Choosing between a shed and a garage for your storage needs might seem easy at first glance. But as you start looking at various designs, materials and prices for each storage option, you will find the choice gets more complicated.
Getting a shed or a garage is a major decision that deserves your full attention. Not only can it be costly, but it is also a permanent decision in most cases. You don’t simply pack up your shed or garage and move it somewhere else.
So before you invest time and money into a shed or garage, take the time to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each storage option.
Sheds have been around for a very long time. Archaeologists discovered bronze tablets dating all the way back from 330-280BC with specific instructions and measurements to build a shed to store straw. That could very well be the first definition of the storage sheds we recognize today.
Sheds came into existence to satisfy humans’ intrinsic need for storage. We use our homes to protect us and our possessions. But when the possessions get too many and space too tight, we look to store some of them safely outside. This outside storage space, a four-walled building with a roof that holds the possessions, is a shed in its simplest terms.
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The use of sheds has also drastically changed from the early days to modern times. Originally used to store animals and farming equipment, sheds are now used to store lawn mowers, tools, furniture and many others. Some people even use sheds as a living room or office, a quiet place to enjoy a cup of tea or get some work done.
While they can be used for different purposes, the basic idea of a shed is to serve as an outside storage unit. There are certain advantages and disadvantages to having a shed that should be taken into consideration before making a purchase.
- Storage space – the biggest benefit of sheds is that they provide huge storage spaces and overall take up little space. They are extremely important as they give you more space inside and outside the house. In a shed, you can store numerous items depending on your needs: furniture, bicycles, lawn mowers, tools and pretty much anything else that helps to keep your house and yard clutter-free.
- Versatility – another major advantage of sheds is their versatility. They come in all sizes and shapes to meet any demands. This is perfect if you have limited space available as you will find one that meets your requirements. On top of this, not all sheds have to resemble a house with doors and windows. You can have a boxed shed with four walls and a lid to put in your garbage bins, bicycles or anything else. Some manufacturers will also build customized sheds to meet your specific needs and measurements if you don’t find an already-existing suitable option.
Sheds are also made from various materials, such as wood, plastic or metal. Each material gives sheds a different look and texture so you can choose which one best complements your yard and home.
- Organization – sheds are easy to organize and they can store a lot of items under one roof. You can organize the items according to your needs, so the ones you use the most are the easiest to access. You can use shelves to keep various items grouped together. Alternatively, if you just need to store as many objects as possible, you can just play tetris and stack one on top of the other.
- Price Value – since sheds come in different sizes and materials, it is only natural that the prices fluctuate accordingly. This makes sheds budget-friendly. You can find sheds for as little as a couple hundred dollars to as high as tens of thousands.
- No Concrete Plinth – sheds do need a solid, compacted foundation base to make them sturdy and durable. While it can be made of concrete, the most expensive material, it doesn’t have to be. For garages there is no choice, they have to be built on a concrete plinth.
- Can’t park a car – unlike a garage, you cannot park your car or truck in your shed. While commercial sheds do exist for cars, buses and even trains, it is not a practical solution for your own domestic needs. Even large enough, a shed will not provide the same level of protection and safety to your vehicle as the garage.
- Hidden costs – a shed’s price tag does not include the cost of the base foundation and any long-term maintenance. The foundation can cost an additional few hundred dollars depending on the materials used. It is also a time-consuming process. The popular wooden sheds are also vulnerable to catch fungus, termites and mould. Metal sheds tend to get dented after a while, with paint chipping off and peeling. These small things need additional time and money.
- Can fail in bad weather – while most modern sheds are advertised as durable and weatherproof, they have a much higher-risk to sustain weather damage than garages. Even when they are built on a proper foundation and anchored down, sheds are much lighter than a garage so the risk is only natural. This is particularly true if you live in an area that’s prone to hurricanes or storms.
Garages are in their infancy days when compared with the history of sheds that spans over thousands of years. Garages came into existence with the rise of the automobile industry in the early 1900s.
As cars became affordable and more people owned them, there was a need for space to store the cars. At first, storage sheds were converted to provide space to park the cars. However, as most sheds still had animals in them, car owners weren’t thrilled with the smells and scratches to their cars. They sought a dedicated space for storing the cars, and the solution came in the shape and form of garages.
Since then, garages have been adapted in different variations to meet various storage needs. They can be used to store vehicles, tools and still provide work space. Alternatively, if you don’t have a car, the garage can be converted into a living space or work studio.
A garage, like any other outbuilding, has a string of pros and cons attached to it that are worth taking into consideration.
- Increases home value – whether you use the garage to park your cars or as a living space, it increases the value of your home. A garage is also one of the first things potential buyers look for in a property. It is estimated a basic garage has an impressive 63.7% return on investment (ROI). So for example, if you spend $20,000 on a garage, your home value goes up by $12,740..
- Can be attached to the house – most garages come attached to the house. This makes it easy to walk from your car into your home especially in bad weather conditions. Attached garages also cost less than detached garages. On the other hand, to get a shed attached to your house tends to cost more than a free-standing one.
- Protection – unlike sheds, garages have triple-tier walls and are built on concrete plinths. Furthermore, the items stored in a garage are generally much heavier than those stored in a shed, such as a car versus a lawn mower. The additional weight and extra level of reinforcements makes the garage stronger and more durable in the face of strong winds and adverse weather conditions as compared to a shed.
- Automatic door – a modern day garage comes equipped with an automatic door that is remote-operated. You can open the door and shut it behind you without touching a single door handle.
- Limited versatility – while garages do come in different sizes, they still require much more space than a shed. An average one car garage measures 14 ft by 22 ft whereas an average sized shed measures 8 ft by 10 ft.
- Expensive – the average cost for a garage is $23,900 and the very minimum is $7,500 for an attached one car garage. The average price of a shed on the other hand is around $3,000. So on average, a garage would cost you 8 times more than a shed. On top of this you have to add the cost of the concrete plinth that is needed as a base for the garage. Depending on the size, this will cost you at least a few more hundred dollars.
- Maintenance and cleaning – as the garage is a large storage utility, it takes more time and effort to clean and maintain than a shed. On top of this, if some features such as the automatic door breaks down, it can be quite costly to fix.
- Home security – this mainly concerns the popular attached garages, which provide an additional entry point to your house which needs to be protected.
Understanding the pros and cons of both sheds and garages will help you make the right decision. They are both excellent choices for your storage needs. However, depending on what you plan to store, one choice might be better than the other.
It is important to remember that picking between a shed or garage is a long-term decision. While everybody likes to save some money, you should keep quality as your top priority.