How Much Does It Cost to Build a Shed or Playhouse?

Typical Range:

$200 - $30,000

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated June 13, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

The average cost to build a shed or a playhouse is $3,500, or anywhere from $200 to $30,000. The large price range accounts for varying shed sizes, the cost of building materials, and details like windows, doors, workbenches, and electrical wiring. You'll also have your pick between prefabricated kids or building a custom shed with the help of local pros.

Cost to Build a Shed by Size

The term “shed” covers everything from a small six-by-eight-foot reach-in shed for your garden tools to a full playhouse or workstation over 10-by-10 feet. You'll pay between $5 and $150 per square foot for a shed, with prefab costs falling on the lower end and custom ones costing more. Let's take a look at some common square footage and their price ranges.

You will also find prefabricated sheds priced by the size of their walls. For example, a four-foot sidewall on an average shed will cost about $2,500, while an eight-foot sidewall will push totals to $4,000.

Cost of Building a Shed by Material

Sheds play both a functional and fashionable role in your backyard. Materials like brick and wood may look more like your home, but they will cost more and require more long-term upkeep. Metal and vinyl sheds are favorites for their durability and lower price point.

Brick Shed Cost

While not as common, brick sheds cost an average of $3,200 to $30,000 since they are often customized by a professional mason. Hiring a local mason costs anywhere from $1,000 to $50,000, depending on the size of the shed, your location, and any additional factors like laying a foundation.

Wood Shed Cost

An average wood shed costs between $3,000 and $15,000. Similar to brick sheds, custom options are more common than prefab kits and vary in price when you add windows or interior accessories.

Weather and general wear and tear are more common with wood sheds. Repairing wood siding costs just over $3 per square foot.

Metal Shed Cost

Metal sheds cost between $500 and $7,000 on average depending on whether you purchase a kit—which is an option in this case—or choose a custom design. While not ideal in areas with high wind and rain, metal sheds are generally more durable than wood but cost less than brick. 

Vinyl Shed Cost

You'll pay between $200 and $5,000 for vinyl sheds, primarily based on size and customization options. The material is strong and sturdy enough for harsh weather, but may fade more quickly over time. Vinyl is an excellent option for DIYers looking for a sturdy yet cost-effective shed.

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Shed Costs by Type

Some sheds require a bit more than four basic walls, a floor, and a roof. The more time you plan to spend in your shed, the more you should consider windows and electricity. There may be even more amenities if you're building a run-in shed for a horse or a playhouse for the kids.

Storage Shed Installation Cost

Storage sheds are the most common type of structure and range widely from $300 to $15,000. Lower-cost sheds include small, prefabricated storage sheds that house basic tools, home items, or garbage cans. The price rises if you raise the height of the roof for taller tools, add a workbench, or need electricity for lighting and your power tools.

Garden Shed Cost

These designs cost just $100 to $1,000, on average, and are the smallest type of shed. It sits up against a house or other sturdy structure instead of standing on its own. You can think of a garden shed as a tall wardrobe—but for gardening and backyard tools. 

Horse Run-In Shed Cost

Expect run-in horse sheds to cost between $20 to $100 per square foot or between $1,500 and $10,000, on average. Expect this price increase because barns incorporate far more elements, including high ceilings, well-draining and durable ground, large doors, and open ventilation. 

Additional Cost Factors

The structure of the shed itself is not the only contributing factor to the final amount. Hiring a great team, preparing the land, and adding all the features that make your shed unique contribute to this wide price range.

Building vs. Buying

The largest contributing factor to shed price ranges is whether you choose a prefab or custom-built design. Prefabricated kits come with all necessary materials but you will still need to spend extra on tools and—if you choose—the cost of a handyperson to help you construct it.

Building a shed from the ground up includes design, material, labor, and building permit costs depending on the size of the structure. Overall, here's how to compare the two price ranges.

  • Buying a prefabricated shed costs $200–$4,000 plus the cost of a handyperson for about $60–$65 an hour.

  • Building a custom shed costs $60–$150 per square foot for both materials and installation. The price rises for details like foundation, wiring, plumbing, and windows.

Labor

The cost of labor depends on the extent of the shed construction job. As we mentioned above, hiring a handyperson costs between $60 and $65 an hour and often requires a minimum hour commitment.

Building contractors, however, charge between $50–$100 an hour, depending on the job. For example, specific labor costs when building a shed include:

Land Prep

Sheds must sit on level, well-draining soil that can either support a prefab structure or a slab foundation. Clearing land for construction costs an average of $1.30 to $2 per square foot, or as we mentioned above, $40 to $150 an hour. If you're working on a hill, the cost of leveling the ground starts at $500.

Windows

Windows, skylights, and even decorative shutters make a shed more pleasant to spend time in and blend with your overall home design. You may find windows in prefabricated sheds for a bit more money or can add them to your custom design. Installing a single window in an existing structure costs anywhere from $300 to $1,200.

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Cost to Build a Playhouse

Building a designated play space for your kids is a bit different from a shed, but it follows the same cost guidelines. Keep in mind that playhouses often include lower ceilings, simpler doors, and less land prep than large sheds. You'll find both prefabricated and custom options for playhouses of varying sizes, layouts, and materials. Children's playhouses cost:

  • $500–$5,000 for a prefabricated model

  • $60–$150 per square foot  for a custom playhouse

DIY vs. Hire a Shed or Playhouse Builder

If you choose to build your shed yourself, you'll likely opt for a prefabricated model for between $200 and $4,000. Hiring a professional will add between $50 and $100 an hour for labor, depending on whether you need a handyperson to help construct the prefab kit or a contractor to build the shed from scratch.

FAQs

Who do you hire to build a shed?

General contractors can assist with the shed design and building process, but you will also find local shed building specialists. When searching for the right shed builder, the best candidate:

  • Has experience building your variety of shed

  • Provides a detailed estimate and timeline

  • Can prove license and insurance

  • Details extra services like land clearing and material hauling

What type of shed do I need?

The best shed for you comes down to your price range, how you'll use the shed, and your property’s details. Prefabricated sheds are more budget-friendly but not as customizable. Custom sheds, however, allow you to choose details like the wall height, square footage, workspace, and window design.

How much does a barn cost?

The average cost to build a barn is $50,000​​, but the range of designs costs from $10,000 to $160,000 on average. Assume you will pay $15 to $50 per square foot depending on the barn's style.

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