely to wobble when you bring the lawnmower in.
Shed roofs can be apex (like an upside down V) or pent (sloping) in shape, but both types usually cost around the same. You can also get reverse apex sheds, which have the door set in the longest side instead of the gable end. What makes a difference is the roof covering. The cheapest type is black mineral felt. However, it is also the thinnest, so needs to be fitted with care to avoid tearing. Green mineral felt is thicker and longer-lasting, so of course is more expensive. Both types normally come in rolls, and need cutting to size before being nailed down along the roof frame. Onduline roofs – heavy duty corrugated sheets made from bitumen – are also growing in popularity. They are easy to fit and extremely durable, but come with a high-end price tag to match.
Have a browse through our website to get an idea of what’s available. You will find sheds of all shapes and sizes, as well as a handy knowledge base packed full of advice on choosing and assembling sheds, workshops and other garden buildings.