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Keeping a Summerhouse in Good Condition

By: Chris Hogan MSc - Updated: 12 Feb 2015 | comments*Discuss
Summerhouse Garden Building Wooden

A summerhouse is a valuable addition to a home and a garden. It gives you and your family a place to relax and enjoy the summer. It can provide shelter that allows you to extend your enjoyment of the garden for longer than the climate of the United Kingdom would normally allow.

Financial Value as well as Lifestyle Value

But there is mounting evidence that the value of summerhouses, garden offices and other garden buildings add financial value to your home as well. People are beginning to appreciate the concept of using the garden as an extra room of the house and a summerhouse can play a big part in getting this idea over to potential buyers.

This makes it all the more worthwhile keeping a summerhouse in good condition and this article we will show how to take care of it. We will be covering keeping wooden summerhouses in good condition, as the vast majority of them are made of wood.

Regular Cleaning and Checking

The weather is the real enemy when it comes to wood, whether it’s good weather or bad. Sun will bleach and crack protective varnishes and paints, rain will get under eaves and into unprotected wood surfaces and wind will lift roofing materials and loose wood panels or slats. The only way to keep all this at bay is to have a regular programme of inspection and cleaning, during which you will spot any flaws and be able to deal with them before they get serious.

This sounds a bit draconian but it doesn’t have to be a big deal. Assuming you don’t use the summerhouse a great deal during the winter you can go through this process once in the spring, to get it ready for use, and then once more in the autumn, as a bedding down process.

Clean and be Vigilant

Go over the whole summerhouse, inside and out, dusting, vacuuming if you can get power out there, and wiping down surfaces with a damp cloth. Use a mild detergent solution if there are greasy marks, bird muck or plant sap on any of the surfaces. If you do use detergent on some areas make sure you wipe it down with a wet cloth afterward.

While you are cleaning you will come across areas where the varnish, paint or wood stain that protects the wood has cracked, peeled or worn away. Make a note of those areas or even mark them with a soft pencil. Then go back over them and sort them out properly.

Repairing Damage to Wood and the Finish

The repair process is no different to any other woodwork repair in or around the house, or with any other wooden garden building. Start by sanding down the affected area until you get back to good wood. If you do this twice a year as suggested then this should just be a case if rubbing back the finish and reapplying it. But if the summerhouse has been neglected you might get more serious problems such as damp or rot.

In these cases cut away the affected areas until it is all gone and either make a new piece of wood to fill the gap or use coloured wood filler for smaller areas. Once the repair is complete rub it down so that it blends in with the surrounding areas then recoat in varnish, paint or wood stain, whatever is required to match the original finish.

If you follow this simple procedure you should in theory never get any serious problems and your asset will be protected for many years to come.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
@Richard. We don't but hopefully one of our readers will be able to help you. Sounds like an interesting project.
AGardenBuilding - 13-Feb-15 @ 2:33 PM
I am restoring a wooden greenhouse which I believe was originally built in 1950's. Where the roof glass bottom edge meets the roof frame there is what appears to be a silver foil coated tar strip to prevent the rain meeting the wooden structure. This has deteriorated and I need to replace this before replacing the glass Do you know of a supplier for this foil coated tar strip?
Richard - 12-Feb-15 @ 8:19 AM
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