What is the Cost to Build a Shed or Playhouse for Your Kids?

Adding a shed to your yard gives you additional workspaces, storage space for your garden supplies, or you could even turn it into a playhouse for your kids to encourage their imaginations. If you’re a DIYer, you’re most likely wondering about the cost to build a shed when you realize that they come in a huge range of sizes, styles, and uses. All of them will add visual interest to your yard, and a high-quality shed can boost your home’s curb appeal when it comes time to sell. 

Since sheds come in different materials, sizes, styles and can be used for a large range of things, the cost to build a shed will include a range of associated costs. You can have your shed custom made, assemble it from a kit, or build it DIY from a plan. However, if you need additional storage space, sheds can be a secure and safe area to store your items and keep them organized and out of your way. 

You could pay anywhere from $200 to $30,000 for the cost to build a shed. The national average starts at $1,500 and goes up to $10,000. So, on average, the cost to build a shed falls right around $5,600 for a 10 by 12 storage shed with pine siding and a simple roof. This works out to between $15.00 and $150 per square foot. You can break this cost to build a shed down further by knowing your material cost will range from $5.00 to $75.00, and the installation costs range from $10.00 to $75.00. 

Brick is one of the most expensive materials to use, and vinyl is very cost-effective. If you’d like to get a closer estimate on your cost to build a shed, this is for you. We’re going to walk you through all of the biggest cost components, and you can pick and choose which ones will apply to you and which ones won’t apply. By the end, you’ll have a good idea on your cost to build a shed, and you can start budgeting for it. 

1 Building a Playhouse
Turning a shed into a playhouse is a great way to give your kids a lot of space to move around outside and it encourages their imaginations. You can make them as large or small as you like, and it’s easy to add improvements without massively increasing your costs to build a shed.
Playhouse-scale by Page DeWolfe / CC BY-NC 2.0

Decide What You Want to Build Your Shed For

One of the first things you want to do is decide what purpose you want to build your shed for. Do you want a place to store your gardening tools? Maybe you need more space for bigger items like golf carts, bikes, or riding lawn mowers. Or, maybe your kids really want a new playhouse. The purpose will dictate how large your shed is, the flooring, and how you lay it out and finish the inside. Common uses include but are not limited to: 

  • Children’s Playhouse – A simple shed can transform into a playhouse for your child. You can pick virtually any size, and they can be finished or unfinished. Your cost to build a shed will dictate how the final product turns out, and it’ll be more expensive to finish it. 
  • Gardening – These are usually slightly smaller sheds that are just big enough to put a potting table and have storage space for your basic gardening equipment or items like pots, shovels, dirt, and hand tools. 
  • Horse Run In – This shed has very open and board bays that allow horses to run in and out as they please. They’re usually larger and more spacious. 
  • Storage – You can have any size storage shed, depending on what you want to put it in. Storage sheds are popular for rakes, lawn mowers, gardening equipment, sports equipment, bikes, and more. 
  • Workshop or Office – If you plan to turn your shed into a fully functioning office that is separate from your home, this will push your cost to build a shed up. You’ll have to fully finish it, insulate the walls, and wire it for electricity and heating. It is like a much smaller house, so it costs more. 

Shed Material Cost

Sheds typically use metal, resin, or wood for their material, and each one will dictate a different cost to build a shed. Metal and resin are most common in DIY kits, but you can custom build a shed with a wood frame and these materials. You can also build custom sheds out of brick and concrete, but this will push your cost to build a shed up because you’ll need to call in a specialist and pay labor fees. 

Brick

You can build a brick shed with a wooden frame and clad it in brick, or you can build it completely out of brick with a timber roof. However, this is more rare and time-consuming to do. You can finish or customize them in a huge variety of ways. However, your cost to build a shed with brick, whether it’s with a wooden frame or without, is expensive. On average, you’ll pay $24,000 for a shed made out of this material. 

Concrete

Concrete sheds usually use ICF blocks or concrete blocks during the construction process. You can also use poured concrete if you plan to use the shed as a workroom, playhouse, or a finished office. You can customize this shed in several ways, and you can have plain concrete that you paint or clad them with several roofing and siding options. The cost to build a shed out of concrete is also on the expensive end of the spectrum, and they typically cost $18,000 on average. 

Metal

You can buy kits that feature metal sheds, but these are usually more flimsy. You shouldn’t use them if you live in an area that has snow or high winds because it can cause a partial or full collapse. A metal shed with a wooden frame and metal roofing with metal walls will do well virtually anywhere. Metal does have more limited color and style options, but you can build it to almost any size if you choose to custom build it using a wood frame. A metal shed with a wooden frame costs around $4,500 from start to finish. 

Resin 

You can build this shed from a kit, and it’s generally very low-maintenance. They’re lightweight and decently durable, but you’re very limited on colors, styles, and sizes. There aren’t a lot of customization options you can get, and it’s rare that these sheds come with floors. You can custom build a floor, and this will increase your cost to build a shed. You’ll pay around $1,000 for this type of shed. 

Wooden

Wooden sheds are the most common custom-build shed types. They’re available in a huge range of variations and styles, and you can outfit the exterior with any siding to make them more resistant to your local weather conditions. They have wooden or concrete flooring, and you can pick from any roofing material. These can be a higher-maintenance choice if you use wood for the siding and floor because you’ll have to stain and seal them to protect them from the elements. The cost to build a shed out of wood averages around $6,000. 

2 Shed Materials
The material you choose will impact your cost to build a shed, but it’ll also have a direct influence on how long it lasts and how much maintenance you have to put into it. Some materials are more high-maintenance than others.
Playhouse by Jim Littlefield / CC BY 2.0

Comparing Shed Materials

Maybe you want to have more than one material in your shed, or you’re not sure which one will work best for your intended shed use. If so, it’s relatively easy to compare the three most popular shed materials to help make your final choice. 

Metal vs. Wood

When it comes to comparing wood and metal, you want to consider combining the two to get a more durable shed while controlling your overall cost to build a shed. A wooden frame is far more sturdy than a metal frame, and this makes it less likely to sustain damage from snow or wind. But, metal roofs and walls are more resistant to moisture, rot, flames, and insect activity, and this allows them to last longer than wood. 

Plastic vs. Wood

You can get plastic kits for small sheds, and they can be very durable. However, you have limits on the style, sizes, and customization options you can get. Wooden sheds need more maintenance overall than your plastic shed will, but it’s possible to customize your wooden sheds with trim, colors, sizes, roofing choices, and siding that you can’t do with plastic. 

Cost to Build a Shed by Square Foot

The cost to build a shed will have a broad range per square foot, depending on the shed’s purpose, materials you use, how finished it is, and whether it’s a DIY build using plans, a kit, or a custom shed. To have a professionally-built shed, you’ll pay around $50.00 per square foot if you don’t plan to finish the interior. If you want to finish the inside of the shed for a playhouse, workshop, or office and add electrical, you need to insulate it at $200 per square foot. Some DIY builds and kits run around $25.00 a square foot. 

Shed Sizes and Price Points

One of the biggest factors in your cost to build a shed is the size you want. This is true no matter if you go with a custom build, DIY build using a plan, or if you use a kit. Assuming you have a professional build your shed, the following price points apply: 

  • 6’ by 4’ – $1,200
  • 6’ by 9’ – $2,700
  • 8’ by 8’ – $3,200
  • 8’ by 10’ – $4,000
  • 8’ by 12’ – $4,800
  • 10’ by 8’ – $4,000
  • 10’ by 10’ – $5,000
  • 10’ by 12’ – $6,000
  • 10’ by 16’ – $8,000
  • 10’ by 20’ – $10,000
  • 12’ by 16’ – $9,600
  • 12’ by 24’ – $14,400
  • 16’ by 12’ – $9,600
  • 16’ by 16’ – $12,800
  • 16’ by 20’ – $16,00

You should keep in mind that square footage won’t give you a solid cost to build a shed estimate, but i’ll give you a rough idea. This is because a shed can be shorter or taller, have a flat roof, lean-to on an existing building, or have a decorative roof. 

Say you want to build a shed that is 10-feet by 12-feet. This will cost around $6,00 for a basic design with a gable roof. If you get a flat roof, the cost to build a shed can drop. If you wanted a two-story shed that is much taller, you could pay the same as you would with a 16-foot by 20-foot shed because you’ll have to use more material, add an extra floor, and add stairs. Depending on how you finish, build, and construct your 12-foot by 24-foot shed, it could cost anywhere from $14,400 to $30,000. 

How a Roof Impacts Your Shed Costs

Any materials that you can use for a roof on your home you can use on your shed.  It’s popular to match your shed’s roof to your home’s roof material to create a cohesive look. However, if you’re worried about yoru cost to build a shed, keep the roof flat and cover it in less expensive materials. The following outlines popular materials for your roof and the cost per square foot: 

  • Asphalt – $2.10 per square foot
  • Bitumen – $2.00 to $5.00 per square foot
  • Metal – $5.00 to $20.00 per square foot
  • Tile – $3.00 to $30.00 per square foot
  • Tin – $1.50 to $2.50 per square foot
  • Spray Foam – $2.00 per square foot

3 Shed Roofing
You can get creative with the roof on your shed, or you can go with something simple and more traditional if you’re worried about increasing your cost to build a shed. You could even make it match your home’s look for a cohesive design.
Playhouse framing-01002 by Donna & Andrew / CC BY 2.0

Cost to Insulate a Shed

Most sheds are uninsulated, and the only time you should need to insulate your shed and drive your cost to build a shed up is when you want to use it as a workplace or playhouse. Insulation comes with a broad cost range associated with it, and you can get everything from ICF blocks to more low-cost fiberglass. You should expect to spend at least $200 to insulate a basic shed. Sheds that have living areas above them, larger sheds, or sheds that use ICF blocks in the construction come with higher costs attached. 

Labor Costs

There are several factors that influence your labor costs. You can build almost any shed in clear areas of your yard. If you do need to clear out an area, you’ll have to excavate it first, and this adds to your total cost to build a shed. The most common type of land preparation is grading, and it typically costs between $4.40 and $5.40 a square foot. If you have an existing deck or patio you want to put your shed on, this can keep your cost to build a shed down. 

Whether you choose a wood or concrete floor and the material type will also impact your costs. Most sheds won’t come with plumbing or electricity in them, so this will also add to your cost to build a shed if you want to add them for your office space. This will boost your labor costs. Getting a kit and having a professional put it together has the lowest costs for labor associated with it. If a builder or a carpenter puts your shed together using plans, your labor costs go up. You may need to recruit one or more of the following professionals to help build your shed: 

  • Carpenter
  • Electrician 
  • Handyman
  • Shed building company 

The labor costs to build a shed, on average, fall right around $70.00 an hour. This adds up to around half of your total cost to build a shed if it’s a 10-foot by 12-foot wooden model that costs $3,000. If you have a kit, you’ll pay between $100 to $500 for labor. If you choose to contract with a shed building company, the company will get all of the materials, build the shed off-site, and deliver it to your property to finish it. 

Should You Buy or Build a Shed?

If you’re worrying about the cost to build a shed, you may consider buying one outright and having it delivered to your location. Another cost-effective option is to buy a kit and put it together by yourself to save on labor costs. There are a broad range of overlap costs with this option. You can buy a small upright resin shed for around $500, or you can go with a fully custom-built option that comes to your home assembled for around $30,000. You could also build an inexpensive one from lumbar for $500, or you could hire someone to build a shed on your property for around $30,000. 

When you’re trying to decide to build or buy your shed, the biggest cost factors will be trying to decide on a durable option that will withstand the climate and be large enough to store your kid’s sports equipment or your bigger garden tools like a riding lawn mower. Some people may be satisfied with a resin shed that is prebuilt, and other people want to have a custom shed that will blend with their property or be large enough to turn into a small space to accommodate guests. The intended purpose should be a consideration you keep in mind throughout this decision process. 

4 Pre Built Sheds
If you’re not comfortable building a shed and you don’t want to hire someone to do it for you, you could buy a prefabricated one that comes to your home ready to use. This can be just as expensive as building a shed from the ground up, but it’s usually quicker.
Shed by iheartpandas / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Price to Transform a Shed Into a House or Playhouse

If you have a big enough shed, it’s possible to finish it completely, add plumbing, and wire it for electricity to create a fun playhouse for your kid or a tiny house for guests. Since the biggest cost to build a shed would be finishing it, this would be an expensive project unless you plan to do it all on your own. Per square foot, finishing costs are around $125. This doesn’t include running the electrical lines, plumbing, and insulation. When you add these factors, the costs go up to $250 a square foot. 

This pricing also assumes that you don’t add any more square footage to your shed since most sheds are only a single room. They don’t get divided into bathing, sleeping, or a kitchen area. You’ll also need inspections and permits before it’s legal to live in. 

Shed Enhancement Costs

There are enhancements you can choose to add to your shed to make it more functional and aesthetically pleasing. Depending on the shed, these enhancements can increase your cost to build a shed significantly, so it’s good to lay out a budget first and decide if you can afford to add these items. 

Adding on a Lean-To

If you already have an existing shed and you want to add on a lean-to, this will cost less than you’d spend for a full addition. The cost to add this part to your shed runs around $30.00 a square foot. So, larger lean-tos will increase your costs quicker than a smaller one. 

Barn Doors

A lot of sheds come with wide doors to accommodate storage and larger equipment like zero turn mowers or wheelbarrows. The most frequently installed style of door is the barn door because they’ll open up significantly wider than normal doors. These doors will increase your cost to build a shed by around $100. 

Flooring

A lot of sheds need a floor, especially if you want to use it as a potting shed or workshop. You can make your floor out of plastic, plywood, and poured concrete. If you buy a kit, you’ll usually have to install a floor separately from the shed, but custom sheds can have the floor built right on. The cost to build a shed will go up starting at $100 to add a floor. 

Gutters

Maybe your shed comes with a pitched roof. If so, consider adding gutters to funnel the rain way from your shed’s foundation. Per foot, you’ll pay between $3.00 and $5.00 a foot to install gutters on your shed. 

Workshop-Style

It’s very popular for people to use sheds as workshops. However, this can increase your cost to build a shed because you’ll have to add insulation. You’ll also have to run electricity and maybe plumbing to the shed to get it ready for long working clips. You’ll pay around $200 a square foot to create a workshop-style shed. 

Cost to Remove a Shed

If you have an older shed on your property with asbestos insulation and flooring or masonite siding, you’ll have to call in an expert team to tear it down. You don’t want to do it on your own due to the toxicity of the asbestos. The cost will largely depend on how much asbestos there is and where the shed is. The costs start at around $500 to call in experts. 

Where to Find a Shed Builder Near You

For anyone who wants to get a shed and is wondering about the cost to build a shed, you can get a more concrete answer by getting in touch with several local builders. The following resources will help you find reputable shed builders near you, and they include: 

Frequently Asked Questions 

5 Shed Costs FAQs
When you start calling around for estimates on your cost to build a shed, you’ll want to ask the same questions of each company to get a more solid estimate range. Always call several companies to see which ones offer the best deals.
Shed by Jared Cherup / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

  1. Is it hard to build a shed by yourself?

It depends. Are you comfortable with the tools you’ll need to use? How familiar are you with woodworking? If you’re not very comfortable with any of this but you still want to build your own shed, consider going with a complete kit that has pre-drilled lumber to make it easy on yourself. 

2. Do you need a permit to build a shed?

In most areas, you usually won’t need a building permit to erect a smaller shed like an 8-foot by 10-foot or a 6-foot by 8-foot one. However, there are local zoning restrictions that you have to abide by, and you may need permits for larger sheds. You may also need a permit if you choose to run electrical or plumbing to your shed. Always check with your local zoning commissioner’s office before you start building. 

3. What is the average cost to move a shed?

As long as the shed doesn’t have a concrete pad, it shouldn’t be too expensive to move your shed. Larger sheds will cost more, but the average cost is around $50.00. 

4. Is it safe to use a shed as a playhouse for the kids?

Yes. As long as your shed is stable and sturdy, it can be a great play area for your kids. You can finish the walls or leave them unfinished. If it gets cooler in your area and your kids want to play in it, it’s a good idea to insulate it to keep it warmer. 

Bottom Line

The cost to build a shed will depend on many factors, and you can use this guide as a reference point to get a rough estimate of this project so you can budget for it correctly. Consider what you want to use the shed for and how big you need it to be. This will give you a good idea on your base costs, and be sure to add in for any improvements or enhancements to get a functional shed that will last for years. 

Cost to Build a Shed 1 Cost to Build a Shed 2

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