12x16 Sheds | Answering Your Top 5 Questions

Dan Salinger - June 10, 2023

12×16 sheds are an excellent option for many people and their storage needs. Whether you want to fit in some large gardening items or some of your outdoor toys (like ATVs), a 12×16 storage shed is a great option. Here are 5 questions you need to ask when considering the purchase of a 12×16 storage shed.


1. Is A 12×16 Shed Big Enough?

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This is a great question. Our most popularly ordered shed has been the 10×16. So to order a 12×16 shed, you will give yourself about 2’ of extra room for what you need. Imagine having all the storage space of a 10×16 shed with enough room for a nice-sized workbench. A 12×16 shed offers you a great storage area and a comfortable working space.

What Can You Fit In a 12×16 Shed?


photo credit: https://overholtstoragebuildings.com/garage-shed-organization-tips/

In order to better visualize what you can put in a 12×16 shed, we have compiled the following list as an example only (this is a basic 12×16 footprint with no loft included). According to the Lp Sidings storage guide, you would be able to fit the following items in a 12×16 storage shed comfortably.

2 Fuel Cans (15″ L x 10″ W)

4 Long-Handled Garden Tools (20″ W x 24″ D)

1 Propane Grill (52.65″ W x 23.3″ D)

2 Ladders (80″ L x 7″ D)

1 Push Lawn Mower (60″ L x 25″ W)

1 14 Gallon Shop Vacuum (20″ L x 16.25″ W)

1 Small Drivable Vehicle (72.75″ L x 45″ W)

1 Snow Blower (48″ L x 21″ W)

1 Wheelbarrow (58.75″ L x 25.5″ W)

1 Freestanding Cabinet (28″ W x 18″ D)

2 Hanging Cabinets (28″ W x 13″ D)

2 Garbage Bins (28.5″ L x 23″ W)

1 Set of Hanging Shelves (40″ W x 12″ D)

1 Tool Chest (28″ L x 18″ W)

1 Trunk/Toy Chest (30″ L x 16″ W)

1 Child Sized Basketball Hoop (23.75″ W x 22″ D)

2 Bicycles (63″ L x 23″ W)

2 Scooters (24.8 ” L x 8″ W)

1 Wagon (41.75″ L x 20.75″ W)

4 Reclining Patio Chairs (28″ W x 22″ D)

1 Long Work Bench (96″ L x 25″ D)

Now that’s A LOT of storage! A great way to get even more storage space from a 12 x16 shed is by considering a Lofted Storage Shed. A loft gives you the benefit of more storage space without needing to take up any additional yard space from a 12×16 shed. 

Perhaps the items listed in this lineup are not precisely what you need to store. You can know how much storage space you need by going to the LP Smart Sidings Size Tool. Here you can input what you desire to store, and they will give you a suggested storage building size.

2. What Foundation Does A 12×16 Shed Need?

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Like any portable structure, a 12×16 shed needs a place to be set. There are multiple foundation options available for a 12×16 shed to be placed on. Let’s look at the most common type of shed foundation options.

Stone/Gravel Pad

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Stone and Gravel pads give your 12×16 shed a solid foundation and allow for the correct water drainage. Having a gravel pad ensures that you have the appropriate drainage and does 2 valuable items for your shed.

1.) You will be increasing the life of your shed’s skid wood. You are giving more life to the wood of your shed because the water will drain away and not allow rot to start as quickly on the skid foundation. 

2.) Using a shed foundation like a gravel pad will ensure that erosion and ground shifting will not occur as quickly as the water drains away from the building. 

One of the perks of doing a gravel site is that you can do this on your own for a relatively low cost.

Cement Pad:

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Some people like the look and permanency of a poured cement foundation for their 12×16 shed. This is a great option but does come with some caution.

  1. The process of installing a cement-poured foundation can be pretty costly. To do a poured cement foundation, you will need to have a crew come and do the appropriate grading, underlayment, and any additional leveling that needs to take place. This needed labor is sure to increase the cost.
  2. If the slope in the grading process is off for your cement-poured foundation, you can end up with standing water where you can not see it. Having standing water under your 12×16 shed increases the chances of rot occurring where you can not see it. In the long run, the standing water may cause deterioration, meaning you will need to make repairs earlier than expected.
  3. While a poured cement foundation can be done on your own, it takes a bit of know-how and is not a project that a novice DIYer can not quickly complete.

No Foundation

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Some people have thought that they do not need to have a foundation in place for their 12×16 shed. The idea of not having a foundation is tempting if you are looking to save money in the short term. Conversely, it will cause more issues than you had intended in the long term. Such as: 

3. How Many Square Feet Does 12×16 Shed Take Up?

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12×16 sheds have a footprint space for their size; the footprint space is the amount of space a shed will take up in a given area. A 12×16 shed will take up a minimum of 12 feet x 16 feet. However, that does not account for the additional surrounding space of a foundation. The extra square footage space needed for a shed foundation is about l 1 foot on each side. By requiring the other 1’ on each side you should plan for a 12×16 storage shed to have a footprint space of about 13×17.

4. How Many Square Feet of Usable Space Does A 12×16 Shed Offer?

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The usable space of a 12×16 storage shed will not be the same as the exterior measurements (or footprint size). However, there is a valid reason for that! When we give you a measurement of 12’ x 16’, that is only the exterior measurement (the exact measurement is 11′ 6″x 15′ 6″). The internal size will cause you to lose some space due to the materials used to construct the shed. At 5 Star Buildings, something that sets us apart from others is that the interior room only loses a total of 7″ of interior space.

So let us break down how much usable space you will receive from a 12×16 storage shed.

11′ 6″’ – 7”  = 10’ 11“

16′ – 7” = 15’ 5”

These measurements give you an interior usage space of 162.84 ft² when purchasing a 12×16 shed from 5 Star Buildings.

5. Is It Cheaper To Build Or Buy A 12 x 16 Shed?

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At 5 Star Buildings, our 12×16 sheds have a range of prices from $5,255  to $6,195 at the time of this writing. However, a 12×16 shed that has additional features will give variance in cost. The sheds that we currently build to a 12×16 dimension are

*Images are to show available shed models and may not be to scale. However, all shed styles shown can be built to 12×16 dimensions.

How Much Does It Cost To Build a 12x 16 Shed?

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12×16 Shed Kit Cost

A 12×16 shed kit from Amazon will cost you around $4,127. However, it does not include everything you may be thinking of at that price.  If you want a floor, windows, or something even as necessary as roofing,  you will need to figure out how to do that on your own and have those as an added cost. So at the end of the day, you might have saved a few hundred dollars on your 12×16 shed kit, but you have the hassle of doing all the work yourself.

12×16 Built From Scratch

12x16 shed lumber

You may look at these prices and still say to yourself,  “I know I can build it all with my own 2 working hands,” and maybe you have that know-how. However, with your knowledge, don’t forget that it may be very pricey to build a shed on your own if you don’t have the tools or materials on hand already.


tools to build a 12x16 shed

To purchase all the tools required to build your shed, will cost approximately $2,365 (according to Northwood Industries based out of Wisconsin).  This includes everything from basics like a hammer to more expensive equipment such as a chop saw. The numbers speak for themselves. The tools to build a 12×16 shed are not very cheap, however, any tools that you do have will change the cost of building the 12×16 shed.


Building a 12×16 shed is no small feat. The materials you will need to create this structure are pretty extensive. The bare essentials that this DIY project consists of are** :

4, 4”x4”x16’ $137.92
3,  2”x6”x8’$38.79
2, 2”x6”x10’$37.06
2, 2”x6”x16’$30.58
13, 2”x6”x12$202.93
15, 4’x8’ ¾” Plywood Sheets$524.70
4 2”x4” X16’$71.68
18 2’x4’x12’$239.76
105 2”x4”x8’$786.45
4 1”x6”x8 $32.32
6 1”x6”x6’$41.28
15 4’x8’pieces of T1-11 $595.80
2 4×8 pieces of ½” plywood$79.98
1 roll of 500 Square Feet of Tar Paper$44.16
10 Bundles of Shingles$412.80
1 Bucket of 1 ⅝” screws$49.98
1 Bucket of 2 ½” screws$22.99
1 Bucket of 3 ½” screws$129.85
1 Large bottle of Wood Glue$20.23
2 Gallons of Exterior Paint$51.98
1 set of Rafter Ties$46.99
1 Door Hardware Kit$17.49
Bare Minimum Materials Cost$3,612.72*

*Disclaimer: These prices are subject to change. This table is intended as a guide and the prices reflected are accurate as of 5/5/2022. Additionally, these prices do not include taxes.

** These materials are compiled form the DIY website and are not the plans of a 5 Star Buildings 12×16 shed.

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12×16 Shed Labor Cost :

For 2 typical DIYers, it will take about 5 8-hour days to build a 12×16 shed. Another way to think of this is it will take you about every Saturday in a month to complete. The average hourly rate in Cuba, MO, is $14.32. This hourly wage means that at 80 hours of labor, it will cost about $1,145.60. However, something to keep in mind is you may make more or less than $14.32/hour. These numbers may significantly impact the cost of your build if you use the “bill at your hourly wage” principle. 

12×16 Shed Total Cost:

The total cost of building a 12×16 shed is $7,571.14. We break down the price of a shed build as follows. Your total cost for materials will come in at a minimum of $3,612.72 (not including taxes). If you don’t have any, your total cost for tools will be $2,365 (not including taxes). Labor costs will be around $1,145.00 if billed at the average rate of $14.32/hour.  So in total, to build a 12×16 storage shed, your tools and materials cost $7,122.72.  In seeing this price calculation to build your own 12×16 shed from start to finish, you will spend about $966.17 more than buying our most expensive 12×16 shed.

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What if I have some of the supplies for my 12×16 shed?

If you are considering building your own 12×16 shed, the odds are that you have some of the equipment needed to make your shed. If you have all the tools required for the mentioned price calculation, the cost to build your shed with labor and materials will be roughly $4.757.72. The analysis presented to you shows a savings of about $500 from purchasing our most affordable shed. However, the $500 spent on buying a 12×16 shed may be worth saving yourself the week of vacation time it takes to build.

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How Are Your Prices for 12×16 Sheds So Affordable?

12×16 sheds built by a manufacturer like us are reasonably priced for a few key reasons.

Project Basis: One of our experienced builders works in our controlled environment and focuses on only your shed. This makes it easy for your shed to be completed from start to finish as we are always finding ways to increase our efficiency.

Whole Sale Pricing: We can be so competitive in our pricing by purchasing in wholesale quantities. Because of the volume we order, we can save on the price compared to a retail store, which means we pass the saving on to you!

Expertise: When we hire people at 5-Star Building, we make sure that they are experts in their field. By having these experts on our team, we can work efficiently and correct the issues that come up efficiently. 


12×16 sheds are a great option to store the stuff that makes your life enjoyable. Whether you’re storing a lawnmower, gardening tools, or all the outdoor toys your kids play with. We know that a 12×16 storage shed can help you get the organized life you have always wanted! If you live in our service area, stop dreaming about what you want and fill out a quote form. Or take it one step further and use our 3-D Builder to design your dream shed. At 5-Star Buildings we strive to build your dreams!