Should You Repair Or Replace Your Old Garden Shed?

By John A Moore

Over time garden sheds need repair. I would say that a decent garden shed only has 12-16 years before it is in need of replacement or a good over-haul. The exception to this rule are perhaps garden sheds that were originally built like residential structures and treated the same over the years.

Many factors are involved in deciding whether to fix or replace your old garden shed, including your budget, how much you like your current shed (in good shape that is), whether it suits your purposes, and whether it suits your house style.

This summer was the summer of sheds for me - I had to make the decision to stay or go for 2 sheds. My own tiny double door lean-to shed, and my mothers much larger 1 1/2 storey 8 by 12 foot garden shed. The decision about my mothers shed came first. It is a picture perfect cottage garden shed, but it had some serious water and rot issues. It would have been quite expensive to replace, so repairing was definitely the way to go. The only questionable part was whether the floor joists were gone, which would have made this job really quite extensive. As it turns out, we completely replaced the roof, and having solved the water problem, discovered that there was vapour barrier between the rotted floor and the joists. So a new sub-floor made the shed just like new. The total bill was under $600.

My little lean to shed involved a bit more decision making. The roof was in equally bad shape, the items inside the shed were wetter than outside. Also, the floor had all but evaporated, leaving the sills on the ground, and they were rotting out now as well. I thought I could lift it and put a new floor underneath but this idea would certainly not work once I discovered the rot at the bottom of the studs.

Our first step was to price out the cost of a building a replacement. We made a list of all of the material we would need and it came to $550 plus 13% tax. One of us a remembered 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 smaller ugly resin shed for $650 plus tax. The idea of buying new was shelved.

So we went back to our original price list, and decided that if we were building a replacement, maybe we could salvage the cute siding of the old one, and totally rebuild everything else. In fact, this ended up cutting our rebuild cost in half, since I saved some of the better studs from the old one as well. So we dismantled the old shed saving the board siding, framed in a new floor, set it up on bricks, built a new frame and roof, and re-sided with the original already antiqued board and batten siding. It turned out perfectly because we still have the character of the old shed we loved, but it is now square and watertight and will probably be with the house for another 10-20 years.

Both of these sheds required some thought as to whether repairing or replacing was the best solution, and in both cases we ended up saving the sheds, and saving money as well. In both these cases the sheds were already perfectly suited for their purposes, and they also had exactly the right character to match the century old homes they belonged to. In our case, repairing was the right solution, even though one was almost falling down, we still decided the pros outweighed the cons. You'll have to figure out what the important factors are in your decision before deciding whether your old shed will stay or be replaced. - 29857

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