In the storage shed industry, you often hear the term “vinyl storage sheds” being thrown around. That term is used for two very different kinds of storage buildings, namely vinyl-sided wood storage sheds and plastic sheds (also known as vinyl or resin sheds). There’s a need for clarity on the difference between these two very different types of sheds.
In order to keep it simple in this article, “plastic sheds” will be the term used to describe the vinyl or resin sheds. It seems that the plastic shed industry wanted to get away from the term “plastic” because of the negative connotations (we often think of “plastic” products as being of inferior quality). And since the term “vinyl” more accurately describes plastic that can be bent (think of vinyl flooring and vinyl siding), the plastic shed industry chose “resin” as the preferred term. The reality is that resin is the term used to describe the basic substance that is used in the creation of plastic. So plastic is the most widely understood term that will be used for plastic sheds in this article.
Let’s do a feature analysis of both vinyl-sided wood storage sheds and plastic sheds.
Plastic sheds are a newer invention, many of which have entered the market only in the last 20-30 years. Plastic sheds come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and levels of quality. The cheapest plastic sheds have no floor and are simply staked down to the ground. More expensive plastic sheds come with a floor that’s made of the same plastic material.
One of the advantages of a plastic shed is that it can be more easily moved from one place to the other. Many plastic sheds are shipped as a kit that is assembled on-site, so if your location is extremely difficult to access a plastic shed may be your only option.
Tip: Some vinyl-sided wood shed builders offer onsite construction for hard to access areas. Check with your local builder.
Another reason to use a plastic shed is the price tag. Many plastic sheds can be purchased for less than vinyl-sided wood sheds, especially if you eliminate the floor. So if you don’t expect to use your shed for many years or pass it down to your children, a plastic shed may be a good option.
A disadvantage of a plastic shed is often decreased security. Many plastic sheds are easier to enter forcefully. So if you’re planning to store valuable items and live in a neighborhood where security is an issue, you may want to consider something other than a plastic shed.
A plastic shed also looks like plastic (surprise!). Can you imagine a plastic shed in your backyard? Compare that with a vinyl sided wood shed that’s built with the same materials as your house. A vinyl-sided wood shed certainly has greater aesthetic value.
Tip: Many vinyl-sided wood shed builders allow you to choose custom siding and roofing colors to match your house!
Vinyl-Sided Storage Sheds
Vinyl sided storage sheds have been around for a long time. At first, it was aluminum siding. Then in the 1980s vinyl siding increased in popularity and many home and shed builders switched to using only vinyl siding.
Vinyl siding is only the veneer that covers and protects a wood structure. It serves the purpose of adding visual appeal to the structure and it protects the wood structure from the elements. So as we talk about a vinyl storage building, we’re actually talking more about a wood structure with a vinyl siding veneer. With that in mind, we’ll take some time to explore the benefits and disadvantages of a wood structure.
Tip: Storage sheds are also available in wood siding. Modern wood siding is engineered to withstand moisture and holds paint and stain very well. It’s a good option if you prefer the classic look of wood.
There are many advantages to using wood as the main structural component of a shed. Wood is one of the strongest building materials (it’s probably what your home is made of). It’s a renewable resource that has been and will be used in construction for a long time.
Using wood as the structural component of a storage building means that you can easily customize the inside. You can insulate the walls if at some point you decide that you would like to control the climate in the shed. You can add shelving and organizing boards (imagine trying to pound a nail in the wall of a plastic shed). You can run wires through the walls for electricity. Basically anything that you can do on the inside of your house can be done to the inside of a wood-framed storage shed.
Although wood is more susceptible to rot and decay than plastic, it’s extremely long-lasting when properly protected from the elements. Think of wood homes that have been around for decades and even centuries! That’s why it’s important to purchase a storage shed from a reputable shed manufacturer that builds sheds following commonly accepted construction practices.
One of the most important components of a wood shed is pressure treated foundation components. This includes skids and floor joists. Pressure-treated wood that is approved for contact with the ground will hold off rot and decay for decades.
The beauty of a vinyl-sided storage shed is that it combines the strength and versatility of a wood structure with the long-lasting and maintenance-free aspects of vinyl. High-quality vinyl siding can perform well with virtually no maintenance for a lifetime (other than a routine cleaning), protecting the wood structure underneath.
Tip: Remember that not all wood sheds are built the same. For the sake of this article, vinyl sided wood sheds being referenced are built according to generally accepted housing standards (wall studs 16” on center, 30 yr. roof shingles, etc). Not cheap wood buildings that are susceptible to rot and decay or being blown over in the next wind storm.
When compared side by side, vinyl-sided wood sheds have many advantages over plastic sheds. So if you’re ever thinking of customizing the interior of your shed, if you want a building that lasts for decades with little maintenance, if you don’t like the look of plastic, and if you need secure storage space, you’ll probably want to start looking for a vinyl-sided wood shed.