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10x12 Sheds: What You Should Know

A 10x12 shed with a loft in Pennsylvania

Weighing the pros and cons of any purchase is important. When considering an investment like a 10x12 storage shed, you need to know what your best options are. We’re laying it all out for you in this article.

We’ll talk about how much you can realistically store in a 10x12 shed. We’ll break down the cost of building your own 10x12 shed from scratch versus investing in a prefabricated 10x12 shed that’s ready to go. And we’ll look at what kind of permits you may need in order to have a 10x12 shed on your property.

How many square feet is a 10x12 shed?

You might think 120 sq ft would be the obvious answer but you could be wrong! In some cases, the real inside dimensions of a 10x12 shed can be 107 sq ft or less! Here’s how…

Some companies use “nominal size” when advertising their building dimensions. Nominal size measurements are taken from roof-edge to roof-edge instead of from the building corners, which would give you a more accurate idea of much square footage the shed is providing. That means a shed with 5” eave overhangs could be advertised as 10’ wide while only having a real corner to corner measurement of 9’2”. Make sure to ask your shed company how their buildings are measured! (Here at Gold Star Buildings, we measure all our buildings from corner to corner. You can read more about "nominal size" vs true dimensions in this article.)

Comparison corner measurements for a 10x12 shed

The other thing to remember is that outside-to-outside corner measurements are not taking into account the space lost from the thickness of the walls. If your outside corner-to-corner dimensions are a true 10x12, you still need to do a little math to figure out how much inside storage space you have to work with. If your shed is framed with 2x4s, you’ll lose about ¾” from the plywood/siding and another 3½” from the studs. That’s over a 4” difference from outside to inside on each wall, meaning your shed’s interior measurements are about 9’4” x 11’4”. In the end, the actual storage space inside a 10x12 shed with 2x4 walls is often closer to 107 sq ft.

Is a 10x12 shed big enough?

The beauty of 10x12 sheds is that they provide a lot of extra room while still fitting into smaller yards. But does a 10x12 storage shed provide enough storage space to fit your needs?

Well, it depends what your storage needs are! For example, a 10x12 shed is big enough for a riding lawnmower, a push lawnmower, a snowblower, a wheelbarrow, and several stacks of storage boxes. Obviously, your specific storage needs will vary, so this just gives you a general idea.

A 10x12 storage shed

A 10x12 shed is a great option for storing a single large item like a mower, ATV, or motorcycle, along with smaller tools and items. It’s a great idea to get rough measurements of the larger items you’re hoping to store so you can plan their placement in the shed. (See the next section for more on this.) Adding shelves and/or a loft to your 10x12 shed will allow you to go vertical with storage of your smaller items, leaving more room on the floor for larger equipment.

10x12 shed interior used for storage

10x12 storage sheds can even be big enough to convert into (very small) private getaway spots. Thanks in part to State Farm’s clever “She Shed” commercial, it’s become a trend to convert traditional storage sheds into creative spaces for leisure, art, or carpentry projects. In fact, some folks are even turning storage sheds into office spaces (for example, this insurance agency's office shed in PA). There’s really no limit to what you can do with the space 10x12 storage sheds provide!

What can you fit in a 10x12 shed?

You can fit quite a lot into a 10x12 storage shed! As covered in the last section, 10x12 sheds are good for storing at least one very large item along with a lot of smaller items.

Standard riding mowers usually measure approximately 6’ in length by 4’ in width. That means your riding mower will probably only take up 24 sq ft of the available 120 sq ft (we’re going to assume that you have a true 120 sq ft to work with). After storing your riding mower, you will still have over 90 sq ft to use for other things. You could install a work bench along one wall and hang all of your gardening tools on another and still have plenty of space to move around and store other items. The diagram below gives an example of one possible 10x12 storage shed layout.

Floorplan of a 10x12 shed used for storage

Maybe you’re not looking for a place to store tools and vehicles. Maybe you’re looking for a secret getaway, a place to relax and decompress. A standard 3-seat sofa will take up 21 sq ft and a standard armchair will take up 9 sq ft. You could have a secret leisure room in your own backyard, complete with a full-sized sofa and armchair and still have 90 sq ft left to add other things like a TV, coffee table, area rug, and love seat.

Floorplan of a 10x12 shed used as a she shed or lounge

Is it cheaper to build a 10x12 shed or buy a 10x12 shed?

As might be expected, you could potentially save money by building your own 10x12 shed. It is usually a bit cheaper to build your own 10x12 shed (if you do not factor in your time.) The big question is whether you’ll save enough money to justify the time and trouble of doing it yourself!

If you have the necessary tools and skills, you can purchase the materials to build your own 10x12 storage shed for a bit under $3,000 (in 2021). The tradeoff is the time and energy it will take you to build your own shed from scratch instead of purchasing a prefabricated one.

How much does it cost to build a 10x12 shed?

To calculate the cost to build a 10x12 shed, we added up the materials cost for a shed based on these drawings. We discovered the cost to build a 10x12 shed is about $2,630 for materials only (if purchased from a big-box home improvement store). The table below gives the breakdown of these materials costs.

Item Cost Item Cost
Flooring Roof Deck
2x Pressure-treated 2×6 – 12′ $27.00 8x 1/2″ plywood – 4’x8′ sheet $336.00
10x Pressure-treated 2×6 – 10′ $117.00 Hardware
3x Pressure-treated 4×4 – 12′ $57.00 3-1/2″ galvanized nails $35.00
4x 3/4″ Tongue-and-groove plywood – 4’x8′ sheet $188.00 2″ deck screws $90.00
Wall Framing 2″ galvanized nails $25.00
6x 2×4 – 12′ $61.00 1 1/4″ galvanized finishing nails $25.00
6x 2×4 – 10′ $45.00 Shingles $160.00
46x 2×4 – 8′ $230.00 Roof tacks $15.00
Roof Framing Roofing felt $40.00
28x 2×4 – 8′ $140.00 Staples $5.00
10x 2×4 – 10′ $75.00 Drip edge $25.00
Siding Doors
13x 5/8″ t1-11 exterior siding – 4’x8′ sheet $500.00 4x 2×4 – 8′ $20.00
Corner Trim 2x 5/8″ t1-11 exterior siding – 4’x8′ sheet $80.00
4x 1×4 – 8′ $10.00 Shed Windows
4x 1×4 – 10′ $87.75 2x 35x35 - slide window $200.00
Roof Trim
4x 2×6 – 8′ $35.00

The other important factor is labor - the time it actually takes to build the shed. The cost calculated for labor depends on whether you’re building your shed as a hobby project or using time that could otherwise be spent in normal wage-earning activity. Depending on your skill level and the tools you have available it could take anywhere from 10-40 hours to construct a 10x12 shed. (It will usually take about twice as long as you estimate! 😜) If you normally earn $15/hr, a 25-hour shed project will require $375 worth of your labor; at $25/hr, labor will be worth $625.

How much does it cost to buy a 10x12 shed?

Prefab 10x12 sheds cost $2500-$3800 depending on style, local market, and what features are included.

To compare “apples to apples”, we sell prefab 10x12 sheds similar to the DIY design featured above for about $3280 (in 2021). That means you would spend about $650 more for a prefab shed than you would spend on just the materials to build it yourself.

A 10x12 shed for sale in western Pennsylvania

If a pre-built 10x12 shed costs only slightly more than the materials to build it yourself, the shed companies must be cutting corners somewhere, right? Not necessarily…

Professional shed builders save money in several major ways:

Buying materials in bulk

Most shed companies purchase lumber by the truckload. By purchasing wholesale quantities, we’re able to spend much less than a DIYer buying the same materials at a retail home improvement store.

Bulk materials for building 10x12 sheds

Working efficiently

Keep this in mind: professional shed builders build sheds for 40+ hours a week…so we’re pretty fast at it! Shed manufacturing shops are set up to maximize efficiency, too. We have professional-grade tools within easy reach, and we know how to use them! A professional builder can construct a 10x12 prefab shed in 4-5 hours!

Building trusses for a 10x12 shed efficiently

Most shed companies (including Gold Star Buildings) pass some of these savings on to customers, while still making enough profit on each shed to pay the workforce and cover other overhead expenses.

In the end, the cost to buy a 10x12 prefab shed is surprisingly close to the cost of building a 10x12 shed yourself.

Do I need a permit for a 10x12 shed?

Maybe. Size is a key factor. In Pennsylvania, for example, a storage shed of less than 200 sq ft only requires a zoning permit, but a shed that exceeds 200 sq ft usually requires a zoning permit and a building permit.


Different states and townships vary on what permits they require you to have for your shed or detached out-building. It’s best to check with your local government office to see what the requirements for your area are. It could cause a lot of frustration and time if you choose not to check on the permit requirements for a 10x12 shed in your township and you end up being forced to relocate or take it down all together. Play it safe and contact your local government first.

To sum it up…

10x12 sheds hit that sweet spot of being small enough to fit in most backyards, large enough for many average storage needs, and cheap enough for most budgets to handle.

There are a wide variety of 10x12 shed styles out there, so do your research before settling on one design. In fact, here at Gold Star Buildings alone, we offer six different styles of 10x12 sheds:

A 10x12 barn shed for sale in PA and OH


10x12 sheds in the Barn model feature a gambrel roof and are one of the most affordable options for simple storage.

A barn-style 10x12 shed with a loft for sale in PA and OH

Lofted Barn

The Lofted Barn is a highly functional 10x12 shed, with overhead storage and double doors on the end.

A 10x12 garden shed for sale in PA and OH

Garden Shed

The Garden Shed is an A-frame design. 10x12 sheds in this style have double doors on the side.

A 10x12 lofted garden shed for sale in PA and OH

Lofted Garden Shed

The Lofted Garden Shed has double doors on the side and overhead loft storage space for maximum storage space in a 10x12.

A 10x12 utility shed for sale in PA and OH

Utility Shed

The Utility Shed is our most straightforward A-frame design and offers great functionality, even at 10x12.

A cottage-style 10x12 shed for sale in PA and OH with a saltbox roof

Cottage Shed

With a "saltbox" roof style, 10x12 Cottage Sheds check the boxes for both form and function.

Feel free to browse all our shed styles to start getting ideas for your own 10x12 shed, whether you buy it or build it yourself! If you're in western PA or eastern OH, feel free to request a quote or browse our inventory to get the most up-to-date 10x12 shed prices.

Good luck with your 10x12 shed planning!

A 10x12 shed with metal siding

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