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Building A Garden Shed — Comparing Cedar, Vinyl, and Metal Garden Sheds

When it comes to building a garden shed, your options in size and design are about as limitless as your imagination. However, your choice of materials usually comes down to three: wood, PVC vinyl, and metal.

Each type of material has its own advantages:

bulletWooden Garden Sheds—Possess a great natural look, strength, and visual appeal that blends easily with almost garden environments. Over time, wood is at risk of rot, mold and mildew, water seepage and so should be finished, sealed, or treated for protection. Cedar has inherent natural preservatives which slows down the decay, Wood is also a low impact material that will show dents and general wear and tear. Wood is also susceptible to termites and other infestations.
bulletVinyl Garden Sheds—Highlighted by easy-care and low maintenance, superior strength, and quick assembly. PVC resin is a durable material with better impact resistance than wood. Vinyl is a also good heat deflector and slightly cheaper than the wood. The tradeoff is in looks. Vinyl is not considered as visually appealing as wood in a garden setting.
bulletMetal Garden Sheds – The best choice when permanent strength is the number one requirement. While metal sheds run the risk of rust over time, good quality products are pre-painted galvanized steel and come with a limited time no-rust guarantee. Metal sheds are also rot and rodent-free, and have no cracks or warps.

You should also consider carefully what you plan to use your shed for, so you can judge the style, durability, and cost differences of each type of material effectively. In short, if your primary concern is style and looks, choose wood. If cost is a factor, choose vinyl. For ruggedness and strength, choose metal.

Here’s a checklist of considerations:

bulletWhere will the shed be located? – For example, a shed that is in plain site, or acts as a focal point in the garden should look stylish, and blend in with its surroundings
bulletIs the shape and design you want available in different materials? – For example, do you envision a salt-box, with gently sloping back-roof, a hip roofed shed, a gable roof?
bulletDo you want a custom shed? - Use shed design software to create your own shed plans.
bulletWhat can your budget afford? – In addition to the type of material, consider self-assembly, DYI kits (cheaper) versus professionally installation (more expensive)
bulletWhich shed will last the longest, or have the least cleaning and maintenance? – Vinyl sheds can be hosed or scrubbed down.
bulletWhat are the custom shed design options, upgrades or conversion possibilities? - Think about what you may want to use the shed for in the future. For now, you’re content with a storage space for gardening implements and tools, but perhaps down the road you may want a studio or workshop.

For more information on building garden sheds, please read this article on building a barn style of shed.

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