Gravel vs. Concrete: Which Shed Base is Best for You?

gravel vs concrete shed base

Many of our clients are wondering which shed base they should choose. Should they go with concrete or gravel?

At Site Preparations, we recommend a gravel base for any portable building that comes with a wood floor.

A gravel base has several advantages over concrete when used under a shed with a wood floor.

gravel vs concrete shed base

Better drainage = less rot and decay. A gravel base acts like a sponge by wicking away the water that would normally collect around the bottom of the shed. A concrete base, on the other hand, cannot absorb water. This can create more water runoff issues during heavy rain falls. The bottom of the shed also won’t dry out as quickly with concrete.

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Less water splashing against your shed. A gravel base functions like a diffuser when water that runs off the roof reaches the ground. The rough, porous surface of the gravel prevents water from splashing up. Instead, the water quickly soaks into the ground. With a concrete base, water from the roof will splash up against the sides of the shed. This increases the likelihood that the wood siding on your shed will rot over time.

gravel vs concrete shed base
gravel vs concrete shed base

Cheaper than concrete. A gravel base is priced significantly lower than concrete. This saves your hard earned dollars and allows you to invest more in things like landscaping (or a bigger shed!). You can read more about shed site prep costs here.

Photo credit: Sheds Unlimited

Easier to install and move. With a gravel base, you won’t have the heavy concrete truck driving on your lawn. A gravel base for an average sized backyard shed can usually be installed in a day or less. And if you ever decide to move the shed to a new location in your yard or get rid of it altogether, a gravel base will be much easier to move. You may even decide to level the ground for your shed, calculate how much gravel you need, and install it on your own. 

gravel vs concrete shed base

Is a concrete shed base stronger than crushed stone? Some of our customers who are concerned about “getting it right the first time” would gladly pay more for concrete if it will hold up better than stone. The truth is, the extra cost of concrete does not make it a better foundation. A gravel base is an ideal foundation for a small 6×8 shed or a large 14×40 portable garage (we’ve already listed the benefits above). We install pressure treated 4×6 perimeters around all our gravel bases to make sure the stone stays in place over the life of your shed.

Basically the only time we don’t recommend a gravel pad is if the building you’re purchasing doesn’t come with a floor. If it doesn’t have a floor, then a concrete pad is a good option.

Does That Help?

We hope that helps! Please contact Site Preparations if you have any additional questions. Or request a free quote on a shed foundation for your new shed.