When you buy a car you know which features are important to you.
When I was younger and in my 20s it was all about how the car looked its power and top speed. Now with a family the internal space, number of seats and resistance to kids pulling it apart is of higher priority.
The importance of the features in metal storage shed kits will vary depending on your own personal situation.
Different features of a shed have different priorities depending on your use. I have listed below the main features of metal storage shed kits that you need to consider.
I have listed these features in the order of importance that is about right for me, that order might be a little different for you.
Also, I have given a few suggestions of the sort of variables there are for each feature. You might find this information in the manufacturers literature. Or if you really want to make them work for their money ask them a load of questions before your buy. ;-)
1. Metal Thickness and corrosion resistance
The quality and strength of a metal shed is related to the thickness of the metal that it is made from. Most metal garden sheds have an internal frame with sheet metal panels covering it on the outside. Each shed manufacturer uses a different framing system and thickness of metal for the walls.
A flimsy metal shed will have metal walls 0.25mm thick, a shed at the quality end of the spectrum will have walls over 1mm thick. The metal thickness is important for security as it is more difficult to dent or damage thicker steel. The thickness of metal is important for determining the resistance to theft and also to hail damage if you live in an area where hail storms occur. The fixings that hold the shed together are more difficult to pull out for someone trying to damage or break when the walls are of a heavier gauge steel.
The majority of sheds are made of steel though there are some systems that use aluminium. Aluminium is lighter and more corrosion resistant than steel but is has much less strength and will dent more easily than the same thickness of steel.
Good quality steel panels should be galvanized for the best corrosion resistance. The surface coating of paint, powder, or plastic PVC will contribute something to the rust resistance as well, but in combination with galvanising the paint is of a lesser importance.
The lifespan of the shed will be affected by the atmospheric conditions in the area that you live. If you live in a coastal or heavily industrialized area, salt from the sea air and chemicals from manufacturing plants will reduce the time to first corrosion compared with sheds in less corrosive atmospheres.
2. Roof Style and strength
Metal storage shed kits, like wooden sheds, come with varied roof styles. Pent roofs slant in only one direction, reminding you of a lean to shed. Gabled sheds have a standard peak like a house and the roof slants in both directions.
One problem that crops up from time to time is metal shed roofs that are not strong enough to support snow load. Some global manufacturers offer metal shed systems that are designed for areas that do not receive snow. They then have a roof strengthening kit which is supplied as an extra for sheds that are to be constructed in areas that receive heavy snow. A problem occurs in areas that receive occasional heavy snow and do not buy and fit the kit.
Metal storage shed kit roofs have been known to collapse under heavy snow, so if you are in doubt I would fit the kit and sleep better in the winter.
3. Locks and Security
All metal storage shed kits should come with some type of locking mechanism. They vary from the very simple, which would be a single hasp and padlock, to systems with keyed locks and three pronged locking mechanisms.
Each manufacturer of metal sheds uses their own method of securing and keeping your shed safe, with different security features and lock-sets that they prefer.
The simple hasp and staple is not very secure however at the other end of the range this three pronged system makes your shed extremely secure.
4. Door Styles
The style of door is also tied into the important issue of security. There are three common types of door used on metal sheds; horizontally sliding doors, vertical roller shutter doors (similar to that of a garage door) and standard hinged units.
Each has their pros and cons, but the main priority is that the door open wide enough to allow you to maneuver your items in and out of your shed, that is robust and reliable and can easily be secured.
It is more common to find sliding and hinged doors on standard sheds and roller doors on larger units that can accommodate the space the door will take up.
5. Floors and Foundations
One thing you must consider is the flooring and foundations for your shed.
Metal storage shed kits need to be bolted down to some form of foundation for safety reasons. As light weight structures it is very easy for them to be blown over in high winds if they are not well secured to something heavy.
Not having a floor can also make problems arising from evaporation of moisture in the ground with condensation worse.
The reason why many metal sheds are supplied without a floor or base is part of an effort to show the lowest possible headline price.
There are several options that you can follow here. You could either buy a floor and base system from the manufacturer, make a concrete base for your shed or even build your own timber sub floor as I did.
Whichever option you go for it is important that the base for your shed is level so that when you build it you can be confident that all of the holes will line up.
Accessorizing metal storage shed kits is different from fitting out a timber shed. In a timber shed you can fix shelves and hooks just about anywhere you want by nailing or screwing to the wall timbers.
In a metal shed you are a bit more restricted to using holes and fixing points that the manufacturer has built in to the system. So before you buy make sure that you are happy with the way that you will fit shelves and hang stuff from the walls.
You might also want to consider additional windows and skylights that will reduce the need for electricity to be run to the shed from the main house.
When you are considering a metal shed for your garden you may find that your colour choices are not exactly varied. Some manufacturers use only one standard colour for their sheds while others offer you a limited selection.
Of course, if the shed you want comes in a less than appealing colour, you have the option of asking the manufacturer what painting it yourself will do to the warranty (if there is one). The colour of your shed may fade over the life of the shed, so knowing where you stand when it comes to painting is a good idea.
Metal storage shed kits come with a range of guarantees. These guarantees vary in length from 10 to 25 years and cover a wide variety of things that pertain to your shed. In my view the guarantee is not that great an indicator of how well the shed will perform.
On the one hand the longer the guarantee the greater confidence it appears that the manufacturer has in the quality of his product. However you must read the small print to check out exactly what is covered. You may find that it really does not cover very much, and is more of a marketing gimmick.
If a guarantee or warranty is important to you, make sure that you have a secure place to keep it so you can pull it out when needed.
None of them are quite as thrilling as test driving your new car. However by making a considered decision on the features of your new shed and opting for quality over price you will economise in the longer term and have more cash to spend on that flash new motor.
Your next step is to read these reviews of popular sheds