Customer Relations, Operations, V10I3

Portable Structure Style Survey

(Photo courtesy of Urban Shed Concepts)

When it comes to architecture and design preferences, some places around the country have an aesthetic that appeals to people in the region. 

The same can be said for outdoor structure trends that tend to vary from one location to the next. 

Shed Business Journal reached out to sources from different states and regions for the most popular styles and features their customers purchase and some potential reasons behind these selections. 

At Sequoia Sheds in Red Bluff, California, Theodore Yoder says they mostly sell sheds, at the moment. 

“We experimented with chicken coops and pergolas and dog houses, but 95 percent of our business is sheds,” he says. 

“The most popular by far is the ranch-style A-frame roof shed we build with LP SmartSide siding and trim on the exterior. The premium ranch with a 10-year warranty is the best seller. It has 7-and-a-half-foot walls. We have pretty tall sheds.”

The premium ranch also features a carefully caulked and painted exterior. 

“We frame it like a house,” says Yoder.  

In California, he says metal roofing is relatively new. 

“We’ve been offering it for around four or five years,” shares Yoder. “People are starting to catch on to metal instead of shingles on sheds. 

“We’re also selling aluminum ramps. We do a range of other options, but those are two of the more popular.”

Recent fires may have steered people toward metal roofs along with building trends around the country. 

“Metal costs a little more than shingles,” he says. “The labor is a bit less but the materials are a bit more, so it’s an upgrade.” 

As he explains, California often requires a building permit for structures that exceed 120 square feet. 

“It’s a pretty rigorous process. So, we only sell sheds that are 120 square feet or less (10 by 12),” he adds.

In Hamilton, Montana, Jon Eveleth, who owns Rockwood Sheds, says their plywood products tend to get positive comments. 

“There is no OSB on our storage sheds,” he says. “When people walk into them, they notice the difference in smell and looks and it makes an impression on them.

“We sell very few with a barn-style roof. Our customers seem to really gravitate toward gable roofs,” he shares. 

“Customers who are building higher-end sheds tend to go with a customized roof and matching siding colors. The majority do a plywood roof with metal or shingles and plywood underneath.”

Lately, Eveleth has seen an increase in double-pane vinyl windows along with spray foam insulation, and aluminum ramp systems from Innovations Manufacturing. 

“There have definitely been changes in the industry moving more and more toward using sheds as tiny homes and cabins,” he says. “We get custom inquiries about finishing them out.” 

David Riley, sales and customer service manager for Countryside Sheds in Island City, Oregon, also cites gable-style sheds as their most popular option. 

“We use primarily plywood for the interior and DuraTemp on the outside,” he says. “Customers prefer that clean look.” 

Metal roofs and composite shingles are among the more common requests for the gable style or A-frame that account for around 40 percent of their sales. 

“They’re more like a house,” Riley explains. “People like a roof style they can easily modify into cabins and she sheds. We also offer Quaker style, which is the second most popular at around 20 percent.” 

Other styles gain some traction from time to time. 

“It kind of goes in trends. When D&B Supply has their regional chick days, people want chicken coops. Greenhouses are also popular this time of year,” he says.  

As far as special features, customers often upgrade to fiberglass doors and vinyl windows as well as ramps. Sheds with insulation that are prewired for electricity are among the other frequent requests. 

“We also offer LuxGuard, an upgrade that has been more popular in the last year or so,” says Riley. “The rubberized sheeting can waterproof dog kennels, chicken coops, and garages.” 

In Philadelphia, New York, Zach Redder, sales manager for North Country Storage Barns, says they manufacture mainly sheds. 

“We also sell pergolas, gazebos, pavilions, indoor and outdoor furniture, and more from different vendors,” he adds.  

Last year, their cottage sheds were the most popular pick. 

“Most people use it as a storage shed for riding tractors, garden tools, and hardware,” he explains. 

Their 12-foot gazebo is another structure that has been in demand. 

“We’re getting a couple of vinyl styles this year,” says Redder. “More people want to use a composite material that will last.” 

For sheds, metal roofs are a common request and there is no upcharge from shingle to metal. Exterior selections include LP SmartSide, vinyl, metal, or log siding. 

“It depends on the customer,” he says.

Heather Brancatella, marketing manager for North Country Storage Barns adds that their cottage shed has been a top seller for about four years. 

“It has an A-frame roof, and it comes painted with one or two windows. People can upgrade a little for a garage door,” she says. 

Aluminum ramps are among the preferred features along with stone aprons. Lastly, she adds, people often get a standard shed and upgrade to pressure-treated for a more durable floor. 

Tyler Mayhan, marketing director for Better Barns in Paul’s Valley, Oklahoma, reports that a regular backyard shed for storage tops the list at their location. 

“It’s pretty basic, and it has been the most popular style we call economy,” he says. “It’s a very simple A-frame or gable-style structure. 

“About 60 percent in the last year and a half was that particular style. Most are an 8 by 12 or 8 by 16 wood structure with LP siding and metal on pretty much all of the roofs.” 

Preferred features include wood shelves. 

“We put a lot of shelves in buildings,” adds Mayhan. “We also do windows and ramps that are the next tier down and reasonably popular.

“It’s really simple here in Oklahoma, especially in the last year or two. Almost all are based on price. People come to us for the best deal on that size and price range in Oklahoma.” 

In Phoenix, Arizona, Rachel Oxley, co-owner of Urban Shed Concepts, also cites a simple storage shed as their top pick. 

“Since COVID, backyard offices became more popular, but still the storage shed is our main focus,” she says. “All of them are made with LP siding and single-slope metal roofs.”

HOA guidelines in that area often dictate a minimal slope. 

“The HOA single-slope shed is super simple and keeps a low profile behind block walls,” says Oxley about a common feature in one of the most populated cities in the country. 

Their HOA sheds are built for customers to meet these requirements, which can often go as high as the block wall. 

“They specify the max height allowed and we build it accordingly. We make it as low profile as possible to give them the most usable space,” she explains.

The extreme climate also calls for other considerations. 

“The most requested features include solar blasters, little fans that get the air circulating out of that shed fast,” says Oxley. 

Another popular option is radiant barrier on the siding to reflect the heat.

With that in mind, their doors feature laminated strand lumber that does not warp like other materials. 

“The harsh sun is something unique,” she says. “We also have a lot of crane deliveries because so many people don’t have gate access. The whole neighborhood comes out to watch.”

From another warm climate, Carole DeJarnatt, sales director for Coastal Portable Buildings Inc. in Starke, Florida, reflects on their sales for early 2024 back to the fourth quarter of 2023, which show the Side Garden Shed with two windows on the side and double 72-inch doors to be the best seller. 

A substantial order for the 10 by 12 size led those dimensions to claim the top spot from last year when the 10 by 16 was the frontrunner.

Most structures they sell feature metal roofs with LP siding and custom paint colors, but some HOAs require shingle roofs. For now, the dominant paint color remains the same as last year. 

“So far, it’s dark gray with white as the second most popular color,” she says.

Other features that appeal to their customers range from windows to ramps. 

“The garden sheds don’t come with windows, but people normally add windows and electric,” says DeJarnatt. “We offer a 2 by 3 non-insulated window, but the majority of people upgrade to an insulated window and a ramp, especially if they’re using it for storage.

“More than half still buy sheds for storage or a creative room with half storage with a workbench and the other half finished for a craft room.” 

In Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, Robert Miller, owner of Hilltop Structures, says their run-in horse barns that have an opening with a gate are the most popular structure for them. 

“They are made from pine that looks like board and batten with rough-cut lumber boards,” he says. 

The combo barn that combines a run-in stall and tack room for an all-in-one building is another frequent request. 

When it comes to features that are in demand, a cupola with a weathervane tops the list for a finishing touch.

As he explains, in Tennessee horse country, high-end sheds with log siding, tiny homes, and horse barns that have regular storage buildings tend to prevail, but more modest selections are gaining steam. 

“A year or two ago, small economy styles started selling really well,” says Miller.  

Previously, Yoder’s Quality Barns in Bluffton, Indiana, did many hip-roof barn-style sheds, but co-owner Michael Yoder has noticed a significant increase in A-frame gable-roof styles. 

“People are trending away from hip-roof styles,” he says. “In my opinion, the little red barn was a minimal style for a rural setting. Now they are maybe more urbanized.”

They also do quite a few garages that go from 14 up to 24 and even 32 feet wide. 

“We do our own concrete work as well, so we do bigger buildings,” says Yoder. 

He cites other materials and trends that have been popular with their customers. 

“Roofs are mostly metal, which could have something to do with the wind here,” he explains. “We normally use LP siding and lifetime-warranty Sherwin-Williams paint. The most popular color palette has been white and black. 

“What’s really trending is a black roof with white siding. Before, people wanted to dress a shed up with shutters and window boxes. Now, it’s a more minimalist look.”

People are more into contrasting colors like red, black, and white for their shed that does not have to match their home. Lastly, he says, people are watching their money a little more, so they’re selling some smaller sheds because of that, but they still have customers that spend a lot.

At Beachy Barns in Plain City, Ohio, owner Dale Beachy specializes in sheds and portable garages. While most sheds provide storage for lawn and garden equipment, some become she sheds or home office spaces. 

“The regular gable shed with a pitched roof is our best-seller,” he says. “It’s more of a basic shed and you can dress it up, so it’s more versatile. The gable style is still by far more popular than the barn or gambrel style.” 

He notes that material selections for structures evolve over time. 

“We are in the process of switching to SmartSide siding,” says Beachy who adds that metal roofs are requested more often than shingle. 

As for features, he says they do more windows and extra doors than they did in the past. 

“Part of that probably came from the design [program] that we added on our website,” he says. “A lot of people can see what it looks like, so it’s been up quite a bit from what it used to be. They want to use their shed for different stuff, and they want a nice building. 

“Some are more customized with a steep roof pitch, and bigger overhangs are creeping up a little too. People want it to match their house, so we’re doing a little more customization than what we used to do.”

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