How Long Should A Wood Storage Shed Last?

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Wood is a beautiful building material, and there’s no question that wooden storage sheds are an aesthetically pleasing and multi-functional addition to any property. Even better, wooden sheds are relatively easy to have installed, they offer plenty of extra storage, and—if maintained correctly—they can last a lifetime.

What’s not to love about a wooden storage shed? But, how long should a wood storage shed last?

Whether you have a wood storage shed or you’re considering purchasing a wood storage shed, here are 7 ways to increase the lifespan of your shed.

1. Good workmanship

A quality product is only as good as its workmanship, so the first step in purchasing or building a wood storage shed that will last is hiring the right building team. This is critically important. Look for a builder who has a strong track record of designing and building top-of-the-line sheds made from high-quality materials built to last. Look at the builder’s portfolio and ask questions up front. Read testimonials and ask to see photos. That will give you a better idea as to how long a wood storage shed should last. One of the most important components of your shed is your builder’s credentials.

One quick hint: A good builder should offer a workmanship warranty to cover any issues that might arise after the shed has been installed on your property. Be sure to ask about this, and don’t settle. Some things are more important than the cheapest rate.

Bottom line: Good workmanship is critical to getting the outdoor structure you’ve always wanted.

2. Correct Positioning

Where you put your wooden storage shed matters. Often, homeowners consider where the shed would look the best on their property—and certainly aesthetic appeal is important—but where a shed is located can also effect its longevity. If possible, place your shed in a spot where it will be the least vulnerable to high winds or heavy rains. If you live in an area that receives heavy snowfall, consider placing your shed where it won’t take on the additional snowfall from surrounding trees.

Be sure the overhangs are large enough, and add window sills.

Bottom line: Something as simple as where your shed is placed can make a huge difference in the long run. Never underestimate shed placement.

3. Frame Strength

Good sheds aren’t built to last for a few years—they’re built to stand for decades. Here at Barnyard Utility Buildings, we don’t look at sheds as simply temporary structures.

We have found that new storage buildings and outdoor structures for your home must be built on a sturdy frame if they’re going to last. A strong foundation is the basis of any building’s longevity. Specifically, we recommend using a concrete-block base, followed by pressure-treating each of the floor joists to make them pest- and decay-resistant. Structures with only plywood floors, for example, are not durable over the long haul. The shed might look nice for a while, but time will tell whether it was built on a solid foundation. When you’re talking to potential builders, ask what they use for the frame. This is important.

Bottom line: Poor foundations leave a shed susceptible to decay and damage from pests.

4. Proper Sealant

Believe it or not, water isn’t the enemy when it comes to wooden structures; prolonged exposure to water is the enemy. Many wooden homes, for instance, have stood the test of time for hundreds of years. The key is minimizing standing water, and proper sealant is powerful in this regard. Wood expands or contracts when it absorbs moisture, so extreme outdoor elements test a shed’s durability. Proper sealant goes a long way in protecting your shed from the worst impact.

It may be sunny and 70 degrees the day your shed is installed, but you want your structure to withstand all the elements, including torrential rain and subzero temps. Proper sealant is a must.

Bottom line: You want to have peace of mind knowing that your wood storage shed—and the items stored inside—will not be damaged by the elements and that the building will stand for years to come. Good sealant is key.

5. Updated Painting

Paint can be a helpful—and cost-effective—way to help keep a wooden storage shed in tip-top shape. And sometimes sheds need to be re-painted, depending on where they are located. If a shed is sitting in direct sunlight, it may need to be painted around the 10-year mark. If it’s shaded from direct sunlight, it may not need painting as often. Painting (or re-painting) a shed is a surprising simple way to help it last longer.

Bottom line: If the shed needs painting, paint it. Paint is more than aesthetics; it’s the health of your shed. And don’t forget to use high-quality paint.

6. Timely Updates

If and when you notice that your shed has a problem—large or small—time is of the essence. In fact, most issues that occur in an outdoor shed can be fixed with very little effort. But the longer you take to address something—such as the presence of standing water, mold, or decay—the more likely the issues are to effect the lifespan of your shed.

Bottom line: Be vigilant to look for any signs of damage, and act quickly if you see anything of concern. The problem probably isn’t catastrophic unless it goes unaddressed.

7. Regular Maintenance

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

Just like your house, your wood shed requires maintenance to ensure decades of enjoyment. It is far more expensive and time-consuming to repair a broken down or damaged shed than it is to perform regular, simple maintenance over time. If you can spare a few minutes on Saturday morning, here are a few ideas:

Make sure the interior and exterior walls of the shed are kept clean. Do a quick examination for cracks or warping. Keep the grass trimmed around the wood storage shed. Don’t lean bags of dirt, stacks of firewood, or other decaying substances against the exterior walls. Keep sprinklers or irrigation systems away from the shed. Look for bugs or signs of critters.

Finally, if you have any questions about anything you find, reach out to your builder to see what you should do.

So how long should a wood storage shed last?

—If cared for properly, it can easily last for decades, but the choice is yours. How it is built and cared for makes all the difference!