Custom Built Shed vs. Kit

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These days everyone is, understandably, trying to get the most out of every dollar they spend.  This includes the erection of portable sheds whether they are being used for storage, playhouse or anything else.  One of the ways people are doing this is buying a kit they install themselves as opposed to hiring a contractor to build it for them.  Kits have both positive and negative aspects.

On the plus side, kits are ready to go.  Designed to be easy to install, they can be assembled by anyone with basic construction skills.  They have the pieces already cut and ready to be put together and the building has already been designed so you don’t have to figure out rafter angles, stud lengths or much of anything else.  Since everything is already cut to length, you don’t have a pile of trash to deal with when you’re finished.  For most people, the greatest benefit is that they can be as much as $500-$1000 less than having a contractor come out and build it for them.

There are, however, drawbacks to kits.  The most obvious one is that they have to be put together.  Even if everything is ready to assemble it is a lot of work to pick up, move around and nail or screw together what could easily be 2 or 3 thousand pounds of material, not to mention carrying it to the back yard from the curbside delivery.  Shingles, for example, weigh 70+ pounds a bundle and they all have to be carried up a ladder and installed on the roof.  Next is the time involved.  Even a very small kit will take most homeowners at least 6-8 hours to assemble, level, paint and roof.  A medium sized shed can eat up 18-24 man hours of labor even if you’ve done it dozens of times and have all the right tools.  A 10×12 shed will require at least 1300 screws and nails Trying to squeeze in a project like that in the evenings or weekends can make it drag out for days or even weeks.  One more thing to consider is the extra charges kits often come with.  Floor systems and roofing are usually not included with kits and need to be purchased separately.  For a small to medium sized shed they will add $200-800 to the price of a kit.  Windows, ramps and steps are rarely included in the base price and need to be added or purchased separately and even if the siding comes painted, everything needs to be caulked, nail holes need to be puttied and the trim will need to be painted.

Overall you have the tools, knowledge and time, building a kit can be a good money saver.  Just remember to make sure you know what’s included and what you will have to buy separately.  If you are short on time or an ability to carry heavy pieces of lumber it is probably better to spend the $300-500 to have it installed by a professional.

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