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Product Maintenance

Preparing for your shed or log cabin

Making sure your garden shed is in the right position will help ensure your garden shed is easy to maintain.

Here in the UK we need to help protect our sheds from strong winds, rain and snow! Placing your shed in a sheltered position is one way to help protect it against most British weather.

Keep away from trees. Your shed should be placed away from large trees; wind can cause tree branches to fall or snap. They can destroy a shed easily and all its contents so try and place your shed away from trees.

Remove snow quickly. Snow is also another weather condition which can cause damage; if heavy snow is left on top of a roof it can cause bowing or snap the roof panels.

Access. You will also need access to all sides of your shed. Without access to all sides of the shed you will not be able to check panels, paint the shed or repair any damage.

Getting the base right

The most important part of your shed is its base. The base provides a stable platform for your building to sit on, and helps stop moisture from the ground rising up into it. It's essential that the base is flat and level. If the base isn't completely level, water will leak into your garden shed.

Depending on the size of your shed and your own preference, you can build a base from wood, paving slabs or concrete. If you're unsure of which base to choose, or how to go about constructing it, check out our free 'How to build a shed base' downloadable guide.

Wood treatment for your shed

Treating your wooden garden shed with a high quality wood treatment will maintain it and prevent rot.

Wood treatments come in many forms but the most popular are wood preservative paints. The paints can simply be applied to the wood like any other paint. Wood treatment paints come in many different colours so you can choose one to suit your style and home.

If you do not want to paint the natural colour of your garden shed you can buy clear paint wood treatments. These clear treatments are again applied like paint and help prevent rot.

We recommend you paint your garden shed with a wood treatment at least once a year. This will help maintain the wood and will help prolong the life of your garden shed.

Roofing felt

Roofing felt is a key component of any wooden garden shed. It waterproofs a building and helps protect it from water damage. Roofing felt should last a few years on your garden shed but it should be checked regularly.

Wind can easily rip roofing felt and cause leaks. If you do find a rip or crack in your sheds roofing felt you need to replace that section of felt as quickly as possible. You can find roofing felt at most garden centres and DIY stores.

Check out the below video guide to repairing damaged roofing felt.

Metal sheds

Metal sheds are very easy to maintain. Most metal sheds are made from high quality aluminium or steel. The metal used on metal sheds is often coated with a high quality paint which helps prevent rust and damage.

Unlike wooden sheds, metal sheds do not need painting every year. This makes it perfect if you're looking to for a low maintenance garden building.

Bases. Metal sheds needs a good base just like wooden sheds. Without a good base metal sheds can suffer condensation and leaks. For more information about how to build the right shed base click here.

Condensation. Some metal sheds suffer from condensation. This is normally due to an improper base; without the correct base moisture from the ground seeping through the base of the shed. To prevent this you need to make a correct base for your metal shed. One way of combating condensation is to put a layer of waterproof membrane inside your concrete base. This will prevent moisture seeping into your metal shed. Another way of preventing/stopping condensation inside a shed is to put a bowl of table salt in the corner of your shed. Salt will help draw out moisture from the air and this will help stop condensation. Condensation forms because the walls of a metal shed are cold; when warm air hits a cold surface the moisture from the air drips down the shed. Another way of stopping condensation is to line the panels of your metal shed with polystyrene. Polystyrene can be found in most DIY stores and helps add a layer of protection against moisture on the air.

Plastic and vinyl sheds

Vinyl and plastic sheds are very similar to metal sheds. They do not require very much maintenance and are perfect if you want a hard working building, low maintenance shed.

Base. Just like a wooden or metal shed plastic sheds need a flat, strong base. Having the correct base for any shed will help prevent future problems and will ensure your shed has a long life span. Take a look at our handy Build a base guide for more help.

Wind can easily rip roofing felt and cause leaks. If you do find a rip or crack in your sheds roofing felt you need to replace that section of felt as quickly as possible. You can find roofing felt at most garden centres and DIY stores.

Maintenance. Plastic sheds are built in panels just like a metal shed. When installing your new plastic shed makes sure you have enough room around the building so you can check panels in the future. You should check your garden shed every 6 months to make sure all panels are still intact and not damaged. Condensation is not really a problem in plastic sheds but if you do find condensation follow the same instructions listed above for metal sheds.

Prepare your garden fence for winter

Harsh winter weather can have some really damaging effects on garden buildings and fencing in the UK so we have put together these handy tips to make sure that your wooden fencing can stand up to the chill.

1. Check it out. Throw on some winter gear and take a close look at your garden fencing. Pay particular attention to the fence posts; give the fence posts a wiggle and see if any are loose or have any signs of damage such as splits or loose nails.

If your fence posts are a bit loose it is probably because the soil around them has softened. To rectify the issue you will need to hold the post in place and fill in the gaps with some postcrete.

If your fence post has a small split before you think of replacing it, try filling the gap with some wood filler.

Garden fence panels are much easier to fix than fence posts because you can just slot them in and out if they need replacing. Have a look at your fence panels and check for any that may need replacing. If you need to replace a fence panel check out our step by step video on how to install fence panels below.

2. Treat your fencing. One of the most effective ways to prepare your garden fencing for winter is to treat it with a high quality wood preservative. Fencing and garden building treatment should be done once a year.

We suggest a spirit or oil-based timber preservative as these are much better quality and will ensure that your wooden fencing is protected against the elements.

3. Make some space. Garden fencing can be damaged easily if it has something heavy putting pressure on it, especially during the winter. Put away anything heavy and check around the bottom of the posts for anything that could damage the fencing.

Prepare your shed for winter

Cold weather can be tough on your garden shed so follow our guide to protect your shed this winter!

Your garden shed will become the hide out for your garden tools, furniture and whatever else you keep in your shed; therefore you need to make sure that your wooden garden shed is up to the job.

Treat it. The best way to protect your wooden shed against the elements is to treat it. Think back to when you last treated it, if it was over a year ago, it will need another coat. We suggest a spirit-based timber treatment. Try and treat your shed when you know it will be dry for a few days, as it has to dry completely before it gets wet for it to be affective.

Loosen joints. Timber can bloat due to the pressure of timber joints and this can lead to damage. To prevent bulging and reduce pressure you can start by loosening the timber joints on your shed. This will prevent damage if your shed swells. Just remember to tighten them again in the spring!

Organise your shed. During the summer months you may have used your shed a lot and organisation probably slipped. Now is the time to have a tidy up and sort out. Invest in some plastic storage tubs to house items that can be damaged easily. Pop some sand in a large un-used pot and stick the metal end of your garden tools in, the sand helps to protect the tools from rust. Wrap up any soft furnishings such as cushions, picnic blankets, or outdoor throws into plastic bags. The plastic bags will protect the furnishings from dust and any weather damage should the shed leak. Remove electrical items from the floor of the shed to avoid damage in the unlikely case of leaking. Small electrical items are fine stored in plastic tubs and large electrical items can be covered by water-proof material such as tarpaulin.

Check for gaps. Over the years wood can warp and sometimes split when it adjusts to the weather. Make sure that you check over your shed for any gaps in the wood, especially around windows, the roof and the floor of the shed. If you do find any gaps fill with wood filler and seal the windows with a clear sealant.

Add some guttering. Guttering is a great addition to a shed as it will help protect your shed for longer. Guttering is really easy to add as it just simply clicks to the outside of your shed. You could also add a rainwater collection tank which will help to keep your household eco friendly.

Extra support. British weather has proven to be extremely unpredictable and harsh storms often see the strongest of sheds a bit bruised. The best way to protect your shed from harsh weather is to add some extra support. If you live in an area which gets a high amount of snow during the winter months you may want to upgrade the roofing felt on your shed. Go for a high quality, thick roofing felt; this will offer more protection. You can add extra support to your garden shed roof with wooden batons. The batons will help support the roof and protect against heavy snow.

Maintaining your log cabin

Waltons log cabins are made from high-quality Baltic sourced pine which requires a little bit of care to make sure that it lasts for many years to come.

Solid foundations. Ensure that you prepare a solid, flat and level foundation for your log cabin. We recommend either a concrete slab or concrete paving base. If the foundation is not flat then this could cause unnecessary damage to your building. Check your base with a spirit level to ensure that it is completely flat before you install the building.

Treatment. When your log cabin arrives with you it will be untreated so that you have a completely blank canvas to work on. It is essential to treat your shed with wood preservative as soon as possible after your building arrives. The wood treatment will work as a weather proof jacket that protects your log cabin all year round.

Tip: Never treat your building when it is damp as this will damage your building.

If you treat your exterior don't then paint the interior on the same day. Wait until the exterior treatment is completely dry before painting the interior.

What is the best type of treatment to use on my log cabin? The best treatment for a Waltons log cabin is a high-quality water-based or spirit-based treatment. They both have pros and cons and which you choose will be entirely up to you however they will both protect your building against the elements. With water-based treatments they will need re-treating once a year and spirit-based ones require once a year or once every other, depending on the quality of the treatment.

Pros of water-based wood preservative treatment

  • Available in a wide range of colours
  • Easy to apply
  • Protects against wood rot, mould and fungal infection

Cons of water-based wood preservative treatment

  • Requires more maintenance than spirit-based treatment

Pros of spirit-based wood preservative treatment:

  • Maximum protection against mould, wood rot and fungal infection
  • Works as more of a stain so you won't lose natural look of the wood
  • Easy to apply
  • Lower maintenance than water-based treatment

Cons of spirit-based wood preservative treatment:

  • Small range of colours available

Settling. Waltons log cabins are made using natural wood which will contract and expand during weather conditions. Once the log cabin has been installed, there will be a period of settling as the wood reacts and adjusts to the surrounding climate. The wood may shrink and settle which can lead to small splits and cracks forming in the wood over time. However you can avoid this happening by treating the building to protect it against weather conditions and adjusting the fixings by loosening them off slightly to allow room for the wood to change.

How do I build my log cabin?

Most of the Waltons log cabins are designed to be built in the same way so if you need guidance with your log cabin take a look at the video.

If you need any help constructing your building do not hesitate to contact us either by email on service@waltons.co.uk or 0800 0142 333.

In the video below, our expert installation team will take you through step-by-step of how to put up your log cabin easily and with confidence.

For more information on shed maintenance, check out our ultimate shed maintenance guide.

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