Weighing the pros and cons of any purchase is important. When considering an investment like a 10×12 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 10×12 sheds. We’ll break down the cost of building your own 10×12 shed from scratch versus investing in a prefabricated 10×12 shed that’s ready to go. And we’ll look at what kind of permits you may need in order to have a 10×12 shed on your property.
Table of Contents
How many square feet is a 10×12 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 10×12 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.)
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 10×12, 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 10×12 shed with 2×4 walls is often closer to 107 sq ft.
Is a 10×12 shed big enough?
The beauty of 10×12 sheds is that they provide a lot of extra room while still fitting into smaller yards. But does a 10×12 storage shed provide enough storage space to fit your needs?
Well, it depends on what your storage needs are! For example, a 10×12 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. Read our garden shed buying guide for sizing tips for your garden shed!
A 10×12 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 10×12 shed will allow you to go vertical with the storage of your smaller items, leaving more room on the floor for larger equipment.
10×12 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 10×12 storage sheds provide!
What can you fit in a 10×12 shed?
You can fit quite a lot into a 10×12 storage shed! As covered in the last section, 10×12 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 workbench 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 10×12 storage shed layout.
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.
Is it cheaper to build a 10×12 shed or buy a 10×12 shed?
As might be expected, you could potentially save money by building your own 10×12 shed. It is usually a bit cheaper to build your own 10×12 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 10×12 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 10×12 shed?
To calculate the cost to build a 10×12 shed, we added up the materials cost for a shed based on these drawings. We discovered the cost to build a 10×12 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.
|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|
|13x 5/8″ t1-11 exterior siding – 4’x8′ sheet||$500.00||2x 35×35 – slide window||$200.00|
|4x 1×4 – 8′||$10.00||4x 2×4 – 8′||$20.00|
|4x 1×4 – 10′||$87.75||2x 5/8″ t1-11 exterior siding – 4’x8′ sheet||$80.00|
|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 a 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 10×12 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 10×12 shed?
Prefab 10×12 sheds cost $2500-$3800 depending on style, local market, and what features are included.
To compare “apples to apples,” we sell prefab 10×12 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.
If a pre-built 10×12 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.
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 10×12 prefab shed in 4-5 hours!
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 10×12 prefab shed is surprisingly close to the cost of building a 10×12 shed yourself.
Do I need a permit for a 10×12 shed?
Maybe. Size is a key factor. In Pennsylvania, for example, a storage shed of fewer 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 outbuilding. 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 10×12 shed in your township, and you end up being forced to relocate or take it down altogether. Play it safe and contact your local government first.
To sum it up…
10×12 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 10×12 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 10×12 sheds:
10×12 sheds in the Barn model feature a gambrel roof and are one of the most affordable options for simple storage.
The Lofted Barn is a highly functional 10×12 shed with overhead storage and double doors on the end.
The Garden Shed is an A-frame design. 10×12 sheds in this style have double doors on the side.
Lofted Garden Shed
The Lofted Garden Shed has double doors on the side and overhead loft storage space for maximum storage space in a 10×12.
The Utility Shed is our most straightforward A-frame design and offers great functionality, even at 10×12.
With a “saltbox” roof style, 10×12 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 10×12 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 10×12 shed prices.
Good luck with your 10×12 shed planning!
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