How to care for your garden shed.
After investing in your new garden building, you want to make sure that it’s life time is as long as possible. Here are a few guidelines to assist you:All garden sheds from Fenton Portable Buildings are treated with a water-based base coat, which you selected at the time of ordering. You should retreat your new building within 6 months of it being installed with a good quality oil or spirit based preserver. After you have treated it for the first time, we then recommend that you retreat it every 12 months, ideally before the start of each autumn, to protect it from the rain and damp weather conditions.If you use your garden shed for storing of garden tools or bikes, as a potting shed or any other use where it may get damp inside, then you should also treat the inside of your garden building too to protect from dripping tires or overflowing plant pots!Fenton Portable Buildings recommends: Spirit preserver is available from our sales office in both golden and mid brown to suit your base coat colours.

While treating the inside of your building, it gives you the chance to sort through what you have in there. You should always make sure you take care of your garden shed by not overloading it and by cleaning it when it is required. This will help protect the wood and help it last longer.

Also, while cleaning and treating your garden building, you can check the timber for any signs of damp. This is normally seen as grey patches and can occur at any time during your shed’s lifetime depending upon the environment and location of your building and its surroundings. Any boards of your building that develop damp patches need to be replaced. This needs to be done in the warmer weather (when the wood has shrunk after the damp weather) and replacement boards are available from our sales office, cut to size, along with a detailed explanation on how to replace the boards.

As with all timber buildings, a garden shed will take a year or two to completely settle in its outside surroundings. In the winter the wood will swell due to moist air whereas in the summer the wood may shrink making the timber split. To make sure these have the lowest impact possible it’s a good idea to slightly loosen the screws on the inside of the shed when it gets warmer and then tighten them up again in time for the cooler winter months. After two years the building should be completely established in its surroundings and should only need tightening twice and loosening twice before being tightened once and for all.

Finally, the felt on your shed probably suffers from the weather more than any other part and so, once a year, needs a quick inspection. Ensure that the felt is clear of any fallen leaves (use a soft brush if not) and that all of the felt pins are secure and that there are no tears or rips. If your felt is looking like it may need changing then contact our sales office who can arrange to either re-felt your building on your behalf or supply you with a re-felt kit which includes felt and nails as well as new barge boards and diamonds and, again, a detailed explanation of how to refelt your building.

Carrying all of the above out just once a year will help to ensure that your garden building has a longer lifetime and helps your garden shed to continue to do it’s job in the way that we design and manufacture them to do.

DISCLAIMER: You should note that this article is a guide only . Fenton Portable Buildings do not take any responsibility for the care or longevity of your buildings other than our standard guarantee. This guide should be followed using all safety precautions, equipment and common sense. If you are unsure about how to care for your timber building, contact us or a tradesperson.
How to lay a base for your new garden building

Introduction
To give your shed the longest life possible and ensure it is safe, providing a level, sound, sturdy base is essential. Building the base for a garden building is an easy task for a single person to complete and we would recommend 3 to 4 hours of labour will have your base ready for your new garden building or shed.
This guide takes you through the basics of laying your base, it is not a detailed instruction sheet and should be followed with common sense and safety in mind, however you should ensure your base is flat, level and square before you have a shed erected on your base and wear all necessary safety or protective clothing.

Planning
Planning permission is normally not required for a prefabricated garden building, however, if you live in a conservation area or the building could intrude on a neighbours garden, you may wish to check with neighbours or local council prior to construction.
Consider the optimum site for the your garden building in terms of:
  • General access (for delivery of garden building, access to all sides for maintenance and applying wood treatments etc.)
  • Surrounding area conditions (Foliage, young trees that may grow in future etc.)
  • Natural light (a light area is best of the building is to be used as a workshop for example)
  • View from the planned area (for summerhouses etc.)
  • Do you intend to run an electrical supply to the building and does it give any implications?
Methods
It is crucial to provide a level and dry foundation. It is unfeasible, and potentially dangerous, to assemble a shed on an unsound base. For larger buildings (20ft+), especially where the shed is to be used as a workshop or garage, a full concrete base is best. However, generally  paving bases are more than adequate for a garden shed, summer house or workshops.
The size of our shed floor/bases is approximately 1½ inches under the size of your building, so you can lay your base to the size of your new building if you wish, however we would recommend making the base up to 4 inches bigger if possible.
FPBuildings

Fenton Portable buildings do not lay bases for any garden buildings, although we do offer additional bearers, base frames and a levelling-when-fitting service. Please contact our office for details on these services.

We do, however, have an independent base layer we can ask to contact you should you read this guide sheet and decide you need someone more qualified to lay your base! This base layer is not affiliated with Fenton Portable Buildings but has worked with us for many years and is also happy to quote you for other general building and garden work.

Slab Base Method
Tools Required:
Pegs and string, Paving Slabs, Building sand, Standard cement, Rake, Tape measure, Spade, Rubber mallet, Sweeping brush
  1. As mentioned decide where to position the shed in an optimal space, allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string to mark out the base 2 inch (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Finally, a measure diagonal to ensure the area is square.
  2. Strip the topsoil and dig out to a depth of approx. 2.5 inch (7 cm) to accommodate the base. Level the area and remove the pegs.
  3. Mix together one part cement to eight parts building sand for a dry sand and cement mix. Spread this evenly ensuring that the mix sits approx. 4 cm in depth. Now, rake this to a level.
  4. Starting from one corner and working outward, lay the slabs by tapping down on the centre of each slab with a rubber mallet. Using a spirit level, ensure all the slabs are square, level and firmly butted together for a solid base.
  5. The completed base should now be level and square. Do one final check with a long straight edge to check if the base is level from each corner, and also measure the diagonals to finally check the base is square. Brush off any excess dry sand/cement mix, which could hinder the levelling of the shed. The result is a smooth, sound, level base. The perfect foundation for the construction of a garden building.
Concrete Base Method
Tools Required:
Pegs and string, Building sand, Standard cement, Timber for base frame work, Tape measure, Spade, Sweeping brush
  1. Decide where to position the shed in an optimal space, allow enough distance from hedges or fences for easy access to all sides. Using pegs and string to mark out the base 2 inch (5 cm) larger than the area of the building on each side. Finally, measure diagonals to ensure the area is square.
  2. A concrete base requires 3 inch (7.5 cm) of compacted hardcore underneath the 3 inch (7.5 cm) concrete layer. The base can be level with the ground or raised above it. If it is to be level excavate the top earth to 6 inch (15 cm) to allow for the hardcore layer and 3 inch (7.5 cm) thickness of concrete.
  3. Level the area with a rake and spade and remove the pegs.
  4. Set up levelled formwork. This involves measuring, cutting and fitting timber, to the shape of the base in order to contain the concrete.
  5. Check diagonals to ensure the formwork is square. And also ensure the formwork is level, as this will determine whethery your base is 100% level. Next, spread a layer of well compacted hardcore and cover with a liberal amount of sand.
  6. Next, mix concrete using one part cement to five parts ballast or use bags of dry-mixed concrete to which you just add water. Small amounts of water should be added at a time and mixed into the concrete mix to ensure excessive amounts are not added making the cement sloppy, as the concrete should be kept on the dry side.
  7. Spread the concrete evenly and slightly proud of the formwork. This can be then levelled off with a long straight edge of timber resting on the formwork using a sawing motion slowly (as shown below) over the entire surface of the freshly laid concrete.
If wet weather is forecast, cover the concrete with polythene for 24-hours. In warm weather cover the base with damp sacks and sprinkle them with water over the 24-hour period, this will ensure the drying concrete will not shrink and crack.
The result is a smooth, sound, level base. The perfect foundation for the construction of a garden building.

DISCLAIMER: You should note that this article is a guide only . Fenton Portable Buildings do not take any responsibility for the care or longevity of your buildings other than our standard guarantee. This guide should be followed using all safety precautions, equipment and common sense.

If you are unsure about how to properly lay a flat, level, adequate base then contact us or a tradesperson.