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Shed Buying Guide
Garden sheds come in all sorts of shapes and sizes and it’s sometimes hard to know where to start when choosing a new one. We’ve put together some handy tips to help you select the right option for your needs.
When buying a garden shed there are a number of things that you need to consider. First of all decide what you are going to use it for. Will it be just for storage, or do you also need work space? If both workspace and storage are required then a larger shed is probably what you need. It’s also a good idea to check the ridge and eaves height of the sheds to ensure you can stand up straight in your new shed.
If you require a general storage shed then you need to consider how big the items are that you need to store, remembering that you may need to access all of these items at different times and you need space to move in and out of the shed too. You should also consider the width of the door to ensure you have enough space to get your items in and out with ease. Some models of shed come with double doors.
Most sheds come with windows, but some don’t have windows at all. These are sometimes a good idea when you want to store your items out of sight to make them more secure. Shed windows are usually made with Perspex or styrene. If you need extra ventilation in your shed make sure you buy a shed with an opening window.
If you are replacing an existing shed, then the size and shape of your shed may already be predetermined by the base onto which you intend to build it.
You may be faced with a choice of an apex shed or a pent shed. This actually refers to the style and shape of the roof.
Apex Sheds: A shed with an apex roof means there is a ridge running along the length of the shed with the roof sections sloping upwards from either side meeting at the ridge. This type of shed is a popular choice mainly because of its traditional and attractive appearance.
Pent Sheds: A Pent shed has a single sloping roof section usually sloping down towards the back allowing rainwater to run off the building at the back. This usually creates generous head room within the shed. This style of shed also lends it self to being put up against a wall or fence.
Locating your Shed
When positioning your shed you need to consider a number of different factors. If you intend to access it frequently you may want to consider building it close to your house. This may also prove to be more suitable if you intend to run electrics or a telephone line to it. Always remember that you must employ a qualified electrician to do any work of this nature.
You may want your shed to be in the shade to avoid overheating in the height of summer. However, you also need to remember the risks of falling branches and the effect rotting leaf mulch may have on your shed over the years.
Never locate your shed in an area that could flood with heavy rainfall. Standing water will accelerate to rotting process which may affect the stability of your shed in the long run.
It is a good idea to ensure that you have a gap of at least 600mm (2’) around all four sides of your shed as this will be invaluable when you come to treat and protect your shed every year.
There are generally two options of finish for your garden shed: Overlap or shiplap timber.
Overlap timber is rough sawn to the touch. The slats are nailed to the framing of the building with each overlapping the other creating a water tight external cladding. Overlap sheds tend to be more rustic in appearance and are often an affordable option.
Shiplap timber is a shaped and formed piece of timber. Each piece connects to the next with an interlocking tongue and groove joint. The finished panels are nailed into place creating a superior cladded finish to the outside of the shed.
The timber used in the shed construction is usually finished with a factory applied surface treatment which provides some initial protection against fungal decay. This is often referred to as a dip treatment. A shed with this type of finish will need to be re-treated every year to protect the timber from rotting.
There are now, however, some sheds being offered with a pressure treated finish. Treatment has been forced into the timber at high pressure in a vacuum chamber. As the treatment penetrates the wood, this creates a more permanent barrier against insect attack and rot, which means you don’t need to re-treat it every year.
Regardless of the anti rot treatment that has been applied during manufacture, your shed will still change colour over time, so if you want to maintain the factory finished look you will need to re-apply a colour based timber treatment regularly.
Remember that timber is a natural material which will shrink and expand. This movement is due to the moisture content within the wood which is down to the changing weather conditions. Any extreme changes will usually revert back over time.
The best time to treat your shed is usually in Spring or Autumn when you have a dry day. This means that the timber will not be too wet or dry ensuring you get the optimum absorption of treatment in the timber. Do not treat your timber when it’s raining as the treatment will simply be washed away.
Roofs & Floors
Many garden sheds use OSB (Orientated Strand Board) for roofs and floors, but some of the more expensive models may have shiplap or boarded roofs and floors which will make for a more structurally sound construction. Roofs are generally finished off with mineral felt providing a water tight finish. Sheds should always be installed onto pressure treated bearers which will encourage air circulation under the shed floor and prevent the shed floor battens from coming into direct contact with the foundation. Without them, the damp would penetrate the floor and rise through the timbers causing the wood to rot.
All that is required before you start to build your shed is to ensure that you have a firm and level base on which to build it. This would usually be a concrete or paving slab base. If you try to build a shed or any garden building on an uneven surface you will have problems aligning and closing any doors and windows.
How long will it take to build?
A standard garden shed should take no longer that a day to build and requires two people. Your shed will be supplied with fixings, felt and instructions, but in addition to these you will need the following equipment:
- Step ladder
- Power screwdriver
- Craft knife
- Spirit level
Thefts from garden sheds are on the increase, so check what door furniture your shed comes with. A turn button doesn’t provide any secure fixing, but a hasp and staple or bolt should allow a padlock to be used. Some higher specification sheds come with locks and keys. There are various shed security kits on the market today which range from basic padlock sets, to more elaborate alarms and security lights.
By choosing a shed with no windows you will be able to store your possessions away from prying eyes, therefore reducing the temptation to steal what’s inside.
If you are going to store anything valuable in your shed check that it’s covered with your home insurance.