Should I Repair Or Replace My Garden Shed

General Article

Over time all garden shed’s need repair. I would say that a decent garden shed only has a life span of 15-18 years before it is in need of replacement or a good over haul. The exception to this rule is perhaps garden sheds that were originally built like residential structures and treated the same over the years.

When faced with an aged and decrepit garden shed the question is “Do I replace my shed or rebuild my old shed ?”. There are pros and cons to both approaches. The answer depends on your budget, your taste, and your ability to swing a hammer.

I was faced with this very question twice this past summer. My own garden shed was a crooked disaster and my mother’s much larger garden shed leaked like a sieve. With my mother’s shed the question was simple. She had a very large shed (12 feet by 8 feet) with a loft. The walls seemed straight enough. It would be too much work and expense to tear it down and rebuild. Furthermore, it was too hard and too pretty to replace. We decided to tear off the roof and tear out the floor and rebuild both. The total repair cost was $550.00 for materials.

Our shed was a different story. Our shed was hidden around the side of our house and really out of view of the house or the back deck. It was approximately 3 feet by 8 feet and about 6 feet tall. Like my mother’s shed it was clad with board and battens and made out of older wide planks. We knew both the roof and floor were rotten. We thought we had a complete rebuild on our hands.

Our first step was to price out the cost of a rebuild. We made a list of all of the material we would need and it came to $550 plus 13% tax. One of us had a memory of seeing a really cute shed at 50% off in the same price range. We figured we might as well save the time and buy new if that was at all a possibility. After a bit of searching we learned that we could get a an small ugly resin shed (without any shelving) for 650 plus tax. The idea of buying new was shelved.

After a bit more consideration, we decided we could salvage the old boards from our shed and add a new roof and floor. The task was tedious but we took the shed apart board by board, built a new roof and a new floor and re-assembled the old boards as the walls. I believe the total repair cost was in the $220.00 range including tax.

In both cases we were dealing with homes that were over a century old and we felt that both sheds really needed to match the older aesthetic of a Victorian home. In both cases we decided to keep the wood that was salvageable and rebuild the roof, the floor, and in our case, the frame. We ended up with 2 very pretty sheds and I think we managed to keep both budgets as low as possible. 

There are many factors to consider when faced with a garden shed in need of repairs. Do your homework and figure out various budgets. The right answer for your garden shed will become evident.