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Buying Guides

Got your eye on something, but need a little help deciding? Terry, our resident MacGyver, has taken time out to put together some handy buying guides. If you need any advice, give us a call on 0800 800 880, we're always happy to help.

Garden Shed Buying Guide

The New Zealand lifestyle is busy, whether walking through the native bush, messing around on the water or completing the weekend DIY list. All of our activities and hobbies tend to mean that we collect a lot of stuff, from gardening gear to sports equipment, paddleboards to mountain bikes. To store and protect everything, you’re going to need a spacious, stylish garden shed.

Why Kitset Sheds?

Our kitset sheds are a simple, cost-effective solution for all your storage needs. Unlike custom-built sheds, we’ve got the kits already made and packed up, ready for your order, so we can get your new shed to you quickly and at a fraction of the price.

Some kitset sheds are made up of many small pieces, which are tedious and time-consuming to put together. Ours are in as few pieces as possible, to make the assembly process fast and straightforward.

All Trade Tested sheds come with a 12 year warranty, so you can be sure you’re getting a high quality shed that will last you many years to come.

Purpose

Step one is to figure out what you will be using the shed for. We have lots of models available for a huge variety of different purposes, from storing garden tools and supplies, to housing bikes, kayaks and other outdoor gear, to providing workshop or hobby space. If you need it for storage, will your new shed be your only storage area, or will it be used alongside a garage space or basement? If you’ll be working in there too, how much time will you spend in there, and what facilities will you need? Here’s some examples of what your shed space might look like.

Our sheds come in a range of colours and styles to suit the design and character of your outdoor living area.

Once you’re clear on your shed’s purpose, you can get started on choosing specifications.

Choosing a Shed

Find your perfect shed in five easy steps:

 1  Choose a Size
 2  Select your Material
 3  Pick a Roof Style
 4   Choose your Colour

1. Size

Decide how much of your backyard you are willing to devote to the shed. If your property is small, this might be limited by space. Even on a larger property, you might want to leave enough lawn area for kids and pets, or even a space to put some outdoor furniture.

Of course, you also need to know how much you need to store in your shed. Besides what you’re planning to put in your shed immediately, think about what you’ll want to use it for in the future. As your family expands, your kids grow up, or you take on new hobbies, your storage needs will probably increase. Sheds that are properly cared for can last decades and you don’t want to have to replace your shed a year or two down the track because you’ve run out of room. It’s best to opt for a bigger shed than you think you need right now. Trade Tested’s sheds have floor areas ranging from 0.8m2 to 14.8m2.

As well as floor area, internal shed height is particularly important if you’re planning to use it as a workshop or if you want to add some shelving. How many shelves do you need and what height should these sit at? If you’re planning to work inside your shed, you’ll need to make sure the roof is high enough for you to comfortably stand up in. We have some larger sheds up to 2.1m high that might suit.

Some of our larger models have double doors, while our smaller ones tend to have single doors. Ease of access might be an important consideration, especially if you’re storing large or bulky items. As well as fitting into the shed itself, your items – and the people moving them – need to be able to safely fit through the door.


2. Material

Steel

Most sheds in New Zealand are made from steel, mainly because it is light, easy to install, and it doesn’t warp or fade over time. Membranes over steel frames give a shed that is robust and rigid, while easy to assemble. For the conditions we experience in our country, metal sheds really do stack up. The strength and corrosion resistance of galvanised steel means your shed will stand the test of time, without the need for much maintenance at all. In fact, all our metal sheds come with a 12 year ‘no rust’ warranty.

Wood

Wooden sheds have a classic look and an aesthetic appeal that can’t be underestimated. Sitting in your garden or your back lawn, the shed will not only be a functional space, but it will look gorgeous and add to the overall style of your property.

Wooden sheds require some occasional maintenance, otherwise the finish of the shed can deteriorate over time. Put some thought into your thirst for DIY and how much time you have to spend keeping it up to scratch. It won’t take a lot of your time but it will be another addition to your to-do list. Wooden sheds also tend to command a little more in price, however getting the look you want and having something a little special is a worthwhile investment.

Resin Plastic

Resin sheds are the ultimate in lightweight and durability – the material does not fade or crack and the ability to keep everything dry is a testament to the weather-tightness of resin construction. A variety of colours are available, with new shades being released all the time. The easy-to-manufacture nature of resin means there is also a huge range of configurations and sizes, allowing you to choose the right shed for your particular needs. Remember that the need for a weather tight and durable shed in New Zealand conditions is paramount and resin might be the best material to stand up to the rigours of four seasons in one day!


3. Roof Style

Pitched roof sheds are great for storing tall items like skis or surfboards. They also work well as workshops, providing comfortable standing room in the centre. Flat roof sheds are ideal if you have limited vertical space to put them in. A flat roof is still slightly sloped, to allow water to run off. Neither of our roof styles include a gutter, so you won’t have to spend time cleaning algae or leaves out of a shed gutter.


4. Colour

When choosing the right colour, consider the surrounding landscape and how you want the shed to blend in. Some people like their shed to be subtle and inconspicuous, while some make it a bold focal point of their garden. Cream or white may be attractive in a tidily manicured, landscaped garden, perhaps alongside a patio or water feature. Earthy tones, are nicely suited to gardens with a softer, more naturalistic feel, and green is often a good colour choice if you’re putting your shed in amongst leafy flora. Dark, cool colours have a more modern or bold feel, and could suit a more minimalist garden design, with lots of straight edges. Check out some photos of our sheds in other gardens, and think about which colour and style would fit best with the current design of your garden.

How to Choose a Floor

Every shed needs a suitable base to help hold it down and to keep what’s in your shed off the ground. There’s a few options as far as what to make your shed floor from – timber, a steel raised floor foundation kit or a concrete pad might suit you. This will mostly depend on what’s already on the site your shed is going on, what you need from your shed and the level of cost and effort involved.

Securing your shed to a fixed, level base will help prevent the frame bending and maintain its strength and stability in bad weather. All sheds come with free anchor kits to secure your shed to a timber or concrete base.

Timber

Timber is the most popular option for shed floor construction in New Zealand, and for good reason. Any way you look at it, a wooden foundation and floor is a strong and versatile platform from which to build your dream shed. Using timber flooring is also a good option if you may ever need to move the shed to a different location.

With timber floors it is important that you allow for windy conditions by securing the wooden floor to the ground and the use of pegs will accomplish this nicely.

If you have plenty of timber on hand, you can make the bearers and floorboards of your shed floor yourself by cutting them to the right size. This way you can choose your favourite timber and finish it with a varnish, stain or paint if you like. If you’d prefer a ready-to-build floor, we have floor kits available for each size of shed. These come with the bearers and floorboards cut to the right size, along with all the nails and nail plates you need to put your floor together. Our floor kits are made locally from FSC certified New Zealand pine from Rotorua and are pre-treated to prevent moisture damage.

Raised floor foundations

An easy and cost effective alternative is adding floor to steel raised flooring foundations. After constructing the steel foundation frame, you cover it with timber or plywood. The frame ensures that your actual floor is off the ground and is designed to fit with your shed. A great method for attaining a flat surface, this option provides flexibility for your choice of based surfaces. It can be ideal when you are setting the shed up on an existing hard surface e.g. driveway, patio, paved or concrete area.

Concrete

You might already have a raised concrete pad on your property that’s just the right size for the shed you plan to buy. Building a shed on it can be a great way to repurpose an old carport, driveway or patio area. The frame of the shed will attach to the concrete slab using 8mm bolts and a series of clamps to ensure a solid connection.

If you don’t already have a concrete pad, making one can be a worthwhile investment. The additional cost involved in buying, mixing and pouring cement, as well as making sure the cement is straight and level, may not suit everyone. It’ll take a bit more time than putting together a timber floor, but it’ll make for the strongest and most permanent floor.

A concrete floor won’t expand and shrink the way that timber might, and it won’t crack either, or get damaged if you drop something heavy on it. It’s also easier to keep clean, as you can simply hose it down. This could be a pretty big advantage if you’re keeping animals in your shed, potting your plants, or storing anything that could get messy.

Pouring a 100mm recessed concrete floor allows you to have a solid foundation for the shed, providing a robust platform that will last years. Of course once you’ve poured the concrete slab, you will be unable to move the shed to a different location – so take your time planning this option. It’s ideal if you own your property and want your floor to last you as long as the shed will.

We can provide a guide to help you plan your concrete floor and secure the shed to it.

We recommend making the floor higher than the ground outside the shed, so that rain water doesn’t get in.

DIY Assembly

For those with a good level of general DIY skills, setting up a shed is quite a straightforward task. Our sheds come with all the components you need and a full set of clear instructions to guide you through the process. It will probably take you around 4 hours to put a smaller shed together, or 6-8 hours if you get one of our larger ones.

Many hands make light work, so the assembly will probably be a lot easier and faster if you have a second pair of hands. You’ll especially need some help to put the roof onto the shed. Arrange for your partner, a friend or a family member to help out for the day.

You’ll need a cordless drill, tape measure and a ladder.

Trade Tested are more than happy to help with all the advice you need. If you get stuck, just call us toll free on 0800 800 880.

Remember to put your safety first. Make sure you use the right tools for the job, and don’t take on more than you’re capable of. If you’re using a ladder, correct set-up is important, and remember to keep three points of contact at all times when you’re on the ladder and avoid over-reaching. Read more about DIY safety on ACC's website.

Professional Assembly

Our sheds are designed to be as easy and quick to put together as possible. However if you don’t quite feel confident enough or are short on time, we can organise a free, no-obligation assembly quote to have your shed put together by an assembly partner in your area. See more details on our Professional Assembly Service.

Our assembly partners can put down flooring in your shed too, if you need it. However, they cannot clear your site or level the ground to work on. If you’d like an assembly partner to put your shed up, you’ll need to make sure the site is flat and clear before they arrive.

Legal and Compliance

In most areas, you won’t need building consent to put up a shed less than 10m2. For our bigger sheds though, council regulations may be something you’ll need to look into. Check with your local council to find out what requirements apply in your area.

Positioning

It could be a good idea to measure out space area you want your shed to go on before you decide. Use pegs or stakes to mark it out, to make sure the shed will fit properly and look the way you want it to. Depending on what you already have on your property, there might be concrete, lawn, or bare ground where you want to put your shed. Alternatively, you might like to put your shed onto a deck or patio. What type of location you choose will determine how your shed is secured to the ground and what kind of foundations and flooring you need.

Some people like to place their shed away from the house, but balance these aesthetic considerations against practicality and convenience. Having the shed near to where you use it is important to get the most use out of it. You might find that the kids put their outdoor toys away if the shed is near to where they play. Keep your shed near to facilities that you might need in the shed too, like power or water supply.

Understanding the features of your property will help you decide where your shed should go. Think about the contour of the ground – it’s best for the shed to go on flat ground, or if there’s a slight incline, that should be towards the back of the shed. If there’s any areas where drainage is poor, or water leaks from a feature such as a pond, that area will probably be too damp. Wet ground could damage a timber floor or let water get into your shed.

You might like to leave a bit of space around your shed so that you can easily clean it and maintain it. Make sure there’s space at the front for the door to open and for you to get any large items in and out without hassle.

Council regulations usually require that sheds be placed away from other buildings and fences – at least as far away as the shed is high. If you have a swimming pool, keep in mind also that your shed probably needs to be well away from the swimming pool fence.

Be careful of putting your shed near any trees on your property, especially if the tree still has a lot of growing to do. Leave enough room around the shed for the tree’s growth in the future. Remember that the roots may still be spreading too, so you may not want to put the shed directly over them. Use the drip line – the area on the ground covered by the tree’s canopy – to give you an idea of where the tree’s roots are. You might also think twice about putting your shed under a tree that loses a lot of leaves, or drops seeds, flowers or fruit – clearing tree matter off the shed roof might be an extra garden chore you could do without!

Our sheds are tough enough for all weather conditions, but they’ll last even longer if they’re screened a little – wooden sheds especially so. Shelter from the sun and wind will also be more comfortable if you’ll be working in the shed a lot, or a pet will be living inside. Depending on the features of your property and the purpose of your shed, a sheltered area might be a good idea.

Remember too, to be nice to your neighbours. If they enjoy a view from their property, try not to put the shed where it could block their view – attractive though your shed will be!

Customisation and Accessories

If you’ll be using tools or other electrical equipment in your shed, or if you want to put lighting in, you might want to install a permanent electrical supply. We recommend you have this work done by a qualified electrician to make sure it’s done safely.

A ramp might also be a good idea if you’re storing anything with wheels, such as bikes or lawnmowers, or if you’ll need to carry heavy or bulky things in and out of the shed.

Ventilation and insulation might be things to think about too, especially if you’ll use your shed as a workshop, or the kids will keep a small pet in it. Our sheds can easily be customised with windows or skylights, and you can even line with plaster board and add insulation.

Security may be an important consideration; if you have costly items like lawnmowers, bikes or power tools, you’ll want the peace of mind of knowing they’re safe. Our sheds can easily be fitted with locks, and with a drill and a few screws you could even put up security lighting.

How to Get One

It’s quick and easy to order online, and if you have any trouble, you can live chat with us during business hours or call us free on 0800 800 880. Most of our sheds are already in stock at our warehouse near Auckland Airport, so we can start getting it ready to send out as soon as you place your order. In most areas, you’ll get it within about three days – a lot faster than some shed retailers, who can take several weeks to get a shed sent out. We can deliver door-to-door nationwide. You can also choose to have your shed delivered to the nearest depot. Find your nearest depot.

If it would suit you better to shop in person, you’re welcome to visit our Auckland Store. It’s open 7 days a week and has an assembled shed on display, so you can see what they look like before you decide which one to take home.

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