Build a Shed for Under $500

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    Can someone build a shed only spending $500 or less? Yes it is possible, but circumstances and construction abilities have to align with project requirements.

    What we mean is all the money are spent on materials and you will be building the shed on your own.

    Can You Build a Shed for Under $500?

    • 33 Pieces of 2 x 4 Studs = $124
    • 6 Pieces of Plywood = $156
    • 2 PVC Roofing Sheets = $35
    • Exterior Wood Siding Panels = $182

    Total $497

    Even cheaper materials can be purchased through local hardware stores during discount seasons. Even reused construction lumber is sometimes good for such project.

    Size of Shed Built for Under $500

    Our optimal calculated size that has enough storage space and isn’t too big to blow out $500 budget is 5 by 8 feet and height of 7 feet.

    It actually matches dimensions of average condo or apartment bathroom size. If you can fit full bathroom in 5×8 room, storage shed dimensions are big enough.

    We tried to make it 8 feet tall, but exterior square footage would be too big for our budget and we had to cut it down. Plywood and exterior siding eat up most of our money during shed construction.

    Exterior box of shed being built is 26 linear feet. Simply add all the sides together. For calculating square footage we multiply 26 by height of 7 feet and get total 182 square feet.

    To figure out roof surface we need to multiply 8 by 5 and we get 40 square feet. This is how much material is required to cover our shed roof.

    Ideal Conditions to Build Cheap Shed

    In order for this shed to work and have it complete with only $500 in your pocket, the stars have to align perfectly.

    Following our recommendations is not enough and here is what needs to happen:

    • No Slab or Use Existing Slab
    • Know How to Frame
    • Owning Necessary Tools
    • All Materials Are Available
    • Using Own Screws and Nails
    • Build Door With Same Materials

    To build a shed for under $500 is definitely a challenge even for experienced trades. Entire budget is dedicated towards materials and everything else is to be owned and completed by person who is doing the job.

    No Slab or Use Existing Slab – Larger sheds and standalone garages definitely need some sort of slab, but our example shed for under $500 does not have one.

    In case your backyard has existing concrete or stone pad – it can be used for shed as a base.

    Know How to Frame – Although it is not even close to be complicated structural framing, you still need to understand how it works.

    Any previous carpentry experience is a benefit to building this shed. It’s easy to find build guide or example video to follow.

    Owning Necessary Tools – In our calculations there are no purchased or even rented tools. All of them have to be owned by whoever is building it.

    Honestly, there isn’t much needed. We are talking about saws to cut wood, hammer and drill to fasten screws.

    All Materials Are Available – Full list of materials needed to build shed for under $500 is easy to find in local hardware store or small construction supplier.

    Small towns could have lack of stock or inflated prices due to no competition around.

    Using Own Screws and Nails – Our $500 budget has run out and we have to use our own nails and screws. It isn’t much, but without having a box of screws it is impossible to build 5×8 shed.

    Neighbors or friend can always help out with box of nails or screws if you don’t have any.

    Build Door with Same Materials –As you can see the door for our shed has to be custom built from lumber that is covered in our lumber and exterior material.

    We are talking about 2×4 lumber swing doors that are installed on a hinge and lock with hook.

    Buying Similar Size Prebuilt Shed

    Why would someone try and build a shed if you can buy it and have delivered on your property. Plenty of stores like home depot sell it for reasonable price, and their sheds aren’t the worse.

    So why would you prefer to build a shed rather than purchase it?

    • It Costs More to Buy
    • The Quality is Not the Same
    • Need to Accommodate Delivery

    Comparing apples to apples, our base size is 5×8 feet. Similar 40 square foot sheds in hardware stores cost slightly more than $500.

    There is no reason to pay more for similar size storage unit that is also fun to build on your own. It can actually turn out to be bonding activity for father and son.

    Structure built with 2×4 lumber and proper roof connection is extremely strong. It surpasses quality of purchased shed by far.

    Lifespan is at least tripled when it is built on site with recommended materials. Unless critical mistakes in installation are made, the water would not come true and integrity of our shed is pretty good.

    On top of higher build for purchasing large shed, never forget about transportation. It has to be delivered on large vehicle and stores charge premium for it.

    Having large truck does help and you can technically move it on your own without additional expenses.

    Breakdown of Materials for Shed Under $500

    So what exactly goes in construction and how did we calculate it? Let’s look at each type of material separately to understand full breakdown.

    2×4 Lumber – 33 Pieces

    Walls have combined length of 26 linear feet. With distance of just over 1 and 4 inches foot between each stud we need exactly 20 pieces of lumber. Additional 6 pieces are needed for single bottom and top plates.

    Roof is spaced exactly with same dimensions and we need 7 pieces of 2×4 to cover roof and add plates to both sides. Our roof is flat with slight tilt towards one side.

    4×8 Plywood – 6 Pieces

    Next calculation is even simpler. First let’s find exterior walls surface area. As we explained above, linear footage is multiplied by height of walls and we get 182 square feet.

    Each piece of plywood covers 32 square feet (4×8). Dividing 182 by 32 equals to 5.687 pieces required or 6 pieces of plywood when we round up.

    2 Sheets of PVC Roof

    Roof surface of shed under $500 is 40 square feet. Home depot or similar hardware stores sell PVC sheeting for $14 – $18 each and they cover around 24 square feet.

    With overlap connection we need exactly 2 sheets of PVC for the roof. Smaller and bigger sizes can be purchased for installation.

    Wood Siding Panels – 182 sq ft

    One of the cheapest materials for exterior siding that still works good is wood siding premade panels. They cost around $1 per square foot.

    Remember that our door is made out of same materials, so cuts can be made here. Look for sale discounts and possibility to buy this material for even cheaper.

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    Steven H.
    General Contractor and Home Builder with over 20 years of experience. Write and Edit educational posts for several Remodeling Blogs. Specialize in trade management and technical construction details.

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