The choosing of your summerhouse is an important one and you should take care to ensure that you are not sold a ‘pup’. You can achieve this by doing your homework, ideally viewing the building before you commit your self so that you can see the quality of the building.
You will find that most of the cheaper retailers on the web don’t give you an opportunity to view before buying. The reason for this is so you can’t see the cheap materials and, in many cases, totally unsuitable materials used such as chipboard, sterling or wafer board sometimes known as OSB (oriental strand board). On the web pages you will often find these boards described as sheet material and the reason for this is that they don’t want you to know they are using those unsuitable materials.
When you have made your choice or summer building, although you should think about the base before buying, you need to ensure that you have an adequate base for it to go onto. Like all structures it is important that it is placed on suitable foundations. Without that, even the most expensive garden building will struggle and you will have problems over the years. This is the most important part in the purchase of a shed or summerhouse.
Building a base is a relatively easy task for an average DIY’er, the most important thing is to plan what type of base you are going to put down and to allow sufficient time to do this before your new pride and joy is delivered.
There are several options for a base and this ranges from a concrete base, paving slab base, ProBase, timber bearers or a timber sub frame base. Each have their own merits but the end result needs to be a level and well supported base for your new summer house.
If you choose concrete then this can be hard work, however provided you do the job properly will have a long lasting base. You initially need to clear the area of any vegetation and grass where the shed is to go. You will need some shuttering, essentially some timber planks about 6″ x 1″ in size. You then need to fix these into place around the perimeter of the building by digging into the ground slightly and anchoring the boards into place with timber wedges.
You will need to know the size of your new garden building and this is important. Many people (so called experts) will tell you to make the base 6 inches larger than your proposed summer building. This is bad advice as this will allow rain to fall onto the concrete and possibly run under the shed making the floor joists wet. By making the concrete base the same size as the building this will stop this from happening. Also the top of the concrete should be 1-2″ above the surrounding ground level and this will also help to keep the floor dry, even if you get standing water in your garden.
With the shuttering in place (always ask the size from your supplier as a 8×6 shed might not be 8ft x 6ft but 7ft 10in x 6ft 1in) and with the top of the shuttering about 1-2 inches above ground level you will be able to pour concrete into the enclosed area. Ensure that the shuttering is square and you can do this be measuring the diagonals of the shuttering. These should be the same and if they are not reposition the shuttering boards until they are.