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Compare Sheds: Wood vs. Metal vs. Plastic… Which is Best?

Confused?... Don't know what shed to buy, let us help you make the right decision!

Confused?… Don’t know what shed to buy, let us help you make the right decision!

Feeling overwhelmed with the huge choice of sheds you can buy? A1 Sheds will guide you through all of the potential pitfalls!

So, you need a new garden shed and you’ve come to A1 Sheds to see what’s available. Congratulations for making the right decision so far, but now you probably realise that there is much more choice than you expected!

Nowadays there are wooden sheds, metal sheds and plastic sheds, and to the untrained eye they all look pretty much the same, so which one should you go for? Each shed has it’s advantages, but we want you to get one that’s right for you… so here are a few of the basic pro’s and con’s for each type to help you narrow it down a bit. Hopefully this quick, no-nonsense guide will give you an idea where to start, but remember… you can call us free on 0800 195 6968 if you need more advice.


Wooden Sheds

TGB Bentley Apex sheds are very strong and longlasting

Wooden sheds are traditionally the most popular sheds in the UK. They come with two main roof shapes: The tall pointed Apex roof gives you more headroom and faster rain/snow clearance due to the steep angle, and the Pent roof which has a gently sloping roof which is best if you want to run rainwater away from a wall or building, or if you want to collect rainwater in a water butt.

Generally wooden sheds are easy to assemble, and they usually come with a floor. The best quality timber sheds are made from slow-growing Redwood Pine from Scandinavia, as this is stronger and has a tighter grain. Cheaper buildings are made from Whitewood Pine, which is fast-growing and won’t last as long. Whitewood sheds tend to dry out leaving the odd knot-hole, and each board will shrink or swell depending on the weather.

The way the timber is machined is important too: Smooth T&G (tongued and grooved) boards are best as each board interlocks with the next, and the more T&G panels (i.e. roof floor and walls) the better your shed will be. Cheap sheds can have rough overlap boards and/or OSB (chipboard) roofs and floors to keep the cost down, and they aren’t as strong. Tanalised (pressure-treated) sheds are a recent development in the shed market. They won’t rot, but will still require sealing/painting.

Regardless of what timber the building is made from, moisture will dictate the amount that wood expands and contracts, and twists and small splits (shakes) may appear. This is a completely natural occurrence which gives wood its unique character, and is not classed as an imperfection or flaw.

Pros

  • Strong & long lasting (especially T&G)
  • Large, factory made panels are easy to assemble
  • You can get almost any size, shape or door/window layout to suit your requirements
  • You can paint it any colour
  • They come with integral floors which are best for storage
  • Easy and cheap to repair if required

Cons

  • ​They require regular maintenance (painting or preservative)
  • Roofing felt can be damaged easily and will need to be replaced occasionally
  • Large panels can be awkward to get into some properties

We always recommend looking at the best T&G sheds within your budget… with some (such as TGB sheds) we offer free professional installation which will save you money if you can’t assemble yourself.


Metal Sheds

Globel Sheds are great value for moneyMetal sheds are hugely popular (especially overseas), and in recent years have become very popular here too. Most are fairly cheap, and are used for general garden storage. They come as a DIY kit with loose panels and frames packed into a big cardboard box. Assembly of these buildings is straightforward, but time-consuming.

Most metal buildings have no floors, so a solid, flat concrete or paving slab base is essential. Metal sheds are generally pre-painted, and are made from galvanised steel They are designed to be maintenance-free, although the basic ones aren’t as strong as most people expect. Generally metal sheds have a long manufacturers warranty, but beware, as this is normally limited to rust-perforation only. Specialist steel security buildings are much better, stronger, and longer lasting, and are great if you need to keep valuable items safe. They are easier to assemble, however they’re much more expensive than the standard models.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • ​Small panels for easy transportation to site
  • Maintenance-free
  • Rodent-proof
  • Fire Resistant
  • Conform to caravan and mobile home park requirements

Cons

  • Not as strong as timber sheds
  • Time consuming to assemble
  • No floor surface (usually)
  • Requires sealing on joints to stop water ingress
  • Concrete or paving slab base is essential
  • Condensation can be an issue
  • May rust in time (especially in coastal areas)
  • Noisy when raining

Generally, a metal garden shed is great if you have a tight budget with plenty time on your hands to build it. You need to have a solid base to fix it to, but once correctly assembled, they are long-lasting with low-maintenance.


Plastic Sheds

Suncast manufacture some great quality shedsPlastic sheds are the new kids on the block. They are all about low maintenance and easy assembly, and once installed, you can pretty much forget all about them. Most are manufactured in the USA, and can tolerate all weather conditions from frosts to heat waves, however some are better than others. 

The best ones have thick blow-moulded walls made from UV-stable plastic resins which clip together quickly, and integral floors, although the floor will need a solid base below. Cheap plastic sheds tend to have thin plastic panels fitted onto metal frames (a bit like the metal sheds above) and aren’t so easy to assemble.

Pros

  • Maintenance free
  • Lightweight panels
  • Simple assembly
  • Weatherproof
  • Often supplied with shelves and tool hangers

Cons

  • Not as strong as a good timber shed
  • Can’t paint or change colour
  • Condensation can be an issue
  • Can be quite expensive
  • Limited range of sizes and styles

The new breed of plastic sheds are very good, and you should consider them if you need something which is maintenance free and easy to assemble, but you should remember that they are difficult (if not impossible) to repair if they get damaged.


Summary

There is no such thing as the wrong shed… each style has it’s merits, however the right shed for you will depend upon where you are positioning it, what you are using it for, and how much you want to pay. Use the information above to help you narrow down your options, but remember… we’re only a phone call away if you need some friendly, impartial advice.


Visit a1sheds.com for more detailed information on our full range of garden buildings including wooden sheds, metal sheds, plastic sheds, summerhouses, playhouses, greenhouses and shed bases.