Many have found that their homes lack dedicated spaces for work, school, and hobbies. Adding an addition is cost-prohibitive and, in many cases, not feasible. Installing a shed is an excellent alternative that expands your living space and allows you to work or enjoy your favorite hobby outside of your home’s chaos. Understanding the cost of building a shed is the first step to planning your new structure. Here is our comprehensive guide to costs associated with building a shed.
Factors Affecting the Cost of Building a Shed
There are several factors that directly affect the overall cost of building a shed. Here are nine key considerations to take into account:
- Size of the shed
- Types of building materials
- Labor costs
- Land preparation
- Type of foundation
- Permit costs
- Shed style
- Custom design or prefab kit?
It is important to note that one or more of these costs may not be associated with your structure, depending on your needs.
What Size Shed Do You Need?
As you probably already know, the larger the shed, the higher the overall cost. The size of the shed you build will depend on its intended use, available space on your property, budget, and local regulations. Most people spend between $1,000 and $9,000 on their sheds. The cost of your shed may be higher or lower. But, this gives you an idea of what to expect.
The Cost of Exterior Siding
You have several options when it comes to choosing the right exterior siding for your shed. Your choice will depend on your preferred aesthetics, HOA regulations, local ordinances, material availability in your area, and budget. These are the most common types of exterior shed wall materials. Here are the most common types of shed siding:
You can use traditional wood, such as shingles or bevel siding (a.k.a.: clapboards) or engineered-wood siding, which is a mixture of wood fibers and glue. Even though it is not traditional wood, it is much more affordable than standard wood. Standard wood is vulnerable to rot, termites, and water damage if not properly sealed. On the other hand, engineered wood is much more resistant to these problems.
Other wood siding options include textured plywood, board-and-batten siding, channel siding and V-jointed tongue-and-groove boards.
In terms of cost, wood falls in the middle compared to other types of materials. It is more cost-effective than brick and easy to install, customize, and offer a warm and cozy feel.
Cost: The average price of wood siding ranges from $1 to $15, depending on the type of wood you choose.
Vinyl is an excellent alternative to wood and comparable in cost. If it fits your needs, vinyl can undoubtedly give you a lot of bang for your buck. This material is resistant to rot, insects, and moisture. And it never needs painting or staining. It is easy to install and is low maintenance. The downside to vinyl is that you will not have as natural and warm of a look as wood or brick. However, it doesn’t tend to look as cold as metal.
Cost: On average, vinyl siding costs range from $4 to $5 per square foot. The exact price is dependent on the type of vinyl you choose and current prices in your area.
Metal is a popular choice for exterior shed materials. Metal tends to have a longer lifespan than wood. It is comparable to vinyl but not quite as sturdy unless you add extra reinforcements. This material is resistant to rot, material, and decay, just like vinyl and brick.
Cost: The average price of metal siding ranges from $1 to $35 per square foot, depending on the type of metal you choose.
Brick is by far the most expensive option for siding. Both the material cost and labor are higher than any other exterior siding choice. Brick offers definite advantages to wood, vinyl, and metal by being sturdy, durable, fire-resistant, and easy to maintain. However, you have to find an experienced brick mason who knows how to lay bricks properly. Otherwise, you will end up with a poorly constructed shed and lose a significant amount of money hiring someone else to do the job right.
Cost: Brick typically averages between $2.50 and $8 per square foot, while the average labor cost can run anywhere from $280 to $18,000.
Fiber-cement siding is a very durable, low-maintenance siding product that’s looks and installs much like bevel siding. The 5/16-in.-thick x 6 1/8-in.-wide siding has an embossed wood-grain surface that resembles real wood, but it’s composed entirely of sand, cement and cellulose fibers. Fiber-cement siding is ideal for sheds because it won’t rot or crack, and its surface accepts paint beautifully. It’s also highly resistant to moisture, termites, and fire.
Cost: The average price of fiber-cement siding ranges from $3 to $5 per square foot, depending on the style and manufacturer.
Additional Building Materials
Apart from the exterior, you will also need materials for the wood frame, roof, foundation, and interior walls. The type of material you choose will significantly impact the total cost of the shed.
If the building is metal and you do not plan on finishing the structure out on the inside, the metal can serve as the exterior and the interior wall. Otherwise, you will need interior walls, which will most likely be made of construction lumber, typically 2x4s.
Cost: You can expect to pay between $4.67 and $7.32 per square foot to install an interior wall of the shed.
The most common material for shed roofs by far is asphalt shingles. Asphalt shingles are affordable, easy to install and widely available in various colors and styles. Metal roofing is an increasing popular choice for sheds, but it typically requires professional installation.
Cost: The average cost of a roof ranges from $1.16 to $625 per square foot, including labor. You may be able to cut costs by safely installing the roof yourself.
When it comes to the shed foundation, you have several choices, including:
- Concrete blocks
- Timber frame
- Concrete piers
- Concrete slab
- Pole barn
Cost: The average cost of a foundation ranges from $4 to $16 a square foot. The cost will depend on the material you choose and whether you hire someone or install the foundation yourself.
Building Permit Costs
Whether or not you need a shed permit depends on municipality regulations. Typically, sheds over a specific size need to be permitted, but it’s important to first check with your town’s building department before starting construction.
Cost: According to national averages, the price of a permit for small projects ranges from $50 – $300. The cost of a permit for large projects ranges from $500 – $2,000. In most cases, sheds are considered small projects.
How Much Will Labor Cost?
How much does it cost to have a shed built? You have three choices when it comes to labor. You can either do all of the work, some of the labor, or hire the entire build-out to a professional. This is one area you can save a wad of money. If you choose to construct the shed on your own or with the help of friends and family, labor will not cost you anything but your time. If you decide to take the project on yourself, you are responsible for building the shed and ensuring all the design components are safe, and the required inspections are conducted. It is a serious undertaking, but the upside is that you can ensure the shed is built exactly how you want, and you can go at your own pace.
However, you may not have the time or inclination to tackle the project yourself. In this case, you will need to hire a professional contractor. The contractor will be responsible for all safety aspects of the design and ordering the appropriate inspections. If the structure does not pass an inspection, it will be up to the contractor to fix the issues. If you choose to hire someone, make sure they are reputable. Ask for proof of licensing and insurance. Look online for reviews or ask for references of someone who has used their services.
Cost: The average cost for labor ranges from $50 at the low end to $100 at the high end. Once again, the going rate in your area for construction labor may vary.
Which Approach is Best for You to Take When Building Your Shed?
You can approach your shed build in a couple of different ways.
Prefab Shed Kit
A prefab shed kit comes with all the materials needed to build the structure, including detailed instructions. The pros are that you have everything you need without going out and sourcing materials yourself. However, a prefab kit is not a slam dunk winner. There are a few cons. First, the cost of a prefab kit can be higher than if you built the same shed from a set of plans and sourced the materials yourself. You pay for convenience. If you choose to hire a professional to build the shed, the cost increases even more. Secondly, if you make a mistake and ruin a piece of material, you will have to purchase additional materials. Lastly, there is absolutely no room for customization during the build. It is also crucial to remember that most kits do not come with a foundation, which you will have to purchase and either install it yourself or pay a professional.
Cost: The average range of a prefab shed kit is $200 to $30,000.
Your second option is to choose a free shed plan, which comes with easy-to-follow building plans, a materials list, and illustrations for each step. If you enjoy projects and are skilled with construction tools, you can easily follow the plans to build your own shed. Of course, you can also purchase the materials and hire a professional to do the labor. For under $20, you can purchase premium shed plans that come with absolutely everything you need to build the shed of your dreams, including:
- Illustrations for each step
- Step by step instructions
- Full materials and cuttings list
- Additional illustrations & blueprints
- List of tools needed
- Fastening elements list
- Technical support
Purchasing shed plans or using a free version makes it easy to build your own shed. All you must do is follow the step-by-step directions. Furthermore, you can save money by purchasing materials yourself and shopping around for the best prices. If you wish to make customizations along the way, you can do that as well.
How Much Will Land Preparation Cost?
Chances are the shed site will need preparation of some sort before you build the foundation. It may be as simple as removing grass and applying a weed killer. On the other hand, you may need to clear shrubbery, trees, rocks, debris, etc. If the site isn’t level, it will need to be graded as well. The cost can vary wildly depending on how large the site is, how much prep the site needs, and whether you will do the work yourself or hire it out. Choosing the shed site will cut down on site prep costs.
Cost: You can expect to pay anywhere from a couple of hundred dollars to several thousands of dollars to ensure the site is prepped correctly.
How Much Will It Cost to Install Utilities?
Utilities are not a necessity when building your shed. It is an optional cost. However, if you plan to have electricity or plumbing, it is easier and cheaper to install while building versus after it is already built. The size of your shed and the distance electrical and plumbing are largest factors in the cost of installing utilities.
Costs: Electrical wiring costs typically range from $500 to $2,000 but can be higher or lower depending on your unique situation. Depending on the size of your shed, plumbing costs can range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars.
The Cost of Furnishing for Your Shed
The furnishings you need will depend on how you intend to use your new shed. For instance, if you plan on storing equipment, you may just need a few shelves and hooks. However, if this will be your home office, you will probably want to install an office desk, chairs, décor items, and more. The cost can vary wildly from less than $100 to thousands of dollars, depending on your needs.
Will You Need to Conduct Inspections?
Contact your municipality’s Building and Planning & Zoning Departments to determine if inspections are required for your build. Typically sheds under a specific size do not need inspections. However, if you plan to run plumbing and electrical to your shed, you will most likely need one or more inspections, regardless of how small the structure is. Inspections are designed to ensure that your shed is built to code and safe for people to occupy.
Cost: The average cost of an inspection ranges from $200 to $500. Exact costs will depend on the type of inspection you need and the area you live in.
What About Finishing Touches?
Congratulations! Your shed is finished! Now, it is time to add finishing touches if you wish. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Sod or grass
- Pathway from your shed to your home
- Flowerbeds or window boxes
- Patio or deck
- Outdoor lighting
You can spend as little or as much as you want with finishing touches, from less than $100 to thousands. It is up to you!
Average Costs of the Most Common Size Sheds
Let’s look at the average cost of the most common size sheds. Please keep in mind that the actual cost will depend on specific features and customizations you choose to incorporate. You can make a structure as expensive as you want with cool add-ons or keep it cost-effective and economical.
10×10 (100 sq. ft) Shed Cost
A base 10×10 shed will cost around $2,500. Advanced options and customizations can drive the price towards $20,000.
10×12 (120 sq. ft) Shed Cost
You can expect to pay around $3,000 for a base 10×12 shed. Once again, customizations can cost as much as $20,000 or more, depending on what you want.
12×12 (144 sq. ft) Shed Cost
A base 12×12 shed ranges from $3,000 to $4,000. If you choose to add customizations, the cost can rise to $25,000 or so.
10×20 (200 sq. ft) Shed Cost
The average cost of a 10×20 square feet shed is $7,000, with customizations increasing the price to about $35,000.
It is crucial to note that prices can vary depending on the cost of materials in your area.