How much maintenance does a garden room need?
Timber buildings shout out as high maintenance to some buyers, and it’s true they will need a little attention over the years, but not much, and a quality garden room will last you for many decades.
First off you have to stop thinking about garden rooms as posh sheds, the notion is fun but in reality a garden room is as far removed from the ‘orange’ garden shed as it is possible to get, and they actually owe their origins to traditional house building – what you are buying is a one room (in some cases two or three room) house!
Garden rooms use many of the same materials and techniques you’ll find in house building and are built to last many decades, but like a house they will require a little maintenance to keep them in good repair and maintain their appearance.
The vast majority of garden rooms are timber clad and will require some maintenance to maintain their original look, there are two main types of timber clad garden rooms, painted and cedar clad. Cedar clad garden rooms are often sold as the no maintenance option and unless you want to maintain the original colour this is true, while painted garden rooms will require maintenance every few years.
Painted garden rooms normally use pressure treated cladding or smooth marine ply as the basis for the decorative paint finish. Garden room suppliers have researched the finishes they use for longevity and how they weather, many choosing finishes which have maintenance intervals of between 5 and 15 years and biodegrade as they weather rather than flake off.
So, a painted garden room needn’t be a headache of annual painting, a brush off of cobwebs and a soapy wash-down will be all that’s required. When it comes to repainting you could obviously do it yourself or take up the repainting service offered by some suppliers.
If it’s a coloured garden room that you desire but the repainting puts you off, why not consider a metal or UPVC garden room, or even one with
composite cladding. Not as widely available as timber clad garden rooms they offer colour with no repainting. Metal clad garden rooms have powder coated finishes available in several shades, the palette of UPVC colours is more limited, but more options become available every year, both finishes require nothing more than a wash-down to preserve their appearance. Composite cladding is just starting to appear and offers the aesthetics of wood cladding but without the maintenance.
Cedar garden rooms have become very popular over recent years because they look modern and require little ongoing maintenance. Cedar is durable softwood that has a natural resistance to rot and fungal attack, if left unmaintained it has a lifespan of around 25 years. Many buyers are taken by the reddish brown colour of cedar but this will not last and will weather to a silver grey in just a few years giving a garden room quite a different look. If the new / reddish colour is important to you, you need to maintain it regularly applying a seal before it is exposed, ask your supplier about this at the design stage, some suppliers will seal the timber before its installed others will make a separate charge to do this.
Other durable claddings such as Siberian Larch and Oak will also weather from their initial colour to a silvery grey unless you attempt to maintain the colour.
DOORS & WINDOWS
The doors on garden rooms used to be a maintenance bug, because they used to be exclusively timber, they would swell in wet weather and this meant they needed to be adjusted to fit again. This problem has been mostly overcome by suppliers now choosing UPVC and aluminium doors and windows; these require little more maintenance than a soapy wash-down.
Where timber doors are specified many suppliers offer a return visit to adjust them if they swell into the project cost. Softwood timber doors will need a protective paint or stain finish to preserve them, whilst some suppliers build doors from the same materials as the cladding such as cedar or oak which can be left to weather to silver grey without any maintenance.
Garden room roofs are finished in house quality finishes which have a long maintenance free lifespan, all they really need is an annual visual inspection to check that nothing has come loose.
Living roofs have become very popular on garden rooms, and they certainly are attractive, but they do require a little annual maintenance to keep them looking tidy, so you’ll need to be able to get up on the roof or recruit a gardener who will!
Rainwater guttering is a must on a garden room; it’s amazing how much water runs off the roof. Guttering can become blocked particularly if the garden room is under a tree, so it’s good practice to keep it cleared; this is an easy and quick job.
Decking is a popular addition to garden room designs, it can become slippery but a regular power wash or application of chemical cleaner will rectify the problem. Decking can also lose its colour, so you may want to treat it with a preservative, there are lots of options which can easily be applied with brush or roller, but depending on the brand you choose it will need redoing every few years.
Some suppliers are opting for composite decking, a mixture of wood fibres and polymers which require little more maintenance than a soapy wash.
AROUND THE BASE
It’s good practice to keep the area around the foot of the garden room clear of leaves and long grass, this will keep damp vegetation away from the cladding, but this is all part of garden upkeep anyway!
As you can see a garden room will require a little maintenance to keep it in good order, but not that much, anyway you would want to do this to preserve your investment, an investment that will serve you many decades.
Ask your chosen supplier about the maintenance requirements of their garden room, some suppliers offer ongoing maintenance packages which do offer peace of mind.