Are Plastic Sheds Any Good? Pros and Cons of Plastic Sheds (Updated 2021)


‘Good’ is a bit of a tricky concept to pin down.

For example, is a multi-room log cabin going to be good for someone with a small garden? Probably not. Is another bowl of trifle going to be good for me? No comment.

But when we try to answer ‘are plastic sheds any good?’, there are some things we need to look at. Plastic sheds too often get a bad wrap simply because people don’t know enough about them.

So in this guide, we’re going to sum up the pros and cons of plastic sheds. We’ll also compare them to their wooden and metal counterparts. After we’ve answered all your (and the internet’s) most-asked questions, we’ll let you decide.

Key takeaways:

  • Plastic sheds are durable and sturdy
  • They’re low-to-no maintenance
  • They’re competitively priced
  • Where possible, choose a steel-reinforced plastic shed
  • Plastic sheds require a level or concrete base
  • Plastic sheds have much quicker delivery times

So, whether or not a plastic shed is for you will depend on preference, needs, space, and budget. But we’ll try and help you figure that out. 

plastic shed cladding up close

Plastic Sheds: The Basics

Let’s quickly answer some questions about plastic sheds, so we all know what we’re on about moving forward.

Depending on what they’re made from, you might also hear plastic sheds referred to as:

 

  • Resin sheds
  • Vinyl sheds
  • High-density polyethylene sheds

Plastic sheds are usually made of vinyl (also known as polyvinyl chloride or PVC) or high-density polyethylene (HDPE). These are synthetic polymers that are durable and UV-resistant yet, light and easy to move.

 

Vinyl plastic sheds are built for tough outdoor use and are weather-resistant whilst remaining strong.

Plastic sheds aren’t designed for customisation. Attempting to paint a plastic shed will probably result in paint not binding and isn’t a viable solution. 

 

The good news is that plastic sheds retain their colour even if left out in harsh sunlight, so there should be little need to paint your plastic shed.

Plastic sheds are easy to assemble. Most panels snap together and, with you and a friend following the assembly instructions, you can have your plastic shed put together in no time.

 

Hopefully, now we’re all on the same page as to what plastic sheds are. With that checked off, we can move on to the pros and cons of owning a plastic shed.

resin sheds infographic about their pros and resistance to weather and pests
Credit: Dutch Country Sheds

Plastic Shed Pros

The great thing about plastic sheds is that they’re virtually maintenance-free. 

Unlike a wood or timber shed, you won’t have to:

  • Replace roof felt or shingles
  • Sand and paint wood
  • Stain and treat wood
  • Worry about rot or pests

And unlike a metal shed, you won’t have to worry about rust. 

Plastic sheds snap together, creating a watertight construction. This means that there should be no water ingress and you won’t have to worry about damage to tools or your shed structure.

The fact that there will be no damp or rot also means that you shouldn’t have to worry about pests and rodents settling in your shed. With no gaps in walls or the base, there’s nowhere for them to get in. Just think of the money you could save on wood treatment products. 

You will, of course, still need to clean your shed to get the most life out of it. But even this is easily and infrequently done. 

How do you clean a plastic shed?

There is no need to stain or treat a plastic shed. Simply use a pressure washer, hose, or bucket of warm soapy water to remove dirt from the exterior of your plastic shed.

Due to the nature of their construction and materials, plastic sheds are also highly weather-resistant. 

This is true of both hot and cold climates. HDPE and PVC vinyl plastic has been developed to withstand weather extremes. This is especially useful in countries like ours where we can experience four seasons in a day!

Plastic sheds are also resistant to:

  • Sunrays (as they’re UV-resistant)
  • Snow and water which won’t permeate your shed roof (unlike in timber sheds)
  • Rain and wind
  • Heat and cold

No longer are the days when plastic sheds are made of plastic that goes brittle in the cold and sags in the heat. These days, plastic sheds are the forerunner in year-round durability.

Are plastic sheds waterproof?

Plastic sheds as a whole are weatherproof, made from waterproof panels. Plastic sheds are sure to keep your tools dry due to their weather-resistant material and tight joints.

Are plastic sheds fireproof?

No. Despite being made from fire retardant materials, all plastic will eventually become combustible if exposed to fire.

The materials used in plastic sheds these days are not only weatherproof. They also make for a sturdier, more durable outdoor garden building. 

Not only can plastic sheds stick around for longer, resin no longer fades as fast. Thick plastic panelling also provides your shed’s contents with insulation. This, in turn, helps to regulate your shed’s temperature and prevent damp.

How strong are plastic sheds?

HDPE and PVC plastic shed panels are strong and durable. They are weather-resistant and make for a sturdy construction. For extra strength, you can always opt for a plastic shed with a reinforced steel structure.

How long do plastic sheds last?

Due to their weather-resistant nature and durable building materials, most plastic sheds are guaranteed to last for 10 years.

On top of all that, plastic sheds are now stylish as well.

Plastic outdoor building design has come on leaps and bounds. You can now purchase plastic sheds with shutters, arched windows, and even imitation slate roofs. 

This means that you can find something that fits your garden without giving up on style. Plus, the council and neighbours won’t mind them.

BillyOh Kingston Apex Plastic Shed Light Grey With Floor

Plastic garden sheds are not only easy to maintain; they’re easy in general.

Plastic sheds are easily assembled and easily moved if you’re thinking about relocating your shed. Plastic shed construction takes less time with fewer tools. And you won’t need any carpentry knowledge.

This also makes them perfect if you need an immediate plastic storage solution. With quicker delivery and assembly times, you could have a plastic shed in your garden sooner rather than later!

The great thing about plastic sheds is that, depending on size, you can use them for anything. They’re the perfect quick storage solutions for lawnmowers and garden equipment. But a larger plastic shes can even be used as a home office or playroom.

Because of their functionality, plastic sheds are incredibly good value for what they offer.

If you want something that’s lightweight, durable, and weather-resistant, then plastic is a safe bet. However, some plastic shed price points can approach those of a wooden shed. This means that some people want to know:

Why are plastic sheds expensive?

Plastic sheds have to be moulded and can cost more than timber, depending on your shed size. However, with durable vinyl plastic, you’re guaranteed quality. Plus, they’re not expensive when you think about the returns on a long-term investment.

BillyOh Newport Lean To Plastic Shed Light Grey With Floor

top of a plastic shed infographic with arrows point to pent roof and lockable doors

Plastic Shed Cons

But, like all things, we don’t just see plastic sheds with rosy-tinted sunglasses. There are still some cons to plastic sheds that people will have questions about.

Although most plastic sheds are now made of durable PVC vinyl, people may still be concerned about security. 

 

Think about the force necessary to break into a plastic shed. Granted, we’re not talking about a dinky little playhouse here. But plastic sheds may be less secure overall than timber sheds.

 

If a break-in does occur, you’ll need to think about the cost of potentially replacing parts as well.

 

Are plastic sheds safe?

 

On the whole, plastic sheds’ sturdy construction makes them very safe. Bolt-fastenings can also be reinforced with a heavy-duty padlock. And plastic sheds with reinforced steel frames will have a much higher safety rating. 

 

Fire-retardant plastic and the lack of heavy building materials also make plastic sheds safe for the whole family to use.

 

bottom of a plastic shed infographic

One question we always get asked about plastic sheds is whether or not they can stand up to the wind.

 

And, whilst we’ve heard folktales of the skies filled with plastic sheds that have blown away, it’s not true. Granted, some weaker plastic sheds could get knocked over or even broken apart in strong weather conditions.

 

But modern HDPE plastic vinyl sheds with reinforced steel frames, like the BillyOh Ashford Apex offer very strong, weatherproof construction. 

 

How to secure it to a base?

 

Buying a plastic shed with a floor will help secure your contents. The weight of any tools store inside will help to anchor your shed to the floor. However, if you’re willing to compromise the base, you can always drill into the concrete beneath. Then, simply anchor it to your slab with bolts!

One of the pros of plastic sheds might, for some people, come hand-in-hand with one of their downsides. That is, they’re easy to install with proper preparation.

 

Although we don’t agree with it - there’ll be people who say you can get away with a level-ish foundation for a timber shed.

 

With plastic sheds, though, you’ll need a level foundation due to a plastic shed’s rigid construction. Some people might also say that if installing a plastic shed on a hot day, there’s the chance that panels will expand.

 

However, with an easy-to-assemble BillyOh storage shed, you’ll have it built before this ever occurs. Plus, you can always leave panels in the shade until you’re ready to install them.

 

bottom of a plastic shed infographic

We said earlier that plastic sheds have come a long way in the looks department. And they’re a great quick fix, usually with a lower delivery time.

 

But plastic sheds aren’t easily customised. We’re not saying you can’t. You can always drill holes to install shelves, for example. But it’s not advised. You won’t be able to add shingles or paint a plastic shed to match your house. 

 

But this means you also won’t have to repaint your shed or replace shingles!

Plastic sheds are, arguably, best suited to a certain size range. Plastic sheds are perfect for the 4x6ft. - 8x12ft. range. It’s unlikely that you’re going to want to build a corner summerhouse from plastic.

 

This does make plastic sheds excellent storage sheds, though. Just remember that drilling into plastic walls to install shelves isn’t advised. So floor shelving may take up extra space. Some models may include overhead storage.

No. Built-in air vents and ducts in the eaves of plastic sheds maintain airflow and regulate temperature. Vinyl plastic is thick and provides insulation that adds a condensation barrier. Plastic sheds will only get damp if, somehow, damp conditions prevail inside i.e. due to piles of damp rags.

 

Does my shed need a vapour barrier Garden Buildings Direct infographic with three tiles for different sheds and climates with icons and arrows regarding air flow, insulation, and vapour barriers
Use this infographic to decide if your shed needs a vapour barrier.

 

However, unlike wood, even this won’t cause rot and further problems.

 

And speaking of wooden garden sheds…

Are Plastic Sheds Better Than Wood?

As with the idea of ‘good’, ‘better’ will depend on your wants and needs.

But to look at some quick takeaways:


  • Price: Plastic will probably edge out wood as being cheaper
  • Life: If maintained properly, a timber shed can last as long as a plastic one
  • Durability: Both plastic and timber sheds are very durable. With wood being heavier, though, it might stand up better in harsh storms
  • Maintenance: Plastic is a lot lower maintenance than wood. The cost of wood treatment, stain, and paint should factor into your decision
  • Aesthetics: Plastic sheds have come a long way with looks. But if you want a more rustic feel in your garden, go with a wooden shed
  • Customisation: Lower cost and maintenance will mean that you can’t paint your plastic shed, though. Adding to it with shelving etc. might also prove difficult

Are plastic sheds better than metal?

A metal shed might provide good levels of security, but walls can easily become dented. You will also have to treat your shed against rust and install vents or insulate it. This will also help to stop condensation in metal sheds.

Still, let’s look at some quick takeaways:


  • Security: Metal sheds may be slightly more secure if bolted to concrete. Lightweight plastic will arguably be safer, though
  • Maintenance: Like wood, metal requires regular maintenance against rust and corrosion. Plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t
  • Price: Basic metal sheds may be cheaper than heavy-duty plastic ones. But a quality metal shed will be around the same price point 
  • Weather-resistant: Whilst metal sheds will have a pent or apex roof for runoff, they’re still prone to water ingress at the base

side by side comparison in three panels of plastic, metal, and wooden sheds
Credit: Dutch Country Sheds

And no matter what material you decide on when buying your shed, you’ll still need to properly prep your garden.

Preparing Your Garden for a Plastic Shed

Just remember, preparing an adequate base for your new plastic shed is key. HDPE offers sturdy construction. But it can also be unforgiving to a foundation that’s out of level.

A concrete or flat paved base is ideal for a plastic shed. We’d also advise against placing any shed straight onto unlevelled ground. We’d suggest also looking for a plastic shed that comes with a foundation kit

Otherwise, you can think about anchoring it to a concrete slab or raised timber sub-floor. And check out this link if you want a comprehensive guide to preparing your garden for a shed.

Are Plastic Sheds Any Good?

Well, we hope that we’ve answered this question for you by now because we’re all out of guide!

But just to recap for all our benefits – plastic sheds are:

  • Competitively priced
  • Durable and sturdy
  • Weather and water-resistant
  • Quick to assemble
  • Low maintenance 
  • Immune to rot
  • Practically impervious to pests and rodents
  • Stylish

So we’ll let you decide whether you think a plastic shed is right for you. But if you want something quick that will provide a storage solution for a long time, then plastic’s a sure thing.

And if you want, you can always check out this list of options when buying a plastic shed

Shop Plastic Sheds

This depends a lot on your existing skill, tools cache, and timeframe. Plus, it can vary with the materials you want to use. Most of the time, if you take a hard look at your plans, the answer is no.

 

But if you want a more in-depth analysis - check out this guide.

Resin plastic, metal, and timber are all quality materials for a garden shed. Wooden sheds are typically the most classic and attractive material, though. But figure out what works best for you. It may well be a plastic shed.

They stand for Polyvinyl Chloride (PCV) and High-Density Polyethylene (HDPE). They are synthetic polymers used as building materials.

No - plastic sheds are not susceptible to corrosion, rust, or rot. They are also UV- and weather-resistant.

Damp from condensation is less of a problem in plastic sheds compared to metal ones. Thick plastic is a good insulator and most plastic sheds come with air ducts or vents. This all helps to regulate airflow and temperature. Damp items should still not be stored in plastic sheds, though.

You don’t. Plastic sheds won’t require any more than a wash with a hose or pressure washer.

Yes. They won’t need sanding, painting, or treating. They are weather- and water-resistant and simply need a wash now and then.

Yes. Simply follow the assembly instructions provided with your BillyOh plastic shed order. Plastic shed construction won’t require many tools either - just you and an extra pair of hands.

Plastic sheds are practically 100% recyclable. Plus, they won’t require non-degradable chemical treatments and stains.

The construction of plastic sheds means that they won’t harbour cracks and holes which could allow rodents to enter.

At Garden Buildings Direct, our plastic sheds are made from fire retardant plastic. However, all plastic sheds are, at some point, combustible, and due caution should be applied.