Part of their success is probably due to the fact that, as a natural material, timber merges easily into the landscape and, due to modern techniques, a long lifespan can be guaranteed.
Most sheds will be made from northern European mixed softwoods, and all the sheds available through GardenSite will use timber obtained from sustainable and well managed forests, this is usually indicated by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) logo.
For floors and roofs, chipboard and OSB may be used. OSB or 'Oriented Strand Board' comes in the form of sturdy sheets made up of compressed wood flakes and adhesive. Strong, rigid, and waterproof, it is an ideal material for these applications.
Apex roofs resemble a triangle. Hence there is lots of headroom in the centre running the length of the shed and glazing can be fitted on either side. Sheds with apex roofs will normally have their door/s on the end to take advantage of this height but, if a shed has a reverse apex roof, the entrance will be on the side.
Pent roofs just have one sloping surface with the highest point over the front and any rain will run off the back. All the headroom, and glazing, is therefore at the front of the shed and diminishes towards the rear. The door may be at the front or the side.
The cladding, or walls, of a shed comes in four main styles.
Overlap is the most common. Nailed to a frame the rough sawn boards overlap each other slightly, similar to feather edged fencing but horizontal, and creates a 'rustic' look. This is the most cost effective option. Over a long period of time some distortion might take place.
Shiplap is very similar to tongue and groove but is shaped so that rain runs off more effectively, meaning there is little chance of water getting into the joints that might result in expansion, distortion or rot. This cladding is more expensive but offers the best rigidity and longevity.
Tongue and Groove cladding features interlocking boards where the 'tongue' on one side of the board fits securely into the 'groove' of the adjacent board. This is a more rigid construction that looks very neat, offers the best protection against wind and rain, and there is a much smaller chance that it will distort.
Loglap has grown in popularity due to its appearance rather than any added strength. This cladding has smoothly planed rounded timbers that interlock using tongue and groove. Rain disperses quickly and the shed has the look of a log cabin rather than a rustic shed.
To ensure longevity, timber will either be dip or pressure treated.
Dip treatment is a method of applying anti-fungal preservative by literally dipping timber into a tank of preservative before the shed is assembled. This is a cheaper, quicker process than pressure treatment and means that sheds built from dip treated timber cost less. However, it offers only short-term protection and you will need to re-treat the shed annually with a preservative to prevent drying out and warping, and to comply with the guarantee's terms and conditions.
Pressure Treatment is also known as Vacuum Pressure Impregnation or Tanalising. Moisture is first of all removed from the wood and it is then placed into a pressure treatment tank where air is removed via a vacuum. Then the tank is flooded with preservative liquid and the wood draws the preservative deep into the grain.
Pressure treated products can usually be identified by their green-tinged finish when new, but this will fade to a honey brown colour over time. Green spots on the wood, resulting from salt being forced out of the timber, is a good sign that your timber has been fully pressure treated. These patches are not harmful and will not affect your shed's lifespan, they will naturally wear away or can be brushed off.
All our timber sheds come with a long guarantee against rot. If the wood has been dip treated, there should be a ten-year anti-rot guarantee; pressure treated timber will be guaranteed for fifteen years. With proper care and attention, their lifespan will be much longer.
The majority of timber sheds will have traditional roofing felt to ensure that the structure is waterproof. This material is supplied on a roll and is fixed to the roof with nails. Depending on the quality it will periodically need to be replaced.
As an alternative, Onduline is a tough, lightweight, corrugated sheet made up of cellulose fibres that have been soaked in bitumen. This is a long lasting material that is cut to size and offers both waterproofing and insulation.
Except when security is a consideration, glazing is important since it lets light into a shed so that you can see what you're doing. Traditionally glass has been the favoured material, however many sheds now use a synthetic equivalent.
Glass is easy to break whether this is when it is being fitted or later on perhaps by a stone or a football. Toughened glass will not break into dangerous shards but it will still have to be replaced, if only to retain your shed's smart appearance.
Acrylic, Styrene and Polycarbonate offers superior strength and shatterproof qualities with the ability to survive high impacts. In addition, both are lightweight and easy to handle, have excellent light transmission and are better insulators than glass.
Painting is not necessary but wooden sheds can be painted at any time after delivery, although some manufacturers recommend waiting at least six months in order for any pressure treatment to completely settle.
If you do choose to paint your shed, then we would recommend using a suitable branded outdoor wood paint solution such as those from Cuprinol, Ronseal and Sadolin. We would advise following the paint's guidelines regarding when a fresh coat needs applying (normally once per year thereafter).
Splits and Cracks
Timber is a natural product and so splits and cracks may appear, this is due to changes in daily and seasonal temperature and humidity causing the wood to expand and contract.
This is a normal occurrence with natural wood and so splits and cracks are not any cause for concern. In 99% of cases, it will not affect the strength or structural integrity of your shed.
There are so many different sizes and styles of wooden shed available that they have a wide variety of uses, not just the traditional storage spaces that get filled with everything that would otherwise clutter the household.
Most sheds will have decent glazing, either acrylic or glass, so that the interior has plenty of light for you to undertake quite a few activities. Increasing the size gives you more options, for DIY projects, gardening or hobbies, until you reach the large workshop type constructions.
However, if you have valuable equipment inside you may choose a 'security shed' which has very small high windows or none at all. These sheds will also be fitted with pad bolts and boast other specifications that lessen the chance of a break-in.
A solid, level base is essential. Concrete, paving slabs laid on sharp sand and hardcore, or timber foundations, can all be used. Bearers attached under the shed floor should lift the structure off the prepared base by 1.5ins allowing a clear passage of air. Alternatively, some sheds have the option of a ready made base with spikes that secure it to the ground.
For the past 50 years Forest Garden have been designing and manufacturing a comprehensive range of sheds to suit most locations, usages and budgets. The majority of timber they use is UK sourced and processed in the company's own sawmills.
Their overlap dip treated and pressure treated sheds and workshops are available in an array of sizes and styles from 4ft x 3ft to 12ft 8ft. They come with pent or apex roofs, hidden hinges, hasp & staple latches for security, sturdy double Z braced doors and where applicable have polycarbonate glazing. Dip treated sheds are fitted with OSB flooring while timber floors are fitted to their pressure treated equivalents as well as the smaller range of Shiplap Dip Treated sheds and workshops which share the same features.
There is also a collection of Premium tongue and groove sheds that are pressure treated and have enhanced features that include opening acrylic glazed windows with quality latches, highly durable timber boarded roofs with hardwearing black mineral felt, T&G flooring and a door latch with rim lock. To complete their range, Forest have a selection of specialist stores that cater for garden equipment, tools and bicycles.
Rowlinson Garden Products are another well-established timber products firm, established in 1926. Their shiplap dip treated apex roofed sheds begin with two 4ft x 6ft sheds, both have boarded floors, however the Modular version is glazed while the other is security orientated with one very small high window, a padlock protector and secure hinges. Many other sizes in the same styles are available, all have the same attractive honey brown appearance.
Their Premier range of sheds have the advantage of double doors for increased access, a tongue and groove floor, robust framing and a pad bolt, some have an opening window for increased ventilation that makes the interior a much more inviting space. If you favour a style that is redolent of former years, then their two Heritage sheds have contemporary features but have vertical cladding and a grey paint finish.
The four Rowlinson workshops are particularly impressive, full of light from glazing at the front as well as one side, double doors accommodate large equipment and they are spacious with high eaves. Two Potting Stores, one shaped to fit into a corner, are particularly practical for gardeners as they are exceptionally well glazed, ventilated and already fitted with benches and, for storage of tools and associated gardening equipment, there is a unglazed area at the rear. Finally, Rowlinson's offering is completed by various compact stores for outdoor tools, equipment and cycles.
Shedlands is a family business that has made great strides in the past twenty years and now offers a very wide range of affordable sheds of all sizes and styles. Using dip treated timber, tongue & groove cladding and traditional horticultural glass, these sheds have excellent specifications and multiple uses.
Beginning with the 6ft x 4ft Apex or Pent, there is a host of differently sized sheds that are highly practical up to12ft x 8ft. Heavy Duty sheds have coach bolt assembly, cross-braced smoothly planed framing, high-quality roofing felt and a rim lock and doorknob. No OSB is used and the sheds' appearance benefits from Georgian style windows.
Shedlands' Security Sheds are also robustly framed but the windows are internally glazed, small and high to keep contents out of view and there is also a no window option. The Dutch Barn style offers enough headroom space to include a useful loft, there's a Corner Shed that fits neatly into a corner of your garden, and Potting Sheds that have generous amounts of glazing for the enthusiastic gardener together with a practical stable door.