At first, you may think that plastic sheds are simple garden buildings, and in theory they should be fairly easy to define and work out the features and benefits between each range and brand. However the more research you do, the more complex the answer seems. Over recent years plastic sheds have become an increasingly viable alternative to those made traditionally with timber or the low maintenance option of metal sheds.

In this handy guide, we explain the advantages of choosing plastic for a garden shed, some practical information on features, maintenance and assembly, and the most popular questions and answers in our plastic sheds FAQ section.

Are plastic sheds maintenance-free?

One of the main reasons why people choose to buy a plastic shed is that they are maintenance-free.

There is no danger of corrosion, rot or warping, and to guarantee the shed remains in pristine condition all that is required is occasional washing with warm soapy water or jetting with a domestic water pressure cleaner. These highly developed plastics are now very unlikely to crack, their colour shouldn’t fade noticeably over time, and any solvent and paint spills can be normally wiped away with no long term damage.

With the development of modern plastics, the durability of this type of shed has increased considerably. With excellent specifications and build quality, there is now a huge choice to suit everyone's requirements, whether this is for storage or to create a working or living environment.

What type of plastic is used?

When we talk about main materials, this relates to the walls and door of the shed. And there are three common materials used to craft these sections on plastic sheds.

HDPE (high-density polyethylene) is known for its strength, durability, and resistance to dents and cracks. It's also less prone to fading and cracking from exposure to the sun, making it a long-lasting choice for plastic sheds.

PVC (polyvinyl chloride) is generally less expensive than HDPE but is also less durable. While it's resistant to rot and rust, it can be more susceptible to fading and cracking over time, especially when exposed to extreme temperature's. PVC is generally less expensive than HDPE but is also less durable.

Polycarbonate is extremely tough and usually used in sheds that require transparent or semi-transparent walls, like greenhouses. It offers high impact resistance and can withstand extreme weather conditions.

Additionally, in most ranges, the shed will feature a metal internal frame, which offers the structural integrity and holds the wall panels, roof and door into place.

A collage of three different sheds, showing the difference in materials between polycarbonate, pvc and hdpe.

Are plastic sheds weatherproof?

 All three plastic types used in today's sheds has been developed to be extremely durable within the normal extremes of weather typical to us here in the UK. This means they are watertight, weatherproof and UV resistant. All your gardening equipment, chairs, cushions and other items that are stored will remain perfectly dry. In most cases, plastic sheds are developed for use in America, Australia and other climates that are far more extreme than ours. We sometimes think we have the worst weather in the world in the UK but in truth, it is not extreme, just very varied.

During winter months the roof of a plastic shed can easily withstand heavy snow and, when it melts, the water just runs off the outside rather than permeating through as it might with a timber shed with a damaged or worn felted roof.

However, please remember that all plastic sheds must be anchored to a firm foundation to protect against wind damage. We don’t live in a hurricane belt but our great British storms can still get pretty feisty!

What base types can you install a plastic shed on to?

Concrete Plinth
A concrete plinth provides a solid, level base that's ideal for heavy-duty plastic garden sheds. Ensure the concrete is fully cured before installing your shed. The area should be leveled and cleared of any debris.

Ready-made concrete slabs are another sturdy option, though they allow for a bit more flexibility and aesthetic appeal than a full concrete plinth. Slabs should be laid on a level surface with proper drainage to prevent water accumulation.

Brick Paved
A brick base offers an aesthetic appeal and is suitable for lighter plastic sheds. Bricks should be securely placed and leveled, preferably with a layer of sand underneath for stabilization.

Wooden Decking or Raised Timber Frame
Wood decking or a raised timber frame is an attractive option but may not be as durable or stable as concrete or brick. It's best for smaller, lighter sheds. Ensure the wood is treated for weather resistance and is strong enough to support the weight of the shed.

A collage of three different base options to install a plastic shed onto, showing the difference in materials between a concrete plinth, a decking or raised timber base, and paving slabs or patio bricks.

10 tips for assembling a plastic shed

To help guide you through installing a shed at home, here's our top 10 tips for an easier assembly.

  • Measure Your Space: Always measure the area where you plan to place the shed to ensure it fits comfortably and allows room for accessing stored items.
  • Check for Level Ground: The ground should be as level as possible for any base type to ensure the stability of the shed.
  • Consider Drainage: Poor drainage can lead to water pooling around the shed's base. Ensure your base allows for proper drainage to prolong the life of your shed.
  • Follow Installation Instructions: Your shed will come with manufacturer instructions for assembly; follow these closely, especially regarding the base.
  • Secure the Shed: For extra stability, anchor your plastic shed to the base using the appropriate fasteners, especially in regions prone to high winds or extreme weather.
  • Seek Professional Help: If you're unsure about installing the base or the shed itself, it might be wise to seek professional installation services.
  • Planning Permission: Most garden sheds are permitted under general council planning permission rules, however, if you're installing a very large or tall shed, it's always best to check your local council's planning permission code to make sure that your new shed will be in compliance.
  • Insulate If Necessary: While plastic sheds are generally good at keeping moisture out, if you plan to store items that need to be in a climate-controlled environment, consider insulating your shed or buying one that comes insulated.
  • Security Measures: If you plan to store valuable items in your shed, consider additional security measures like a high-quality lock or even an alarm system compatible with garden sheds.
  • Maintenance Checks: Even though plastic sheds are easy to maintain, it's good practice to periodically check the structure for any wear and tear or potential issues like loose fasteners or minor cracks. Early detection can prolong the life of your shed.

By considering these factors and following these best practices, you can ensure a smoother and easier time when setting up your shed at home.

Frequently asked questions

Here we answer some of your frequently asked questions. By answering these plastic shed FAQs, we hope to guide you in making an informed decision when looking to buy a plastic garden shed online.

Is corrosion, warping, splitting or breakdown a problem?
No, which makes plastic superior to wood and metal both of which over time will inevitably rot or corrode. 

Do plastic sheds get condensation?
Condensation in plastic sheds is certainly less of an issue than it is with metal sheds, particularly if you choose one of the more modern twin-walled plastic sheds. In all cases a solid level base of flagstones or concrete which has a damp proof membrane laid underneath is your route to prevention. Many plastic sheds have their own integral plastic floor which also helps. Some moisture may well be sucked out of the surrounding area initially but it will not develop into a long term issue. None of the plastic sheds that we have on display suffers from condensation issues.

What are the advantages of buying a plastic shed over a wooden or metal shed?
Plastic sheds are generally easier to assemble, require less maintenance, and are more resistant to rot and rust.

How durable are plastic sheds?
Plastic sheds made from high-quality materials like HDPE are very durable, resistant to dents, and can last for many years.

Are plastic sheds weather-resistant?
Yes, most high-quality plastic sheds are designed to withstand various weather conditions including rain, snow, and UV rays.

Do plastic sheds fade in the sun?
Plastic sheds made from high-quality materials like HDPE are less prone to fading compared to lower-quality materials like PVC.

Are plastic sheds easy to assemble?
Yes, most plastic sheds come with easy-to-follow instructions and require fewer tools and less time to assemble compared to wooden or metal sheds.

Can I paint my plastic shed?
It's generally not recommended to paint plastic sheds as the paint may not adhere well, and could peel or chip over time. Although, there are a few specially made plastic sheds that can be painted that you'll need to check the individual product specification for.

Are plastic storage sheds secure?
While plastic sheds are durable, they may not offer as much security as metal sheds. However, many come with lockable doors for added security.

How do I maintain my plastic shed?
Plastic sheds are relatively low maintenance. Usually, a simple wash with soap and water is sufficient to keep it clean. They do not require any annual treatment such as painting or staining.

Are there different sizes of plastic sheds?
Yes, plastic sheds come in various sizes to fit different garden spaces and storage needs, from smaller sizes of 6ft x 3ft, to huge and spacious structures as big as 8ft x 16ft.

Are there different styles of plastic sheds?
Although all still very functional and practical, plastic sheds are available in a number of contemporary styles as well as the more functional traditional designs. They can also be used as a playroom or an outside office for example.

What types of items can I store in a plastic garden shed?
You can store garden tools, lawnmowers, bicycles, and even small pieces of furniture.

Is insulation an option with plastic sheds?
Plastic sheds generally don't offer built-in insulation but can be insulated using aftermarket products. However, not that any modification to your shed may void the original manufacturers warranty or guarantee.

Can I install shelving in my plastic storage shed?
Yes, many plastic storage sheds come with options for installing shelving or can be easily modified to accommodate shelves.

Are plastic sheds light enough inside to see?
Don't worry, depending on the model you choose, many have windows and skylights that let in plenty of light. Some people choose not to have windows for security reasons.

This concludes our article, we hope that our guide has been informative and explained the benefits, features, maintenance and assembly of plastic sheds.

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