The Differences Between a Studio and a Shed

One of the keys to understanding what a studio is and what their associated costs are is to recognize that a studio is more similar to a small home than to a shed. Although sheds and studios may appear to be one and the same, they are fundamentally different in many ways. Sheds are typically built with no insulation, in a basic building envelope, and with no interior finish. In contrast, studios are similar to small homes as they have a full building envelope and are insulated and heated to make them as comfortable as possible. As the the walls in studios are insulated, they need to be finished. The biggest thing to understand when considering installing a studio versus a shed, is the intended use of the small building and the related differences in construction. For these reasons a studio typically costs considerably more than a simple shed. Some considerations are as follows:

  1. Design
    By far the biggest consideration with a studio is having a design that supports the use. As part of our design build process for studios, our designer meets with our clients to understand the needs and functions of the studio and to ensure that the design expectations will be met. Another goal of studio design is to ensure the new studio fits nicely into the backyard and its landscaping.
  2. Foundation
    Our studios and storage sheds are typically built on a solid concrete foundation, while less expensive, temporary sheds are often built on a pier block foundation. The major disadvantage of a pier block foundation is the open space between the bottom of the floor and the ground, that makes a perfect space for mice, rats and skunks to live. There is nothing worse than having to work in a skunk smell filled office. This is why we recommend that studios and storage sheds be built on a concrete foundation, similar to a home, so there is no space for critters to occupy beneath. The other main reason we recommend concrete foundations for studios, has to do with frost and settling. A studio or a storage shed built on a concrete foundation will generally not sink or settle due to winter frosts or moist soft soils. Whereas a pier block foundation can move from frost heave, and also individual piers can sink into soft ground causing the floor to be unlevel. If you are unable to have a poured concrete foundation due to zoning restrictions or strata limitations, we have other solutions.
  3. Structure
    Although our sheds and studios are structurally very identical, most sheds on the market have much weaker framing than you would find in a studio. Another big difference between sheds and studios is sheathing. Sheathing is not only used to make the building structurally sound, but it effectively seals insects out when combined with building paper and exterior grade doors and windows. While sheathing should be standard for all studios, it is often left out of sheds for budgetary reasons.
  4. Building Envelope
    Our studios use a full building envelope, which includes sheathing, building paper, blue skin, and exterior grade doors and windows. Most sheds on the market only have a basic building envelope and often lack sheathing and building paper. Also, most sheds only have roof overhangs on two sides, while our sheds have roof overhangs on all four sides. The roof overhang is important, as it stops water from entering the top of wall assemblies and from penetrating the top of doors and windows. The biggest difference between sheds and studios in terms of a building envelope is exterior finishes, such as Hardifibre cement siding. By adding Hardifibre cement siding to an exterior building envelope, you not only make the shed much lower maintenance but you also give it a second line of defense against water penetration.
  5. Insulation and Interior Finish
    As studio sheds are often used for offices or hobby spaces, they must be insulated in order to be heated. Once a building is insulated the vapour barrier insulation must be protected with a drywall or wood finish. This significantly increases the cost of the building.
  6. Electricity
    A building that is used for storage does not necessarily need electricity for light or heat. However, a studio being used as an office or hobby space often needs both. The cost of running electricity to your studio is also something to keep in mind. If you would like to get a custom built studio in your backyard, call us today or fill out our online form so we can get started on building your dream backyard living space.