After you have decided on your new garden shed, summer house, workshop or log cabin you need to consider how you are going to look after it. These garden buildings are an investment and will enable you to enjoy your garden more than ever and with a little bit of regular care will last for many years.
There are various types of garden buildings treatments and you will find that most sheds will be treated with a water based coat of treatment. This can be seen as being a primer and it is recommended that you re-treat your new shed or garden building within a few days after being delivered. The second coat can be seen as an undercoat and when you put your next coat on the shed will be the top coat and this will give long-lasting protection.
The next best treatment for your shed or garden building is a spirit based treatment. This type of treatment is more expensive and you will find this on the better quality sheds. What this means is that the actual treatment is immersed in a spirit, such as white spirit. This will help the treatment to soak further into the wood and therefore will do a much better job. With the spirit based shed treatment you don’t have to treat your shed or garden building straight away but it is still a good idea to retreat, with a spirit based treatment before the following winter. This second coat will provide many years of protection against the elements.
The best treatment on garden sheds and outdoor buildings is full pressure treated timber, often described as Tanalised. This refers to the name of the treatment which is Tanalith E. Tanalised timber is produced by impregnating the timber with this treatment inside a steel container and under high vacuum pressure. This forces the treatment deep into the wood ensuring a much longer life for your shed or garden building. This also protects against fungal decay and insect attack with an expected protection spell of up to 30 years.
When treated the timber takes on a green tinge but this fades over time. No further treatment is normally required against rotting as this treatment will protect your garden shed or outdoor building for 15 years (at least) against any rot during that period. However, this treatment is designed to protect against rot, this is not waterproof. If you get spells of prolonged rain you may get a damp patch on the inside of your garden building. Although this gives great protection to the timber against rotting what it does not do is to give full water repellency to your garden shed. During driving rain, any exposed timber may end up with damp patches on the inside. Whilst this does not affect the timber you may not want this. What I recommend in this instance is to treat the outside of any sides, facing into the weather, with a spirit based or water repellant treatment or if you want to keep the colour of your shed the same then you can use Thompson Waterseal. This is a clear treatment which effectively puts a water repellent coat on the outside of your garden building.
There are also a range of paint and treatments available in a range of colours if you want a little more colour on your garden shed or summerhouse and this can be applied either at the factory if the option is offered, or ideally about 6 weeks after your new garden building has been delivered. This will ensure that basic treatment has soaked in and the paint should adhere to your garden building with no problem.
You will find a range or timber treatments available at your local DIY superstore of hardware shop and you may be confused which one to use. My advice, based on 39 years in the garden buildings business and pre Margaret Thatcher, is to use only oil, spirit or solvent-based treatments. Avoid water-based treatment as my experience over the years shows that this will not be as effective as the oil, spirit and solvent-based treatments as these will soak into the wood far better. The way to know which to use is to look at the cleaning instructions on the tin. If it says to wash your brushes out in water then that will be a water-based shed treatment and should be avoided. If the brushes have to be washed out in white spirits then you can be sure this will do a good job for you and will protect your garden building for the long term.
For advice about treating garden sheds then take a look at the article How Often and How to Treat Your Shed or Garden Building.