How long do wood sheds last and how to increase their lifespan

Date Published: September 20th, 2019

One of the important things to consider when buying a new shed is how long a wooden shed will last. Wood is often the preferred material for sheds because it is sturdy as well as being more visually attractive than metal or plastic. The only downside of wood is that it is prone to warp or rot over time if not treated correctly due to exposure to moisture.

The lifespan of a wooden shed will vary according to several factors. These include the type of wood, the quality of construction, the extent of its weatherproofing, and its location. How well you maintain your shed will also affect how long it will last. Below are the things that you should look out for when buying a shed and what you should do to increase its lifespan.

Roof

The design of a wooden shed’s roof is a clue to how long it will last. The roof design should minimize the likelihood of rain running down the shed walls and causing rot. This will usually involve a sloping roof to ensure that rainwater runs off, such as a shed with an apex roof or pent roof. It is even better if the roof overhangs the sides, because this guarantees that it will direct rainwater away from the walls. The roof design should also be sturdy and sealed securely so that water can’t get inside. If this happens, then the water can damage the items that you store in the shed and compromise the shed’s overall structure.

Walls

The walls and frame of a wood shed should ensure durability. There should not be gaps in the walls, just as there should not be unsealed gaps in the roof. When you stand in the shed, you should not be able to see daylight coming through the walls other than through an actual window or open door. The frame of the shed and the types of cladding used for the wall panels are integral factors contributing to the longevity of your wooden shed. To make sure that it is protected against draughts, choose one with tongue and groove cladding or shiplap cladding. These types of cladding are great value because they are less likely to warp and will prevent water from getting into the shed between the boards.

Windows and Doors

The door of your shed needs to be sheltered against the weather as much as the rest of the walls do, so look for a shed with a weather bar above the door. This is a strip of wood which deflects water from running down the door. It’s even better if the door has another weather bar at the bottom for the same reason. Windows especially are likely to rot at the bottom of their frames if they are not designed to prevent this. Drip grooves cut beneath the windowsill can direct water to the ground and off the shed, so check for these when buying a shed with windows. Quality workmanship should ensure that windows and doors fit perfectly in place.

Flooring

The floor of your shed needs to be as robust as the walls and roof, even if it is not exposed to the elements. It needs to be able to hold up not only your weight but the weight of anything that you choose to store in your shed. Even if you use your shed for something else other than storage, the floor needs to be able to withstand general wear-and-tear. It must also be sturdy and level. It is also a good idea for the floor to have waterproof treatment as well as the walls. You might want to build a foundation for your shed or buy a raised one if you have concerns about drainage and potential flooding in the area where you’ll position it.

Finish

The finishing of the shed is vital because it not only contributes to better aesthetics but also helps with weatherproofing, thus affecting the lifespan in a positive way. Most sheds will come painted or with staining or varnishing to preserve the wood. You can choose to buy a shed with a stronger colour from the wood preservative or one which supports the natural look of the wood. Even if you choose to paint it, many preservatives allow the grain pattern to show through. It is a good idea to check which water-resistant treatment a shed has already received when you buy it.

Maintenance

You should not need to replace your shed in your lifetime if you buy one of high-quality and preserve it with regular maintenance. This includes painting it with preservative at least once a year and maintaining its weatherproofing. It is best to do this in dry weather and using whichever preservative treatment was originally applied to the wood. Remember that you will need to clean the shed before doing this. You must also regularly clean the inside of the shed, checking for areas of damp or loose panels of wood. If you do find issues like this, the sooner you catch them, the more likely you will be able to repair them quickly.


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