Wooden and plastic sheds vs metal sheds – how they compare

October 21, 2014

Purchasing a shed can be a great way to add much needed storage space to your living quarters. However, choosing which type of shed to use can be a difficult and confusing decision.

We’ve listed the pros and cons of each type of material to help you find which shed is best for you.

Wooden Sheds

A wooden shed is the most traditional of the three and can be customised to create a very specific size or shape.  They can be painted any colour to match your house or surroundings, and they can easily be dressed up with unique features such as trellising  or window flower boxes.

Shelves and cabinets can be hung from the walls and hooks can be easily attached to hang garden tools.  However, unless you finish the inside of a wooden shed with actual walls and a ceiling, the interior will have an “unfinished” appearance with exposed wooden beams; these can make it difficult to clean and can attract unwanted insects.

Cute Modern Style Yard Shed

Good quality wooden sheds are often more expensive than plastic or metal shed kits of a comparable size.  Whilst wood is a versatile material, it is also very vulnerable.  Harsh weather, water, insects and rodents can wreak havoc on wooden sheds causing them to rot and deteriorate quickly.  The paint finish on wooden sheds will also peel and fade over time and frequent wood treatment is needed to keep the building looking good and dry inside, also consider that the felt roofing will need to be replaced every few years.

Security on wooden sheds is usually poor and it is relatively easy for thieves to lever doors open or break glass windows to gain entry.

To summarise, wooden sheds are the traditional choice and look attractive in an established garden, however security is a concern and they require ongoing maintenance to look good and stay dry.

Plastic Sheds

Depending on where you shop and what manufacturer you are considering, plastic sheds may also be called resin sheds, vinyl sheds, or high-density polyethylene sheds.

Plastic sheds are the newest type of sheds on the market and are becoming a popular choice for several reasons.

Plastic sheds are made of a vinyl material that makes the sheds lighter, yet stronger and more durable than wooden sheds. For additional strength and durability, some manufacturers also use integrated steel supports and a double wall resin panel construction.

They are basically maintenance free; are stain-resistant and will not rot or rust, and they never need painting or staining.

Plastic sheds kits are available in a variety of sizes and from various manufacturers; the far east, USA and middle east are the home of the major producers.

These products are easy to build, the kits are quick to assemble with less tools, less time, and less “carpentry knowledge” needed than with a wooden shed.  Plastic shed kits are less expensive than their wooden counterparts, but can be more expensive than basic metal shed kits.

While plastic sheds are strong, they cannot bear much weight hanging from the walls as wooden or metal sheds can. Some plastic models do include an overhead loft area which allows you to store more items.

These sheds are functional but have a “play house” type modern appearance which can be off putting, they cannot be painted and are no more secure than a wooden shed as the locking points are  plastic.

Also they can deteriorate over time as the UV in sunlight breaks down the polymers in the plastic causing them to fade, crack and go brittle.

To summarise; plastic sheds are easy to assemble and maintenance free, but poor security and “play house” styling can let them down.

Metal Sheds

These are a good “all rounder”, although not as attractive as a wooden shed or as easy to assemble as a plastic version, they perform very well in all other areas.

Quality is the key word here, there is a huge difference in strength and performance between the cheap end of the metal shed market and the premium ranges. The cheapest versions are manufactured from very thin panels and corrode quickly, whereas those at the high end of the market are very strong, rigid, extremely secure and have excellent corrosion resistance.

Due to the number of components you should normally set aside a day to construct a metal shed, but once assembled they require no maintenance, are fire resistant (unlike wooden or plastic sheds) and can outlast other sheds by many years (the best metal sheds have guarantees of 25 years).

Metal sheds are not affected by insects or woodworm and are ideal for storing seed or animal feed as they are also rodent proof.

Without doubt the higher grade metal sheds offer unrivaled security, so if you have expensive gardening tools or machinery then this is the clear choice for you.

Over the years metals sheds have also become more attractive, although they will never achieve the wooden shed look they can blend into the environment (many manufacturers now produce green metal sheds).

To summarise, metal sheds have very few downsides, however they can take a day to construct and the superior quality versions can be expensive.