When it comes to Duramax sheds there's plenty of good, some bad and really not much ugly. That's what I found when I recently built one to find out a bit more about how this range of sheds, built from a combination of plastic and steel is put together.
There were a few interesting quirks that you will need to know if you're going to buy one of these for yourself. But I'm getting ahead of myself here. Let's start off with the things that are good about Duramax sheds.
There are three main points that stand out in favour of the Duramax storage shed. They are;
The completed Duramax Shed
When putting it together it was accurately made
There were no windows (helps with security) and the skylight let in plenty of light
It really does look low maintenance
You need to ensure that the shed base that you build the shed on is square and level. By doing this you'll have no trouble with any of the holes lining up. The holes that need to align are all pre-punched in to the thin gauge pressed metal frame. Typically you will be using a screw driver to screw through one frame member into a second member using a 'self-tapping' screw. The self tapping screw cuts its thread in the smaller diameter hole in the second member to securely join the two together.
The only problem I had with these holes not lining up was when I got to the roof and then I found that it was my fault. I did a quick check that the structure was square by measuring the diagonal across the internal dimensions and found that they were different. I adjusted the building so that it was square again and lo and behold the holes came into alignment!
One point to the Duramax shed!
By not being able to peer inside it means that potential thieves cannot quickly scope out what is inside. To overcome the problem of the shed being dark inside and the user not being able to see what they have stored a see through roof light is used. The roof ridge has two capping pieces, one is of the same vinyl material that is used for the sides of the shed the other is clear plastic. And even with the door closed on a reasonably dark day there was plenty of light to see what was going on. A very useful feature.
There really is very little to go wrong. The structure of the shed is made out of steel. There is a ring of steel at the base at mid height to tie the panels together and again at eaves level. The roof is support structure is also made out of steel. The support structure is then clad in single skin vinyl panels that are slotted in between the steel skeleton.
The panels are a cream colour and so are not going to fade in a significant way that a brighter colour might. So there is no painting required there. There is some exposed steel but that has a coating of paint and galvanising so that should last a while too. There could be a little rust around some of the screw holes but overall it looked pretty durable to me.
So those are the good points. Was the shed perfect? Of course not, lets move on to the points that were not so good.
There were several ways that I thought the design of this shed could be improved. The three most significant were;
The ends of the steel frame did have tape around them to protect them when they were first unwrapped. However I did not notice quite how sharp these had been left after being cut in the factory. It only took being cut once and quite a flow of blood from my finger to make sure that I was extra careful in this area. I would recommend you wear some light protective gloves when putting this shed together.
Overall I thought that the security of the shed was quite good compared with a timber shed. Breaking into a timber shed can be achieved through breaking in through the walls if necessary and it would take a similar level of effort to do the same with this shed.
However why break through the walls are an open goal. Firstly, they are on simple lift-on lift-off hinges made of light weight metal. Secondly, the doors are locked by padlocking together the door handles that are made out of plastic! Total time to open for a thief = 10 seconds. I would not recommend this shed in a public area or one where there is a high level of theft from sheds. It would however be suitable for enclosed gardens in residential areas with low levels of crime.
I liked the overall design and it is a great concept. I felt as though the quality of the original design had been let down by the cost department saving a few pennies here and there. I felt that if the steel frame had been of slightly heavier gauge steel and with a more robust paint and galvanising system that it would have given even more confidence as to the future longevity of the shed. I also felt that the height of the shed was driven by something other than the user. I could stand up straight (I am 6'2") but if I tried to move I banged my head on the roof framing members and had to stoop to go into the door.
Lastly, there was the ridiculously cheap hinges and door handles. I reckon if there was an additional $5-10 put into the manufacture of this shed it would go from good to outstanding.
Duramax sheds are made to tight tolerances and a good level of accuracy. I reckon that they would be quite durable in use and I liked the roof light.
On the downside you will need to pay attention to those sharp ends on the steel parts. Also if you are looking for something that requires a good level of security this may not be for you.
As I said at the beginning lots of good some bad and no really ugly. If you need some lightweight, inexpensive storage for your garden to keep the weather off then one of the Duramax sheds could be just what you need.