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By Cara Mackay on 02 Dec 2015

Plastic shed vs metal shed vs timber shed: which one is best for you?

Plastic, metal or timber shed, it’s the age-old question when it comes to building your garden shed.

Choosing a garden building to suit your needs can be a daunting task when there are so many options out there. Although timber sheds are the original and most popular, metal and plastic sheds are becoming increasingly popular and we get a lot of people asking about the differences between the three. 

I know what you are thinking, and you are right – we only offer timber sheds. So YES we do think they are pretty amazing. But we also know the reality is that they might not be the right choice of shed for absolutely everyone. And the reality is that while we love a timber shed, there are some good reasons to install a plastic or metal shed instead.

And you know us, we’re all about making sure you get the right shed for you. Picking the right shed will make sure it is a brilliant investment in your garden for years to come. 

So, in this blog, we’re exploring the differences between plastic sheds, metal sheds and timber sheds to help you choose the right one for you. 

Plastic Shed vs Metal Shed vs Timber Shed: What are the differences?

So, let’s dive into what the differences are, the benefits of each and most importantly why each particular one might be a good choice for you.

Everything you need to know about plastic sheds…

So let’s start by looking at plastic sheds, along with the advantages and disadvantages to see if it’s the right choice for your garden.

The advantages of a plastic shed…

Plastic sheds are massively increasing in popularity, largely down to the fact that they are very low/no maintenance options. This is one of the main worries when it comes to timber sheds, as lots of people can’t be bothered painting or maintaining them. Unlike their timber counterparts, plastic sheds don’t rot or mould, which means you have to be a little less careful about storing damp garden items in them. 

Plus, there is the fact that plastic sheds are definitely the cheapest options of the three, which does certainly make it an attractive option for many homeowners. 

The disadvantages of a plastic shed…

While rot and mould are not an issue with plastic sheds they can become brittle over time. This means that they can snap or get damaged, and as a result not last as long as some of the other options on the market. 

These issues are said to have been improved by some companies with the use of modern technology

Plastic shed round-up…

Cost – £ (low)
Aesthetics – Does not blend in with surroundings easily
Durability – Low, can become brittle over time
Maintenance – Low
Lifespan – Shortest of all options, however, modern technology has improved this greatly
Weatherproof – Sun and wind can be problematic
Security – Low to Medium

Should I get a plastic shed?

Plastic garden sheds are a good option for a cheap and short-term storage solution with very low maintenance. Again this is usually limited to being used for either a shed or garage.

Image source: www.garden-seat.co.uk

Everything you need to know about metal sheds…

Metal might not be the first material that pops into your head when you think about sheds, but they are an option that might be right for you. 

The advantages of a metal shed…

Metal is usually mid-range in terms of cost compared to plastic and wood, so if you’re not wanting to spend loads, or go for the cheapest then it might be right for you. 

It is also arguably the most secure type of shed🔑, and less of a fire hazard than timber sheds. 

The disadvantages of a metal shed…

However, in terms of maintenance, metal sheds will need more attention to avoid detrimental damage such as rust caused by condensation and corrosion. This is especially relevant in coastal sites, so if you are on the East or West coast of Scotland and thinking of installing a shed then you’ll need to consider this. We also advise that you anchor your shed in windy locations. 

Metal sheds tend to be the preferred option in hotter climates due to their durability against insect damage. But…that’s not really something we have to think about in Scotland. 

Metal shed round-up…

Cost – ££ (medium)
Aesthetics –  Doesn’t merge with surroundings but can be painted to help
Durability – High
Maintenance – Low to Medium
Lifespan – Medium to High
Weatherproof – Can have issues from damp and high winds, also dependent on treatment
Security – High

Should I get a metal shed?

Metal garden shops are a good option for someone specifically wanting a durable storage option which has relatively high security and is quick to assemble.

Metal is not a natural insulator so the metal option may be better suited for a shed or garage purposes rather than something you want to work in/keep comfortable. 

metal shed again

Image source: www.leisurebuildings.com

Everything you need to know about timber sheds…

And finally, we’re onto our one true love, timber sheds. We know they aren’t perfect (well, ours are), but there are loads of advantages (and disadvantages) to installing a timber garden shed. 

The advantages of a timber shed…

The right timber shed can last a lifetime (with the correct treatment), which is why we think that the long-term value outweighs the upfront cost. And why we think that is arguably the best long-term option for a garden shed. 

Due to timber buildings being easily insulated and customised this option allows them to be used for a variety of uses, from storage sheds to summerhouses or outdoor offices for personal use.

As well as this, it is easy to customise a wooden building by adding whatever security measures the owner sees fit.

The disadvantages of a timber shed…

A timber build is generally slightly higher in initial cost and maintenance than the other options. So although the lifetime value might be better, the upfront cost will likely be higher. 

In terms of how weatherproof and secure the build is varies from owner to owner, if they treat the build well there should be no issues. 

The main downside is that timber is susceptible to natural erosion if the proper measures are not taken, however. If you are not keen on preserving your Shed it might not be the ideal option for you. There are more expensive options of timber available (hardwood vs softwood) to alleviate the maintenance aspects of such a build. 

Timber shed round-up…

Cost – £££ (high)
Aesthetics – Good, blends with surroundings
Durability High
Maintenance Medium
Lifespan – High
Weatherproof – Dependent on treatment
Security  Medium to High (customisable)

Should I get a timber shed?

This is a good option for a long-term build that can be used for many different needs, all year round. Treated well, it can last a lifetime and is well worth the investment. 

If you are looking for something to suit a temporary need then this might not be the right choice.

Gillies and Mackay Wooden Apex Shed

Looking for a timber shed?

If you’re thinking that a plastic or metal shed then sadly we’re not going to be able to help you. As discussed there are benefits to metal and plastic garden sheds. But we are all about the timber sheds here at Gillies & Mackay.

Not only do we think they look hella bonnie in your garden, but on balance, they are an amazing investment that can keep your garden goods safe for years to come (perhaps even decades).

If you’re thinking about getting a timber garden shed then you can speak to one of our team by booking a consultation here.

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