Are Plastic Shed Bases Any Good?
Plastic shed bases are a relatively new addition to the market. Usually made out of recycled plastic, they’re light weight bases that take the place of traditional wood or concrete bases. But are they any good? Let’s take a look at some of the other options and compare notes.
Why Not Go Primitive?
Who needs a shed base anyway? Why not just plunk your shed straight on the ground? While this is most definitely the quickest and cheapest route, foregoing a shed base will cause you all sorts of problems in the long run. Firstly, the exposed dirt stays in contact with items in your shed. Unless you’re planning on using the shed exclusively as a mini mud pie factory, this is probably a bad idea. Also, water from the ground will soak into your shed’s walls and cause rot and rust build-up over time. If you don’t level the ground you’re putting the shed on, the construction will be uneven and damage your shed over time. Finally, a shed without a base isn’t firmly secured to the ground. If you live in an area with high winds, you could find yourself pulling a Dorothy and Toto during the very first storm.
Why not built a wooden timber shed base?
Most people use a timber frame for their shed base. They’re pretty easy to construct. Your job is to cut the lumber to size and screw it together. While you can put your wooden shed base straight on the ground, it’s really not a good idea. Contact with the wet ground can cause the wood to rot quicker than you can say “How much wood can a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood.” (Try it. Five times fast. I dare you). There are supplemental base options to go under the wood base and protect it from water damage, like pavers (see below) or piers, but the downside is more costs and labor time.
Perhaps a gravel shed bases will better?
Throwing down some gravel as a shed base is another option. While cheap and relatively easy to put down as a base, gravel has some serious downsides. It can dirty or scratch your equipment, and isn’t very pleasant to walk on. Gravel also retains cold, and doesn’t drain as well as plastic shed bases.
Pavers, I’ve seen that online...
Another option to choose from are pavers. Pavers are thick slabs that you can buy and install under your shed. This route is more labor-intensive than just putting down gravel. You’d have to put a layer of gravel down first, then a layer of plastic to keep water out, and then lay your pavers down and secure them to the shed. While it might be tempting to cut corners when no one is looking, if that layer of gravel is missing, you risk the shed sinking into the ground over the years. Pavers don’t work very well for large sheds due to the extra weight, and are only really a good option for smaller sized sheds. However, they’re neat and attractive looking, and keep your equipment off the ground floor.
Ah, the good old concrete shed base...
Concrete is a strong option for your shed base. You can lay it for any size shed, and it provides a strong and smooth shed floor. This is a long-term project compared to the other items in this article, however. Most of the former options take a couple of hours to set up. If you’re thinking of going concrete, note that you’ll only be able to use the surface after 5-7 days, although it needs a month to fully set. If you have a bit of experience, you can do it yourself, or hire a contractor. You’ll also need a steel reinforcing mesh to hold the concrete together. While concrete is highly durable, it can erode over time and sections can become broken up by plant growth.
Is There A Better Way?
After reviewing the options, I’ve concluded that plastic shed bases are the best option for someone who needs the best of all three elements – price, longevity, and easy set-up. The first major plus is that plastic shed bases are ultra-lightweight, about 1/15 of the weight of your average same-sized concrete slab. If you have back problems or will be doing the build solo, this is the way to go for you.
They’re very durable and tough. Often, they’re recycled from old garbage bins, which is, of course, great for the environment. Plastic shed bases are usually made up of interlocking plastic tiles, much like puzzle pieces.
They snap together smoothly, making construction quick and easy. Sound painless? That’s because it is. You may need to size the tiles to fit your shed if it’s irregularly shaped, but this can be easily done with a handsaw. You’ll also have to fill the space in between the tiles with gravel or some other filler.
The plastic base makes sure the shed gets ventilated, which means the base wood or metal of your shed won’t rot or corrode. Since the shed base is made from recycled plastic, the base itself won’t rot or crack, so you can be sure that it’ll last for a long time.
The plastic is also normally made with UV stabilisation. It won’t stiffen or get brittle from the sun like other plastics sometimes do. This kind of plastic is incapable of holding moisture, which means it won’t sweat water like an unsealed concrete base might. In addition, having a shed base that is placed directly on the ground floor ensures that rodents won’t be able to nibble their way in through the flooring.
They’d have to choose a spot where you could see them to make the attempt. While bases that are lifted off the ground are vulnerable to rain hitting the ground and splashing on the underside of the beams, a plastic shed base doesn’t have that weakness. It sits directly on the ground, ensuring that your shed’s base timbers won’t get half as wet.
If you’re looking for a long-term option with amazing value for your money, a plastic shed base is the way to go.
About the Author
As a UK manufacturer The Shed Base Company’s mission is to become the UK’s leading supplier of shed bases made from recycled plastic for use in all types of garden buildings. Since 2013 we have provided over 6000 plastic shed bases to our customers across the UK and is quickly becoming the number one choice for Eco-Friendly shed bases.