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Cheap Sheds Cost More – 6 Reasons Why

Cheap sheds–sounds like a deal, right? And everyone loves a deal.

We get that. Price matters. For most of us (present writer included!) one of our first questions is “How much does it cost?

But here’s the real deal: there is a huge difference between price and value. You’ve got a choice: Do you want something that’s cheap? Or do you want something that has value? Most times, you just can’t have it both ways.

Here’s a question to ask if you are thinking of buying or building a shed: Is “cheap” actually cheap in the long run, or just now?

Cheap Sheds, Cheap Cars

When I was a kid, I bought a Chrysler New Yorker. Cheap. I got it in a junk yard, and fixed it up. Initially, it didn’t cost that much—maybe a few hundred bucks. But it kept costing. I overhauled the transmission. Put in another engine. Swapped out interiors. Got it painted. Put on a new vinyl top. Put in a fuel saving contraption (which got maybe 40% better fuel mileage—up from 9 mpg to 13!). Had an underhood fire because of the fuel saving contraption.

And by the time I was finished, I had soaked so much money into that car that I could easily have gotten a much nicer, more efficient, more reliable vehicle. It finally just got parked. And eventually, sold for . . . a couple hundred bucks. Ironic, isn’t it?

Chrysler New Yorker

Yep–the real deal. 1975 Chrysler New Yorker. This is the actual car.

I bet you have a story like that, too.

Cheap only measures one thing: the money you plunk down to purchase. Cheap doesn’t measure the money you keep plunking down in years to come. Cheap doesn’t measure the actual value of what you bought.

So be careful. If you are on the hunt for cheap sheds, you just might bag one.

6 Ways Cheap Storage Sheds Cost More

Cheap doesn’t measure value. Not only may cheap sheds be more expensive in the long run, you may get a lot less for your money. I’m not trying to use scare tactics. There’s a time and a place for cheap sheds (which I will discuss below), just like there is a time and a place for cheap cars (which I discussed above).

But so you know what I’m talking about, let me give you 6 ways a cheap shed may not only cost you more, but give you a lot less.

  1. Cheap Shingles. Cheap shingles won’t last long. Good shingles will! Do you want to re-roof your shed in 7 years? Neither do I. We’ve already discussed shingle warranties in the Pros and Cons of Shingle Shed Roofs. But here’s the take-away you can bank on: cheap sheds will have cheap shingles.
  1. Cheap Shed Siding. Almost any shed will look great when it’s new. But with cheap sheds, that doesn’t last long. And siding is one of the first places it will show up. One of the worst in the game is T1-11.  One trademark of treated T1-11 Shed Siding is that it will shrink after a few years, leaving gaps between sheets. As you might imagine, those gaps don’t look all that great. Another trademark of T1-11 is that it tends toward warping.
Rotted T1-11 Siding

T1-11 is known for its poor durability. (Photo: garagejournal.com)

  1. Cheap Shed Paint. Or, Cheap Shed Stain. Paint or stain, if it’s cheap it won’t last long. OK–so anyone can paint a shed, and you can too. But how often? A poor quality stain, found on cheap sheds, won’t last more than about 3 years. A poor quality paint, maybe a few years more. But again, it’s  hard to tell the difference when the shed is new. (And since you’re wondering … Byler Barns uses Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint®, which comes with a limited lifetime warranty.)
  2. Cheap Lumber. This can happen in a few ways. Sheds that use 2×3 lumber instead of 2×4 are more wobbly. Sheds that have the studs spaced apart 24″ rather than 16″ are more wobbly. And sheds that use poor quality lumber…well, when you look at it, you can tell.
  3. Cheap Shed Floor. Even the floor matters. A good shed floor repels oil, water, stains. A poor one splinters, peels, and eventually rots.
  4. Cheap Floor Structure. Pressure treated joists last longer. It’s really that simple.
Cheap Sheds Floor

A cheap shed floor will peel and splinter.

When is a cheap shed a good deal?

Here’s the other side of the argument. A shed can’t just be valuable. It has to have value for you. You might be moving in a few months. You just need a temporary place to store your stuff. A cheap shed may be perfect for you. You should also consider a short-term, no-obligation rental. But you might be happiest just buying a cheap shed. Seriously.

If you’re low on money…well, we feel your pain. Most of us know what that’s like! Consider financing a good shed. It might cost you less in the long run. But if you want to cash it off, a cheap shed can help you get by. We all have to make those decisions at times, and there’s no shame in it. Again, a top quality shed isn’t for everyone. And that’s OK.

The main shame comes if you don’t do your homework, and you buy a cheap shed just because …. you didn’t do your homework.

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