Occasionally derided as a male refuge or, worse still, a man-cave, the garden shed has long provided handy storage for everything from garden hoes to bulky lawnmowers. But if you’re looking to upgrade or install your first, what materials should you choose, and how to decide between them?

Thankfully, the compromise between practicality and aesthetics – with males stereotypically erring on the former – is no longer an issue: whatever material you choose, they generally all look good. But it’s got to do so much more, which is why sheds built of sturdy light-weight steel or aluminum tend to trump their lumber and plastic counterparts. And in the four specific considerations of security, safety, price and durability, a metal construction presents a few advantages. If this has been enough to convince you then simply head to a hardware store or Tesco to pick up your own Metal Sheds, if not then read on to find out why you’re next shed should be metal.

Security

Although light-weight and easy to erect, metal sheds are nevertheless a big disincentive to burglars. Much harder to penetrate than wood or resin, metal-cutting equipment doesn’t usually form part of the casual thief’s toolkit, and strong locks are matched by strong door-frames and robust hinges. You can fit an impenetrable lock to a wooden shed, but with a weak frame or pliable hinges, the door’s susceptible to a hefty boot, by-passing your expensive lock altogether.

Safety

Often containing petrol machines full of fuel, with jerrycans in reserve, sheds can be highly flammable environments, so it makes sense to mitigate the risks of accident or vandalism. Wooden sheds, to protect the lumber from rot and water damage, are typically impregnated with flammable tar-based creosotes. In addition, these treatments don’t always provide effective protection against woodworm or termites. Metal sheds, by contrast, hold no attraction for insects, they’re naturally fire-retardant and require higher temperatures before they begin to buckle, deform or perish. Plastic constructions deform at lower temperatures, emitting highly toxic fumes if they burn.

3425735123 ce4b1fbb8d o - Benefits of choosing a metal shed for the garden.

Price

Given the price of lumber and the labor-intensive practice of soaking it in preservative, wooden sheds are usually dearer than their metal equivalents inch for inch and often need more groundwork and more extensive foundations. If you buy a metal base for your steel or aluminum shed, you’ll probably only need four small squares of concrete to anchor it down, providing a greater cost and time saving.

Durability & Maintenance

Plastic or resin erections, although offering low maintenance, are prone to shorter lifespans if subjected to temperature extremes. The chemicals used to help maintain a slightly flexible structure ultimately evaporate, and the resin is rendered brittle and liable to cracking, allowing leaks and damage to your valuable kit. With wooden sheds, modern lumber treatment does protect well against rot, but you’ll need to paint them more often. Metal structures, however, usually arrive with a professional, durable factory-finish baked-on coating which not only gives a smooth, faultless paint finish but includes long-lasting protection against rust.

So, whether it’s a man-cave you’re after, or just some practical outside storage space, give your possessions safe and affordable protection with a good-looking metal construction which will offer what many people need to sleep well at night: peace of mind.

Images by Elizabeth Anderson and Crinklecrankle.com used under the Creative Commons License.