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Summerhouses - Frequently Asked Questions
- Q: What size summerhouse do I need?
- Q: Where should I locate my summerhouse?
- Q: What type of base is suitable for my summerhouse?
- Q: How can I get rid of my old building?
- Q: What access is required to deliver my summerhouse?
- Q: Is my summerhouse suitable for DIY assembly?
- Q: How should I maintain my summerhouse?
- Q: Can I insulate my summerhouse?
- Q: Can I have electricity in my summerhouse?
- Q: Is planning permission required for my summerhouse?
- Q: Is building regulations approval required for my summerhouse?
- Q: What is western red cedar?
- Q: What is pressure treatment?
- Q: What is shiplap cladding?
- Q: What is loglap cladding?
- The space will always be used, so buy the biggest summerhouse you can afford provided that it fits comfortably in the space available. There are no precise guidelines regarding the size. Often the size of the summerhouse is dictated by the space available. At Summer Garden Buildings we offer a wide range of sizes to suit every space. If you are replacing an existing summerhouse, you should consider whether to have the same size again or perhaps larger. You should also consider how many people you might like to seat in your summerhouse. Also, could your summerhouse be used for dining? The smallest size is generally 7'x5'. The most popular size for a small summerhouse is 6'x8' which provides ample space for 2 comfortable armchairs and a small table. An 8'x10' can seat 6 or even 8 in comfort around a suitably sized dining table.
- Ideally your summerhouse should have a clear space at least 18" wide on all sides, if possible. This ensures easy access for both installation and future maintenance. In reality this is often not practical and at many sites it is not needed. A reduced clearance is often possible on one or two sides. If the space around your summerhouse is restricted remember to allow for any roof overhang. You should also cut back or remove any nearby shrubs and trees. Remember to allow for future growth. We recommend a sheltered position which is not exposed.
- All summerhouses need a substantial base. The base should be solid, square, flat and level to ensure the stability of your summerhouse. Paving slabs or concrete are ideal. A solid concrete base is more permanent and normally more expensive but it provides an excellent base especially for a larger summerhouse. Paving slabs are more practical and cost effective, especially for a smaller summerhouse at the far end of the garden. The base should be no smaller than the floor size of the new summerhouse and no more than a few inches larger.
- The easiest way to remove your existing shed or summerhouse is to sell it. There's a very healthy trade in old second hand buildings. You probably won't earn much money from the sale, but you'll get rid of it for nothing! The usual arrangement is to sell the old shed for the buyer to dismantle at a time which is convenient for you. Ideally you should insist on full payment and immediate removal. If you settle for a deposit, perhaps with removal at a later date, make sure it's a significant deposit. You need to be confident that the buyer will return when agreed! You can normally place a classified advertisement in the local newspaper for a few pounds by phone or online, with payment by credit card. Typical draft advertisement: "Summerhouse 8' x 10' double doors good condition, buyer to dismantle, £50 for quick sale. Phone 01234 567890"
- If your order includes installation the summerhouse will be delivered and installed on the same day by prior appointment with you. A clear access route is required from the lorry to the prepared base, with no access restrictions. The sections are often large flat panels which may be as long as the summerhouse. Possible restrictions include archways, narrow passages, sharp corners and flights of steps. It is not normally possible to lift large panels over fences and walls. Access through the house may be possible with advance notice. If required larger panels can be made in smaller sections for a small surcharge. Please advise us if there are any access restrictions at the site.
- Most Summer summerhouses are suitable for DIY assembly. Assembly is a straightforward and satisfying project for any DIY enthusiast. Even large summerhouses can be installed with only basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a power drill, a spirit level, an adjustable spanner, a knife, a stepladder and safety goggles. Particular care is required when handling glass and good quality gloves should be worn at all times. You should not attempt to lift heavy sections without a helping pair of hands. Remember that extra time spent preparing a good base is normally repaid with time saved later on during the installation.
- Unless your wooden summerhouse is made from cedar or pressure treated timber it will require regular treatment. The external timber should be treated with a good quality wood stain every year. This will prolong the life of your summerhouse. All major wood stain manufacturers offer suitable products in a choice of colours, available from good hardware shops. At Summer Garden Buildings we offer a range of microporous wood preservatives in a choice of colours. Although normally offered with a new building only we are always happy to supply any of our microporous preservatives separately at any time to an existing customer who purchased one of our summerhouses. It is not essential to treat cedar which is a naturally resilient timber and does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes. If untreated cedar will gradually fade to a silvery grey. It is not essential to treat pressure treated timber which if untreated will gradually fade to a silvery grey. We also recommend that you regularly oil the door and window hinges as required to ensure continued smooth operation.
- All Summer summerhouses can be easily insulated. Inexpensive polystyrene or fibreglass insulation can be easily fitted between the framing members. The insulation is retained by cross battens which also support the lining boards. Wood effect veneered wallboard is a popular lining but plywood and tongued and grooved cladding are also suitable. Many of our garden offices include insulation as standard and others include insulation as an option. We recommend insulation if you wish to use a summerhouse or garden room all year round
- Although providing an electricity supply to a summerhouse or garden room is normally a straightforward task, for safety reasons we recommend that you consult an approved electrician first. Since January 1st 2005 all electrical work must be completed in accordance with IEE wiring regulations and BS 7671. Notifiable work must be either notified directly to the local building control department or completed by an operator who is approved under the Part P Electrical Competent Person Scheme.
- The majority of summerhouses and garden rooms do not require planning permission. However, permission is required for any summerhouse which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof. Larger summerhouses which are within 2 metres of a boundary and over 2.5m high (8'2") require planning permission. Some larger summerhouses with apex or hipped roof designs may be over 2.5m high. Planning permission may also be required for any summerhouse which is nearer to a public highway than the original dwelling. For planning purposes a public highway includes any road or footpath with a public right of way. If you live in a Conservation Area or a Listed Building permission may be required for any garden building over 10 cubic metres. This brief summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Contact us for further advice or contact your local planning department. Please note that planning regulations apply to any building whether temporary or permanent including summerhouses.
- The majority of summerhouses and garden rooms do not require approval under the building regulations. However, approval is required for any summerhouse with an internal floor area of more than 30 square metres. Please note that the building regulations apply to any building in excess of 30 square metres whether temporary or permanent including summerhouses.
- Western Red Cedar is an attractive timber but it also has an unrivalled reputation for durability. It is ideal for use in the construction of summerhouses and garden rooms. The superior qualities of Western Red Cedar are summed up in this extract from the grading rules published by The Pacific Lumber Inspection Bureau:
- "The largest and finest of the cedars produced anywhere in the world, the Western red cedar is famed for its extraordinary durability and resistance to decay. Western red cedar is a distinct species, possessing all the desirable qualities of the other cedars, and additional advantages besides. It can be finished to a smooth, silky finish; it is free from pitch, it takes and holds stains and paints excellently, and has superior glueing properties. Its colour is extremely attractive, varying from almost pure white of the narrow sapwood to the light straw shade of dark reddish-brown of the heartwood. The wood of Western red cedar has a vey low coefficient of expansion, so that it does not shrink, swell or warp excessively, even when subjected to changing degrees of temperature and moisture. It has prime insulating qualities and its pleasing aromatic odour is repellent to moths, insects and vermin. The wood is saturated to every fibre with a natural preservative oil which renders it virtually immune to decay and gives it extreme durability without artificial preservative treatment. It is not necessary to paint cedar to preserve its surface, as it does not deteriorate appreciably even under severe climatic changes."
- Pressure treatment is a lifetime preservative treatment. We offer pressure treated summerhouses and other garden buildings. The preservative is forced into the timber under pressure and penetrates below the surface, whereas all other treatments apply a coat of stain to the surface of the timber only. Pressure treatment is almost colourless except for a slight green tint caused by the copper content in the preservative. No further treatment is ever needed but if you want a coloured finish you can paint over pressure treated timber with normal wood preservative in any colour.
- Shiplap is the traditional and ever popular cladding profile for use in summerhouses and other garden buildings. Shiplap features smooth planed and fully interlocking tongued and grooved boarding. The design ensures that rainwater drains quickly and the timber dries quickly. This helps to ensure a longer life for your summerhouse. Our summerhouses and garden rooms feature properly tongued and grooved boarding which is stronger than the half lap shiplap or rebated shiplap used by many others.
- Loglap is an increasingly popular cladding profile for use in summerhouses and other garden buildings. Loglap features smooth planed and fully interlocking tongued and grooved boarding with a rounded external log effect profile. The design ensures that rainwater drains quickly and the timber dries quickly. This helps to ensure a longer life for your summerhouse. Our summerhouses feature properly tongued and grooved boarding which is stronger than the half lap loglap or rebated loglap used by many others.
What size summerhouse do I need?
Where should I locate my summerhouse?
What type of base is suitable for my summerhouse?
How can I get rid of my old building?
What access is required to deliver my summerhouse?
Is my summerhouse suitable for DIY assembly?
How should I maintain my summerhouse?
Can I insulate my summerhouse?
Can I have electricity in my summerhouse?
Is planning permission required for my summerhouse?
Is building regulations approval required for my summerhouse?
What is western red cedar?
What is pressure treatment?
What is shiplap cladding?
What is loglap cladding?
Summer Garden Buildings is a leading UK retailer of summerhouses and garden rooms established in 1981 with a retail display site in Norwich, Norfolk.