It’s Easter, the time when millions of Brits traditionally shake off the winter blues to kick off the new year’s inaugural DIY frenzy. And a fair proportion of them have just emerged, blinking, into the garden for the first time since winter, only to realise their shed suddenly needs a jolly good seeing to.
Last year we saw an unprecedented Easter demand for garden shed paint and associated shed protection and renovation products. So this year, we’ve created a special offer for everyone who wants to get their timber sheds and fences in good shape for the summer.
15% OFF Garden Shed and Fence Finishing Products
Our very special spring shed and fence promo delivers a useful 15% off shed maintenance-related items between 5th and 12th April 2015. (Offer has now EXPIRED)
The only products falling outside the offer are from Osmo, which are already brilliant value for money. So fill your boots! Use the promotion code SHEDLOADS at the checkout and your discount will be applied automatically.
You’ll find a huge range of discounted products to help transform tired wooden garden sheds back into smart, practical storage and entertainment spaces. Click below, or read on for our simple garden shed preservation tips.
7 garden shed preservation tips – How to make your shed last a lifetime
- Water is a shed killer. If possible add guttering and a downspout, which you can funnel into a water butt. Make sure you don’t accidentally hose or sprinkle your shed for long periods. Sun is a shed killer, too. If at all possible, put your shed in a shady area in the first place. If your shed has an asphalt or other kind of roof covering, look out for sun, wind and water damage. When your roof covering dies, water gets in and before you know it your shed is all damp, warped, stained and leaky. Leave it too long, especially in wet weather, and your shed will quickly deteriorate.
- Surface preparation is vital for a long term, beautiful finish. Previously stained, painted or varnished sheds should be stripped back to bare wood. First, get rid of any encrusted dirt with a firm brush then scrub the surface with a good quality wood cleaner and let it dry completely. The idea is to achieve a clean, dry surface with no original coating left behind. It’s important because old finishes can interfere with a new finish’s ability to stick to the surface.
- Choose your outdoor garden shed finish, whether it’s a transparent or semi-transparent stain or a solid colour finish like shed paints. They all seal and protect the surface against damp and UV rays, the main culprits. Always try a test area first to ensure the product sticks to the surface properly. If not, you’ll have some more preparation to do first.
- Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions. It’s vital because every manufacturer’s products are different. Some can be harmful to plants, fish ponds and insects when wet but safe when dry. They may also be harsh on the skin and nasty if they get in your eyes.
- Once your finish is complete keep the wood clean, using a wood cleaning product to get rid of dirt whenever it occurs. Remove algae, lichen, fungi and moss using an appropriate mould and mildew cleaner. You can also use wood brightening products on bare timber, which neutralise the dark tannins common in cedar and redwoods and lighten the colour.
- Watch your garden shed preservative finish like a hawk. Water should run off penetrating oil-based products, and the colour should stay strong. If your shed finishing product absorbs water, it’s time for a re-coat. If you’ve used shed paint the signs of wear are obvious: cracking, peeling and bubbling all mean it’s at the end of its useful life and the wood underneath is at risk.
- Refinish your garden shed whenever it’s necessary. It’s better to act sooner than later. A semi-transparent or transparent stain will need washing and drying before you re-coat. Solid colour finishes like wood paints usually require a bit more preparatory work, sanding and scraping the loose paint off before cleaning the surface and adding fresh coats. If it’s wet or chilly, wait until the temperature rises above 5 degrees centigrade and watch out for bad weather forecasts.
About different garden shed preservatives
The thing to remember about shed finishes is that how long they last is very much dependent on the condition of the wood, preparation, the position of the shed and essentially how much wind, rain and sun it is exposed to. As a guide, oil finishes generally need maintenance on a more regular basis but crucially, they are much easier to maintain, while paints and varnish-like coatings last longer but require more attention when they start to break down, crack, peel and flake.
- Transparent stains include pigment and seal against moisture and change the wood colour while leaving the grain visible. Done properly, it can last 1 to 3 years before you need to re-coat your shed.
- Semi-transparent stains obscure the grain’s finer detail but still leave the overall pattern visible, lasting 2-4 years.
- A solid colour finish or paint is opaque, completely covering the wood and can deliver 5 or more years’ protection.
- Transparent and semi-transparent stains are usually a one or two coat job while wood paint typically needs two or more coats.
Is your garden shed shipshape for summer? The creative bit…
Now you know how to make a cheap garden shed last. But no matter what your shed cost in the first place, whether it’s a bog standard flat pack job or something posh and bespoke, shed maintenance wisdom remains the same: it’s all about vigilance, attention to detail and quick reactions.
That’s the practical side, but what about the creative bit? You might be bored stiff of the way your shed looks. In which case this is your chance to do something different this time around.
You might decide to use two different wood stains for a striped effect or paint your shed bright purple using special exterior wood paint. Heritage colours are enormously popular right now, especially those lovely, subtle sage greens, rich ochres and browns, and pretty duck egg blues. Or how about a bright, sparkling white shed with a couple of horizontal blue stripes, or a seaside-blue door and window frames? How summery and cool is that? If you’re inspired, try these gorgeous designs for inspiration.
If your shed is hugely practical but as ugly as sin and you’d rather hide it than highlight it, fast-growing plants trained up a simple wire skeleton in front of the shed can be used to create a gorgeous screen of green. If you use evergreens it’ll look fabulous and mask your ugly shed all year round. Just bear in mind if you let plants grow all over the shed itself, when you need to re-finish it you might have to remove or even kill the plants to access the wood surface.
What about green roofing? Sedum roofs are becoming more popular, where you reinforce the roof and add a covering of pre-seeded butterfly, bee and insect friendly, drought-resistant plants. It looks fantastic but the word ‘reinforce’ is vital here. You can’t just hurl a heavy mat of plant matter onto an ordinary shed roof and expect the structure to survive. Add water, snow or ice and the weight increases dramatically. And there’s waterproofing to think about, too. If you fancy finding out more, try this site about green roofing.
Good luck with your shed shenanigans this spring!
All that remains is to wish you a happy Easter holiday, and remind you if you need help, you can always call our friendly wood finishing professionals for a chat.