A lovely summer house is a welcome addition to any garden, but to ensure it provides enjoyment for many years to come some basic maintenance is required to keep it in excellent condition.
Choose a Dry Location
Protect your summer house by carefully considering the location where it will be situated. Make sure that your chosen area consists of level ground that does not become overly wet and damp in the rain. Avoid areas where water pools and collects as soggy timber will quickly warp, rot and decay.
As an outdoor building, your summer house will most likely be exposed to the elements but you can still be proactive in thinking about the optimal space in which to situate it.
Installing guttering is a great way to keep water from falling from the roof of your summer house and running down the sides. The more you can protect your building the longer it will last.
Guttering is very cheap to purchase and simple to install but you will need to divert the runoff to a waste water pipe or even collect it in a small rainwater tank to use on the garden at a later date.
Create a Dry Foundation
Keeping your summer house away from contact with damp soil will greatly extend its life and this can be easily achieved by placing it on top of a dry foundation. This may be as simple as a bed of coarse stone or gravel, using a number of discarded wooden pallets or even by laying a small concrete slab and securing your summer house to it.
Apply a Wood Preserver
Wood preservers are generally solvent or oil-based treatments that can be painted or sprayed directly onto the timber of summer houses to create a waterproof barrier against the elements. Using a clear coat of preservative can highlight the natural appeal of the wood by still allowing the grains, knots, burls and textures to remain visible. Liberal application of a few coats of good decking oil will also achieve a beautiful result.
Such products can repel water and often include anti-UV properties that protect timber from being warped or damaged by exposure to the sun. Some preservers can also act as a barrier against insects and vermin that may view your summer house as a tasty snack rather than a comfortable place for humans to relax.
If the wood of your summer house is not particularly appealing you may also decide to paint over it with a strong weatherproof paint. This may help the building blend in and complement existing colour schemes as well as providing more layers of protection.
Wood preservative must still be applied prior to painting to gain the best result but using exterior paint will allow you to choose from a wide and varied palette and add your own unique touch.
Sooner Rather than Later
Regardless of the solutions you implement, be sure to take preventative action sooner, rather than later. Treat the timber of your summer house immediately upon purchase, when the wood is brand new and has not yet been exposed to the elements. This will keep it in its prime for much longer.
Generally, a good rule of thumb is to repeat the application of your chosen timber treatment once per year. Most exterior house paints are very durable and may last 5 – 10 years without repainting. This may be a better solution for those wanting to avoid annual maintenance.
These simple tips will help ensure your summer house continues to provide joy and comfort for many seasons to come.