Sheds: Wood vs. Metal vs. Plastic

A seemingly Basic decision – like buying a shed – often require more forethought that some might anticipate. Once you picked the perfect spot for your shed, you need to think about shape, sizes, and construction materials.

If you’re currently on the hunt for a new garden shed, you have likely come to realize your options are larger than you anticipated. The most important decision you need to make involves the shed structure itself: are you going with wood, plastic (vinyl), or metal?

Before you make your final decision regarding structure, you should consider the differences between your three options. This will provide you with a basis for selecting the option that best meets your needs and addresses your circumstance. To that end, the following information is going to focus on the positives and negatives of each option. Using this information, you’ll be able to weigh up the comparisons.

Wood Sheds

For the traditionalist, wood sheds would be preferable. Unless someone purchases a prefab model, wood sheds offer a lot more flexibility as it relates to construction and appearance.

Wood sheds can be built into any shape and size. This is an ideal characteristic for someone who wants to place their shed in a location that has size or shape restrictions. Simply put, building wood sheds offer enough construction flexibility to allow for a lot of customization.

That flexibility also extends to the exterior of a wooden shed. It’s much easier to mix and match a shed’s exterior colors and design with the rest of the property’s structures. It’s also possible to “decorate” the exterior of a woodshed, giving it a little bit more life and appeal.

Because of the strength of a wooden shed, the interior allows for more storage from hooks or shelving attached to the walls. That allows for more floor storage space for gardening equipment such as a riding lawnmower or snow removal equipment.

On the downside, wooden sheds are often more expensive than plastic or metal shed kits. After paying a higher price, the owner will find their shed vulnerable to the elements, fire, termites, other insects, rodents, and break-ins. To prevent break-ins, the owner might have to eliminate windows or pony up extra money to purchase heavy-duty security features.

In summary, wooden sheds are more attractive and offer more flexibility, but also come at a higher price tag while requiring more ongoing maintenance and a higher level of security.

Plastic Sheds

The term “plastic” serves to cover a wider range of materials. Included in this group would be resin sheds, vinyl sheds, and high-density polyethylene sheds.

First and foremost, plastic sheds are arguably the most affordable option in comparison to the alternatives. Most likely, pricing is the reason plastic sheds are more popular. The lightweight material makes it easy to build predesigned sheds and easier to move them from one location to another even after assembly. Plastic sheds offer enough flexibility that should an owner want their shed to be more durable, they can easily reinforce the structure with metal beams and brackets.

Another advantage of using a quality plastic shed is such sheds require little to no ongoing maintenance. They don’t stain, rust, attract pests, and they don’t require painting. Washing them is as easy as pulling out a water hose and giving the shed a quick bath without scrubbing.

Of course, plastic sheds do create challenges. Because of wall durability issues, it’s not always practical to hang heavy items and attach heavy shelves within the interior. From a visual standpoint, plastic sheds can come off looking more like a child’s playhouse. Finally, the elements will eventually breakdown the plastic materials to the point repairs would have to give way to total replacement of the shed.

Metal Sheds

A lot of experts would count metal sheds as a good middle of the road option. They come as kits that need assembly, but the assembly process is usually easy to follow, though it might take a bit of time and effort. As long as the builder follows instructions and avoids having extra parts at the end of construction, metal sheds will require little maintenance after assembly.

As far as affordability, they are usually more expensive than plastic options but less expensive than a good customer wooden shed. As a word of caution, the cheaper metal sheds won’t last as long as a metal shed built with quality materials. It’s often a matter of the owner buying one good quality shed that will endure or buying a lower quality option that needs replacing in a few shorts years.

From a practical standpoint, metal sheds would be the most reliable option. They don’t attract pests, aren’t subject to the elements short of a tornado, and usually come with solid security features. Also, the higher-end options can be extremely durable inside and out, sometimes coming with a manufacturer’s warranty that lasts for years.

Where metal sheds tend to fall short is in appearance. They often look too sterile and don’t provide enough flexibility to allow for the painting and decorating of the exterior. An owner would have to get pretty lucky to find a metal shed that blends in properly with the rest of the property.

In summary, metal sheds offer a lot of reliability if the owner can deal with the appearance.

After reading the above information, you should have a reasonably clear path towards comparing these three options. At this point, it becomes a matter of you deciding which factors are most important to you.

If you are sensitive to pricing, it would seem plastic is the way to go. If you want the ability to customize your shed and match it up with the rest of your property, you would want to place wood options at the top of your list. When all else fails, you could decide to go middle of the road and find the best metal option you can afford.