The summer comes and goes very quickly, that if it arrives at all, and those days in the garden relaxing has to change to accommodate the colder and wetter weather of the winter.
Your summer house cabin being outside – well it would be silly to have your shed inside, but it take all sorts – will face the brunt of our, increasingly, wet winters. So now is the time to spend some time preparing it for its battle against the elements – sounds serious.
The most important thing to do is to ensure that the treatment will be up to the job. If your garden cabin is new, i.e. in its first winter, then if possible try to paint all over the walls with a good quality preservative. Only use a spirit or oil based preservative and steer clear of any water based treatments. The way to tell what type of treatment you are buying is to look on the can in your local DIY store (known as sheds in the business), such as B&Q, Wickes or Homebase and see if you can wash your brushes out in water. If you can then that is a water based treatment. As I say avoid these types of treatments as most are only really suitable for fences and gates.
If you have had your building for a few years then you need to check it over to see if it needs a further coat to enhance its protection. Generally speaking it will only be the sides of the building facing into the weather which will need treated very regularly The sides protected by fencing and away from the prevailing weather will normally go many years without being treated.
I know this for a fact. Besides my 40 years in the garden building business I built a pressure treated summer house in my garden in 2000. After I assembled it, not sure if I could still do that now as I’m now 68 but I would have a go, I painted the summerhouse with an oil based treatment. Upon checking the back wall and the right hand wall both look as good as the day I treated them. There is also about 2-3ft all the way around the summerhouse.
The choice of a pressure treated summerhouse will always be a good choice. The wood which will be tanalised is designed to protect against rot for at least 15 years.
It must be noted though that, whilst the timber will become resistant to rot and decay after being subjected to this process, it is still important to apply a suitable weather protector to the outside of the building, certainly to the sides of the building facing into the weather. This will protect the timber from the effect of sun, wind and rain which can combine to reduce the effectiveness of the treatment, cause the timber to shrink excessively or allow moisture to permeate through the timber itself. We recommend Protek Stable Coat as this has been developed specifically to protect pressure treated timber. You can order directly from Protek Timber Products
Remember that pressure treatment is inherently a wet process and it is therefore common for the timber to take a little while to dry out so patches of moisture on the inside of the building are nothing to worry about whilst the timber dries. These do not signify a problem and neither does the natural shrinkage or movement of timber which can be seen in all timber.
I will say that the gutters which I put on it may have helped so if possible always try use gutters if possible. It can be difficult to do that with conventional gutters which have to be screwed on but Marley have introduced a gutter system which just clips into place – perfect.
Never paint your building when the timber is wet as you can make it worse, always try to wait for the timber to be dry so autumn can be a good time. By ensuring the timber is dry you will find that the treatment will soak into the timber giving even better protection.
Other issues to look out for are broken or cracked window panes. If your building have any of these defects then mend or replace them before winter as well. Are they any broken boards then again take the trouble and replace them as these are weak points which may let you down in the depth of winter. These broken boards can also allow small rodents to get into your building away from the cold winter weather. You may not mind this is you are sympathetic to this wildlife but do bear in mind the damage they can cause.
Besides the above also take a look at your garden furniture and ensure before you put it away that it is clean and if showing signs of its age then maybe re-treat with an exterior garden paint. As this comes in a range of colours you could brighten up your furniture ready for the spring. You could, of course, brighten your garden shed or log cabin up in the same way and this would provide a little colour throughout the winter months.
By protecting your pressure treated summer garden buildings, furniture and decking before the onset of winter you will be prolonging the life of these well used items. This course of action will also help to prevent peeling, cracking, splitting or greying. This will ensure that come the spring you will be thinking to your self ‘Didn’t I do well?