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So you’re looking for a garden building. Good for you. Whether you’re after a purpose-built work-from-home solution, somewhere for the kids to play Xbox, or a place where you can just get away from it all and devote some time to your hobby, a garden building is a great way to achieve it, at a fraction of the cost of an extension.
But, before you get cracking, it’s vital for you to know this:
Not all garden buildings are created equal.
Some are merely slightly snazzier sheds, while others have features that serve no useful purpose aside from increasing the price you pay.
So, what should you be looking for before parting with your hard earned money for a garden building?
The truth is that there’s no ‘one size fits all’ answer, but nevertheless, there are five core questions we recommend people get very clear on before signing on the dotted line for any building, from any manufacturer:
How good is the timber?
A building is only as good as what it’s made of, and if your building is made from weak or inferior wood, it’s not going to last anywhere near as long you want it to.
One of the things to look for is the timber cladding. This should be a slow growing wood – the slower it grows, the denser it will be, which makes it last far longer.
The wood you go for should be ‘tanalised’, which means it’s been pressure treated with a wood preservative to help it last.
A water proofer is also a must, to help protect your timber and keep the damp at bay.
We use slow growing, northern European redwood, which gives the timber a life of over 30 years.
Has it got a proper base?
As with most buildings, your garden building needs a firm foundation if it’s going to last.
Our versatile system of timber bearers and concrete blocks allows us to erect a building on a site that’s not completely level, which is extremely helpful if you don’t fancy doing expensive and time consuming ground levelling!
One key thing to ensure is that your building is slightly raised off the ground – air needs to be able to circulate underneath the floor to prevent damp ingress.
What’s the build quality like?
Unsurprisingly, like most products these days, there are various degrees of build quality, from a building mass produced in a factory, right through to something bespoke that has been handmade with care.
A building at the handmade end of the spectrum will last you a lot longer, especially if it’s been made properly from quality timber with galvanised or stainless steel fixings.
One thing to look out for is a breathable membrane on walls and ceiling – this is an added protection to stop damp passing through, protecting your building and investment in the process.
What’s the roof made out of?
Your building’s first line of defence, a strong, sturdy roof will be the difference between a building that gives you many years of good service, and a building that becomes the bane of your life.
Good quality garden buildings will come with a choice of roof materials - plastisol coated steel roof sheets, slate (or synthetic slate) tiles or a cedar roof are the best options, all with a life in excess of 30 years.
As far as the tiles are concerned, synthetic slate has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years, it is much lighter, and will cost you far less than traditional slate.
Cedar is well known as a roof material, high in natural oils and it weathers to blend in beautifully.
Is it ‘off the shelf’ or bespoke?
A vital question is how much control you want to have over the size, quality and features of your building.
If you want a specific size, because it’s going in a particular place in your garden, then it’s crucial to understand whether you’re able to have that flexibility in your order, or whether the building you’re ordering comes in just a few set sizes.
Similarly, many garden buildings have little or no flexibility over the placement of the doors and windows, which can be problematic if you want or need then in a certain place in order to guarantee a certain view (for example, sunrise or sunset).
Other advantages of ‘going bespoke’ include the option of different wall heights and the ability to have a mix of styles for different uses – many of our customers order dual purpose buildings, for example half studio and half garden shed.
In short, if you are making a considerable investment, it rarely makes sense to confine yourself to a number of stock options – this is going to be a long-term investment, so make sure you get what you want.
Want to talk to us about garden buildings? Pick up the phone and give us a ring on 01837 82442, or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get the ball rolling.