To try to help you make the right decision we highlight what you should look out for and what you should avoid and - as importantly WHY. Whilst we all want the cheapest price for our garden shed it's really important that you ensure you buy a building which will fill all your needs and, very importantly, will stand the test of time. This is why you need to do a little homework beforehand. Yes, I know, we were all not keen on doing 'homework' but believe me this homework is vital to ensure you are happy when your new building is delivered.
1/ How Thick is the Cladding
The cladding is the covering on your shed, i.e. the planks of wood and this stops the weather getting at your valuables and running them. You will find there are several types of claddings available and in different thicknesses.
The thickness of the timber is one of the most important and you find on some of the cheap sheds the boards only about ¼ inch (6mm) thick (or should that be thin).
To appreciate how thin this is take a normal pencil and try to break it. You will find it breaks very easily. Not very encouraging and certainly not if combined with thin framing. So the thinnest cladding you should go for should be at least 12mm (finished size) and ideally tongue and grooved. You can get garden sheds made from feather edge cladding. This is wider at one edge than the other (you can see this by looking at the end of the board. These boards will overlap each other to stop the weather getting in but there should be at least 1 inch overlap (25mm) as this will allow for the boards shrinking in the summer.
2/ Nominal or Finished Thickness?
This is a question you should ALWAYS ask as many shed companies advertise the nominal size which is normally about 3mm thicker than the finished size. This makes the buildings appear thicker than they are and the only reason for this is those shed makers do not understand the need to display the correct and true information about the thickness or they are trying to mislead potential customers. The difference between nominal and finished thickness is because when they take a plank of wood from the sawmill into the factory they need to plane both sides of the timber board to give it a smooth finish. Its the planing of the wood which reduces the width. Always ask a direct question - what is the finished actual thickness. This way you won't be misled.
3/ Redwood or Whitewood Cladding?
Garden sheds are normally made using softwood timber in either European redwood or whitewood deal timber. However redwood timber is the optimal option and you will find this on the better range of garden sheds. the advantage redwood deal has over whitewood, which would normally be used on cheap garden sheds, is that the redwood is normally much slower growing. This means the grain in the wood is tighter together and therefore stronger. The whitewood deal grows very quickly meaning the grain is wider apart. In comparison to redwood, which has slightly wax feel to it, is very dry and porous. Also any knows in redwood tend to be more stable than whitewood. The knots in whitewood tend to be very small and can be prone to falling out.
4/ Shiplap or Feather edge?
Timber cladding comes in different types and the main two are shiplap or feather edge. You find that feather edge is often used on cheaper sheds but, provided, it's quite thick and cut out of 1in (25mm) boards with a good overlap will provide a pleasing looking traditional building. But always check how thick it is and how much does it overlap each board.
Shiplap is a modern sleek looking timber and is produced from sawn timbers by being planed down in the factory. This gives it a nice smooth finish which is the most popular option nowadays.
5/ Tongue & Grooved or Overlap?
Shiplap timber traditionally was an overlap type of board. This meant that in one edge of the board a groove was cut out and in the other rebate so that when the boards were laid together they sat onto each other and laid flat. Tongue & Grooved shed boards were cut with a tongue on one edge and on the other edge there would be a groove. When the garden shed is assembled the tongue sits inside the groove and this gives it a flat surface but also, as the boards slot into one another, makes each side of the shed like one solid panel. This would make it hard for anyone to break into a shed. This is the best option for most garden sheds.