Many proud caravan owners are looking for the perfect shelter to ensure their pride and joy is safe, secure and out of the weather.
There are so many possibilities when it comes to building a caravan shed – here are some of the most important design tips to keep in mind:
The #1 Question: How Much Will It Cost?
The number 1 question we get asked at the initial enquiry stage goes something like this:
“We’re looking at getting a caravan next year. How much is a shed to put it in?”
It is almost the classic, “How long is a piece of string?”
Well, what is the average height of a caravan?
The reality is, caravans and campervans come in a staggering array of different sizes.
It’s important to design just the right shed for your situation. Once you’ve got the design right, then we we can easily quote an accurate price. But before your design is locked down, it’s impossible to say how much it will cost.
To that end, here are the 7 most important design tips to consider when planning your caravan shed.
Of course, if you’d like our help, simply request a free Shed Design & Quote Session here.
1. Caravan Shed Height: You’ll Need More Than You Think
- Start with the overall height of your caravan, then allow some “extra” for things like aerials and air conditioners.
- We always advise customers to add a bit extra, as the vast majority of people upgrade to a bigger van, not smaller.
- Once built, a shed can’t be made taller. It is often advisable to go as high as council will allow (within reason). It doesn’t add much to the cost to go 300mm or 600mm taller because you’re really only adding a bit of length to the wall sheeting and columns.
- Look out for little things like the aerial that is almost hidden in the photo below. It’s hard to see, but there is an aerial on this van higher than even the air conditioner. If you only allowed 100mm above your van height for your door opening, this aerial would be damaged or broken, costing more to replace than the cost of a slightly taller shed.
2. Caravan Shed Depth: Focus On Travel Length, Not Body Length
It sounds obvious, but you would be surprised by the number of people who underestimate the overall length of their caravan.
Generally when talking about caravan lengths, we talk about the body length (i.e. the external length of caravan body). For the purposes of designing a caravan shed, we’re more concerned with the travel length (i.e. the length from tip of drawbar to furtherest point at the caravan’s rear).
My own “18 foot” (5.48m) caravan is actually 7.5m in overall length, when you consider the depth required to house the whole length. In a 7.6m deep shed, I wouldn’t be able to walk past the back or the drawbar with the door down.
Ideally, you want to allow some extra room so you can at least walk around your van with the door closed.
Making your caravan shed a little longer or wider is nowhere near expensive as you would think.
And it usually pays to have the next van in mind too. Getting something a little bigger than you need now is much cheaper than re-building the whole shed later.
3. Caravan Shed Roller Doors: Important Tips You Must Know
- Whereas a door is made to match the width of your door opening, the height doesn’t work that way. The panels run horizontal and roll up onto the drum at the top. If your opening is 3,200mm high, you need a door stated as 3,500mm high (depending on the brand). The extra length in the door will simply be left on the roll at the top (refer to the picture below).
- The caravan shed height required for a 3,200mm high opening roller door is a minimum 3,800mm. For a 3,500mm high door, it is 4,100mm.
- A word of caution: the specified “nominal height” of a roller door is not necessarily its actual “drive through” opening height. At Designer Sheds we always refer to roller door heights as the actual opening height, but we are the only shed company we know of who do this. Most refer to the manufacturer’s nominated height. This can lead to a host of problems. For example:
- With B&D brand roller doors, their Series 1 doors, the nominated height is the opening (“drive through”) height. However, their Series 3 doors with the same nominated height only open to a height that is 100mm less. So a 3,000mm high Series 1 door opens to 3,000mm, but a 3,000mm high series 3 door only opens to 2,900mm.
- “A” series Taurean doors have heights of 1,200mm, 2,200mm, 2,500mm, 2,800mm and 3,100mm. All are opening heights, except for the 2500, which only opens to 2,430mm. Confusing? Too right. Hence it is extremely important that when you get a quote from a shed company, you get them to specify the exact opening “drive through” height of all your doors.
You would be amazed at how many sheds we have seen over the years where the poor client can’t fit the intended item into their shed.
Unfortunately, the client has no real redress because they received the door specified in their quote – it just doesn’t open as high as they expected.
While you’re here, why not download free…
“The Ultimate Shed Design Guide”
Get Free, Proven Tips To Save Time, Money and Stress When Planning Any Shed Project.
4. Caravan Shed Access Tips: Room To Turn
Getting your access right is critical: if it’s difficult to get your caravan in or out of the shed, you’ll be discouraged from using it as often as you’d like.
We recently saw a caravan built where the plans showed a turning area no longer than the overall length of the tow vehicle and caravan.
You need much more than that to turn around in. A major earthworks redesign was required before the project could be completed.
The best thing you can do if access is tight is to make the door as wide as possible, so you can still turn the trailer as you enter the shed.
This also ensures you’ll have less chance of hitting your shed (a very expensive experience).
A useful exercise prior to ordering your shed is to peg out where your shed will go and where the door will be located. Then drive your van into your yard to see if you can get it into the pegged out area with relative ease.
If the fit is tight, try different door widths or shed locations/angles until it works.
Your shed designer will be able to help with any tweaks needed to get the design just right.
5. Caravan Shed Driveways: Allowing For Angles Up Or Down
Also give some thought to the angle of the driveway going into the shed.
If it goes up the hill or down the hill into the shed, you’ll need more height in the roller door opening to get in and out.
It may also mean that equipment such as spare wheels, water tanks, storage tubes etc. under the van will strike the ground as well.
This problem can also arise where your driveway joins the road or gutter.
Discuss these challenges with your shed concreter. Smart ones will be able to adjust the driveway angles to alleviate or at least minimise this problem.
6. Positioning Your Van In Your Shed
Try to keep the van on the left as you face the shed (i.e. with the driver’s side against the wall).
The reason for this is the awning will be on the passenger side.
If you come back from a trip where you had to pack your awning away while still wet, you’ll want to get the awning open again ASAP to prevent mildew.
With your van in the right location, you can open it inside the shed. This means you don’t have to take it out again just to dry the awning. You can also open it the minute you get home.
7. One Tip For Trouble-Free Reversing
If you have to reverse your van a long distance (say from the street, past the house and into the shed), take extra care the first time you do it.
Then, as you drive out the first time, inch forward in one metre sections and place a reflector or visible paint mark on the ground next to the trailer wheel on the side you can see in the vehicle’s mirror.
That way, if you have to back in on your own in future, as long as you can see that the wheel is against your marker, you’re on the right track and you shouldn’t hit anything.
Ready To Take The Next Step?
If you’re ready to design the ideal caravan shed or shelter for your van, simply get in touch for a free Shed Design & Quote Session.
Based on all the above considerations (and more), we’ll design your perfect caravan shed according to your specifications and email you the plans plus a firm price quote to have it supplied.