• Jeremy Horning

How Long Do Sheds Last - Life Expectancy for Different Types of Sheds

Updated: Nov 17

People tend to buy a garden shed because they need extra storage space for a variety of things. But a high-quality shed should be considered an investment. So you should also be concerned about shed life expectancy.


A common question asked by many people considering buying a shed is: how long do wood sheds last? The answer can depend on several factors, such as the quality of the shed’s structure, the type of material used; for example, wood, metal, plastic, or resin, and whether the shed is regularly maintained and repaired when necessary.


In this post, you’ll find out all you need to know about the expected lifespan of various sheds and what steps you can take to ensure you have a long-lasting shed.


How Long Does a Shed Last?

It’s difficult to give an exact time for the expected lifespan for sheds because many factors can affect it. However, in general terms, expect the following, for the most common types of shed materials:

  • Wooden sheds such as those used for wood storage: 20-25 yrs

  • Vinyl sheds: 25-30+ yrs

  • Resin sheds or plastic sheds: 5-7 yrs

  • Metal sheds: Less than 5 yrs

These figures are estimates. Next, let’s look at some of the things that can impact the lifespan of your shed.


What are the Factors That Influence the Lifespan of a Shed?


Whatever type of shed you purchase, there are several things that can increase the lifespan of your shed.


Quality Workmanship

Any shed is only as good as the workmanship that has gone into building it. The first step in purchasing a garden shed that’s going to last is finding the right contractor or building crew for the project.

Ideally, look for a builder that’s got a good reputation, for shed design and construction. You also need to make sure they use the highest quality materials, even if the shed is only for wood storage.


Check if they have a portfolio of work you can look at. Ask around your neighborhood, friends, family, and colleagues to see if anyone can recommend a competent shed builder.

Something else to look for is a workmanship warranty to cover any issues that might arise following the installation.

Urban Sheds is a reputable company that takes pride in designing quality sheds and ensuring an expert builder makes your dream come to life.


After using the free 3D modeling software to design a high-quality shed, Urban Sheds will connect you with a local builder to build it for you.

The builder follows Urban Shed's structural guidelines and uses high-quality materials. Each outdoor shed comes with a 30-year structural warranty.


Position it Correctly


Positioning is everything when it comes to the lifespan of your wood storage shed. More than aesthetics should be considered when deciding on a permanent place to locate your shed.

Yes, you want it to be visually attractive, but it's crucial that it has protection against extreme weather conditions such as heavy rains and high winds.

If you live in an area that experiences heavy snowfall, place any wooden structures where they won't be under extra snowfall from surrounding vegetation and trees.


Strength of the Frame

Like all outdoor structures, well-built storage sheds should last for more than a few years. Many are designed and built to last decades. Whichever type of storage shed you use, don’t look at it as merely a temporary structure because it should be so much more than that.


A sturdy frame is a vital component for storage sheds to remain standing for more than a few years. The best solid foundation for your storage shed's longevity is one made using concrete-block. Any floor joists should be pressure-treated and decay- and pest-resistant.


Correct Sealant


Water doesn’t have to be the enemy if you opt for a wooden shed. What is the enemy, however, is prolonged water exposure.


The key to making wooden sheds last the test of time is using proper sealant. Extreme weather elements can be a massive test for the durability of many portable buildings because wood expands and contracts when it absorbs moisture. If wooden sheds are sealed correctly, the seal acts as protection from the worst the weather can throw at it.


When your wooden shed is first installed, the weather might be sunny, but the aim should be for it to withstand conditions including subzero temperatures and torrential rain. Therefore, a proper sealant is critical.


Paint Finish

Paint can be another way of protecting your shed's exterior from the elements and keep it in tip-top shape. Depending on its position, it might need re-painted from time to time. Sheds constantly exposed to direct sunlight should be re-painted/re-stained every 10 years. Sheds located in the shade and protected from direct sunlight, might not need repainting so frequently.

Painting and repainting is one of the most effective ways to help your shed last longer. Don’t forget to use high-quality paint as well, because that will make a significant difference.


Timely Repairs


If you notice there’s a problem with your shed, fix it immediately. However large or small the problem, time will be of the essence. Most issues don’t take much to fix, so avoid delaying. It might be more expensive later.

Regularly inspect your shed for signs of damage and act promptly if there’s anything that concerns you. It’s likely the problem won’t be catastrophic, unless you fail to take action.


Regular Maintenance


A shed requires regular maintenance if you want it to give you decades of enjoyment. Taking care of some simple tasks is far more affordable and less time-consuming than repairing a broken or damaged shed. All it takes is a few minutes a week. Consider adding the following tasks to your schedule:

  • Clean the interior and exterior walls

  • Quickly examine for warping or cracks

  • Trim the grass around the exterior

  • Remove anything outside that’s leaning up against it

  • Look for signs of critters or other unwelcome guests

What is the Shed Life Expectancy Based on Building Material?

Choose the right shed material and it will give you many years of service. However, if you spend money on substandard materials, your shed might fall apart quicker than you expect. One of the primary factors that determine the life expectancy of outdoor structures is the construction materials used.

Let’s compare some of them.


How Long Do Vinyl Sheds Last?


You can expect a vinyl shed to last for decades. With the right care, it can last upward of 30 years. Vinyl sheds are popular because they require the least amount of maintenance and provide the maximum lifespan.


How Long Do Plastic Sheds Last?


A plastic shed will typically last between 5 and 7 years. Problems like rot or rust don't affect plastic sheds. But they are prone to cracking because the plastic structure expands and contracts in the sun.


Do Sheds Made Using Plastic Rot?


A plastic shed will not rot like a wooden shed. Neither will it rust like a metal shed. However, cracks can appear as the plastic degrades over time and because of the weather.


Do Sheds Made From Plastic Get Damp?


Plastic is prone to expansion and contraction under the heat of the sun. This can cause cracking and this is how water can get in.


How Long Do Metal Sheds Last?


Sheds made using metal tend to be made using iron or steel, both of which are susceptible to corrosion. After a few seasons out in the rain, rust will start appearing. A metal shed typically lasts less than 5 years.


How Long Do Wooden Storage Sheds Last?


A wood shed is almost as durable as a vinyl shed and can last between 20 and 25 years. In addition, with care and attention, wood sheds can last even longer.


How Long Does a Pressure-Treated Shed Last?


A pressure-treated wood shed can last up to 40 years. The benefit of treated wood is that it’s more weatherproof than if untreated, is less likely to warp, is resistant to vermin, and essentially maintenance free.


How to Properly Maintain Your Shed to Make it Last Longer?

Just like your home, a shed requires regular maintenance whether you use it for wood storage or extra space. Regardless of if it's made from vinyl siding, natural wood, or is one of the many portable buildings available, you should take time to perform the right shed maintenance if you want it to last a long time. Looking after it will avoid costly repair bills further down the line.

Here is a list of some of the things you need to include in your shed maintenance schedule:

  • Check for cracks, breaks, and leaks and fix them as soon as possible. Being proactive should reduce the number of serious issues. Remember to include the roof, doors, windows, floor, corners, and foundation in your checks.

  • Clean it regularly to prevent damage from pests.

  • Spray hinges and handles regularly to ensure they work efficiently.

  • Lubricate any hinges and ensure they are firmly in place.

  • Apply wood preservative to any wooden shelving and workbenches.

  • Check that all tools and equipment inside your wooden storage shed work properly.

  • Clean and sanitize the floor to maintain its quality and its durability.

  • Wash the exterior regularly to remove stains and prevent mildew from growing.

  • Remove any excess debris and vegetation as these can lead to rotting. Removing the vegetation will improve the airflow around your shed and reduce the risk of mold and mildew forming. It will also ensure easy access.

  • Inspecting the roof is essential. It helps to preserve the good looks and integrity of the structure of your shed. It's also important if you want your investment to stay in good shape. If there is moss on the roof, make sure you remove it.

  • Check for mold, mildew, and rust and treat immediately if found.

  • Make sure the windows are intact.

  • Apply wood stain and repaint siding if necessary.

  • Inspect the foundations as these directly impact structural longevity.

Signs You Need to Repair Your Shed


There are some things you need to be looking for if you want to increase the lifespan of your shed. Timely shed repairs can save a fortune in the over time. Take care of any repairs as soon as possible to avoid the expense of buying a new shed.

Simple shed repairs you can do yourself include:

  • Repairing door trim that is damaged, broken, or rotten

  • Replacing loose or missing roof shingles

  • Swapping out cracked windows

  • Treating mold patches that have appeared


Conclusion

Now you know the answer to the question, “How long do sheds last?” Being better informed will ensure your shed last a long time. Remember that the material your shed is made from is the main factor determining how long it lasts and how much use and enjoyment you’ll get from it.

Also important is who designs and builds your shed, so get in touch with Urban Sheds for a free quote when you need a new storage shed for your outdoor space.


FAQs


What type of shed lasts the longest?


Vinyl sheds tend to be more durable than wooden or metal sheds. They don’t crack easily and are generally more weatherproof. They can also withstand extreme temperatures better.

What lasts longer? A wooden or metal shed?


Wooden sheds can last up to 25 years, whereas metal sheds typically only last 5 years.

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