Plastic Shed Buyer's Guide
Today people are using outdoor sheds for more than storage. Some set up workshops or art studios outside their home. Yes, sheds are still and will always be a great storage solution. But, these kits are becoming more and more customizable each year. With its modular design and durable framing, a plastic shed is perfect for any use.
What Makes Plastic Sheds So Great?
When combing through all the various shed options, you'll find a ton of great choices for metal and wood. But, plastic has the upper hand in some areas.
A Peek at Their Advantages
Plastic storage sheds are easy to assemble. The tool requirements for assembly don't contain anything special. Simple hand tools are all that is required. Most likely, you have all the tools needed at home already. A plastic storage shed requires the least amount of maintenance of any shed type. They are UV resistant, never need painting, and the colors are slow to fade. A plastic shed will not susceptible to rot or corrosion either.
The colors available to plastic sheds are also ideal for any home. You are sure to find a neutral or earth tone color that will match your home or outdoor aesthetic. Plastic sheds are as modular as metal sheds, but they have a little more weight to them. Their stronger structure makes a plastic shed ideal for high wind and snowy areas.
A Few Drawbacks
Plastic sheds don't have everything going for them. It's rare when a product does. Plastic sheds have trouble in extreme temperatures. The panels on a plastic shed can warp in extreme heat. As with any shed, security can be an issue as well.
Be sure to lock up any valuables and keep the doors closed. An open door on a shed can invite animals inside, and damage the shed if you live in a windy area.
Types of Plastic Sheds and Materials
Unlike wood or metal sheds, there is no true plastic shed "type." All models assemble in a similar fashion. The manufacturers of metal and wood sheds engineer certain products with some variance to create the different types you see.
In contrast, plastic sheds are made up of different substances. You may even see plastic sheds divided up into different categories on other websites based on these materials. Plastic sheds are manufactured from polyethylene, polycarbonate, and vinyl materials. Some websites and blogs even put all these into the Resin Sheds category.
While the material make-up of the sheds differs, the sheds themselves display the same features. They are rot-proof, weather, water, and UV resistant, while also being durable and lightweight.
What Style of Plastic Shed is Right for You?
Plastic sheds come in three defined categories: the lean-to, traditional gable, and the garage style. These styles each have their purpose with various advantages and disadvantages.
- Lean-To — These sheds are an inconspicuous addition to the side of the home. They are like a storage locker, with 4' x 6' being the most common size. Lean-To sheds feature a single-plane roof that slopes away from the building that's next to it. They have a single door and are perfect for smaller storage needs. Many Lean-To sheds are small enough for most HOAs and do not require special approval to build one. There are also Hybrid Lean-To sheds. These are small greenhouses built in the Lean-To design. Great for the green thumb with limited space.
- Traditional Gable — The most popular shed style. Traditional Gable sheds have dual swinging doors and range in size from 6' x 6' to 10' x 20'. They are highly customizable and perfect for storing mowers, go-carts, lawn tools, you name it. Many traditional sheds come with a floor kit and windows. You can also add more windows, lighting, ventilation grills, tool racks, and door locks.
- Garage Style — These are larger sheds around 10 to 12 feet in width. The garage-style plastic shed features double loading doors and a smaller entry door. These sheds start at 10 feet deep and can extend to meet nearly any depth requirement. A garage-style plastic shed makes the perfect workshop or craft room.
There are two foundation options to choose for your plastic shed. It's not a case of one being better than the other, but more about how you plan to use the shed.
- Field-prepped foundation — A poured slab foundation is best if the shed becomes a workshop. If you plan on storing heavy equipment or vehicles like ATVs or commercial lawnmowers, go with a field prepped foundation. The slab will stand the weight, and it's easy to clean up. A field-prepped foundation also prevents prolonged dampness that could damage your stuff.
A poured slab needs a fair amount of prep work. And, leveling out the soil, bringing in cement, and repairing the surrounding property can be costly. Be mindful of the layout of your yard as well. If your outdoor area sits on a steep hill, a prefabricated floor kit may not work. Leveling out the area and laying down a poured slab foundation may work best for you.
- Prefabricated floor kits — If you are housing lawn care tools or using your plastic shed as a studio, a poured concrete slab is a little much. Lucky for you, foundation kits are an option for smaller sheds. They serve as a bracing structure for larger sheds. Plastic sheds offer steel foundation kits. Once assembled, you will sheath the steel with 3/4'' plywood flooring. Always use any floor kit that comes with your shed. The kit adds strength to the structure.
If you need a stronger floor, pour concrete into the frame instead of using the wood sheathing. The cost of a prefabricated floor kit is much less than a poured slab foundation. As mentioned earlier, some plastic sheds come with floor kits at no additional cost. Others, offer floor kits as an accessory. Either option is usually cheaper than the labor of a field-prepped foundation.
Accessories, Materials & Beyond
Plastic sheds do not need any supplemental materials to complete assembly. The kits include all the necessary fasteners, framing, and panels.
There are accessories available for plastic sheds. What you need depends on the shed's use. You can add more windows, ventilation, anchor kits, tool racks, shelving, door locks, and more.
If you plan to spend a significant amount of time in the shed, ventilation is a must. If you need more natural light, be sure to get yourself more windows. If your shed is in permanent shade, there are electric lights to add as well.
Think about a bracing kit if your area receives more than a foot of snow at once. A bracing kit prevents sagging of the roof and strengthens the shed against high winds.
Are Sheds Regulated or Restricted?
Determine the rules and regulations about the size, height, and style of shed you want. If there are any, your local code enforcement agency is the best place to check before you purchase any shed.
In most cases, no building codes regulate the installation of sheds. But, there are some common zoning restrictions to check to determine if you do need a permit.
Plastic sheds are often given homeowner association approval easier because they tend to be more visually attractive than metal sheds. HOAs usually have a list of criteria that sheds must follow if the shed is viewable from the street or a neighbor's property.
What About Shipping?
The individual panels of a plastic shed are thicker than metal sheds. This thickness means the sheds ship in larger packages. But, small lean-to sheds can ship by parcel. Everything else is bulky enough to need LTL shipping. Plastic sheds fit on a single pallet which makes receiving the delivery of them easy.
Care, Maintenance, and Assembly Tips
You'll find your plastic shed relatively easy to maintain. However, standard maintenance requirements vary by the location of the shed.
If your shed is under a tree, there can be a build-up of sap or lichen. If your area is damp, mildew can start to grow as well. A low power pressure washer is the best tool to clean off the shed. Your average water hose with a mild cleaner will do fine as well.
As with any shed, make sure the hinges and latches are well lubricated. You don't want your door stuck or impossible to open when spring arrives, and it's time to get the lawnmower out. And, be mindful of fallen tree limbs. An occasional walk-around will keep you aware of any damage done by mother nature.
Keep the doors of your shed closed. Strong winds can damage the doors if left open. Be sure to clean leaves and snow off of the roof regularly.
The assembly of your plastic shed should be straight forward. Manufacturers engineer these sheds to make them easy to put together by people with limited construction experience.
That being said, there are some tools that you'll need to be fully prepared: electric drill, ladder, square, level, rubber mallet, gloves, and eye protection.
Depending on the manufacturer, you may not need every item on the above list, but it never hurts to be ready. You can also check what tools you'll need in the manual. Manuals are available on every shed page on eCanopy.com. The manuals also have more in-depth care and maintenance tips for specific shed models. See an example here .
A plastic shed can last you years under the right conditions. Now, it's time to take the knowledge from this article and find the right plastic shed for you.
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