Building a shed in the garden is one of the best ways to create a man cave. I’ve written about what the best rooms in the house are and made guides on the garage and basement. The man cave shed is a whole separate thing though. In this article I’ll cover what you need to know before you start building your man cave shed.
If you’re done building and need some decoration ideas, check out this article: Man Shed Decoration Ideas
Here are the questions that are covered in this article;
- What makes a shed a man cave?
- What are the pro’s and con’s of a man shed?
- How big should a man shed be?
- Which materials should you use for your man shed?
- Man shed maintenance
Also check out this article: 12 Features you want in your man shed.
What makes a shed a man cave?
Let’s start with the basics and look at what a shed actually is. For most people a shed is a small (usually wood) structure that’s used for storage or another specific purpose.
For man caves you can use a shed and keep it very simple. If you want something fancier you are going toward a cabin. A cabin is also a wooden structure but more intended for living instead of storage. Just sitting in the storage shed doesn’t necessarily make it a man cave.
In short; a man cave is a space where you can be yourself. A space where you can act how you want to and have space and time to indulge in your hobbies and fun activities, either alone or with friends.
So if you want to turn your shed or cabin into a man cave, make it suitable for the above goal. That means it’s not a storage shed but a living space.
What are the biggest pro’s and con’s of a man cave shed?
Everything in life has good and bad sides. The man cave shed is no exception. Let’s see what the pro’s and con’s are of building a man cave in your shed compared to other spaces.
- You can design everything from scratch
- Much more flexibility than a garage or basement
- Possibly more space than other spaces
- Lots of privacy
- You can be noisier
- Bragging rights
- It’s a big project that takes time and money
- Needs a bit more maintenance than other spaces like a garage or basement.
- It takes up space in the garden.
- Probably won’t raise the value of your house much.
How big should the shed be?
When you look around you’ll find that there is a wide variety in sizes, shapes, styles etc.
What size shed/cabin is right for you? That depends on two factors.
- How much space do you have?
- How much space do you need?
How much space you have?
This depends on the dimensions of your garden. I don’t think your neighbors will like you building a shed on their property so you’ll have to stay inside your own.
Besides that, how much of your garden do you want to take up? If you’ve got plenty of space, these things aren’t really a consideration, but if you’re limited on space, give it some thought.
How much space do you need?
The other part of the equation is how much space you need. This depends on what you want to do in your man cave and how many people you want to accommodate.
Keep in mind, that’s interior space. If you want to add a porch or some storage space you need to add this onto these sizes.
Which materials should you use?
For cabin kits, there is a very common material. Wood! Wood is by far the most common material for sheds and a good choice for several reasons.
- Looks good
- Lasts a long time if treated properly
- There’s a large variability in types of wood for different uses and tastes
- It’s easy to work on so you can DIY almost everything
What the best wood choice is, depends on your budget. Of course tropical hardwood would be the most durable and beautiful. It’s also the most expensive and there are some ethical considerations with this type of wood.
If price is a consideration (which it is for most people), there are some other choices.
One factor in choosing the best wood for the money is your geographical location. Different trees grow in different places. That means that a certain type of wood might be easily and cheaply available in one place but not another. Check out this site for the best available wood for your location.
Also, you might want to use different types of woods for the foundation/frame as you use for the walls. The foundation and frame is the place to use more durable wood if possible.
Sometimes sheds are made of corrugated metal or resin. Let’s take a look at resin and metal which are the most common alternatives.
Resin is a great solution for storage sheds since they can be made to look decent and are very easy to assemble. For a man cave it’s not a great solution however. It’s not very customizable and doesn’t allow to hang too many things on the wall since it can’t support a lot of weight.
Most resin shed kits look decent for storage but aren’t much good for living purposes.
Corrugated metal sheds are usually the cheapest option. They’re also not designed to look good. They require a lot of maintenance to keep looking the best possible. If you don’t it starts looking very shabby quickly.
Metal sheds are also prone to denting which is difficult to get rid of. Usually they also don’t have windows and hanging things off the wall is very difficult.
All in all we can see that metal isn’t a good choice for a man shed either. The only benefit is that it’s cheap. It’s however pretty unlikely that you’ll be able to build something that looks attractive and has everything you need in a man cave.
What kind of maintenance are you looking at if you get a man shed? The first couple of years you probably won’t have to do much if it’s been built properly. There are a few things to look out for though.
The first piece of maintenance is an annual check. There are a few things you should look at during this check.
- Foundation. Check if water has flushed away soil around/under the foundation.
- Roof. The roof has to keep out water. Look for signs that the roofing material is at the end of its life. Catching and fixing the roof before it starts leaking can prevent a lot of damage.
- Walls. How’s the wood? What’s the state of the weather protection?
There are a few things you should keep up on to greatly extend the lifespan of your shed.
- Surroundings. Don’t allow plants and trees to grow under the shed and on the roof. They will have no trouble growing THROUGH your shed.
Plants growing next to your shed might look great but can cause some problems.Leaves building up around the base can accelerate rotting. Maintenance is more difficult as well.
- Weather protection
The walls and doors should be properly protected. That means you’ve got to do some painting. How often depends on your climate and the quality of weather protection you’re using.
- Gutters. Keep the gutters clean. Since the shed is made of wood, you really don’t want water to go into the wrong places.