Is it cheaper to build or buy a shed?
When researching the idea of replacing your garden shed, people may be surprised how much a shed costs in the UK.
Forest Research UK advise that over the last 15 years timber prices have increased, which means you may be paying more now than you did all those years ago.
The DIY enthusiast within us may now even consider if it is cheaper to build a shed from scratch, rather than buying one directly from a shop or website.
We at GardenStreet have investigated this, focusing on a traditional 6×4 Overlap Apex Shed, to give you the cost comparison to work out which way is cheaper. If you are unsure about Overlap, then you can read about the differences between Overlap, Shiplap and Tongue & Groove cladding at this link.
Cost of Timber
Forest Research confirm that there has been an increase in costs of wood over the last 15 years, with the price of softwood going up around 61p per cubic metre. A cubic metre of softwood sawlog costs, on average, £54.54.
A 6×4 ft Mercia Overlap Shed comes in at just shy of £230 for the actual shed. Made with a good quality 7mm pine, the product comes in pre-composed parts that are already cut down to make assembly quicker and easier.
Fixings and Roofing Felt
A shed purchased from a shop would include enough high quality fixings and nails required for the whole build. These are generally included in the price, and the correct ones are supplied for the product you have purchased so you don’t need to worry about getting the wrong parts.
If you built a shed from scratch, you would need nails, screws tacks for felt, hinges for the door. On average, for a 6×4 shed this will set you back around £18 for good quality galvanised metal fixings.
Roofing Felt is also supplied with most sheds when bought as a kit, but would need to be purchased independently if making your own. At a cost of £21.50 for a 10 metre strip, this cost would also need to be included in the comparison as it is a fundamental part of the building.
Whilst not an absolute necessity, and the costs of building a shed can be reduced by not including any windows, we have included this in our comparison as they are always a popular feature.
A 50cm x 50cm styrene window with pre-drilled screw holes has an average cost of £11.45 (PlasticSheets.com). These are usually required on each side of the shed so we have included two in our comparison.
Again, the cost of windows is built into the price of a store bought wooden shed.
Time and Cost to Build
Depending on your level of skill in woodwork and DIY, building a garden shed from scratch typically takes 1 to 2 days.
The old analogy ‘time is money’ is hard to value or put a price on, as it depends on how much you value your own time or lost earnings.
As a scale the National Living Wage in the UK is £8.72 per hour. Should the shed take two working days (or around 16 hours) to build and erect, it would cost at least £139.52 in monetary time terms to build.
However, assembly services are offered on a lot of shed when buying from a retailer. The starting price starts at around £160 for a 6×4 shed, but can go up to around £600 depending on the size.
As this is done by the professionals who build sheds on a daily basis, they are often completed to a high standard on the same day as delivery. In the case of a 6×4 shed this will only take around 4 hours.
Another big factor to bear in mind is that when you buy a new shed rather than building one, is that it will likely have come with a form of treatment to the timber to stop it rotting.
Some levels of treatment (such as pressure treatment which generally protects from rot for around 10 years), cannot be emulated in a DIY ‘build from scratch’ job. This is due to the industrial level equipment which manufacturers have access to, which the general punter will not.
For a 6×4 shed we would recommend 5 Litres of high quality wood preserver, such as Protek’s range. This costs around £50 a tin, and is vital to stop the rotting of untreated wood.
Buying from a shop or manufacturer gives you the added comfort of a warranty, and general UK legal consumer protection as with any purchase you make.
The Mercia 6×4 shed comes with a 10 year limited warranty, so you know if there is ever an issue down the line, you have the peace of mind of being covered.
With a DIY project you do not have any protection or warranty on the product.
|Building Your Own Shed||Buying a Shed From a Retailer|
|Assembly Time||At Least 2 Days||1 Day|
|Warranty||No Warranty||Up to 10 Years|
It is cheaper to build your own shed, but this is a much more labour intensive task. As well as the independent sourcing and cutting down of individual part, it generally takes longer to build your own.
When buying from a retailer, you have the benefit of extended warranties on a lot of products, which give peace of mind that should something go awry down the line, you can deal with the professionals who can help you.
However, we totally understand the pride of successfully completing your own DIY job, which really we could never put a price on!