Building and Construction, Feature, Operations, V8I2

Wood vs. Metal

(Photo courtesy of United Portable Buildings)

For any outdoor structure that has to weather the elements, material selections are bound to have both pros and cons. 

From aesthetics and longevity to required maintenance and more, it’s best to know the benefits of metal and wood when considering a shed.

People trying to lose weight often suffer from intense internal and external criticism. This is an important point, since most people go on a diet to please themselves more, that is, to free themselves from this criticism. However, diets that aim to reduce self-criticism often fail because the root of the criticism often lies deeper and is independent of body size and eating habits. And while on a conscious level the criticism is mostly about their bodies, the main criticism almost always falls in other areas and comes to the surface in other ways. For example, many women question their position and power both in the world and in relationships. They are often taught to fear or resist expressing their full potential secretary Mike Pompeo weight loss. In this case, they criticize themselves not only for their vulnerability or over-expression–but also for the shape or size of their bodies. The strength they don’t use in the outer world turns against themselves in the inner world! That’s why inner criticism doesn’t disappear through trying to lose weight, it only disappears when the power that drives the process is directed to the right place – in the realm of relationships or to fulfill the most important ambitions.

As the following industry experts explain, various factors will determine the final decision. In fact, much depends on the customer, the budget, the location, and the purpose of the shed. 

When trying to find the right type of structure, it helps to know the who, how, where, and why beforehand. 


Site can play a significant role in material selections. For instance, Casey Wiggins, president/owner of United Portable Buildings in Temple, Texas, sells more metal sheds in his Mississippi location, while wood has been a more popular option for both states. 

“More people lean toward wood,” he says. “We sell more metal sheds in Mississippi, but wood is still more popular there.”

Though cost differentiation may not be as substantial as it was before the pandemic due to rising prices that make metal more comparable to wood, the local climate can affect which makes more sense. 

In the Texas heat, Wiggins says a metal shed gets a lot hotter than a wood shed, while in a colder climate, a wood shed will stay a little warmer than metal.

Matthew Black, owner of Blacks Buildings in Lebanon, Tennessee, which manufactures high-quality storage buildings, agrees that weather conditions matter when it comes to selecting the right shed. In his territory, metal can be a good fit. 

“It’s not as rainy in Tennessee and the temperature is not as cold,” he says. “And metal is really going to need less maintenance.” 

In Pickens, South Carolina, the demand for wood structures has been high according to Conrad Eaton, who co-owns Legacy Shed Company, which has additional locations in Georgia and North Carolina. 

He runs the sales side for the company that manufactures and sells outdoor storage units. Growing up, Eaton worked with his father for Liberty Storage Solutions in North Carolina who started building metal sheds with leftover material from metal roofs. 

Over time, wood styles have become increasingly popular in that location as well. 

Sometimes, Eaton says, the selection depends on the supply, like the painted wood-sided buildings they sell. 

“The shed industry offers different products and multiple options,” he points out. “It has a lot to do with demographics. Customers a lot of times will buy whatever you have available.

“We offer a good quality product and we stick to what we do best.” 

Most of their wood sheds have metal roofs, which he says people often prefer and can better handle the elements. 

“We’ve had quite a bit of cold weather and we tend to have one or two snow days in January and February,” says Eaton. “Steel is easier to transport. If you try to haul shingles, they have to be tarped.”

Whatever the preference, the popularity of outdoor structures during the pandemic shows no signs of slowing down. In addition to spending more time at home, Eaton says another reason they’ve seen increased demand in his region is that people have been relocating down South from other states in droves.

A little further South, Tristan Nelson, operations manager for Nelson’s Buildings in Gainesville, Florida, a dealer for residential and commercial outdoor structures, says they started out as a metal-only source until panel siding made wood a more durable option than it had been in the past. 

“We got out of wood for a long time before we began to do LP SmartSide siding and it seems to be holding up very well in Florida where the weather changes from dry to humid and back again and there is a lot of rain,” he says. 

Wood interiors also have a lot to offer, like the prefinished styles for their Stellar Series that can be a home office, guest cabin, art studio, or workout room in the backyard. 

In the Sunshine State, Nelson says, “You have to be very careful with coding and you need to follow all the Florida regulations. There is a lot you have to do to make it a livable dwelling.”


In addition to location, personal preferences can stem from other fluctuations, such as cost. 

“Until recently, metal had the benefit of being more economical before pricing rose due to supply shortages during the pandemic,” says Wiggins who does about 35 percent metal in Mississippi compared to around 15 percent in Texas.

While shortages may continue to affect both materials throughout these trying times, Wiggins says many dealers upgrade to wood sheds as lumber prices come down.

 “But some will still select metal for its longevity,” he adds.

According to Black, costs might not stabilize anytime soon. 

“Some people may be looking for a price decrease down the line, but the volatility is very high right now, so in the short term, there is not likely to be much relief for that,” he says.

“Metal prices are going down and it’s still a cheaper option than wood, but traditionally it was 20 percent-plus cheaper before the pandemic.” 

Though Black typically does mostly wood sheds, they still have metal roofs.  

As Eaton explains, durability and cost can influence a decision. 

“Wood siding has come such a long way with LP products that hold up so much better. The higher price of steel has also driven some to select wood,” he says.

“The biggest thing for us is the demand factor of wood versus metal for our customer base,” adds Eaton. “We used to only offer metal sheds and there is a market for them.”

Nelson says every customer has a different situation and outlook and the advances in panel siding make it a much more efficient option. 

“Shortages are unpredictable and the demand is so high for sheds right now that people are not deterred from making decisions,” he says. “For the most part, they’re very motivated.” 

Even with metal sheds, he says the flooring would be predominantly wood. Metal once meant lower maintenance, but panel siding lasts longer than traditional wood and it doesn’t dent as easily as metal. 

“There are always going to be pros and cons with both products,” says Nelson. 


When the outer shell matters, it’s pretty much a given that wood looks good. 

“People like the aesthetic; they like the wood look,” says Wiggins. 

They also like the variety. 

“With wood, you can paint it pretty much any color to match the brick or the siding on your home and it’s easy to do,” he says. 

Custom paint colors are also available for a small upcharge.

“When it comes down to the options, wood is a little more customizable in the shed-to-home market,” he says. “For instance, you can have thermal pane windows for someone who plans to live in it, or use it as an office or a mother-in-law suite.”

Wood may have an upscale façade and more potential for customization, but metal can’t be ruled out as a contender. While paint selections may be more limited, Wiggins offers nearly two dozen colors for metal sheds with shades like copper, taupe, and forest green. 

In the end, it all depends on what the customer has in mind.

“With wood sheds, there are typically more models available than metal, so you’re able to do more and customize different styles like a playhouse or a two-story cabin,” says Wiggins who enjoys his own cozy mancave with an office and an entertainment system. “It’s my little getaway in my backyard.” 

Black shares another example where wood might be a better fit than metal. 

“Wood does give you a nice aesthetic,” he says. “With an HOA, they typically don’t want to see a metal structure and some may not allow a metal roof. That could lead some people to turn to a wood structure.”

As Eaton points out, some people simply like the look of wood, especially for an outdoor structure where they plan to spend the day. 

“Whether it’s an office or a she-shed, so many people are working from home,” he says. “They don’t want to be in the house with the kids.

“Part of the reason sheds have been so popular through the ongoing pandemic is that people are spending more time at home.”

The fact that they’re doing more outdoor activities means they need additional storage for recreational equipment as well.


For wood sheds, it makes sense that customers often choose a metal roof. 

“It’s simple and long-lasting,” says Wiggins who uses LP SmartSide Panels and LP SmartSide Trim for the structure. “Even though LP SmartWood has a 50-year warranty, if metal is taken care of, it will last forever.” 

Metal also requires less maintenance and repair, making it a roofing solution that can increase the quality of a wood shed, he says. By comparison, shingles can sustain damage from strong winds.

Nelson agrees that wood sheds typically have a metal roof because they need less upkeep than shingles. 

“Most customers prefer the look of a metal roof anyway,” he says.

Black adds that wainscoting and other details can be another way to combine the two materials, like a wood structure that has a metal band around it for a distinct look.


Finishing touches, such as LP ProStruct flooring can add durability and distinction. 

“I always appreciate walking into a shed and seeing the aesthetic of the interiors,” says Wiggins.

On the inside, Black says wood is the go-to for finish-outs. Traditionally, corrugated or galvanized metal can provide a more rustic look for a structure, but you can still trim it out with wood. 

The intent for the end-user can also lead to popular products like panel siding. Black mentions several tiny homes in the works that are meant for primary living or secondary dwellings for those who want to get away for a weekend with their family.

One of their current projects will serve as a salon. 

“There are a thousand different things people use our sheds for,” Black says. 

When finishing out these types of buildings, he says it’s typically better to go with wood siding that is easier to insulate.

Maintenance guidelines can be an important part of the decision, too.

 “We often give customers a little education on the different benefits, like metal only needs to be pressure-washed every year or so to maintain a quality look,” says Black.

“Wood buildings also have to be pressure-washed. With the lifespan of paint, there is more maintenance required, especially with a large wood structure that could be quite a lot of work,” he adds. 

If someone can’t handle the upkeep on their own and they don’t want to pay a professional to repaint it, metal might be a better option.


In the shed industry, everyone has something unique to offer and customers often respond to quality over quantity. 

“We have five or six different products and we’ve done extremely well with that business model,” says Eaton. “We make sure we can serve customers and dealers in a timely manner. In these very uncertain times, we have to try to stay competitive and offer a great product.”

In the long run, the end-user will pick the best fit. 

“We let the customer really decide for themselves. They tell us what they’re looking for and they already know what they want most of the time,” says Nelson. “There can be a misconception with pricing, which is not always their concern. You could compete a little more before with metal. Now it largely depends on the customer. We try to leave everyone happy.”

Whether the final decision is metal or wood, “You can play devil’s advocate for both,” he adds. “The biggest thing in sales is being able to lay your head down at night knowing you did your job with integrity. 

“In an online world, it’s exceedingly important to listen to the customer and know you’re doing it the right way.”

Leave a Comment

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


Current Issue

June/July 2024