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Shed Maintenance – How to Care for Your Shed (part 1 of 2)

Shed Care: Three DO’s and DON’Ts of Shed Maintenance (Part 1 of 2)

You’ve spent good money on your storage shed.  You want it to last a long time.

Let’s look at 3 really basic things you should do–or should not do–that will dramatically improve the useful life of your backyard building.

Now, we know that maintenance takes time, and Saturdays are precious.  But we believe a storage shed worth having is a storage shed worth keeping.  The simple fact is that if you want to keep it, you have to maintain it.  On the cheery side, much storage shed maintenance is fairly simple, and is only needed every few years.

Skim this post

  1. Shed skirting ideas
  2. Backfill rules
  3. Paint

Shed Care Essentials

1. DO:  Skirt the shed.

Particularly with sheds that have been set on blocks, there will be a space between the ground and the bottom of the floor system of the shed.   While this is not necessarily a problem, it can be unsightly, and many homeowners’ associations have skirting requirements for a shed that has been set up this way.  The important thing to remember when skirting your shed is to maintain adequate ventilation.  The most common method is to use some type of lattice.  This hides the underside of the shed, but it also easy to yank back off to adjust the leveling if the shed should settle unevenly.

12x16 Painted Storage Shed with Lattice

Lattice under this 12×16 New England shed gives it a finished look, and makes it “pop.”

12x16 Painted Storage Shed with Shutters - No Lattice

As long as the animals stay out from underneath, there’s no problem with this, but it doesn’t look as finished.

Other possible solutions include pressure-treated lumber, vinyl mobile home skirting, or metal.  But again, if you do use lumber or metal, make sure that you install foundation vents to allow some airflow under the building.

2. DON’T:  Backfill dirt around it.

Wooden storage buildings are not intended to be retaining walls.  Do not fill in the “air space” around the bottom of your shed with dirt.  This causes several problems.

  1. First, it places potentially damp dirt in direct contact with the wood sheathing or siding.  This contact will quickly rot the wood.  It also allows water running off the roof to splash more directly back onto the siding.
  2. Second, in extreme cases when it is really piled up against the building, it may allow run-off water to run against the siding, and even to enter the shed if the backfill level is above the floor.
  3. Third, it does not allow adequate ventilation of the floor system.  This can cause condensation to build up on the underside of the floor plywood, and eventually rot the floor from the bottom.

3. DO:  Paint it.

This should go without saying, but if your building is covered with wood siding and trim, you will need to put a on coat of paint (or stain, depending on the type of wood) every 5-10 years.  (We use Sherwin-Williams SuperPaint®, which comes with a limited lifetime warranty, and so lasts much longer than what you will get with cheaper sheds.) Re-painting your shed is a relatively inexpensive process, particularly if you do it yourself.  Most average “Harry Homeowners” will be able to paint the average sized shed in three-fourths of a Saturday, using between 3 and 4 gallons of paint or stain.

Obviously, this maintenance item does not apply to maintenance-free exteriors like vinyl siding.  If the sight of wet paint dripping from a brush makes you ill, you should at least consider a low maintenance siding like vinyl.  Or, alternatively, you can call us and ask us to send you a dedicated Byler Service Tech, who will be able to paint your shed (and do any other repairs that you wish, as well!)

Want to learn more? Read How to Maintain Your Shed (Part 2).

Consider Your Storage Shed Options

Our service techs find that many people, once they start looking at the cost of repairs, think about getting a new shed instead. So be sure to make a complete list of what it will take to get your shed back in tip-top shape. You don’t want to spend 3/4 of the cost of a new shed, and end up with a shed that’s pretty outdated. In fact, occasionally we are able to give you a little credit on your new shed, and sell your old shed for you. It doesn’t hurt to ask!

So, maybe you’re thinking that it might just be time for a new shed. One that won’t take quite so much work! If so, you’ll find some ideas below to get you rolling.

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