Shed vs. Cabin vs. Insulated Garden Room

Shed, cabin, garden room. What’s best? It’s hard to know what to pick sometimes, isn’t it?

But if you want to learn more about an insulated garden room, then you’re in the right spot.

In this post, we’ll break down the differences between a regular garden building (like a shed or summerhouse), a log cabin, and our premium insulated garden rooms.

Key Takeaways:

  • Our garden buildings come in three distinct ranges: modular sheds and summerhouses, log cabins, and premium insulated garden rooms
  • Although more expensive, high-end and fully-insulated garden rooms combat heat loss at all points of construction
  • A higher upfront cost could save you money due to better energy efficiency
  • Your needs might not warrant a premium building –  Keep scrolling to find out why

Shed vs cabin vs insulated room hero with boxing gloves and vs.

Cladding and Construction

Cladding refers to the outer skin(s) applied to a building. It’s what keeps your garden building in and the world out. The type and thickness of your building’s cladding may contribute to things like:

  • How durable it is
  • How well it holds up to inclement weather (including rain and wind)
  • Whether it requires treatment
  • How much maintenance it requires
  • The overall longevity of your building
  • The guarantee provided with your building at purchase

Here at Garden Buildings Direct, we’ll provide a 10-year guarantee minimum on all tongue-and-groove buildings. But why is that? Well, it’s because the type of cladding used also bleeds into the construction method.

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Cladding Type11mm tongue and groove panels (or 7mm overlap)19-44mm log panel cladding66mm insulated panel construction
65mm - structurally insulated panels with composite exterior & MDF interior

Whilst our summerhouses and sheds use tongue and groove panels and cladding for the walls as well as roof and flooring, our cabins don’t. Instead, they use interlocking logs which also overlap in the corners for added structural integrity.

Then at the top-end of our garden room range, we utilise structurally insulated panels (SIPs). Read more about SIPs and SIP buildings.

Or check out the video below to see what Steve Maxwell, of Bailey Line Road, thinks of SIPs:

So whilst both SIPs and T&G panels technically sloth together, they do so differently. SIPs slot over heavy-duty framing studs whereas our sheds and summerhouses come as ready-assembled panels with upright studs already built-in.

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Pre-assembled panelsX

Windows and Glazing

If you opt for a windowed garden shed or summerhouse it will come with SAN glazing as standard (usually with the option to upgrade to double-glazing). SAN styrene is a shatter-resistant material that’s easy to transport and durable.

Due to its budget-friendly nature, however, it doesn’t offer insulation or thermal efficiency that’s as good as double-glazing.

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Opening WindowsXX
 Shed & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
GlazingSANSAN or Double-glazedDouble-glazed as standardUPVC doors and windows with double-glazing

That’s why in the doors and windows of our more premium insulated buildings, we utilise strengthened double-glazing.

Double Glazing Euroclass
(Image Credit)


As we said a little earlier, the framing of our modular buildings is built-in to the ready assembled panels. Using tongue & groove panels or interlocking logs, you simply build the walls up from the floor.

All our frames have been designed then measured, cut, and assembled by our in-house team and are built to stand up to UK weather for years to come.

On our log cabin and insulated garden cabins, however, you’ll be provided with heavy-duty framing with minimum 44mm studs. Check out the table below to see how these measure up:

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Framing28mm framing28mm framing44mm-thick framing44x88mm & 44x44mm


It’s fair to say that in most garden buildings, you may not need insulation. This is potentially true if:

  • You only use it for storage of hardy or relatively low-value items (like tools)
  • You only intend to use it in the daytime
  • You only intend to use it seasonally
  • You don’t intend to be in your outdoor building for long periods of time
  • Comfort is not a particular concern when inside your garden building

So if, for example, you just want a summerhouse to use for brunch or as a reading room in the warmer months, you may not need insulation. If you just want a tall store for garden tools, you may not need a fully-insulated garden pod. Although, there are still benefits to insulating even a garden shed.

EPS foam insulation stacked on top of each other
(Image Credit)

If you intend to use your garden building for any of the following, however, you may want to either install insulation yourself or invest in a pre-insulated cabin:

  • You intend to inhabit your building for long periods of the day as an office or a studio
  • You intend to use your garden pod in the evening as a home cinema or extra dining room
  • You intend to have guests round to entertain clients or friends
  • You have valuable equipment in there like files or electronics
  • You intend to use constant, low-level heating and want your building to be energy efficient

Take a look at the table below to see the varying levels of insulation, like EPS foam, that we use in our buildings:

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
InsulationXXECOQuilt Foil Insulation45mm EPS100 Foam insulation
anti bump locking cyclinder
(Image Credit)


For our modular buildings like garden sheds and summerhouses, we offer things like windowless options, heavy-duty fittings, and even padlocks and protectors as customisable options.

Combined with tightly sealed tongue and groove joins, these security measures help to deter potential thieves. But check out the table below to see how our premium buildings make security a priority with measures like anti-bump locks:

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Locking Door HandlesXX
Locking WindowsXX

The Roof

Whether you’ve settled on a pent, apex, or reverse apex roof for your garden building, you’ll find plenty of options on Garden Buildings Direct. And whilst all of them offer:

  • Great runoff
  • Mineral roofing felt as standard (upgrades available)
  • Distinct looks that may suit a traditional or more contemporary garden design
  • Increased eaves height for access in and out
  • A ridge height that is compliant with UK planning permission

Their varying levels of weather resistance will be down to the roof covering material. Check out the table below to see what we mean:

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Roof CoveringGreen mineral felt or EPDM rubber availableGreen mineral felt or EPDM rubber availableGreen mineral felt or EPDM rubber availableEPDM rubber included

Suggested Usage

At the end of the day, what you use your garden building for will be down to you. But we’re not suggesting you try and turn a lean-to into a garden office. It’s simple that, the better thermo-regulated and more comfortable your garden building is, the more use you’ll be able to get out of it for longer.

 Sheds & SummerhousesLog CabinsBillyOh OutpostBillyOh SIP Building
Suggested UsageStorage, workshops, garden rooms.
Daytime and seasonal.
Workshops, garden rooms, home offices etc.
Daytime and seasonal.
Garden rooms, home offices, home gyms, studios etc.
365 days/year
Garden rooms, home offices, home gyms, studios etc.
365 days/year

Sheds vs. Cabins vs. SIPs Round-UP

So how do you pick the garden building that’s right for you? Well, let’s quickly recap:

  • Look at your budget, needs, and available space to inform your price range
  • Are you looking for a quick and simple solution to storage or somewhere you can turn into a usable space for years to come?
  • Do you want to save a bit of money now or a lot in the future?
  • Have you recently transitioned to working from home or are trying to start a new project (like getting fit) that requires space and most of all – comfort?
  • Are you looking to use your garden room all day, year-round?
  • What building from Garden Buildings Direct excites you the most?

If you can answer all of those, we think you’ll have your answer. Until then, check out our range of insulated and non- garden offices via the button below.

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