A new coat of paint can make your outdoor structure look as good as new! Whether you’re painting an unfinished shed for the first time, changing up the look of your existing backyard structure, or adding a fresh layer to help maintain and preserve your shed, there are a few things to consider as you prepare to get out those brushes and rollers.

Painting Your Shed Tip #1 – Choose the Right Paint

Walk into a paint store or the paint section of any home improvement or hardware store and you’ll be greeted with hundreds, if not thousands, of shades to choose from, up and down the rainbow, from the egg shell to midnight. Unless you’re re-painting in your previous shade, you’re likely to spend some time choosing a color. But don’t forget that selecting the proper TYPE of paint is important, too. For the best protection, we strongly recommend a high-quality exterior 100 percent acrylic latex paint, perhaps in a semi-gloss or satin finish.

Painting Your Shed Tip #2 – Prepare Your Surface (Or, Clean and Prime)

Before you begin to lay on the paint, you’ll want to ensure your wood surface is ready. A smooth and clean “canvas” will help prevent flaking, chipping and blistering in the future, and it also makes the painting process easier. Give your exterior walls a good cleaning, maybe bringing in a pressure washer if there are years of grit and grime. (Use caution with a pressure washer though; older, weathered wood may be damaged with too much pressure.) Sand down any rough edges, and repair or replace any broken pieces of wood. Caulk any open spaces.

After your shed is clean, you’ll then want to apply primer. This is an important step because the primer helps protect your wood, helps preserve the paint and, in general, contributes to a nicer finish.

Painting Your Shed Tip #3 – Pick the Proper Brushes

The type of brush you choose contributes to the quality of your end results. A higher quality paint brush is pricier, but consider that a better brush leads to a better application. Remember that you will need various size brushes, too. You’ll need smaller ones for around trim, windows, and other features. Rollers might be efficient for you, depending on the size of your shed and/or the height of painters!

These tips for a great paint job are just a few ideas—applying the proper number of coats, protecting areas you don’t want painted, and taking your time and being careful also will help your shed shine and your hard work last longer.

When you build or purchase a shed, you’re likely envisioning that it will be part of your property for a long time. Just as you care for your home by keeping up with maintenance and repairs, you’ll need to pay attention to your shed’s condition. Starting with quality materials is one way to keep things in tip-top condition—and helps protect your investment in your shed.

Quality siding for your outdoor structures, including garden sheds, workshop sheds, and other types of backyard buildings, helps protect and preserve them. Siding keeps the elements out.

As with homes, there are two main types of siding: vinyl and wood:

  • Vinyl siding is long-lasting and easy to maintain and clean; it is pest- and weather-resistant, too. Vinyl siding usually comes in an array of colors, so you’re sure to find something that matches your home. Many manufacturers offer a warranty, which adds to the value of vinyl.
  • Wood siding can come in a variety of types (cedar, for instance); wood is durable and looks good, but it sometimes costs more than vinyl. However, if you’re going for a certain aesthetic, wood siding may be best for you. Staining or painting adds to the look and feel, while protecting the shed—but a natural wood finish can also look rustic.

Other types of shed siding include metal, tin, and engineered wood.

Thinking about residing your shed? Valley Structures offers wood and vinyl siding in a variety of colors and trim. 

Your backyard shed, no matter how solid and sturdy, will usually require a proper foundation. Without one, it might not stay level, it will be more prone to moisture, and it could even sink into the ground.

You have several options for your shed’s foundation, including gravel, wood, concrete slab:

  • Gravel – gravel (or, crushed stone) pad shed foundations work well for small storage sheds.
  • Wood – pressure-treated wood frames are a durable, popular foundation option for sheds; the timber usually rests on cinder blocks or piers to keep the wood level and off the ground.
  • Concrete slab – a concrete slab foundation is best for larger sheds, and it’s the strongest of your options. If you plan to store tractors or heavy equipment, a concrete slab foundation is best.

Because a foundation is, for the most part, intended to be permanent, it’s important to plan properly and choose the best spot on your property to place the structure. Other things to consider about what type of foundation you choose—and where you choose to install—include drainage, wildlife, portability (as in, if you intend to move it at some point), and potential for future additions to your shed, such as plumbing or electrical.

A solid shed foundation is important for many practical reasons—protection of the structure and its contents as well as proper functioning of doors and windows. Choose the option that best suits your climate, your needs, and your budget. 

If you have an outdoor structure, such as a shed or other out-building, that you plan to spend time significant time in, proper ventilation is key to your safety and comfort.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Safety

If you’re like a lot of people, your shed is probably part-storage, part workshop. It makes sense, then, that you could be working alongside cans of gasoline you have stored for your mower or power tools. Inhaling gas fumes can be dangerous, and proper ventilation keeps the fresh air circulating.

Aside from dangerous fumes, consider the mold and mildew that can grow inside sheds, especially in humid climates or during wet seasons; breathing in these spores can have harmful effects. Adequate ventilation can help prevent or reduce mildew and mold growth by controlling moisture.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Comfort

Shed ventilation also helps contribute to a comfortable working environment by keeping air fresh, controlling temperatures, and letting any odors out. Aside from roof vents, don’t forget that doors and windows also add to your air control options! If you do plan to work in your shed often, consider installing a fan.

Properly Ventilated Sheds for Structural Integrity

Your home’s roof can be damaged by excessive moisture over time. The same goes for your shed. If your workshop or storage space gets too moist, your structure could weaken. Properly ventilating your storage shed will prolong its life—as well as protect its contents.

Many storage sheds come with vents, but depending on how you plan to use your shed, you may want to consider more. If you’re looking to add ventilation options to your shed, remember that Valley Structures offers a variety of garden vents and gable vents. 

This month, we’re dedicating our blog posts to a few of the many ways you can transform your outdoor structure from an empty shell usually meant for storage into something practical. In the last part of this three-part series we’ll talk about keeping chickens.

Today, many families are interested in self-sustaining lifestyles for health, environmental, or economic reasons. You don’t have to live on a farm to reap the benefits of fresh eggs or raising your own poultry.

Adding a chicken coop to your property is a bit easier when you start with a ready-made outdoor structure, such as the sheds offered at Valley Structures. Here are some things to consider:

  • Each chicken will need about 4.5 square feet of space; think about your capacity! You don’t want overcrowding.
  • You’ll want to install roost-shelving/nest boxes to give chickens a place to roost. Many coops use a 2×4 board as a roosting bar.
  • Consider a droppings board, which would be installed under the roosting bar.
  • Chickens can share nests—three nests for every eight chickens is a good rule of measure.
  • Add in vents, windows, and doors. Vents and windows help with air circulation, and a door allows chickens to come out during the day for air and sun.
  • A need for more fresh air – depending on how hot it gets where you live, you might need more ventilation. You could remove one or part of the wall panels, and add in wire mesh.
  • Be sure to account for storage space for buckets, shovels, etc.

Once you have your coop set up, it’s time to get your flock! 

This month, we’re dedicating our blog posts to a few of the many ways you can transform your outdoor structure from an empty shell usually meant for storage into something practical. In the second installation of this three-part series we’ll look at how you can garden or create a potting room with a storage shed.

Backyard sheds aren’t limited to just being used for storing gardening equipment; they also can be a functional space for green thumbs.

Think about what you’ll be using the space for, and then plot out the interior accordingly. Think about your working surface as well as adequate storage space. What kind of potting table best suits you? Think about lighting: will you need to add more windows, and do you want to also install electricity so you can have lamps? What else might you need power for? Will you need wi-fi? And, of course, you’ll want to have a sink, so plumbing is another consideration.

Aside from creating a place for you to work, you can also make your new potting shed a bit of retreat. Add some comfortable seating and décor. Artfully arrange your tools—make good use of the ceilings and walls. What can you hang? What needs a shelf?

Don’t forget about the exterior. How can you paint, trim, or decorate your shed so that it blends in with the landscape? Add some character. Make it part of the art of your backyard!

This month, we’re dedicating our blog posts to a few of the many ways you can transform your outdoor structure from an empty shell usually meant for storage into something practical. In the first of this three-part series, we’ll look at how you can turn your storage shed into a backyard office.

Today, many people work from home, whether they’re a solopreneur or a remote employee for another company. Sometimes, though, finding space in an already-full house can be a challenge. Or, if there is indeed a space available, sometimes it’s not a quiet or out of the way as you’d like.

Enter the storage shed. If you have the land available for one, ready-made outdoor structures provide a fantastic shell in which to make a home office. Start by replacing or adding new doors and windows. You’ll need to install insulation and a wall covering, like drywall or paneling, and flooring. Add some trim work, paint to your liking, decorate, furnish, and your interior is set.

One of the most important considerations for turning a shed into an office would be power and connectivity. You’ll most likely need to be connect to the Internet by line or wi-fi, and, in some cases, you’ll want to also have access to a landline phone depending on your communication needs. Power outlets are important—try to think ahead of how many you might need: computer, printer, chargers, lighting, air conditioner/fan, etc. And you want to make sure you’re comfortable in whatever the whether – heat and cooling is important.

Here’s an example of an IBM employee who turned a 10×12 shed into a backyard office – complete with a little bit of humor. 

According to Secrets of Shed-Building, there are three things to consider when choosing roofing material for your outdoor structure. First, and probably most important, is waterproofing—will it protect your belongings? How much precipitation do you get where you live?

Next, you want something economical in its lifetime cost—thing long-term here as what’s the most affordable now isn’t always the overall best value. Finally, you’ll want to consider how it looks—does it mesh well with the structure and other buildings on the property?

Here are a few roofing materials to consider for your shed:

Asphalt – like roofing material for your home, an asphalt roof for your shed is a common, affordable option.

Cedar Shakes – While not the cheapest option, these wooden shingles can look fantastic, especially if you’re going for a rustic look. Cedar shakes can make a difference in the wow-factor of your shed’s look and feel! Other outdoor structures, like a gazebo, can also look really pleasing with cedar shakes.

Felt – mineral felt roofs are economic and easy to install. However, they do not have as long a life-span as other shed roofing materials.

Metal – metal shed roofs are durable, fire-resistant, easy to install and economical considering their life-expectancy. Metal is especially nice for those in areas with lots of snowfall.

There are other roofing material options for your outdoor structure to consider, too—fabric varieties and clay to name a few. Keep your budget and climate in mind when making your decision. 

Like any place where you “put your stuff,” things can quickly get overwhelming and overcrowded. While self-discipline is always needed to put things away where they belong, outfitting your shed with the right organizational tools and storage options will help you keep things in tip-top shape.

First, think about what items you need to store. Do you have a lot of small items? What about tools? How about large items like a mower or tractor? And what about chemicals and other things that should be stowed out of reach from kids and pets? Once you have an idea of your inventory, you’ll be able to decide the best way to organize your shed. (You could take your inventory a step further and get rid of duplicate items, perhaps a yard sale?)

Then, imagine your new space. If you have lots of small items, you might want to install shelves and get bins and baskets. If you have a lot of long-handled yard tools, you’ll want to get some hooks. Here are a few storage ideas to consider:

Hooks on the doors – hang your yard and garden tools (rake, hoes, etc.) on the inside door; this will free up your walls for shelving.

Shelves, shelves and more shelves – install wooden or open-metal shelves along the walls, and feel free to go high as you can (store items not used often on top). An option is to purchase shelving units. Add a variety of heights to allow for different-size items. Peg boards are also a smart organizational option.

Declutter – get some bins to place smaller items in; this will keep your shelves and surfaces neater.

Exterior hooks – don’t forget that you can make use of the outside walls to hang tools—or even decorations.

Finally, head on out and purchase the materials you need, and get to work on installing and reorganizing. And remember—the new design and layout is one thing, but putting things away is another!

One final thing to consider as you plan to organize your shed: a bigger shed to make more room for your items! 

Summer is approaching and that typically means warmer temperatures are on the way—although the thermometer’s schedule is quite unpredictable these days!

It’s true that animals can naturally cope with heat and cold—but only to a point. Our furry friends rely on us to help keep them cool when the mercury rises. Dogs are especially more sensitive to heat than they are of cooler temperatures. Here are some things to keep in mind to help keep your pet structures cool this summer:

Add ventilation – if your structure’s roof already does not have air vents—whether an actual vent or just small holes—be sure to add some. Adequate air is crucial to animals staying cool. If your structure is rather large and you have the capability, consider adding a fan.

Elevate the floor – put your structure on a foundation or even on an old wooden pallet. The ground retains heat (or cold) and this extra breathing room can significantly lower the temperature inside.

Keep out of sunlight – if your structure is directly in the sun it can get quite hot—and fast. Consider moving it to a shaded location. (An analogy would be leaving an animal in the car with windows rolled up.)

Mind the size – if your dog has outgrown its structure, purchase or build a larger dog house. Too small of an area can be unhealthy—even deadly—for animals.

Install a pool – OK. We’re not talking an Olympic-size or kidney-shaped in-ground variety, but a baby wading pool kept near the dog house or pet structure can allow dogs to dip when they get too hot.

Aside from these four tips to keep your pet structure cool this summer, always be sure your furry friends have adequate water supply at all times, that they’re groomed for the season (if their breed requires), and that they don’t play too hard!