Installing a shed foundation can be a difficult decision, whether it’s your first or 50th backyard project. You must balance durability and cost, and making the wrong tradeoff could cost thousands in portable building or lawn repairs.
Pouring concrete or installing a concrete slab will provide a durable foundation for your shed, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the best shed base.
And you can’t forget several other competing factors, such as local regulations and the installation area, that have significant impacts on the base.
Learn more about why shed foundations are so important, hear about the pros and cons of concrete shed foundations, and check out some alternative shed foundation materials.
The Foundation Is the Most Important Part of a Shed
Many variables impact your shed’s longevity and the amount of maintenance it requires. The shed’s siding, the area where you build it, and the shed size are all crucial considerations.
We believe the most important part of any shed is the foundation since it determines whether your building stands the test of time.
Without the proper foundation, ground moisture may erode your shed’s floor, causing the structure to fail.
That’s why laying your new shed on grass or dirt won’t cut it. We understand dropping it on the ground is much cheaper than installing a proper base.
But you’ll pay tenfold more in the future from rotting and shed deterioration that could also damage equipment inside.
What Are the Pros of a Concrete Shed Foundation?
Concrete is an effective shed base because it’s strong, long-lasting, and can support heavy weight loads. Whether you’re using concrete blocks, pads, or beams, they make for reliable foundations.
Below are some major pros of a concrete shed base.
These shed foundations are more expensive than other options for a reason. A properly-installed concrete slab with adequate drainage shouldn’t shift and will support your shed’s weight for over 50 years.
Property owners with heavier equipment and sheds typically rely on concrete foundations.
Large Equipment Storage
A shed with a solid concrete base can withstand the pressure of large equipment and vehicles. The slab serves as the shed’s floor, which means you can anchor tractors and other machinery equipment if needed.
Installing a concrete foundation creates a floor that is nearly level with the ground. It removes the costs of building a ramp for easy and quick storage access.
Prevents Shifting and Cracking
Other common shed foundations, such as gravel and asphalt, are vulnerable to frequent shifting. When you install concrete correctly, it resists shifting unless the ground beneath it does.
Many local building departments require concrete foundations for most portable buildings and structures.
Concrete’s strength has made it the standard for shed bases. Construction companies often use the material for large-scale residential and commercial buildings too.
What Are the Cons of a Concrete Shed Foundation?
Unless you’re an experienced and licensed contractor, it can be challenging to install a concrete pad by yourself.
A specialist uses heavy equipment to pour the material that may be too expensive to purchase or rent. And it can destroy your beautiful lawn if you’re not careful.
Of the different shed foundations, concrete involves the largest upfront cost.
The price varies depending on the type of concrete foundation you install, but it is always more expensive than gravel or wood.
A major con of concrete foundations is poor drainage.
If you select this material for the shed base, you’ll also need to make a significant investment into a proper drainage infrastructure. We recommend going with a drainage ditch or a french drain.
A retaining wall may also be necessary if the ground is uneven.
While permanent concrete bases can seem like a pro, they can equally become a headache if you’re trying to move the building.
You can’t relocate these tough foundations to lay the shed in a different spot in the yard. That means taking a jack hammer and other specialist equipment to destroy the foundation you spent thousands to install.
What Are My Other Shed Foundation Options?
While concrete is the most common shed foundation, that doesn’t mean it’s the best shed base in all cases. You may want to find a less expensive option that will still support your shed and meet local regulations.
Below are a few alternative shed foundation options, all of which are cheaper than concrete.
If you’re budget-conscious or think you might relocate or ditch the shed in a few years, then a gravel base is a viable choice.
While not as durable as concrete, a foundation made up of crushed stones provides a variety of other benefits, such as excellent drainage and easy installation.
Keep in mind that gravel alone won’t support sheds with heavy equipment.
Geocells are flexible panel systems that can support your shed with the durability of concrete at a lower cost. They last over 100 years without the fear of cracking under extreme temperatures.
We recommend using gravel or another infill material to add natural drainage to your shed foundation.
Wooden structures work well for smaller, lightweight sheds that don’t have a lot of weight.
Some common options include timber battens, pressure-treated frames, and timber decking. Thanks to their flexibility, wooden beam foundations can even support your shed on slopes too.
Shed foundations made out of wood are the least expensive base on the market.
Should I Use Concrete as the Foundation for My Shed?
As a general rule, concrete foundations are ideal for small garages or sheds without a pre-built floor. But there are many more factors at play here too.
Consider the following variables when determining whether you should use a concrete slab foundation:
The budget should be one of the most important considerations in determining your foundation material. You may have the finances to install a stronger, permanent base that will withstand large shed pressures.
Or maybe you have a tight budget and are looking for the most value while still supporting a shed for a decade or more.
Second, the shed type will influence the base you install. This includes the shed size, shed wall materials, and whether or not your structure has a shed floor.
For instance, gravel or geocell are better options than concrete if you are building a small, prefabricated shed that has a built-in floor.
A shed with only a few home improvement tools inside would benefit from a gravel or wood foundation. However, a massive shed holding farm tractors will need a sturdier foundation like concrete or geocell.
How you plan to use your shed will play a major role in determining what type of foundation you should implement.
Anticipated Shed Lifespan
The longer you anticipate keeping the shed, the more durable base you need. With lower upfront costs, gravel and wood both work well for sheds with an expected lifespan of just a few years.
Geocell or concrete floors and foundations, on the other hand, make sense for permanent structures.
The final consideration for choosing a concrete shed foundation is the state or city where you’re building the base.
For instance, concrete piers and beams below the frost line perform well if you are building a shed on a slope. Geocell and gravel, on the other hand, provide natural drainage that saves you from spending on a pricey infrastructure.
A Durable and Affordable Shed Foundation
Selecting a foundation for your shed may feel like compromising quality to find an affordable option.
With geocells, that simply isn’t the case. Our permeable, durable, and affordable geocell foundation stands the test of time and prevents water damage and unstable soil.
Geocell provides the durability and stability of concrete with the permeability of gravel.
Want to learn more about how to build a quality shed foundation with geocell?
Give us a call at (888)-897-2224 or contact us online so we can consult about your specific shed and ground conditions.