DIY Shed Cost: Step-by-Step Guide

DIY Shed Cost: Step-by-Step Guide

The average cost of building a shed has been on the rise in recent years. This is largely due cost of lumber and other building materials.

And though disrupted supply chains continue to impact building prices, you still have options. To put it simply, your dream shed isn’t out of reach. And that brings us to the question on your mind: How much would it cost to build your own shed?

There isn’t a single answer to this question, as there are variables to consider. For example, not all materials cost the same. And while some materials are needed to build a shed, some are optional, or more premium. And size is another consideration to be aware of.

Shed’s come in all shapes and sizes, providing additional covered storage garden tools or converted studio spaces. Most sheds are stick-built with 2x4 lumber and Oriented Strand Board (OSB). However, many other materials like vinyl, resin, and metal can also make a good shed.

Let’s dive in and consider the factors that play a role in DIY shed costs. This page will give you a better idea of how much it costs to build your own shed.

Cost to Build a Shed Per Square Foot

Sheds come in various sizes, and the cost will be relative to the materials needed to build the shed. For example, a very small garden shed is typically four feet by seven feet (28 square feet). On the other end of the spectrum, a larger shed might be twelve feet by sixteen feet (192 square feet).

The average DIY shed cost per square foot is $15 - $150 per square foot. As mentioned, this depends on the fluctuating cost of building materials. Storage DIY shed costs tend to vary the most, with some models featuring interior shelving, insulation, and electrical wiring.

4 foot x 7 foot
$100 - $1000 USD
8 foot x 10 foot
$300 - $3000 USD
10 foot x 12 foot
$500 - $1000 USD
12 foot x 16 foot
$2,500 - $15,000 USD+

Related: Subdivision Development: A Complete Guide

What is the Cheapest Way to Build a Shed?

With a variety of building materials available, there are many economical choices to build a shed. If you can build a shed yourself, you'll be saving on labor and installation costs. And it’s no secret that this is a significant expense.

Is it Cheaper to Build Your Own Shed?

Yes, it's cheaper to DIY build your shed because you're not paying for a mark-up on materials, labor, or installation fees. Most contractors charge a minimum call fee of $90 per project. In some instances, you can expect hourly labor ranging from $50 - $100 per hour. Not to mention a likely 30% mark-up on materials.

Is it Cheaper to Buy a Shed Kit or Build from Scratch?

It's hard to make a generalized comparison on this question as the approaches aren’t always the same. There are variations in the quality of construction and material choices from one shed to the next. Some of these variations come down to need, while others are simply based on preferred style.

Generally speaking, a prefab shed kit will be cheaper to build than a similar style shed built from scratch. However, the quality of construction may be better if you build it from scratch. And with better quality comes a longer life span and less maintenance. This is a crucial component of DIY shed cost considerations.

My Site Plan offers non-credentialed site plans drafted by highly experienced CAD designers. Get your next building project off to the right start. Find out more today.

How to Build a DIY Shed

building plan


Building a shed can be a rewarding experience for a variety of reasons. From saving money to improving your skills, a DIY shed build is an excellent project. So, let’s start with a couple of questions:

  • Do you have marginal confidence in your craftsmanship skills?
  • Do you think putting together a sturdy building is a project you can tackle?
  • Do you like the idea of saving a lot of money on the cost of building a shed?

If the answer was yes to these questions, it seems like a shed is just the type of DIY project you need. It’s true that the cost to build your own shed is what most are initially drawn to. But the benefits go above and beyond.

However, when focusing on DIY shed costs, there are additional ways to save besides the labor. For instance, if you incorporate some reclaimed materials, you can save even more!

Here is what you need to get the job done:

Building Permits

Local regulations imposed by cities, counties, or homeowner’s associations will vary by property. However, generally most sheds (at least 100 to 120 square feet in size) require a building permit.

This could include a requirement for site drawings and limitations on the size and height that you can build. Building permits for sheds average between $50 - $145. Plus, the cost of site plans if needed.

It’s important to familiarize yourself with these permits before starting your DIY shed build. For one thing, you want to make sure your project is in accordance with local regulations. For another thing, you don’t want to have your project halted because of a missing permit. Doing the job right means starting on the right foot, so learn about the permits required in your area.

Related: Views You Need to Know About

Shed Building Styles

Sheds are small buildings used primarily for shelter for animals or things. Garden sheds are the most popular building type in residential neighborhoods. However, the same building principles apply to small workshops and run-ins for livestock.

Common building styles include:

  • A-Frame 
  • Gambrel Style (Barn)
  • Craftsman
  • Saltbox
  • Flat Roof Storage
  • Modern Studio
  • Three-Sided Lean-To

Shed Plans

Before you begin building, you'll need to choose the style of the shed that makes sense for you. After all, all shed styles aren’t the same, and some will suit your purpose more than others.

Once you know the shed you are building, you’ll want to buy plans that contain the specifications to complete the build. Buying shed plans should be relatively inexpensive, with most options ranging between $12 - $30.

Shed Materials

framing lumber


There are all sorts of materials you can choose from when building a DIY shed. However, some materials are more common than others. And this is typically for good reason.

Traditionally, most sheds are built from wood. This choice is popular because of the cost to build the shed. Additionally, wood is a sturdy material and easy to work with.

As an example, a solid 2x4 frame made from pretreated lumber is covered with OSB to create walls. The roof can be shingled if you prefer, which is another common choice. The floor is typically made from larger boards (like 2x6 boards) for the joists and pressure-treated plywood for the walking surface.

The average cost to build your own shed in this way is $5,650, with individual project costs ranging from $500 - $30,000. By comparison, the average price to build a metal shed is around $800. And to consider an even higher price tag, the average cost to build a resin shed kit is $700 - $900.

Sheds that cost upwards of $30,000+ often use specialty building materials. These can include anything from high-quality brick to specialty wood posts. Again, the choice comes down to your needs and the purpose of your shed.

Related: Everything You Need to Know About Design Build

Shed Base

The structure isn’t the only expense involved when building a shed. You will also need a good foundation. How do you prepare the ground for a shed? We're glad you asked.

The most common site prep is an even eight-inch base of gravel. This helps keep the shed on a level footing, so it doesn’t sink into softer ground. The average cost is $4.50 to $8.50 per square foot.

A concrete pad is another option for shed placement. A 10x12 foot slab that is four inches thick will cost around $1200 to pour.

The Bottom Line on DIY Storage Shed Costs

The cost to build your own shed can range from a few hundred to several thousand dollars. The size and material choice are the biggest factors affecting DIY shed costs.

As mentioned, it's almost always cheaper to build a DIY shed compared to hiring a contractor. In most cases, prefab sheds are even cheaper than building a DIY shed. This is due to the efficiency of mass production. And the cheapest DIY shed options of all are repurposed materials like shipping containers.

My Site Plan is a veteran-owned business with twenty years of experience drafting custom site plans. We can provide non-certified plans for your next DIY shed building project. Request a quote today.



FAQ Answer
What are the environmental impacts of building a shed? Building a shed can have various environmental impacts, depending on the materials used and the construction process. Wood sheds might involve deforestation issues, while metal and resin sheds could contribute to higher energy use and pollution during manufacturing. Using sustainable or reclaimed materials can help minimize these impacts.
How can I maximize the space inside a small shed? To maximize space in a small shed, consider installing wall-mounted shelves, hooks for hanging tools, and overhead storage racks. Using foldable or multi-functional furniture can also help utilize the space efficiently. Proper organization and regular decluttering are key to keeping the space usable.
What are the benefits of building a shed with a flat roof compared to other styles? A flat roof shed can be more cost-effective and easier to construct than other styles. It also offers a modern aesthetic and can be used for additional purposes, such as a rooftop garden. However, flat roofs may require more maintenance and better waterproofing to prevent water pooling and leakage compared to sloped styles like A-frame or gambrel roofs.
Are there any legal restrictions on converting a shed into a living space? Converting a shed into a living space typically requires adherence to local building codes and zoning regulations. This may involve obtaining specific permits, ensuring the structure meets safety standards, and could require inspections. It's important to consult with local authorities to understand all legal requirements before starting such a conversion.
How long does it typically take to build a DIY shed? The time to build a DIY shed can vary greatly depending on factors like the size of the shed, the complexity of the design, and the builder’s experience. A simple shed might take a weekend to construct, while a larger or more complex shed could take several weeks. Proper planning and preparation can help streamline the process.

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  • Ryan Crownholm