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Prefab Sheds vs. Custom Sheds: Which Is Best for You?

by Dakota Storage Buildings, on April 10, 2020


You don’t have to choose between quality and price.

If you’re in the market for a shed, you naturally want to find one that meets your needs, is a value for the price, and fits your budget. First, you may decide to look at prefab sheds (also referred to as stock sheds) because you believe they are less expensive than custom sheds. 

But those gorgeous custom sheds keep calling to you, don’t they?

Even though budget may be a concern, you may have a small voice in the back of your mind whispering, “But what about durability? Will it last long? Would a custom shed, while more expensive, last longer and provide a better overall return on my investment?”

So, which IS best for you? That’s your call, of course. But to help you, we’ve put together some pros and cons for both.

Prefab Sheds 

If you want a large-sized shed, prefab shed options may be limited. Also, some prefab sheds have untreated wood flooring and joists, which often leads to deterioration after two decades. Others do have treated flooring and quality construction. Buying a prefab shed can be a good idea — you just need to make sure you’re asking the right questions. 

One great thing about prefab sheds is that they are often less expensive than custom sheds. Prices for prefab sheds tend to average $1,500 to $4,000. Some sheds, particularly farm sheds, are more costly and can run upward to $10,000. Yet prefab garden sheds can be purchased for as little as a few hundred dollars.

Most people who purchase prefab sheds tend to use them as storage or garden sheds. Most people purchasing a prefab shed for these purposes tend to buy sheds sized 10’x12’ or 10’x14’.

A big plus is that they can be delivered as-is or quickly erected, usually in a matter of hours. And while they may not last as long as a custom shed, a well-made prefab shed can last as long as 20 years.

Note: In all cases, you will need to lay a proper foundation for your shed.

Check out our stock sheds. Browse Buildings >>

Custom Sheds

Possibly the biggest disadvantage of buying a custom shed is the cost: a custom-built shed can range between $17 to $24 per square foot. This means a 10’x12’ backyard shed could range from $2,040 to $2,880. If you’d like a 12’x16’ she-shed or man-cave, you’d be looking at costs ranging from $3,264 to $4,608.

Many custom sheds are built off-site and then moved to your property. If the shed is particularly large or if your property is hard to access, you may have to have it built on-site, which increases the cost. 

The best part and greatest advantage of buying a custom shed is that it’s made to your unique specifications. It’s built just for you. If you want a shingled roof with metal siding, it’s yours. If you want a drive-through shed, it’s yours. If you want to create a shed big enough for a loft sleeping area, it’s yours. If you want an L-shaped shed for an L-shaped space in your backyard, it’s yours.

You get our point. Creating a custom shed is the primary way for getting the exact shed you want.

Here are more benefits to buying a custom shed.

  • The quality of the shed is better than a prefab shed. Custom-built sheds can last for 25+ years.
  • When you hire a reputable custom shed builder, your shed will be built well: no shortcuts in construction.
  • If you want a shed to be placed at a specific spot on your property and if you’re willing to pay more for it, it can be built on-site, thus eliminating the chance the builder may not be able to deliver it to you due to public roads or your landscape’s constraints.

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Another Option: Semi-customizable Sheds

Another option to consider is a compromise between prefab sheds and custom sheds: semi-customizable sheds. 

At Dakota Storage Buildings, we offer shed packages that allow you to pick a shed function then customize denials like shed siding and color. This option costs less than a fully custom-built shed. For instance, you could start with our Modern Backyard Shed package, then customize it to match your house color or choose options that will allow it to blend into your outdoor living space seamlessly.  

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The Best Option for YOU

The best option for you is subjective. It depends on your wants, needs, and budget. It also depends on your time frame, the reason for using the shed, the location on your property, and so on.

We know that purchasing or building a shed is a serious decision, and although we manufacture sheds ourselves, we are more than a manufacturer. We’re here to help you organize your life while helping you purchase or build the best storage shed for your needs, not ours.

With that in mind, look over our collection of prefab sheds or try out our 3D configurator to build your dream shed.

If you want to talk through your shed criteria and available options, our shed experts are happy to help!


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