Best Practices, Operations, V9I3

Shed Renovations for Customers

This shed was updated and incorporated into the landscape of the homeowner’s backyard. (Photo courtesy of Honey Do Today LLC)

Just like a home purchase, sheds can be a wise investment, but they might require a few modifications along the way. 

In some cases, it could be regular wear-and-tear or weather damage that prompts a remodel. Other customers may come forward with lifestyle changes that make them rethink the original purpose of their structure to better suit their future needs. 

Instead of replacement, renovations like these can take existing buildings to new heights. For this reason, shed builders and other professionals in related industries can market these services that keep them in contact with the end user and help them expand current business models. 


Certain updates become necessary over time. This has been the case for Tyler Mayhan, general manager for Better Barns in Noble, Oklahoma, who has seen metal buildings like custom barns and storage sheds that could benefit from some upgrades. 

“One of the main things we have had to do as far as renovations is for customers with inferior siding products who are having trouble with warping or peeling or siding coming loose from the building,” he says. 

“When they wanted to replace the siding and the structure was sound, but the exterior was in terrible condition, we have done that. It is expensive, but it is way less expensive than replacing.” 

Minor renovations like replacing doors can also make a difference. 

“A lot of customers are not as diligent as they should be about doors staying latched and closed,” says Mayhan. “Here in Oklahoma, we have a wind problem, so having to replace them is a pretty common renovation.”

Weather can affect other features that sustain damage. 

“We have replaced windows periodically from storms,” shares Mayhan. “We have not replaced a whole roof, but we have replaced some shingles that were more of a repair.” 

When it comes to renovations for outdoor structures, aesthetics can play a role as well. 

“A few customers also wanted a different paint color or they wanted to spruce up the one they already had,” adds Mayhan.

Some may want to add on to what they already have, like a customer who supplemented an original structure with additional buildings to construct what Mayhan calls “a home of sorts” made from multiple storage sheds that were connected. 

These expansions were done in stages to fit the budget as another custom shed would be added over time. The end result was like a mobile home with several sheds that had aligned doors for easy access.

Despite these examples, Mayhan says there hasn’t been enough demand for them to market renovations. So, for now, they continue to offer these updates by request. 


Interior designers can also play a role in shed renovations, like Ann Gottlieb, IIDA, LEED AP ID+C, principal/owner of Ann Gottlieb Design PLLC in Fairfax, Virginia who helped a client with tile selections for a lovely outdoor structure. 

“This particular shed project was for a backyard ‘she shed’ functioning as the wife’s escape heaven,” says Gottlieb. “It was very modern in contrast to her colonial home, positioned in her backyard and set against the woods.” 

She describes the exterior as black, hardy paneling with a black metal roof and support structure. Two sides of the shed feature operable glass walls that open to the natural environment. 

The interiors include a living area with a wood-burning stove for the colder months along with a sauna, kitchenette, and bathroom. Overall, the modern aesthetic leans toward a Pacific Northwestern style. 

For her part, Gottlieb added a backsplash for the kitchenette with a jewel-tone tile from Ann Sacks. The bright blue accents that have a rectangular shape were installed as a herringbone pattern. 

While this is the only shed the designer has worked on so far, she has received other requests that are still in the initial phases.


For some, like John Partridge, president and founder of Honey Do Today LLC in Alexandria, Virginia, custom enhancements to outdoor structures came from demand. 

“Shed renovations started when we were answering the question: ‘Do you know a handyman for business or residential clients?’” he says. “With COVID, people could only go out to their own yard, and they wanted playsets and existing sheds renovated.”

While they cover many areas, there are some common scenarios. 

“Trees come down and damage people’s sheds and we come out and fix them,” says Partridge who explains that when a structure remains open to the elements, rain can also cause moldy boards that need to be replaced. 

“A renovation is more affordable than replacement. We try and give them the minimum cost and an effective repair. Most of the time, we get it ship-shape pretty quickly when they have wood rot or need new shingles and windows.”

Time is of the essence when it comes to these requests. 

“For a shed building and repair company, it is all about speed when people want something repaired,” points out Partridge. “They don’t want to hear ‘See you in a few weeks.’

“We are a company that can come out and repair your shed rapidly. If you want to reorganize your shed for expanding equipment, we can get it done quickly with our electronic ordering system and a good size crew.” 

Having the ability to offer building and repair services can be an advantage. 

“When people have all the facts, you can present them all at once and they can make an educated decision,” says Partridge. “It’s good for business, too.” 

Online options offer added convenience. 

“You don’t even need to talk to someone if you don’t want to,” he adds. “You can order your shed or your repair online. We give options with a standard electronic shed form.” 

Partridge continues, “If they want a shed, we have a good system to figure out what they want and narrow the scope of what they want. Do you want a concrete slab or do you have an existing shed that needs to be redone? There are solar options (see the feature on page 38) and reinforcements for heavy equipment storage like lawnmowers.” 

The company covers areas that include the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia, and location can dictate the demand for renovations. 

“Here in Northern Virginia, there is not a lot of property,” Partridge shares. “If someone has an existing house that doesn’t meet today’s needs, they might tear down a 1,500-square-foot home and build a 5,000-square-foot mansion.

“If a brick shed already exists on the lot, they may do a complete renovation if the infrastructure is good because they want it to match the house. They want it to look the part.”

Homeowner association requirements may also have to be taken into account for certain situations like converting an original shed to a mother-in-law suite to get the best use of the land. 

Sheds can also be modified to accommodate specific storage needs following another upgrade like the high-end garage companies Partridge often works with that install epoxy floors and custom cabinets for other gear. 

“In that case, where are you going to put all your tools?” he says. 

Others may want to enhance or add to what they already have because they plan to stay put for a while. 

“Sometimes people just want a fresh coat of paint to update a shed,” says Partridge. “A lot of people have a really nice house with a mortgage they have refinanced to 2 percent, so they’re not going anywhere. 

“When they want to expand, a shed adds value and fits in and looks aesthetically pleasing.” 

When planning to build or upgrade an existing structure, it can help to look ahead when selecting features. For an upscale home in the historic district known as Old Town in Alexandria, Virginia, Partridge says the owners wanted a high-end shed. 

“We laid a cement slab and added rolling barn doors with heavy hardware for the aesthetic and the functional aspect,” he explains. “A swing-out door is not practical for lawnmowers and other equipment. You need to think about how to get stuff out and put things in. That makes the shed a lot more valuable.”


For companies that want to get their name out there for these services, having the right timing can help. 

“When we know bad weather is coming, that suggests marketing on social media sites to let people know we’re here,” says Partridge. “We’re like the roofing industry; when windstorms come through, we know we’re going to get a lot of calls. With any line of business, you need to know your customer.”

Professional connections can be another asset. 

“We want to be in every tree company’s database. We network with those guys and talk to them,” he says. 

“Everyone’s aware of that huge oak tree towering over their home, but the shed might be located a little further away.”

Renovations can be profitable in the long run. 

“Shed repair is a great line of business,” Partridge says. “When you focus on that and develop expertise, it can add to the bottom line for any shed company.

“We’re almost like a mini roofing company removing rot and replacing windows. There are a lot of different skill sets, and it is not as complicated as renovating a house.”


Krista Foster, who recently became director of business development for Honey Do Today, says sheds have become a bit trendy. 

“It can be a she shed or a playhouse or a man cave,” she says. “There are many connotations.”

Foster has a shed in her own backyard that features distinctive details, including exterior light fixtures, barn doors and window boxes filled with succulents that can be attractive add-ons for customers looking to enhance what they already have. 

In addition to the aesthetic and functional aspects that combine storage space with a potting shed, her structure provides a nice privacy barrier between her property and her neighbors in the new development where homes are close together.  

“The shed is not obstructive and it’s visually pleasing,” says Foster, who has seen different reasons for renovations. 

“Sometimes people need electricity for the shed. We can also do a lot of things to pre-existing sheds to make them blend in like flower beds out front or a little stone footpath leading up to it.” 

Elevated features like these can make outdoor structures feel more cohesive with other elements. 

“Sheds can be integrated into the aesthetic of the backyard,” she says. “They don’t have to be tucked into a corner. They can become part of the scenery.”

As families evolve, their original intentions for these buildings may need to be tweaked. 

For Foster, one creative customer that comes to mind had a playhouse on his property that was a real treat for his kids when they were younger. 

“Now he wants to freshen it up and address issues like wood rot, so he can use it for a different purpose,” she says. 

“Many sheds become repurposed. This one is something dear to his heart, so he is not getting rid of it. He can always convert it back for his grandchildren; he has the option to do that.”

With so many possibilities, the life of a shed can be a long one. 

“Sometimes it’s a potting shed, like one family had before converting it into a mini garage for dirt bikes,” says Foster.

When renovating, customization often includes some addition and subtraction. 

“Shelving may need to come out for updates that might include new flooring that is sturdier and sealed to prevent rot,” she adds. 

Some transformations can add value for those who like to host outdoor gatherings. 

“You can make sheds into an extra space for socializing,” says Foster. “They could have a door that flips up on one side above a ledge that becomes a bar area when entertaining.”

Another potential shed conversion she mentions would be perfect for a different scenario. 

“When people decide to put in a pool, they can convert their shed to a changing room and paint it aqua with white trim,” says Foster. 

“There are so many applications for sheds. These are not the sheds of old; they are the sheds of new. It’s a fun space.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Current Issue

June/July 2024