When buying a garden shed you need to be a little careful, no very careful, about your intended purchase. With the large range of prices available which reflect the different garden shed retailer's choice of buildings you can be bamboozled into thinking that the cheapest shed is the best value. As in most other things in life this is not always true, cheapest prices does not mean the best value.
The most important thing is to determine how long you want your garden shed to last. If you only want a garden shed for a couple of years then one of the cheap sheds may do the job for you. With their chipboard or OSB (oriental strand board) board floors and roofs they SHOULD last a couple of years even if they get wet. However, when you come to move on the fact that you have a garden shed with a disintegrating floor or roof will put prospective buyers off, so still might not be a good option.
Something to look out for is when these cheap shed makers describe their shed floors and roofs as SHEET materials. They do this so that you are not aware they are using chipboard or OSB materials which, I think is a little misleading. Strictly speaking chipboard and OSB are sheet materials but considering the weakness of these types of materials outside surely you should have the right to know beforehand what you are getting.
This is where visiting a garden shed display site is priceless. You are able to see the sheds in situ and are able to walk in and out as well as examine how well, or bad, they are put together. You can often see different ranges of garden sheds at these display sites, certainly at sites such as 1st Choice's display areas.
By taking a look you can make your own mind up as to the quality, you can see the type of wood used, as well as the height of the sheds. Many cheap garden sheds sold on the web are very low. They might look OK on the colourful all dancing, all singing web sites but when they arrive in your garden you will find out the truth.
Another thing to look out for is whether the doors have diagonal braces on them. This is essential if you want to ensure the doors won't drop. If the door drops then it stick and you won't be able slide your padlock on. Do the sheds have glass or cheap scratchable plastic, perspex or acrylic. These cheap materials will discolour in time and rattle about in the wind. Very irritating!
Even if you are unable to visit a garden shed show site the fact that a company has one is reassuring. You know they have nothing to hide and are quite happy for their products to be scrutinised closely. You could also see whether they have any INDEPENDENT feedback from their customers. This again is a good source of unbiased information and can give reassurance about the shed company.
Another area where you may see garden sheds 'in the flesh' are at the 'County Shows' around the country or at garden shows, such as the Chelsea Flower Show or Hampton Court Flower Show. However be aware that at the large national shows you are only likely to see the very expensive garden sheds or buildings. These sheds are at the other end of the spectrum and again don't always offer the best value. They will be exquisitely made with wood as smooth as a baby's bottom but you are paying top dollar for this level of finish.
You sometimes find garden sheds in other exhibits as well which was the case at The Museum of the San Ramon Valley. A garden shed had became the focal point of this exhibit praising the virtues of family gardening and the effect on family life.
The exhibit also displayed some 1940's kitchens as well and combined with the garden shed reflected the increasing trend of families utilising their gardens and growing their own produce. The 1940 theme reflecting earlier times during the Second World War where 'digging for freedom' was second nature. The museum stresses that growing one's own food during the war was crucial.
Besides the garden shed, garden and kitchen on display was various equipment from that time period. This highlighted the differences in growing produce then and now.
However, as important as these shows and exhibits are a garden shed display site is definitely worth visiting before you spend your hard earned money. By examining these garden sheds you can ensure that the shed you buy will last more then just a couple of years. It may be more expensive but you will often find that the better shed makers will assemble the shed for you as well. This will save you time, which you can spend doing other things, and you will know that your garden shed has been erected correctly and this will help to ensure a long life in your garden.