DO’s and DON’Ts of Storage Shed Maintenance
As we discussed in Part 1 of Shed Care, there are many things you can do (or not do) that will improve the useful life of your backyard accessory structure. By taking a little extra time and money, with 4 tips here you can add 10-20 years to the life of your shed.
It takes a little time, but it’s worth it! We have picked up a 35-year-old shed built by Benny Byler, and maintained by the owner–and because it was still in good shape, were able to turn around and sell it.
What you DO and DON’T DO to your shed are both important to keeping it healthy, so read on for four handy tips.
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- Flying objects — keep them away
- Floor — keep it coated
- Heavy objects — keep them distributed
- Roof — if it leaks, fix it now!
Shed Maintenance – 4 Keys
1. DON’T: Throw rocks at it.
No, this is not a joke. Particularly with vinyl-sided storage buildings, it is important to mow the grass away from the building. Mowers have a tendency to occasionally throw more than grass, and flying pebbles, doggie bones, or car parts can inflict serious damage to vinyl siding. Besides, even if you know that your grass is free from unidentified (potentially) flying objects, it does not look good to have the bottom half of your shed plastered with grass clippings.
2. DO: Paint the floor.
This is a really good idea, particularly when parking mowers and other equipment in the shed that could be likely to leak fluids on the floor. Most home improvement stores or paint specialty stores carry paint specifically for this purpose. The color of the paint is usually some shade of gray, but other colors are available. New sheds that use quality materials come with floors that already have a tough coating on them, and there is no need to paint those unless the coating has worn from driving your mower in and out for years.
3. DON’T: Put your pot of gold in the corner.
No shed floor is stronger than its foundation, and most shed foundations are not engineered for intense weight pressures at one specific point. Since most sheds are set on blocks or gravel, they will settle somewhat as the ground goes through its freeze-thaw cycle. You can minimize the negative effects of this settling by distributing the weight as evenly over the floor is possible. This is not something to be paranoid about, but knowing this general principle can save you some time and frustration down the road.
In the average storage shed, the heaviest item is a riding lawnmower. Does this mean that the mower has to go directly in the center of the building? Not necessarily. Remember, the important part is for the weight to be distributed evenly, and weight distribution is somewhat inherent in the mower by virtue of its having four wheels. You can still park it at one end of the building, as long as it is somewhat centered in the width. If you to very carefully were to back your heavy mower into a corner and rent the rest of the shed to a family of ¾-ounce field mice, you would be asking for trouble.
4. DO: Replace the roof immediately when you notice leaks.
Most storage sheds come with shingle roofs that may last anywhere from 5 to 30 or more years, depending on the type of shingle and surroundings of the building. When you do notice a leak in the roof (usually evidenced by blackened or stained plywood), have the roof replaced immediately. If the problem is allowed to persist, it can begin to rapidly deteriorate the roof sheathing. This quickly creates a much more expensive repair. If it leaks, fix it now. It’s not worth the extra time gained by letting the roof keep leaking or doing some sort of temporary fix. (Tarps do not count as even a temporary fix.)
As much as we love your business, we want your shed to last as long as you need it! Staying on top of shed maintenance takes a bit of time, but it will pay itself off many times over in additional years. If you find that you don’t have time to do it yourself, Byler Barns has dedicated Service Technicians who will help you with all your shed repairs. Painting, replacing the roof, or repairing the cracked siding from your rock-spitting lawn mower–we can take care of all your shed needs from the roof peak to the floor joists. We are only a call away!
New Wooden Storage Shed Options
Before you do a major renovation on your old storage shed, be sure to count the cost. We often find that for an old shed, people will decide that the cost of repair is too close to the cost of a new shed. If you decide that your old shed is due for a replacement, below are some ideas to get you going.