Calculate the Cost to Build a Shed

This calculator was designed to give you a ballpark estimate of the cost to build your own wooden storage shed. There are many variables to consider in order to get an exact cost: size, design, construction material, type of foundation, number of windows, number and type of doors, pitch of roof, roofing material, etc. The point of this calculator is not to give you a cost to the penny, but rather to determine if this is something you can afford at all. And if the answer is yes you can choose whether to build a shed, buy a shed kit, or buy a pre-built shed. This calculator will also help you to estimate the amount of lumber needed. For the sake of comparison we have included the cost of shed kits and finished sheds below.

shed kit
Customizable Shed Kit from Amazon
shed plans
3D Shed Plans
Cheap Lumber

Detailed Shed Cost Quote

Once you have detailed plans and a list of materials, you can always submit the materials list to the pro desk at Home Depot or Lowe’s and they’ll give you an exact price quote – including delivery if you need it. Just call them to get their email address to send the list to. I did and here’s what I got the next day. The cost to build a shed depends on what you want to build, how you want to build it, and the cost of materials (and perhaps labor) in your area. Keep in mind this tool just provides a ballpark estimate, as there are numerous variables that determine the exact cost, but it should at least provide a good starting point.

About this Shed Cost Calculator…

This is a rough, ballpark tool for determining the cost of materials of a yard shed. It has to be because there are so many variables when it comes to building your own shed. There’s so many designs, sizes, materials, doors, windows, options like cupolas, flower boxes, etc. But if you intend to make your own shed, this material list calculator should do a good job of giving you a rough estimate of the cost. It will also help you determine if the cost savings of providing the labor is worth it to you – for many people it is not. They decide they would rather spend a bit more money and buy a kit or even a fully finished shed.

Find the Cost to Build Any Size Shed 10×12, 12×16, 16×20

Building a storage shed will prove much cheaper if you construct it on your own rather than pay a premium to a builder to do the work on your behalf.  Though your time is certainly worth money, there is a certain feeling of pride and self-satisfaction from building something as significant as a shed in a DIY manner.  DIY is short for “Do it Yourself.”  Once you are done with this DIY project, you will have saved hundreds or even thousands of dollars and feel especially satisfied with your self-made storage shed.

How do you plan to get a shed?

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Crunching the Numbers

In general, it will likely cost a couple thousand dollars to build a shed.  However, if you would like an especially small shed made with minimal material, there is a chance you can build it on your own for under $1,000 or possibly even under $800.  On the upper end of the spectrum is a large and lavish shed likely to cost upwards of $5,000 or more.  However, the cost to build a shed typically falls somewhere in between these extremes.

Steps to Building Your Shed

  1. Get a rough cost estimate. Use the calculator above to determine a rough materials cost.
  2. Choose exact size and design. Then buy high quality plans. Detailed plans are worth the expense.
  3. Get detailed cost estimate. Send your plans and materials list to Lowe’s or lumber yard near you.
  4. Create a construction plan. Start building on your schedule. You’ll need at least one helper.

The Cost of the Wood Frame

Most DIY shed builders opt for a wood frame.  This frame is quite popular as it is extremely durable.  Even if you are not an experienced carpenter, you can build your own storage shed frame without significant impediment.  However, building a wood frame will take some time, especially if the shed you have in mind is particularly large.  Furthermore, you will need more tools that would be necessary if you relied on a plastic or metal shed kit to construct this structure. 

In general, the average cost per square foot of a wood frame for a DIY shed is between $17 and $40.  Though this might seem a bit costly, it will prove cheaper than paying a concrete contractor $1,000 or more to pour a slab for the shed.  In comparison, a wood foundation is likely to cost a couple hundred dollars.  Furthermore, an added benefit of using wood is it is comparably easy to build with even if the ground slopes or is difficult to access. Use the calculator above to determine the amount of shed lumber you will need.

Ways to Save Money on Your DIY Storage Shed

Be sure to take some time to ensure the dimensions of your shed will make the most efficient use of the wood you purchase.  Consider using oriented strand board (OSB) siding for the shed as opposed to plywood or solid wood.  Siding panels comprised of OSB are also beneficial in that they are primed prior to sale, ultimately saving you money as well as time and effort.  Such panels are structural so there is no need to add an extra layer of sheathing below the siding.  All in all, this approach has the potential to cost $500 less than siding comprised of cedar plywood.

  1. Use a cash back credit card when buying materials and save 5%. Here’s two great examples: Discover card (also get a $50 credit when you sign up) and Capital One (also get a $500 cash bonus when you spend $4500 in the first 3 months – business owners only.)
  2. Be sure to join Rakuten (formerly ebates) before buying anything online to save an additional 1%. These are all small percentages but when taken off potentially very expensive items they really add up.
  3. Rent the tools you need at Home Depot or buy used on craigslist.

The Cost of the Door

Another creative way to save money on your DIY storage shed is to opt for an inexpensive custom door.  There is no sense paying for a pre-hung shed door that has the potential to cost in excess of $1,000 when the materials for a custom door will cost $150 or less.  Though a custom door might not prove as weather resistant as a pre-hung door, it will get the job done.  Furthermore, plenty of custom shed doors have an aesthetic similar to that of a customized wood door yet cost significantly less.

The Shed’s Trim and Windows

There is no sense spending for solid wood trim when comparably cheap composite trim is available.  Opt for composite trim and you will save between $100 and $200.  There is no need to worry about any potential defects or knots when you take the composite route.  Furthermore, composite trim is primed ahead of time and ready to be painted.  This trim really does hold paint that much longer and better than top-notch wood trim.

Finally, you can reduce the cost to build a shed by minding the windows.  Why pay an egregiously large sum of money for those fancy looking windows when you can spend considerably less for arch-top windows?  While some windows have the potential to cost upwards of $400, arch-top windows typically cost $50 to $70.  In fact, you can build your own arch-top windows with basic materials available at the local lumberyard or home improvement center.

Wooden storage sheds and wood shed buildings are an excellent investment for homeowners looking to add a reliable, attractive and long-term storage unit to their backyard.

The Total Cost of a DIY Shed

Above all, the shed size and material ultimately dictate its total cost.  Sheds made of wood typically cost between $800 and $3,000.  Metal sheds resist decay and rot yet are not as aesthetically pleasing.  Opt for a metal shed and it will likely cost $500 to $2,000.  Vinyl sheds are comparably expensive, typically falling in the range of $800 to $5,000.  Vinyl is quite strong, proving resistant to rust, cracking and denting.

When all is said and done, your DIY storage shed cost is likely to fall in the range of $1,000 to $5,000.  However, if you implement the cost-savings measures detailed above, you might end up spending less than the lower end of this range.  The bottom line is you will spend significantly less building the storage shed in a DIY manner rather than paying a professional to do the work on your behalf. 

Storage Shed Options: DIY vs Kit vs Pre-made

You need a storage shed but you’re just not sure how to get one. Building a shed yourself would be the cheapest option, but requires a lot of work and time. (Calculate the cost to make a DIY shed at the top of this page.) You can buy a shed kit, which reduces the amount of work and time to construct. Or you can buy a shed pre-built and have it delivered and setup on your property.

Option #1 Buying the materials and building a shed DIY is the cheapest way to get a shed. If you’re handy and have the time, quality shed plans and a good guide book may be all you need.

Option #2 Buying a shed kit saves you time because all the pieces have been pre-cut. You just need to put them all together. You can even buy a set of brackets and 2×4’s to make a shed super easy.

Option #3 Buying a pre-made shed and having it delivered is the most expensive option. But it requires no time, no hassle, no tools. And you know it will look great and be made correctly.

Option #4 There’s actually one more way to get a shed made: hire a contractor. Do this if you want a custom shed made. And depending on the quote you get, it may be cheaper than buying a shed online.

Ways to Get ShedCost (8×10)Cost (10×16)
Build Shed DIY$1100$1700
Buy Shed Kit$2400$3300
Buy Pre-made Shed $5500$8100
Hire Contractor$3300$5100