In many neighborhoods, Homeowners Association’s (HOA’s) have covenants (rules) governing the addition of a new storage shed on your property. These requirements are intended to protect property value by preventing unsightly additions. You should always reach out to your HOA to get these requirements prior to beginning your new shed project. In most cases, an application to the HOA and their subsequent approval is required.
Typical requirements for applications would include, but may not be limited to:
Many HOA’s have maximum size requirements. For the floor size, the most common maximums are 100 square feet (10’x10’ or 8’x12’ would comply), 144 square feet (12’x12’) or 192 square feet (12’x16’). Note that the State of North Carolina requires a building permit in your local jurisdiction for sheds where any dimension exceeds 12’. For more information, visit our page on North Carolina Permitting. Although less common, some HOA’s also limit the height of sheds to 10’, 12’ or 15’ maximums.
SHED MATERIAL & COLOR SPECIFICATIONS
Homeowners Associations want to know what the shed will look like on the outside and often require a picture or rendering of the proposed shed. Tools such as our 3D designer enable customers to design a shed to scale and submit it to the HOA before the shed is purchased. Although every HOA is different, the most common requirements regarding Material and Color requirements are listed below.
- Match Colors: The most common requirement we see is to match the color of the shed to your home. If your home has multiple colors, then usually one of the primary colors and the trim is good enough. Typically, if the requirement is just to match the color, then the HOA may allow “close approximation” for both shingles and siding. For example, if your shingles are brown, then any brand of shingle in a close shade is good. Shed Depot’s standard LP Smart Panel with vertically oriented grooves every 8” is the most cost effective way to meet simple color match requirements.
- Match Colors and sightlines: The second most common regulation we encounter is to match the color and “sightlines” of the house. In other words, product brand doesn’t matter, so long as the view from the street seems to match your home. This requirement is often seen for homes with fiber cement siding such as James Hardie siding or vinyl sided. These siding types are usually installed horizontally, giving a look of boards that are lapped over the one below. If your home has fiber cement or vinyl siding, you may be permitted to substitute our LP Smart Lap siding, which is installed horizontally and can be painted to match your existing siding. This is a great option for customers with vinyl siding who do not know the brand or manufacturer or those with fiber cement siding who are looking for a cheaper option. The same is true for shingles. The two most common style of shingles are 3-tab and Architectural / dimensional shingles, pictured below. Most shingle brands have similar color options, so in these instances a different brand of shingle will be ok so long as the style (3-tab or architectural) are the same and the color is close.
Architectural / Dimensional Shingles
- Precise Material and Color Match. In the most stringent cases, customers are required to match their home’s exact material brand, series, type and color. Basically, you have to use the same stuff as used on your home. Matching vinyl siding can be difficult because there are many manufacturers and some have merged and/or gone out of business. The easiest way to match your siding is to get the material information from your home's builder. If you have fiber cement siding, you should match the brand (James Hardie or other?), finish (smooth or wood-grain?), reveal (5”?, 8”?, other?) and color. Shingles also must be of the same brand, style, series and color.
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A site plan is an overhead view/drawing of your property that shows important features including your home, driveway, and property lines in relation to where you want to put your new shed. You will need to include relevant dimensions such as distance from your property lines, house and other major features to the shed location. HOA’s often dictate where on the property your shed can be located. The most common restriction is for your shed to be either partially or completely concealed by your home.
Other site plan items to consider that apply to both your HOA and likely to building permit officials are:
- Abide by property setbacks even where building permits are not required (i.e. even on small sheds). This can be as little as 5’ from the side and rear property lines. Check with your local zoning office for your property setbacks as they may be different within the same county and from neighborhood to neighborhood.
- Don’t put the shed on private utility lines such as septic lines or irrigation lines. Usually, pre-assembled sheds can go over septic lines during delivery without damage but should not be left there. For sheds requiring a permit (i.e. dimension > 12’), you should also mark public utility lines like gas and power because the shed will need to be anchored to the ground to meet permit requirements. Failure to mark lines can be dangerous and costly. Note that homes constructed in the last 20 years with septic lines usually call for a second “repair area” in case the first area gets used up or damaged. Portable sheds can usually be placed in repair areas, with the understanding that they would need to be moved in the event the repair area is ever needed.
- Be aware of any easements such as those for public utilities. Although it may be your property, you may not be able to put a shed there.
- Setbacks for zoning are usually different for corner lots and HOA’s can be more strict about concealing sheds on corner lots. Some HOA’s could require a fence or landscaping to screen the shed from visibility from the road.
OTHER LESS COMMON REQUIREMENTS
Although less common here are a few other covenants we’ve encountered:
- Roof Pitch: In some neighborhoods, homes are required to have higher roof pitches (i.e. no “ranch style homes”). This is a way of ensuring higher quality homes because steeper roof pitches are more expensive to build than ranch style homes. Similarly, sheds are sometimes required to have roof pitches that exceed 6/12 or 7/12 (most common) or even more. This means that for every 12”, the roof height increases by 6”, 7” or more, etc. Our Craftsman Series is designed to meet these requirements, with steeper roof pitch based on shed width.
- Foundation:. Some HOAs require concrete footings, full concrete slab foundations, or brick-veneer underpinning to make the foundation of the shed more attractive. At The Shed Depot, although we do not build on site, we can set up sheds on pre-existing concrete slabs or footings.
- Built On Site: This requirement is intended to ensure homeowners only purchase high quality sheds because it typically costs more to build on site. At Shed Depot, we disagree with the notion that sheds built off site are of a lower quality. Click here to read our article and find out why.
- Architectural features: Roof overhangs, corbels and a myriad of decorative details that help to define a neighborhood’s style are sometimes required on sheds. The most common example we’ve seen is that roof overhangs must be a minimum of 12” all the way around the roof. This can be difficult for pre-assembled sheds that must be transported prior to set up. Most portable shed companies cannot offer these larger overhangs or charge a premium.
Shed with a concrete foundation.
8/12 Roof Pitch on our 12' wide Craftsman Series
These are by no means every Homeowner’s Association covenant, but it should help you get started in your planning for a new shed. Reach out to your HOA to make sure you are aware of every requirement.
Shed Depot of North Carolina is experienced at helping homeowners across the state meet the most strict HOA requirements. Click here to design your perfect shed using our 3D designer. Click here to learn why we have a better way to buy a shed or reach out to our experienced sales specialists by using the contact form on this page. We are here to help!
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