Good garden buildings start with good design, followed by quality construction, good material selection and timber treatment before final installation . It is this mantra that 'The Evergreen Workshop' always follows.
When looking for your garden building, the market place has a massive selection avaialable. Prices range from a few hundred pounds to tens of thousands of pounds. Style, size and quality all play a part in the choices available.
The first decision to make is always going to be budget. We would all like a solid structure that lasts for years and is maintenance free but such buildings are very expensive. Suppliers of garden buildings do so in a very competitive market and invariably for them the profit margin will play a major factor in what they are supplying. There are no regulations concerning how garden buildings are constructed or what the supplier has to say when marketting his product. This gives the seller a wonderful oppurtunity ans puts the customer at a massive
The basic law of buying is 'Caveat emptor' or buyer beware...... The seller will always know more than the buyer. Because we not only make garden building we also repair them we get to see what the market place is supplying. There are some wonderful manufacturers out there but there are also many that a supplying goods that have for want of a better word 'issues.'
We have repaired buildings that are nearly 100 years old and still going strong, our oldest was a victorian writing room circa 1920 that had never had any work other than painting and was now in need of a re-roof. The vast majority of the calls we get called to see however, concern buildings less than 10 years old. Log cabins that rot out after 5 years, Summer houses that lean over so doors cannot be opened. Roofing that fails after three years and floors that have completey rotted through in less than 10 years.
Sellers use statements that whilst true don't in fact tell the whole truth. A good example is the log cabin supplier that states their buildings is 'manufactured from slow grown Spruce not from mixed firs'
This sounds good apart from the fact that slow grown spruce is the cheapest timber on the market and untreated is only recomended for internal use. The same suppliers will tell you that the timber is untreated because pre-treated timber is not necessary providing you apply a treatment at installation stage. Again reassuring but untreated spruce does not take up timber treatement very well, in fact the Timber Growers Federation and The Building Research Estabilshment both state very clearly that spruce has a very poor ability to take up treatment. Now when you consider that spruce has one of the worst ratings for its ability to resist rot and insect attack, it then seems obvious that a building made from untreated spruce is simply a poor choice. The supplier knows this but do you?
Whilst on the log cabin subject when you also consider that a log cabin once built is almost impossible to repair because the wood in interlocked and stacked. There is no frame to support the wood above, So if the bottom pieces rot then the whole building has to come down to fit a replacement. Then it would seem that £4000 on a log cabin is a poor investment unless you are prepared to factor in for some major expense further down the line.
Good design must include material choice. We do use spruce but we only use pressure treated spruce for elements that are exposed to the UKs weather. We also use Oak, Cedar, Larch and occasionally teak and mahogany. Whilst on the subject of pressure treated timber. Do not be fooled by suppliers that say that pressure terated wood is no good once it is cut. Yes any cut timbers needs to be sealed with a suitable treatment but any manufacturer worth his salt does this as a matter of course for ALL timber, it is simply good practise.
When considering a garden building you should remember that it is going into a harsh environment. The UKs climate is perhaps one of the worst for timber products to deal with. There is the wet nature of our climate not just rain but also humidity. There is also attack from insects such as wood boring beetles and wood worm. Finally the worst enemy of the garden building is wet rot. This fungus produces spores that are quite literally everywhere even in the air we breath . Its function is to consmue dead matter and as your wooden building is essentially constructed from a dead tree then it is a target for this fungus. Many suppliers state that if you treat your building then it will last for years. Not true, the fungal spores enter the wood even when the tree is growing or whilst the wood is stored. They can lay dormant for years waiting for the right conditions to grow. They need a moist, dark host to then grow sending out tiny tubes and enzymes that start breaking down the wood. Wet rot always starts in the core of the wood and the first you will know is when the surface breaks up or insects such as wood lice appear. By now it is too late and the wood needs replacing. As it grows it spreads further and further into the building, warning signs can sometimes be seen such as bleached wood or timber with dark staining around cut end or joints. Severe cases see the wood turn black and a musty smell develop. Some wood is naturally resistant, such as Oak, Cedar and Larch. Other wood such as Redwood and pine can be treated on site to resist the effects. But some wood especially spruce has virtually no resistance unless it is pressure treated. Again good design eliminates this issue.
As a foot note thicker timber is no cure, in fact the thicker the wood the better the fungus can work, Sunlight and good ventilation will prevent the spore developing so an external cladding board will actually benefit from this, whereas a thick timber rail will not. We once visited a shed made from a frame of 100mm x 50mm timber (untreated) the wet rot fungus dissolved the bottom rail in five years.........but the cladding was still intact.
Finally on material, consider the future. your investment will need maintaining as does a car or a house. The consideration here is how much ? A good design with good material needs only to be treated every 5 years or so (depending on the treatment) Good design means that if an element does fail it can be easily replaced. Many buildings get converted into offices, gyms and activity rooms at significant expense. So don't buy a building that cannot be easily maintained otherwise this extra investment is also called into question. A log cabin coverted into an office with electrics and decorative lining, that rots at the bottom can be hugely expensive to repair and massively disruptive. For us a clad wall on a well constructed frame is always the best option. Some suppliers say that pressure treated timber is not in fact waterproof. And whilst to some extent this is true for timber less than 8mm thick will allow moisture to pass through. The truth is that cladding is fixed vertically to shed water and good cladding is at least 14mm thick. Plus any supplier worth his salt installs a vapour barrier behind the cladding to stop moisture passing into the building. Again it is simply good practise. As is fitting a Damp Proof course between floor joists and concrete and damp proof membrane betwwen joist and floors. If your supplier isn't doing it then the building is going to fail.
In this photo the items on the left have been salvaged from a 3 year old shed that was replaced after the floor rotted through. The main supporting frame was manufactured from 25mm square timber, the cladding was 9mm thick and the frame held together with 40mm nails. Cladding was stapled on. The nails and staples were plain steel
To the right is typrical of the material used by 'The Evergreen Workshop' on many of its small to mid size buildings. Frame members are 38mm x 63mm treated spruce, cladding is a minimum of 14mm thick redwood and the fixings are external grade green phospated screws. All cladding is nailed with 50mm galvanised nails and every fourth plank is additionally screwed. A vapour barrier is fitted as standard and if required the walls can be insulated and lined.
To get the best possible from your new building we take time to visit site, consult and discuss with you on your requirements. Perhaps look at the alternatives.
Garden buildings are often integrated into existing garden schemes so getting to know you and your likes and dislikes is key.
From this we produce plans and drawings to give an idea of what we can achieved. Only when you are happy to we start the build.
This is provided with no obligations on your parts, we are not sales people and there will be no hard sell, if for any reason you change your mind, we will understand.
Actual build time varies with each building but is typically one to two weeks. At every stage pf the process quality is never compromised.
All material is hand picked with timber selected and collected in person. This prevents wood that has defects being incorporated into the project. all timber is treated with deep penetrating wood preservers to provide long term protection from both bacterial and insect damage.
We build every element from scratch, this includes doors, windows frames etc. nothing is brought in pre-made. This gives us the ultimate control over quality and means the design never has to be compromised to suit commercially available elements.
A fully equipped workshop and seperate assembly building ensures that all elements can be manufactured. IOf course we will keep you fully informed throughout the build.
The finish applied is vital to ensuring the long life of the new build. Our process involves three key stages and starts as soon as the building components are machined. Even when we use elements internally which are not pressure treated we always all timber throughout the build with three coats of a transparent deep penetrating wood preserver This not only protects against fungal and bacterial attack but also from insect damage such as woodworm. Addistionally all timber in contact with the ground or buildings are impregnated with a Boron treatment that give long term protection against wet rot and insect damage.
Finally to the clients choice the whole building is recoated in the deep penetrating wood preserver for some not looking for a coloured finish his may be in a suitable wood tone such as Oak or Cedar finish. We always offer coloured finishes as part of the build. Our preference is the Cuprinol Garden Shades Range. which we have used for years both personally and professionally. This wonder product offers the same life expectancy of the best paint finishes such as 'Farrow and Ball external paint' but with the advantage that it can be overpainted WITHOUT the need to rub the surface down first. This is particularily important when considering a greenhouse or shed with its mass of surface areas and intricate shapes.
We are happy to provide actual samples of the finsih which is great when considering two tone paint schemes. Importantly all buildings get TWO coats of this to finish.
When it comes to the day of iinstallation, we aim to cause the minimum of inconvenience. The work will be carried out quickly and neatly. Any foundations required may have to be done in adance but this can be aranged nearer the time.
Timber buildings are organic structures with most timber now stored in warehouse to preent theft the first time timber is exposed to the elements some movement will occur. For the most part this is of know consequence but for doors and windows this can prove a problem, especially with a building made in the hotter summer months encountering its first winter. We are always on hand to come back at no cost to remedy any issues that may occur this is normally only required once and on completion the building should go on to give years of trouble free use.
We always aim to give the best possible service and create the best possible buildings, we use best practise and are happy to discuss any part of the design and build. If you have any plans then why not give us a call and discuss them with us....after all it's without any obligation.
The Evergreen Workshop
134 Haslemere Road
Tel: 01428 722700
Or use our contact form.
A lot of our work involves time on site. Please feel free to email or leave a message on the answer phone so that we can contact you.