Garden sheds are getting more popular as modern living appears to demand that we all have more stuff to store. Regular maintenance of a garden shed makes a lot of sense as it can seriously improve its lifespan.
Work From the Ground Up
The lifetime of a wooden garden shed depends mainly on how waterproof it is and the condition of the roof. The base is the place to start though. If you are putting a new shed in, a concrete base is the best for a long life. Make sure that it is exactly the same dimensions of the shed floor.
If it is too small the shed floor will overhang and the walls will not be properly supported. But if it is too large, rain water will pool on the edge and creep under the floor, leading to damp and rot. But if cost is an issue or you don’t have the skills to pour a concrete base, you can use paving slabs placed on a gravel base.
Make sure they are placed so that they support the struts that support the floor and leave gaps in between each one for drainage. This is adequate but the shed will probably not last as long as a correctly sized concrete base.
Clean and Inspect Regularly
Regular checks are the way to go with a shed, or any garden building. Make sure you clean the shed inside and out at least once a year, preferably twice. This in itself won’t do much in terms of maintenance but it will mean that you will notice any problems with the structure.
Repairing Holes and Cracks
Holes or cracks in the wooden sides of a garden shed aren’t that serious but in time they will grow and widen, allowing water to get into the shed. So sealing them as early as possible will prevent problems in the future. Use duct tape on the inside and wood filler from the outside to seal them. The wood filler and tape will crack or tear if the crack widens so as well as keeping water out you now have an early warning system if the problem gets more serious.
If that does happen then removing the damage wood and replacing it is the best option. With most sheds the outer skin is simply planks that can be knocked out and a new plank nailed or screwed into place. Supporting timbers, if they get rotten, can be more serious. But as it isn’t important what a shed looks like from the inside, new struts can be nailed or screwed in place alongside the old ones. If you suspect any fungal growth on the old supports they must be removed completely though.
Door and Window Frames
Tricky areas can be the door and window frames. These are unlikely to follow any standard so getting spare parts isn’t very likely, but replacement wood can be made from offcuts quite easily. The window frames are usually very simple and with the window more likely to be plastic than glass, removal of the pane shouldn’t present any real difficulties.
Roofs of sheds are usually more troublesome than the walls, doors and windows and are a key element in keeping out rain. Take a look at our separate article on looking after and repairing felt roofing to find out more.