What To Consider When Buying a DIY Shed Kit

Updated: Apr. 16, 2024

A DIY home or shed kit can save you lots of money and time if you're handy. Here is everything you should consider before buying your own.

Our editors and experts handpick every product we feature. We may earn a commission from your purchases.

finished DIY Backyard shed
DKunev/Getty Images

Consider If the Shed Kit Really Fits Your Needs

Building a shed is a popular DIY project, but for some, shed kits can be attractive option versus building one from scratch. They allow DIYers to save money while taking on a fun project. But even with the potential for savings, these kits are large investments, and DIYers need to consider if the kit really fits their needs.

The chief concern is size. Many kits are smaller than traditionally-built alternatives, particularly DIY home kits. DIYers may be better off saving money until they can afford a more traditional build.

Also, consider what you’re using the kit for. If you’re turning a shed into a tiny home or studio space, you’ll need to know how much insulation can fit in the walls. In traditional construction, 2×6 lumber with R-19 insulation is the standard for exterior walls.

Undersized lumber in some kits won’t allow for as much insulation, making these homes less efficient. Shopping for a kit that can handle more insulation may be worth it.

close up on customer man hand pressing on smartphone screen with five star rating feedback icon and press level good rank for giving best score point to review the service , technology business concept
Chainarong Prasertthai/Getty Images

Buy a Shed Kit from a Reputable Dealer

Before spending a dime on a DIY home or shed kit, find out if the manufacturer or dealer is reputable. Checking Google reviews, social media and the Better Business Bureau’s website is a good start. Be sure to ask around to see if any of your trusted acquaintances can suggest a company.

Excavation machine digging dirt
South_agency/Getty Images

Site Work and Drainage

A good portion of work should happen before the kit even shows up. The place you’re planning to build on probably needs some site prep work — leveling the soil, pouring concrete, digging footings or simply adding gravel.

Site prep can be tough to do by hand. The alternatives for most DIYers are hiring a crew or renting heavy equipment. Be sure to factor these costs into your kit budget.

Yard reconstruction of my new home
AleksandarNakic/Getty Images

Find a Place To Put the Kit (and a Way To Get It There)

Prepping a site for a DIY home or shed kit goes beyond the building’s actual footprint. These kits are big, heavy and come stacked on pallets. Even a small shed kit comes with a lot of parts, hardware, lumber, brackets, etc. These pallets have to go somewhere, and the closer to the actual building site, the better.

There’s also a challenge getting these materials to the site. The delivery driver can usually take a forklift to the end of the driveway. But unless they have a large lift meant for sheds, they typically can’t drive on grass. If the site is quite a distance from the driveway, it may be worth renting a tractor to carry the pallets.

laying high voltage cables to the ground. the environment does not damage electric poles. Excavation meter deep in the ground black plastic coated strong cable wires. risk of electric shock in case of insulation failure. cover with sand and plastic protec
beekeepx/Getty Images

Are You Considering Electricity?

Electricity is a major consideration for sheds and homes. There are a few ways to energize the building, so DIYers need to weigh their options:

Approved Proposal
LittleRedDragon/Getty Images

You Might Need a Permit

Permits and local requirements can be murky areas for DIY shed and home kits. Some municipalities aren’t concerned with buildings not permanently attached to the ground through footings or other means. This means homeowners can place sheds in their backyards without adhering to the local codes. Other municipalities aren’t so lenient.

Before you start, call the local code enforcement officer and ask what’s required. Discuss the plans for the building, its proposed location and intended use.

artisteer/Getty Images

You Will Need Tools

DIY shed and home kits come with all the materials and plans needed to put them together, but they don’t typically come with tools. Many DIYers already have the basic tools they need to assemble these kits, but some might be starting from scratch. If that’s you, you’ll undoubtedly need some or all of the following:

  • Speed square;

  • Hammer;

  • Tin snips;

  • Utility knife;

  • Chalk line;

  • Level;

  • Impact or drill driver;

  • Circular saw;

  • Reciprocating saw;

  • Caulk gun;

  • Ladder;

  • Personal protective equipment.

Get a list of required tools from the manufacturer ahead of time. Keep in mind things happen, and improvisation may be necessary to keep the project on track. Be ready for any last-minute runs to the hardware store for a tool or two.

building the garden cabin
sturti/Getty Images

You Might Need Help

DIY shed kits are often portrayed as one-person projects, but most DIYers will probably need help.

Whether it’s lifting wall assemblies or placing trusses on top of wall plates, things can get heavy and awkward, so it’s best to enlist the help of a friend or family member. They can steady ladders and hand materials up from the ground, saving time and energy. Want to relocate your shed? Here are a few tips for moving a shed.

Shot of an unrecognizable businessperson checking the time at work
PeopleImages/Getty Images

It Will Probably Take Longer Than You Think

Here’s the hard truth with any DIY project: Be prepared for it to take longer than you think.

Unless you have extensive experience assembling these kit structures, there will be mistakes, learning curves and backtracking. This is normal and totally acceptable, but it will set the timeline back. So if the project is supposed to take one weekend, set aside two or three. If it doesn’t take that long, that’s a bonus.

Money problems or payments.
pixelheadphoto/Getty Images

Is a Shed Kit Cheaper?

That depends. There are a few things to consider.

Start with the cost of materials. In a DIY kit, they’re marked up considerably. You could purchase the same materials for much less at the local lumber yard or home improvement store. But that presumes you’re comfortable measuring, marking, cutting and assembling all those components yourselves.

Also, labor savings should offset your time and energy constructing the building. If you’re not enjoying the work, no DIY kit is worth it. But for folks who love a challenge and putting together big puzzles, DIY home and shed kits can be worth every penny.