Metal Storage Shed Buyer's Guide
Does this sound familiar? You need to find metal sheds for sale. You go online to buy a steel shed, but you find out metal sheds are more complicated than you thought. Now, you've found yourself looking for steel sheds here. You want to cut through all the long generalized articles and get straight to it. Lucky you. This article will tell you everything you need to know about metal storage sheds. We will cover the advantages, disadvantages, styles, accessories, and more.
Metal Shed Advantages and Drawbacks
Metal sheds are great products, and you'll find a lot of good reasons to use one. However, they aren't right for every application. Let's talk about the advantages and drawbacks.
You don't need specialized construction knowledge to assemble a metal shed. Most metal sheds come with easy to follow step-by-step instructions. Once you lay the foundation, the rest of the shed comes together with a drill, screwdriver, and a pair of pliers. These sheds also do great in damp environments. The factory coating on a metal shed can last decades. When corrosion does begin, you can repair it with no headache. And unlike wood sheds, metal is not vulnerable to insect damage.
You'll find your metal shed is lighter than it's the wood counterpart. That's great for transportation and assembly, but high winds can topple your shed. There are bracing and anchor kits available to keep your shed undamaged in harsh weather. Also, be wary of coastal areas. The high salt content in the air corrodes the galvanized and painted surfaces of the shed. If you buy a metal shed and live by the beach, prepare to repaint and repair more often than a plastic or wood shed.
Types of Metal Shed Assemblies
Metal shed assemblies are kits that you put together on site. These kits are compact to ship. That means delivery to your outdoor space is painless. Smaller steel shed kits come complete in a single flat carton. Midsize to large sheds come in several boxes. Manufacturers separate the framing components and siding for easy organization.
There are two basic categories for metal shed assemblies: easy-assembly and standard.
- Easy-Assembly Sheds — The term "easy-assembly shed" varies by manufacturer. These kits usually feature snap-together construction. With snap construction, you put two pieces together, apply pressure, and snap! It's in place. These products tend to lock in the siding or roofing material. These areas don't compromise the longevity or the strength of the shed.
- Standard Metal Sheds — Standard shed kits have significant assembly time but are stronger in the long run. Instead of snap seams, you'll find fasteners for the siding and roofing material. Standard sheds can stand up to high winds, snow, and even a fallen tree limb better than an easy-assembly shed.
What Style Suits My Needs?
Metal sheds are available in several different styles. Each type has its advantages. In this section, we will detail various styles so you can find the one that is right for you.
Gambrel Gable Sheds
Also known as barn roof sheds, gambrel sheds are taller than traditional gable sheds. They also offer sliding or swinging doors. The gambrel style is excellent if you're looking for a workshop or studio. Metal sheds of this type tend to fit into the mid-sized category, with typical dimensions measuring 10 to 12 feet deep and 14 to 16 feet wide. With wood gambrel sheds, it's possible to add a loft. But, because metal sheds are lighter, a loft is not recommended.
Lean To Sheds
Install a lean-to shed against a more massive structure. They are like a storage locker for your home. These sheds feature a single plane sloped roof with an access door on the short side of the shed. These sheds are great low-cost solutions when you need a small amount of extra storage space. Typically, these sheds measure no more than 5 feet deep and 10 feet in width.
Pent Gable Sheds
Similar in design to lean-to sheds except pent gable sheds have the door on the wider side. Pent gable sheds are also free-standing, and like lean-to's are best when used as a type of storage locker. These sheds are easy to install thanks to the single pane roof. They also sport the most leak-proof design on the market.
Snow Load Sheds
The manufacturer reinforces these sheds for snowy environments. Snow load sheds have added roof bracing to prevent troublesome sagging. In most cases, snow load sheds are based on a similar style offered by the manufacturer but add larger or more numerous roof trusses to stiffen the structure.
High/Low Gable Sheds
These are the most common types of metal sheds. Their style is timeless, and they are easy to maintain and assemble. Their traditional style is best for storage. These are not great workshops because they tend to be on the short side.
If the size is an issue, high gable sheds provide the headroom you need for your belongings. Low gable sheds are perfect for HOAs with a height rule. With a low gable shed, you can follow the rules and still have the storage space you need. These types of sheds tend to come in a broad range of sizes, but 10' x 8' and 8' x 6' sizes are the most popular by far.
Flat Roof/Garage Style Sheds
These sheds are great for storage or use as a workshop, due to their larger and taller dimensions. Flat roof sheds are modular in design and typically measure 10 feet wide and up to 25 feet long. They are popular on construction sites because they can serve as an office. They can also serve as a wood shop or art studio. These sheds are snow load rated with a larger structure than average. Garage style sheds, on the other hand, store vehicles and equipment. Like a flat roof, a garage-style shed has a robust structure that stands up to severe weather and snow. Garage style sheds tend to fall into a bit larger sizing bracket since they are intended to store smaller vehicles and they tend to measure 12 feet in width and up to 30 feet long.
- Arrow — A longtime manufacturer of durable and cost-effective metal shelters, Arrow has recently joined the ShelterLogic list of brands. With the increased manufacturing capability of ShelterLogic, Arrow continues to offer their tried and true metal shelters, as well as innovative new products.
- DuraMax — This manufacturer offers a unique and well-built line of purpose-built job shelters and workshops. Ideal for situations where quick assembly and portability is needed, these shelters find themselves in use on construction sites, animal shelters, civic projects, and much more.
- Globel — This manufacturer offers a vast array of low-cost sheds that perform very well for the price point. Easy to assemble and like all metal sheds, requiring very little maintenance, a Globel shelter will easily pay for itself in no time.
Site-Built Foundation or Pre-Fab Floor Kit?
When installing a metal shed, you have got to have a foundation prepared before you install the shed. The foundation provides a base that ensures the shed will be perfectly plumb and level, making assembly much easier. There are two types of foundations to consider: field prepped and prefabricated. Which option you choose depends on what goes in the shed.
- Field prepped foundations — A field prepped foundation is best for sheds that store heavy equipment or machinery. The poured slab will stand the weight, and it makes for easy cleanup if there's an oil leak or spill. Also, large sheds need a field prepped foundation or a perimeter concrete footing, which is essentially a narrow apron of concrete just wide enough to support the shed walls. If using a perimeter footing, the interior floor can be compacted gravel. While a gravel floor will save time on prep, it's not great at keeping moisture levels down. A good compromise is a floor consisting of a mixture of concrete and gravel.
- Pre-Fab floor kits — When using the shed as a studio, workspace, or as storage for small items, a pre-fab floor kit works well. Some metal sheds offer floor kits made from galvanized metal rails or channels that fasten together. This metal forms a foundation framework then supports the flooring material. In most cases, 1/2" to 3/4" plywood or OSB sheathing is used to cover the framework and create a strong floor. Yet another option is to use the galvanized framework as a form for cement, allowing you to pour a concrete floor directly over the framework.
Accessories and Additional Materials
Metal sheds come complete. Shed kits usually include all necessary fasteners, siding, structural components, and roofing material. As with wood sheds, floor kits are optional. You may need a floor kit depending on the foundation choice or how you use the shed.
The accessories or materials you get depends on what you store in the metal shed. A second door or tool rack is a great option. If your stuff is sensitive to temperature, a ventilation system can help with that.
Overall, metal sheds have fewer options than wood sheds because they offer less customization. The modification reduces the strength of the metal shed.
An item that is unique to metal shed kits is the anchor kit.
Anchor kits have screw-in anchors that tie the shed framing in place. Anchor kits are primarily for smaller sheds not secured to a foundation. These sheds can topple in an area prone to severe weather or strong winds. Anchor kits prevent damage to the shed as well as the headache that comes with cleaning up the damage.
If the shed is to be assembled on a concrete foundation, a better option is to use drive in masonry anchors to secure the outer perimeter of the structure. These types of anchors are stronger and guarantee a secure connection to the slab, preventing the shed from lifting in high winds situations.
Regulations and Permits
Check with your local code enforcement office before purchasing a metal shed. Determine if there are rules and regulations about the size, style, or height of the shed you have your eye on.
You'll find that in most cases there are no building codes that pertain to sheds. A contractor license isn't usually required to install one either, but check to make sure.
As for HOA considerations, metal sheds tend to be less conspicuous since most tend to be shorter and less visible from the street than wood sheds. Even so, be certain to check with your HOA contact person to ensure there aren't specific location, height, and footprint limitations to abide by.
Metal sheds smaller than 4' x 5' will ship via parcel. Smaller sheds can fit into a single flat carton that can transport without using a freight carrier service. Any shed larger than 4' x 5' will ship on a pallet via freight carrier because of the added weight and bulk.
A day or so before delivery, the carrier will reach out to schedule their arrival. The shed will arrive strapped to a pallet. Another advantage of metal sheds is the way they are shipped.
The shipping cartons are not bulky. They can be offloaded and moved easily. Liftgate service is available as well.
Care and Maintenance
Metal sheds are more susceptible to impact damage than other shed types because of their lighter structure. A metal shed can stand against most weather. But, a rogue tree branch or lawn equipment can dent or bend a panel if struck hard enough.
You can repair or replace individual panels, but if you can help it, don't build a metal shed under a large tree or in an area where accidental contact from a utility or boat trailer is more likely to occur.
Leaks can occur as a result of impact damage or due to degradation of the steel over the years. If you find a leak, there are a few ways to repair it.
- Patch it — If a tree branch were to puncture the top of your shed, the damaged metal can be trimmed away with a pair of shears, allowing a metal patch section to be screwed in place. The perimeter of the patch panel can then be sealed with a bead of roofing mastic.
- Replace a screw or nail — Over time, screws can back out or come loose, causing a leak. Screws usually only loosen if a strong enough impact causes them to strip out from the framing member they were secured to. Replacing the screw with the next larger diameter will often solve the problem. If not, individual screws can be removed with minimal negative effect to the structure and the hole can be sealed with a poly based sealant.
- Caulk it — The edges of your metal shed can be susceptible to leaks. If you find one, some silicone caulking is a fast fix for those leaks at the edges of the roof, doorway, or window.
The right metal shed can serve you for a long time. Take what you've learned here to find the shed that checks every mark on your wishlist.
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