A wooden shed can be charming and rustic or battered and worn. If it’s the latter then now is the time to shape up your shed.
Winter is over and spring is here. As the weather warms up, more and more people hit up the garden. Let’s face it – summer is months away, but the preparation begins now. Anyone who wants a picture perfect garden has to start early to cover every base. This is where a wooden shed comes in handy.
From storing unwanted rubbish to texturising the garden, it is an essential feature of any Aussie property. Plus, there are bonuses such as increasing safety in the backyard and supplementing the style.
However, a shed is only a positive feature if it looks and acts the part. Style and substance are the aims of the game, and sheds need to hit both criteria. Maintenance, then, is the key to a flawless shed and a faultless garden. But, when you are dealing with wood (timber), maintaining it is easier to say than do. The good news is that this post is here to help.
Below is advice which will help keep your wooden shed in tip top condition this spring and summer.
Wooden Shed Maintenace;
Cut Back The Foliage
Because of their size, sheds need a chunk of space. It isn’t uncommon to find them at the back of the garden, chilling next to the fence and shrubbery. A plot is a plot, and there might be no extra free space, so there is nothing wrong with erecting a shed out of sight. The issue is the foliage.
Weeds and shrubs tend to grow unregulated in some locations, and they will stretch out into the shed’s space. Cheeky they might be, but this is how plants and flowers work. Sadly, overhanging branches can damage the roof, while too much cover prevents the timber from drying.
Wet wood is a lot more susceptible to erosion from the elements. As a rule, keep the shed free of any trees or shrubs.
Put It On A Platform
Water is the biggest metaphorical killer regarding a wooden shed. When the moisture gets into the timber, it weakens it and corrodes the materials inside. There is not much a homeowner can do when it rains, which hopefully won’t be the case in spring. But, there is something you can do with standing ground water.
To protect the shed, there should be a platform or a pallet keeping it off the floor. Then, the run off from the drains and gutters won’t weaken the base and cause it to collapse. A word of advice: don’t use a wood platform. The same will happen to it when the water attacks and you are back to square one.
Treat The Timber
When the last paragraph said there is nothing you can do when it rains, it was a fib. Indeed, there is something every shed-lover should do before the precipitation starts to fall. It’s called wood treatment, and it’s a substance that seeps into the timber and keeps the rainfall away. In simple terms, it adds a gloss which makes it difficult for the water to permeate the wood.
Any old treatment won’t do, though. Anyone who takes sheds seriously needs to invest in the best quality gloss on the market. To start with, there are cheap products which lead you down the garden path. As soon as it rains, the water will seep through and the money, along with the shed, will go down the drain.
For your information, Barrettine log cabin oil is an excellent choice, as is Ronseal because it does exactly what it says on the tin.
Deal With Pesky Pests
The elements aren’t the only things that will destroy wood. Insects love to feed, and lumber is always on the menu. In truth, not all pests will chow down on the garden timber, but some bugs will take liberties. We all know about termites and how destructive they are, but there are others such as carpenter ants. Oh, and don’t forget about bark beetles, either.
Treating the wood is a great solution because moisture attracts insects. But, it won’t stop them altogether, particularly if they are hungry. Paint helps, as does ventilation, yet nothing is as useful as a pesticide. Poison is a dirty trick, but it’s the only way to get rid of pests if they burrow into the timber.
Remove Rotten Wood
Rotten lumber attracts insects and it spreads to other areas of a wooden shed. Plus, it looks and smells terrible. In short, it has to go as soon as possible. If you are lucky, the rot will only extend to the door or windows. In this case, door and window replacements will stop the spread in its tracks.
Anyway, a shed needs new entry points every now and again to keep up appearances. It gets trickier if the rot is in the walls, ceiling or floor. Cutting it out is an option, yet it is an incredibly fiddly and delicate process. The best solution is polyester filler.
Instead of removing the rot, the filler rebuilds damaged wood and makes it strong again. You’ll have to take off the top layer of rot, but this is simple with a sharp knife. Once the filler is on, treat with a wood hardener to maximise the effect and sand everything down.
Repair The Roof
Think of the roof as a guard. With the shingles and covering, it prevents any unwanted substances from entering into the top end of the shed. The guard will only do its job, though, if it is in tip top condition itself. Usually, the roof is the first thing to go for a variety of reasons.
For example, it’s easy to forget about because you can’t see the damage. If you want to maintain the shed, keep it in your mind you must. Otherwise, all the hard work and the tips above won’t mean a thing as the insects and water will get through regardless.
Try and take a look at the top of the roof once every couple of weeks. Any singles or slates that are loose need replacing, as do materials with a hole. Also, check the inside of the shed for damage. Mould or wet spots are sure-fire signs that the roof is in need of repair.
One thing about a wooden shed is that it isn’t all timber or lumber. It’s impossible not to use metal when the shed has windows, doors, and a roof. From shingles to nails, hinges and locks, there is bound to be a lot knocking around. For the most part, it isn’t an issue as long as it gets lubricated. But, if the metal rusts, it could damage the structural composition.
Not only does it rust, which will eat away at the wood, too, but it also swells and twists. Because metal is much tougher, the wood is the one to suffer and break under strain. Thanks to oil or WD-40, it is possible to prevent this process from happening in the first place. The trick is to spray anything which rusts to keep it flexible.
If you can’t get to the metal, you might need to take it apart first and repair it afterwards. A piece of advice: be sure to reapply preserver in this instance.
Clear The Clutter
Tidying up the shed doesn’t directly help preserve the wood’s shelf life. Why would it? What it does, however, is make you aware of any internal issues. When the shed is full of rubbish, it’s hard to spot the signs. Because of the tools lying on the ground, or the fridge in the corner, there isn’t enough space to manoeuvre.
By clearing out the clutter, it makes it easier to spot problems which can escalate out of control. For instance, if the junk is piled up to the ceiling, it might take a while to find a wet patch. Or, if the old sports equipment is in the corner, the mould might be apparent. Not only does keeping a wooden shed clean look better, but it also helps to nip repairs in the bud.
Get Out The Spirit Level
While you are doing some spring cleaning, hunt down the spirit level. Out of curiosity, check whether the shed is at 90 degrees or whether it’s leaning. In general, it won’t be bang on the angle because there are always a few degrees here or there. But, it shouldn’t be out by much. If it is, the shed is subsiding and needs fixing as soon as possible.
Now, subsidence isn’t only a feature of a wooden shed as it can happen to houses. But, it’s a major problem that will cause the shed to sink into the ground or collapse. Figuring out how to solve the problem or how much the repairs will cost is going to hurt your head. Still, it’s better to sort the problem now then let it fester and get worse.
Wood looks pretty, and it’s the quintessential substance for a garden shed. But, it needs a lot of care and attention to keep it upright and to look the part.