When it comes to adding some extra storage space in your garden, a small shed is often the go-to solution. But the decision between building a shed from scratch and purchasing a pre-built one can be a real conundrum. Both options have their pros and cons in terms of cost, effort, customization, and durability. In this comprehensive guide, we'll explore whether it's cheaper to build a small shed or buy one, along with other factors you should consider to make an informed decision.

The Cost of Building a Small Shed


Building a shed involves sourcing materials yourself. Prices can vary widely depending on the quality and type of materials you choose. For a basic, small shed, you'll need timber for framing, sheet material for siding and roofing, roofing felt, nails, screws, and paint or preservative. According to recent estimates, the cost for these materials starts at around £200 but can climb significantly with higher quality materials or larger dimensions.


Don’t forget to consider the cost of tools if you don’t already own them. Essential tools might include a hammer, saw, drill, measuring tape, and level. Purchasing these could add an extra £100-£200 to your total cost, although they're investments that can be used for future projects.

Time & Skills

Time is money, as they say. Building a shed is a time-consuming project, especially if you're doing it solo. Additionally, it requires a level of skill in carpentry. Mistakes made due to inexperience can result in additional costs or even starting over. However, for seasoned DIYers, this might be a non-issue or even a fun challenge.

The Cost of Buying a Pre-Built Shed

Basic Models

Pre-built sheds can range from basic models priced at around £300 to luxury designs that cost thousands. The advantage of a basic pre-built shed is that it's immediately functional with minimal time investment.

Customisation and Quality

Higher-end models often feature superior materials and customisation options that can drive up the price. However, these added expenses come with the benefit of a shed that precisely meets your needs and tastes without the hassle of building it yourself.

Delivery and Installation

Many retailers offer delivery and installation at an additional cost. If you’re not confident in your ability to assemble a pre-built shed, this could be a wise (albeit more expensive) choice.

Additional Considerations

Longevity and Maintenance

In general, sheds that are built with higher quality materials and skilled craftsmanship last longer and require less maintenance. This is something to consider when comparing the seemingly lower cost of building a shed yourself with cheaper materials versus buying a higher quality, but more expensive pre-built option.

Permitting and Regulations

Regardless of whether you build or buy, be sure to check your local council's rules regarding outbuildings. There may be size restrictions or permit requirements that could impact your decision.


Building your own shed allows for complete customisation but demands a lot of time and skill. Buying a pre-built shed offers less flexibility in design but is convenient and saves time.


Whether it’s cheaper to build or buy a small shed depends on various factors including the quality of materials, the cost of tools, your level of skill, and how much your time is worth. Building a shed can be more cost-effective and rewarding for those with the skills and tools. However, for those seeking convenience and immediate use, buying a pre-built shed might be the better option, despite potentially higher upfront costs.

In the end, the decision should be based on more than just cost. Consider the value of your time, the satisfaction of building something with your own hands, and the specific requirements you have for your shed. Armed with this information, you're now better equipped to make the right choice for your situation and budget.