DIY Shed Cost With Building Instructions

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One of the best ways to increase storage on your property and improve your resale value is by adding a shed to your land. You can place your shed wherever you want on your property, but the typical location is in the backyard or next to your house. Aside from the location, the first thing that pops into most people’s minds is if it’s cheaper to build a shed or buy one. 

The average cost to build a shed ranges from $1,000 to $10,000, with the national average being around $3,500. However, many factors will determine the overall cost of your shed if you decide to build it yourself. These factors can drive the price to $30,000 or drop it below the $1,000 mark. 

If you’re wondering what these factors are and how you can save money when building a shed, you’ve come to the right place. We’ll look at the different types of sheds, the cost of each one, and what will determine the overall cost of your shed. 

Factors That Determine the Cost of Building Your Own Shed 

Let’s start by looking at the different things that go into building a shed and how they affect the cost. 

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The first and most obvious factor is the size of the shed. The bigger you want your shed to be, the more materials you’ll have to use. The size of the shed might also determine if you need building permits for it or not. Smaller sheds don’t offer as much storage as big ones, but they also cost less and may not require permits. Smaller sheds are also more portable and easier to build on skids. 


The style and purpose of your shed will also play a significant factor in the end cost. Storage sheds, garden sheds, and lean-tos are usually the plainest and cheapest sheds to build. They don’t require extra perks or additions, and their construction is very straightforward. However, if you’re building a shed to double as your home office, she shed, or mancave, the cost will be much higher. 


Building and labor permits aren’t going to break the bank, but they’re annoying costs that you would rather do without. The average permit cost is between $50 and $100, but you’ll need several of them depending on the size and features of your shed. Bigger sheds that are getting all the bells and whistles will require a zoning permit, plumbing permits, electrical permits, etc. 


The materials you use to build your shed will affect the cost, but it isn’t an area where you want to skimp too much. Most sheds use pressure-treated 2x4s, OSB plywood, traditional or metal shingles, vinyl siding, and more. Prefabricated sheds built with cheap materials can cost less than $500, while sheds made of metal, solid wood, or concrete materials will cost more. 

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Type of Foundation

If you’re looking to build a shed with a permanent and solid foundation, you’ll have to pour a concrete slab similar to the one that your house is sitting on. Pouring concrete means excavation costs, extra materials, and extra labor. It also means that your shed isn’t as portable as if you use other methods for the shed foundation. 

If you want the option of portability and a cheaper foundation, you should opt to use skids as your foundation. Skids are pressure-treated pieces of timber that are extremely strong, portable, and much cheaper than excavating and pouring a concrete foundation for your shed

Mechanicals and Insulation 

As with all things in life, the more bells and whistles you add to your shed, the higher the cost. Insulation alone could cost an additional $500 to $1,000, depending on the size of your shed. Adding other things like electricity, plumbing, heating, cooling, and other customizations and features will increase your cost in a hurry. Especially if you don’t have the skills necessary to perform these tasks and plan to hire professionals. 

Cost to Build Different Types of Sheds

As we briefly touched on above, there are many different types and styles of sheds, and they all come at different prices. The type of shed you want to build will significantly alter what you pay. Here are the different types of sheds. 

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Storage Shed 

Small storage sheds are relatively cheap as long as you don’t add insulation, electrical, and other things to them. Depending on the size, you can build a pre-fab, metal, or wood storage shed for anywhere between $200 and $10,000. 

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Garden Shed and Lean-To Shed

Garden sheds and lean-tos are usually even cheaper to build than storage sheds because they’re smaller and typically only contain your garden tools and plant. Most garden sheds are small enough that they don’t need a permanent foundation and can attach to the side of your house or garage. The average cost of building a garden shed is between $100 and $2,000, depending on size and materials. 

Gambrel Shed 

A gambrel or barn-style shed usually runs a little higher in cost than traditional storage sheds. These sheds are usually larger and have more features than storage or garden sheds, such as higher walls, more interior space, and a loft. The bigger you build it, the more it will cost, and the harder it will be to stay on budget.  

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She Shed 

She sheds and other liveable sheds will have the highest building cost out of all sheds. These sheds will incorporate hefty insulation, electrical, heating, air conditioning, and possibly plumbing. Sheds of this size and magnitude will often require a concrete slab foundation rather than concrete piers or concrete blocks. You should expect the end cost of a she shed to be anywhere from $5,000 to $25,000, depending on size and features. 


Animal Shed 

If you love animals such as goats, horses, cows, or chickens and want a place to keep them, animal sheds are a great option. Animal sheds aren’t as expensive as sheds built for human inhabitants, but they are costlier than most garden and storage sheds. The main reason for the higher cost of between $2,000 and $15,000 is because animal sheds are fairly big and require some form of insulation. The foundation also has to be strong enough to support heavyweights. 

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Is It Cheaper to Build Your Own Shed? 

When it comes to sheds, you have several options to choose from. 

Building your own shed 

Building your own shed is the cheapest option, especially if you want a medium to large shed. The cost of purchasing materials is pricy, but not as expensive as buying a pre-built shed or hiring someone to build one for you. 

Purchasing a prefabricated shed 

Purchasing a prefabricated or pre-built shed is very similar in cost to building a shed, but only with smaller sheds. Some pre-fab sheds cost as little as $200, but they’re small and cheaply made. Larger pre-fab sheds cost much more to purchase than building your own shed of the same size. 

Hiring someone to build the shed for you

Hiring someone to do the work for you is the most expensive option out of all the ways to build a shed. You will have to pay for materials, but you’ll also be paying steep labor costs, which will likely double what your cost would be to build the shed yourself. 

How to Build a Portable Shed 

If you’ve decided that building your own portable shed is the way to go, then this section is for you. From start to finish, we’ll give you a solid outline of how to build a shed, the materials you’ll need, and how to begin. 

Make a Plan 

The first and most important step in starting the shed-building process is to develop a plan. There are tons of free shed plans on the internet, and even more available for purchase. Once you know what kind of shed you want to build, you can purchase the plan and set things into motion. 

Gather Your Materials and Tools 

The next thing you’ll want to do is gather all the tools and building materials you’ll need to complete the job. Depending on how comprehensive the plan you purchased is, it will include a detailed list of tools and materials. You can buy most of these things at local hardware stores, Lowes, Home Depot, or a shed building company. 

Build Your Skids 

Once you have your tools, plans, and materials, you’re ready to begin. Step one is to build your skid foundation and level the ground where your shed will sit. You want a solid foundation, so make sure that you use pressure-treated timber that’s strong and durable. 6×6 timbers are ideal for most shed skids, but you can also combine 2x6s or 4x6s to get your skids’ desired width and thickness. 

You’ll want to ensure a solid foundation, such as a foot of gravel, for your timbers to lie on. 

Construct the Deck and Floor Joists 

Once your skids are level, stable, and in the right spot, you can go ahead and build the floor using ¾” or 1″ plywood. The thicker your plywood is, the less risk your floor will warp or bow over time. You’ll also want to add floor joists every 12 to 16″ that run from skid to skid. Use wood screws to attach the plywood and floor joists. 

Build the End Walls 

Your next step is to start building the end wall frames of your shed. You’re not going to set them in place yet, but you’ll want to have them ready. Start with the back wall and front wall, then move to the side walls. 

The Siding 

Because it’s easier to attach siding and flashing to the walls while they’re lying on a flat surface, you should do that now. You’ll want to make sure that the siding is aligned with your shed’s bottom plate and top plate so that everything’s covered. 

Construct Your Roof Frame and Soffits 

With the siding attached, you can now build the roof frame and soffits. Doing this step with the walls down is much easier and will save you time when you go to install the roof. 

Nail the Walls in Place and Attach the Roof 

With the walls framed and ready for the roof, have someone help you raise the walls and put them in place. Make sure they’re square with the bottom of the shed and are aligned right where you want them before nailing or screwing them in place. Next, you can raise the roof frame you just built and set it on top of the walls. 

Add Door and Window Frames 

Because you’re building your own custom shed, you can add windows and doors wherever you want to. It’s important to have a decent amount of natural light, but you also don’t want to overload your shed with windows and doors. 

Add Any External Trim, Features, or Decor 

No shed is complete without trimmings, features, and decor around the roof, walls, and doors. While you may want to hold off installing the window and door trims until they get installed, you can do any other pieces now. 

Install the Doors and Windows 

It’s up to you if you want to build your doors and window frames. Regardless of what you choose, take careful measurements of each opening and purchase a door or window that matches it. You should also make sure that your door is level and open and shut easily after installing them. 

Add Shingles to the Roof

Just as you can choose your doors and windows, it’s up to you about which roofing material you want. Metal roofs tend to last longer, but they’re more expensive. Shingles are easier and cheaper, but you may have to replace them in 15 or 20 years. 

Related Questions 

Is it cheaper to build a shed or buy a pre-made one? 

On average, it’s almost always cheaper to build your own shed rather than buy a similar one that’s pre-made. 

How long does it take to build a shed? 

The amount of time it takes you to build your shed depends on the size and complexity of the project. A basic shed can get built-in as little as 8 to 10 hours, but a large, complicated shed can take weeks or even months. 

What are the average labor costs of hiring someone to build my shed? 

If you want to go the route of having someone build your custom shed for you, the labor costs will be a killer. Most carpenters and woodworkers charge between $50 and $100 per hour. 

Final Thoughts 

As you can see, there are many factors that go into the cost of your shed. However, the most significant of these factors is whether or not you’re willing to do the manual labor yourself. By building your own shed, you can cut your costs in half, if not more. While it will take a lot of sweat and time, building your own shed is worth the money, and you’ll gain valuable life experiences. 


Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.