There are many types of treatments available for garden sheds, summerhouses, timber garages and workshops, ranging from water based treatment through to fully pressurised tanalised treatments. Years ago one of the favourite treatments was creosote, often mixed with old engine oil. This did a sterling job protecting the timber from the harsh weather. This had a distinctive smell, quite strong, which tended to linger for quite a while.
Not ideal if you had treated the inside of a garden shed or summer building you wanted to work in. Improved safety rules were introduced in 2003 as it had proved dangerous to use and from 30th June 2004 it is actually illegal to even store it or keep it in any form. A new substitute Crecote has been introduced for people who wish to get a similar effect.
Water based preservative are commonly used on the cheaper summer houses, mainly serving the purpose of a base coat, for your second coat to be put on. The water is actually a carrier for the chemicals and helps the chemical to adhere and react to the wood of the garden shed and summerhouse thus protecting it to a certain degree. This can be either painted on, sprayed on or the shed panels can be dipped into a bath of this treatment.
Solvent and spirit based shed preservatives is the preferred and better method of putting treatment onto timber. The solvent again is a carrier for the chemicals and works far better than the water. The solvent or spirit helps greatly and gives greater protection to the timber. Again this can be painted on, sprayed on or dipped onto the garden shed or summerhouse. Very few people dip their shed panels in this dues to the possibility of reactions to the operatives doing the dipping.
Oil based treatments and you are moving into the realms of 'Rolls Royce' types of treatment. The oil holds the chemicals and bond the chemicals into the wood. The oil soaks into the timber giving a certain amount of 'give' helping with the natural movement of your timber garden shed.
Tanalising, or pressure treating, is the very best you can do for your timber. The tanalising process consists of the timber being put into a sealed vat. And the Tanalith E fluid is forced into the wood under pressure. This ensure that the preservative goes a great deal further than just brushing or spraying. The result of this is that the timber should be protected against rotting for a period of 15 years. On the Platinum garden workshops and the Supreme Sheds the cladding is pressure treated.
The treatment also protects against fungal and insect attacks giving your garden shed, workshop, garage or summer house a long life. The appearance of the timber is quite attractive having a light natural green tint to the wood which can blend into the garden. However, you can add a colour treatment to the wood if you wish. This treatment is ideal for any building in an enclosed space where treating the summer building would prove difficult or where you like the idea of very low maintenance.
However whatever treatment you have it is important to keep an eye on it to ensure that you re-treat when necessary. The only extra treatment which the tanalised shed or summer house may need is a water repellent treatment, such as Thomsons WaterSeal. This would stop any dampness coming through if the building was subjected to torrential rain. (the timber is treated against rotting and is not a water repellent in its own right)
The water based treated garden shed, workshop, garage or summerhouse should be re-treated within 4 weeks of delivery, ideally, and then every 2-3 years depending on the weather conditions. The same would apply with the spirit or solvent based treatments. With the oil based treatment after the building has its first coat you could get up to 4-5 years before anything needs doing again with the exception of any sides facing into the weather.
I do not recommend any of the water based treatments for the top coats and would only recommend spirit, solvent or oil base preservatives despite what the cheap garden shed manufacturers may say. Water based treatments are fine for base coats or for fences, nothing else.
Some garden shed and summer houses manufacturers claim to offer a 10 year guarantee, even with the water based treatment, however, like most things in life this is not as good as offer as it seems. There are strict conditions stating that if the shed or summer building is not treated EVERY year then the guarantee would be null and void. Clearly this means that the treatment they are applying only last for ONE year and the further protection is coming from the treatment YOU are having to apply every year. Clearly a WORTHLESS guarantee. DON'T be fooled by them. The best thing (or worse) is that you will be very lucky to find any details of the conditions on those sites.
With the benefit of my 39 years in the garden buildings business I hope that the above advice is useful for you to understand how to get the best out of your new shed, summer house, workshop or log cabin. Over the years there have been many improvements and changes to the treatments available, some good and some bad, however, if you look after your summer houses they will last many many years.
Regularly oil any moving parts such as locks and door or opening window hinges.
Keep an eye on the condition of the roofing felt. If it starts to deteriorate, replace it with a good quality replacement - if water starts to seep into the roof, this is the beginning of the end for your garden building.
If you are in any doubt, or would like any advice, please telephone or CONTACT US for further assistance.