Is An Outdoor Metal Shed Better Than A Wooden One?

We all know that the best shirts are made out of cotton. They are crisp, they are comfortable, they are cool in warm weather and warm in colder weather.

The downsides of a cotton shirt are; the ironing, after a few hours of wear they can look a bit creased, also a pure cotton shirt is not a cheap item to buy.

These downsides are such a disadvantage that many, if not most, shirts are now not pure cotton they are some other blend of fibres that is easier to care for and easier on the pocket.

In a similar way to the non-iron shirt, alternatives to the timber shed have been developed to overcome some of the disadvantages of the original natural material.

Why would you want an alternative to a beautiful wooden shed?

There are three main reasons why an outdoor metal shed could be better than the traditional timber shed;

    1. Lower maintenance

    2. Greater durablility

    3. Less expensive

Let's look at each one of these items in turn to see how timber matches up to metal, starting with the reasons why metal sheds are low maintenance.

Are outdoor metal sheds lower maintenance?

One of the reasons that timber needs maintaining is that it is a natural material and it 'moves' with changes in moisture content. This movement means that over periods of 2-3 years the paint or stain used develops small cracks and the system lets in moisture or starts to peel, the shed then needs re-painting. Metal sheds do not move as much as timber and the paint systems that are used have lives in excess of 10 years.

If you think of the paint system that is used on your car (a sophisticated metal shed!) you do not need to repaint that every 2-3 years. The only maintenance that is recommended for a metal shed is a wash down with soapy water once per year, to clean off any accumulated dirt, and oiling of the hinges. Some maintenance is needed to keep any building in good shape but the amount of maintenance needed for metal sheds is very low. How do they fare on the durability front then?

Is an outdoor metal shed more durable than timber?

It really depends on your definition of durability. If a metal shed and a timber shed were left exposed to the weather in the absence of humans for 10 years then I would predict that the metal shed would be in better shape at the end of it than the wooden one. Most metal sheds are made out of sheets of steel that are galvanized prior to painting and so even if there are small scratches they wont immediately rust as the galvanising provides resistance to this. Timber sheds, by contrast are subject to damage from insects and if they are damp or wet for too long they start to rot.

However this is just considering material durability alone. If humans are introduced into the picture then the picture changes. A timber shed is a lot more resistant to stray footballs than a metal shed. If the metal shed is damaged through impact it will damage the paint system and reduce its life. If a timber shed is damaged it is fairly easy to repair whereas a metal shed may need a whole panel to be replace which will not necessarily be available. The susceptibility of a shed to damage is often related to price.

Are Outdoor metal sheds cheaper than a wooden shed of a similar size?

When comparing costs on any item it is important to compare like with like and this is often done in misleading ways. A wide range of metal sheds have been developed from ones that are extremely cheap and really are the lowest cost available to quite expensive and heavy duty metal sheds. For the cheapest metal sheds the metal is very thin and so there is a trade off that has been made between material cost and ruggedness, also some of the cheapest metal sheds could be easy to break in to.

At the other end of the price scale there are metal sheds that are made of thicker metal with security as more of a consideration than price. This type of shed could be even more expensive than a similar sized timber shed but it would be a lot more secure. So some sort of trade off is needed here as to which is your priority.

Is an outdoor metal shed really a good alternative to a wooden shed?

I can't answer that question for you. You really need to consider what your needs are in relation to:

  • How much maintenance you are prepared for
  • What sort of durability you need from your shed
  • What your budget is

We still love cotton shirts even though the non-iron ones are available

In a similar way that the new non-iron shirts do not have all the advantages over traditional cotton ones. An outdoor metal shed has a lot of advantages over a traditional timber one but are they the ones that count for you?

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