Keep Organized Even When Storing Items Outside
If your closets and garage are bursting at the seams, it may be time to look into a storage shed.
Storage sheds have come a long way in design in functionality. Available in many colors, sizes, and styles, you can customize them to suit your taste and needs. A shed can also make your property look tidier because everything is out of sight instead of shoved in a corner or cluttering your garage.
Keeping your garden and house tools, pool equipment, recreational vehicles, and outdoor furniture out of the elements will allow them to last longer and perform better when you need them.
In terms of sheds used for storage (rather than "Sheryl's She Shed"), most people just need extra space. "A good number of people are tired of driving to off-site storage facilities to pick up bikes, holiday decorations, tools, and other items. The backyard shed allows people to eliminate the trip and not clutter the garage," said Rachel Oxley, inside sales representative, Backyard Shed Store by Urban Concepts.
Depending on the space available, you may want a small shed on the side of the house for access to items you regularly use such as bikes, pool supplies, and gardening equipment. A larger shed can house small recreational vehicles and other items you may not get into on a weekly basis.
Consider the size and how you intend to use your storage shed before you buy one. Measure and sketch out the space and items you expect to put in the shed. Keep some wiggle room for unexpected items.
If you live in a neighborhood with an HOA, contact them before the design stage of your shed. They will likely have restrictions and requirements such as size, color, shingles, and delivery times. Some HOAs don't allow sheds at all. Ask before you buy.
A building permit may be necessary depending on the size of the unit. As long as the shed is 200 square feet or less, most cities do not require it. You do need to pay special attention to set-backs. Contact your municipality for permit and set-back requirements.
A 10 x 40 shed can store recreational vehicles. A 10 x 20 can store a riding lawn mower, trimmers, chainsaws, and other power equipment. Medium garden sheds range in size up to an 8 x 10 and can accommodate a riding mower while still leaving room for trash cans and other supplies. A 10 x 10 can hold a month's worth of hay for a couple of horses as well as some shelving, supplements, and tools. The average shed size is 10 x 14 or 10 x 12.
If the shed will be used as a workshop, then you probably want to include electricity. You will need a building permit in this case. Only hire a ROC-licensed contractor to install the electric.
Foundation & Flooring
Though a foundation is not required, you will need level ground. Many people grade the earth and pack it with pebbles. Make sure the flooring of the unit has treated lumber for any parts that do touch the ground. "The treatment should be rated for ground contact and resistant to mold, mildew, and termites. Painting is not the same as treatment," said Oxley.
The subfloor (the material you walk on) should be at least three-quarters inch thick and the joints tongue and groove. This increases the strength of the floor.
Make sure light is not streaming through the cracks. That can indicate poor workmanship, affect the long-term performance on the unit, and damage the contents inside. Look for a product that holds up well against the sun and comes with a long-term warranty. Some go as long as 50 years!
Look for a shed with a higher-grade door such as Laminated Strand Lumber. It will last longer than traditional tension hardware. If the door has glass, make sure it is tempered.
For security, use a door that includes a deadbolt. Depending on the value of the items inside, you may want to install a security system.
A critical component of the roof construction is the underlayment. This is a barrier material installed under the shingles and provides extra protection for extreme weather conditions.
Depending on the access to your yard, the shed may be built directly onsite or placed in the yard with a crane.
A shed can quickly become a black hole if it's not kept organized. Install lightweight, heavy-duty shelves, hooks and racks to keep your shed organized. Label drawers and cabinets and organize accordingly.
The Arizona Sun & Heat
If you are concerned about the heat damaging the items inside, consider adding active solar venting. This system keeps the air moving through the unit at the same temperature as the outside. A good rule of thumb is if you would not put it in your garage, don't put it in the shed.
According to Oxley, often companies will list a special price to attract potential customers. Be sure to go over the details. Are paint, shingles, flooring, assembly, delivery and set up included? Read the fine print and ask the sales representative if there anything else you need to add to the price to receive a ready-to-use shed. The average price she sees for an 8 x 10 unit is $2,500 - $3,000 finished and delivered.
Exterior Storage Alternatives
If a shed is not an option and you need additional storage, consider a deck box storage bench or cabinet. There are storage benches that can hold up 70 gallons of contents. Deck boxes can go as high as 99 gallons. Some storage boxes are designed to also function as a small table. You can create a seating area with a bench or two and table while your outdoor gear is neatly tucked away. These options come in wood, resin, metal, and plastic and can be found in a variety of colors to blend with your outdoor décor.
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