Just a quick Easter news update following on from our last blog featuring shed bases. We’re delighted to announce that our YouTube video demonstrating our QuickJACK-PRO base kit system has just past the 100,000 view mark. A1 Sheds is proud to be the UK’s premier supplier of this innovative product, and It’s great to know that so many people have had a chance to see the QuickJACK -PRO being used.
In addition to the QuickJACK-PRO which is designed specifically for soft surfaces, we are just about to launch the BRAND NEW QuickJACK-HS for HARD SURFACES. The QuickJACK-HS can be fitted onto uneven concrete, tarmac, paving slabs, monoblock, or mixed surfaces, with the same simple adjustment system… You heard it here first, so watch this space for updates.
How NOT to lay a shed base… it needs to be solid and level if you want your building to last!
A good base can add decades to the life of your shed… SO DON’T SKIMP!
We want you to be delighted with your new shed or summerhouse, and run screaming down the street telling your friends and neighbours just how pleased you are, (alternatively, you can just give us a good web review) but it won’t matter how good your shed is if your base is rubbish! Most people don’t give too much thought to their base, but it will add many years (possibly decades) onto the lifetime of your garden building, so here are a few ideas to make sure you get it right first time and get the best out of your new garden building.
Tanalised Timber Battens (or railway sleepers)
Loose-laid timber battens are definitely NOT ideal, but they’re better than nothing. They’ll need to be laid running across the direction of the under-floor bearers that come with your shed, and need to be levelled carefully. This would be the very minimum base requirement for a wooden shed, although it’s not something that we would recommend, as they are likely to move or settle, leaving your building to twist.
Please note that loose battens are not suitable for metal sheds or plastic buildings.
A1BaseKIT or Pressure-Treated Frame
The A1BaseKIT is a wooden frame made from pressure-treated timber. It is made to the precise size of the shed floor, and is pegged into the ground and levelled. This is a great way of achieving a level base, allowing maximum airflow to keep the underside of the shed floor dry. The frame can only be used with wooden buildings that have a structural floor, therefore it’s not suitable for metal and plastic buildings. You can make one yourself, or we can supply one to suit most of our timber buildings, and we can fit it for you if we are already doing the shed assembly for you. No ground preparation is required for this base. and because our wood is from sustainable forests, timber frame bases are very green and are best for the environment.
QuickJACK Metal Frame Supports
QuickJACKs are a DIY galvanised metal jack system that are used in conjunction with a timber frame. They are simple to fit, extremely long-lasting, don’t require concrete, and are completely adjustable. They can be jacked (up or down) even after your building has been assembled… perfect for new build properties, or for unstable areas which may be liable to sinking, settling or tree root movement.
Because they are used in conjunction with a timber frame, they are mainly suitable for wooden buildings such as sheds, summerhouses and log cabins, but can be used for plastic and metal buildings if you create a decked surface on top of the frame.
UPDATE: QuickJACK is now available for HARD SURFACES too. The NEW QuickJACK-HS can be fitted to existing hard surfaces that aren’t level!
Decking makes a very good base, however you need to make sure there is plenty room around it for assembly and maintenance, and it must also be strong enough to support the weight of your building. Always use pressure-treated (Tanalised) timber or hardwood, as this will last much longer than untreated or dip-treated boards.
You may have to add a set of steps to allow access, as decking is often much higher than traditional shed bases… and if higher, please remember that you’ll probably need to move heavy objects such as lawnmowers up and down.
Traditionally the most popular shed base in the UK. Concrete paving slabs provide a good solid, long-lasting base for most garden buildings (wood, metal or plastic) however they are heavy to handle and require a lot of ground preparation, including levelling, removing turf, adding bottoming (ballast), and coarse sand.
Slabs can still be prone to settling, so check carefully that the ground is well compacted before laying. Also, you don’t want to lay slabs near trees, as the roots will push them up easily.
Plastic Grid System
Plastic grids such as EcoBase and ProBASE are a great alternative to paving slabs. They are used in exactly the same way, however they lightweight therefore much easier to handle, can be cut and shaped using a normal handsaw, don’t transfer dampness, and have air cells throughout allowing your building to stay nice and dry. Because of their open design, plastic grids aren’t suitable for buildings without structural floors.
Note: Be careful to choose a large grid at least 500x500mm as smaller grids are prone to a lot of movement.
Concrete makes the strongest base, especially if reinforced, and it is suitable for all types of garden buildings, however it does have its drawbacks… it’s expensive, it’s very labour intensive, it can’t be easily rectified if there are any errors, it’s permanent, it’s not environmentally friendly, and it’s frowned upon by local authorities.
Yes, it can be awkward to lay, but you can forget about it completely if you do it right at the start, and for something like a garage where you need a lot of strength, there really is no alternative.
You may have an old slabbed patio, monoblocked courtyard, or tarmac driveway that you want to put a building on, but be careful to check that it is flat and level, as any slope or twist will ruin your building eventually.
Make sure that you don’t position your shed over any existing drain covers or utility access points.
It is vital to the performance and long life of any garden building, that it is erected on a flat, level and square base, capable of carrying considerable weight. The site should be clear of overhanging branches or obstructions, and have sufficient clear space around the site (we recommend 2ft minimum) for the safe erecting and maintenance of your building, but remember… you can call us free on 0800 195 6968 if you need more advice.
Confused?… Don’t know what shed to buy, let us help you make the right decision!
Feeling overwhelmed with the huge choice of sheds you can buy? A1 Sheds will guide you through all of the potential pitfalls!
So, you need a new garden shed and you’ve come to A1 Sheds to see what’s available. Congratulations for making the right decision so far, but now you probably realise that there is much more choice than you expected!
Nowadays there are wooden sheds, metal sheds and plastic sheds, and to the untrained eye they all look pretty much the same, so which one should you go for? Each shed has it’s advantages, but we want you to get one that’s right for you… so here are a few of the basic pro’s and con’s for each type to help you narrow it down a bit. Hopefully this quick, no-nonsense guide will give you an idea where to start, but remember… you can call us free on 0800 195 6968 if you need more advice.
Wooden sheds are traditionally the most popular sheds in the UK. They come with two main roof shapes: The tall pointed Apex roof gives you more headroom and faster rain/snow clearance due to the steep angle, and the Pent roof which has a gently sloping roof which is best if you want to run rainwater away from a wall or building, or if you want to collect rainwater in a water butt.
Generally wooden sheds are easy to assemble, and they usually come with a floor. The best quality timber sheds are made from slow-growing Redwood Pine from Scandinavia, as this is stronger and has a tighter grain. Cheaper buildings are made from Whitewood Pine, which is fast-growing and won’t last as long. Whitewood sheds tend to dry out leaving the odd knot-hole, and each board will shrink or swell depending on the weather.
The way the timber is machined is important too: Smooth T&G (tongued and grooved) boards are best as each board interlocks with the next, and the more T&G panels (i.e. roof floor and walls) the better your shed will be. Cheap sheds can have rough overlap boards and/or OSB (chipboard) roofs and floors to keep the cost down, and they aren’t as strong. Tanalised (pressure-treated) sheds are a recent development in the shed market. They won’t rot, but will still require sealing/painting.
Regardless of what timber the building is made from, moisture will dictate the amount that wood expands and contracts, and twists and small splits (shakes) may appear. This is a completely natural occurrence which gives wood its unique character, and is not classed as an imperfection or flaw.
Strong & long lasting (especially T&G)
Large, factory made panels are easy to assemble
You can get almost any size, shape or door/window layout to suit your requirements
You can paint it any colour
They come with integral floors which are best for storage
Easy and cheap to repair if required
They require regular maintenance (painting or preservative)
Roofing felt can be damaged easily and will need to be replaced occasionally
Large panels can be awkward to get into some properties
We always recommend looking at the best T&G sheds within your budget… with some (such as TGB sheds) we offer free professional installation which will save you money if you can’t assemble yourself.
Metal sheds are hugely popular (especially overseas), and in recent years have become very popular here too. Most are fairly cheap, and are used for general garden storage. They come as a DIY kit with loose panels and frames packed into a big cardboard box. Assembly of these buildings is straightforward, but time-consuming.
Most metal buildings have no floors, so a solid, flat concrete or paving slab base is essential. Metal sheds are generally pre-painted, and are made from galvanised steel They are designed to be maintenance-free, although the basic ones aren’t as strong as most people expect. Generally metal sheds have a long manufacturers warranty, but beware, as this is normally limited to rust-perforation only. Specialist steel security buildings are much better, stronger, and longer lasting, and are great if you need to keep valuable items safe. They are easier to assemble, however they’re much more expensive than the standard models.
Small panels for easy transportation to site
Conform to caravan and mobile home park requirements
Not as strong as timber sheds
Time consuming to assemble
No floor surface (usually)
Requires sealing on joints to stop water ingress
Concrete or paving slab base is essential
Condensation can be an issue
May rust in time (especially in coastal areas)
Noisy when raining
Generally, a metal garden shed is great if you have a tight budget with plenty time on your hands to build it. You need to have a solid base to fix it to, but once correctly assembled, they are long-lasting with low-maintenance.
Plastic sheds are the new kids on the block. They are all about low maintenance and easy assembly, and once installed, you can pretty much forget all about them. Most are manufactured in the USA, and can tolerate all weather conditions from frosts to heat waves, however some are better than others.
The best ones have thick blow-moulded walls made from UV-stable plastic resins which clip together quickly, and integral floors, although the floor will need a solid base below. Cheap plastic sheds tend to have thin plastic panels fitted onto metal frames (a bit like the metal sheds above) and aren’t so easy to assemble.
Often supplied with shelves and tool hangers
Not as strong as a good timber shed
Can’t paint or change colour
Condensation can be an issue
Can be quite expensive
Limited range of sizes and styles
The new breed of plastic sheds are very good, and you should consider them if you need something which is maintenance free and easy to assemble, but you should remember that they are difficult (if not impossible) to repair if they get damaged.
There is no such thing as the wrong shed… each style has it’s merits, however the right shed for you will depend upon where you are positioning it, what you are using it for, and how much you want to pay. Use the information above to help you narrow down your options, but remember… we’re only a phone call away if you need some friendly, impartial advice.
If so, you’ve probably been affected by one of the worst winter storms for generations, and it’s no laughing matter! According to statistics collected by the Association of British Insurers (ABI), more than 3,000 families are now in alternative accommodation while repairs are made to their flood homes this winter, and floods have caused a significant amount of damage to low-lying areas, and homes located within river flood plains, however the extreme wind has affected many thousands of people.
Individually, the wind isn’t generally as devastating as flooding, however it is likely to be more widespread, potentially affecting anybody, anywhere! Garden fences, greenhouses, garden sheds, summerhouses, gazebos and conservatories are all at the mercy of the storm-force winds.
Luckily, most storm damage is covered under your standard home insurance policy, but it’s best to check just in case. A1 Sheds freephone telephone number (0800 195 6968) has been inundated with calls from people asking about replacement garden buildings, and most aren’t sure what to do. Here are a few tips:
Firstly, stay safe… don’t try to stop the wind damaging your shed or greenhouse, as you won’t be able to help, and you may be hurt in the process.
Take photos… as many as you can, as they will be invaluable at a later date, especially if you are asked for evidence by your insurance company. Some people even video the damage as it unfolds… this can be traumatic, but you may end up with a great YouTube Video!
Tell your insurance company what has happened as soon as possible. Most have a 24-hour helpline, and they’ll be able to give you advice straight away. They’ll probably help you to arrange some emergency repairs to stop things getting any worse, and they may ask for receipts or valuations. We’ll be able to provide historical receipts if you purchased your garden items from us, or we’ll be able to give you valuations if you didn’t. We can also provide quotations if your insurance company asks.
Call A1 Sheds FREE on 0800 195 6968 for advice with an existing shed claim, or if you need help to choose a new shed or garden building.
Shed ripped to pieces during winter storms in Wales
This winter has seen some of the wildest and most prolonged storms for generations.
As a result, greenhouses, garden sheds and summerhouses are being tested to their limits. To help limit any potential damage, you should follow some basic precautions:
Make sure that the windows and doors are closed and locked, as most wind damage occurs once it gets into the building.
Use your shed! It might sound obvious, but an empty shed is like an empty cardboard box… it can be blown around by the wind much easier than than one which is full. If you hardly have anything stored in your shed, consider adding ballast to help weigh it down… a few paving slabs, or even some bags of sand or compost would be fine!
Check your roofing felt regularly for small tears or leaks, and repair immediately using a bitumen-based roofing adhesive. black mould or damp patches inside your shed can be an indicator that your roofing felt needs attention.
Check your windows for cracks… perspex windows are very flexible, and therefore need silicone sealant to stop them blowing in during storms. They can also go brittle as the temperature drops. Standard (horti) glass windows are unlikely to blow in, but can be broken with flying debris. Consider replacing perspex or horti glass with toughened glass which is much stronger and more secure.
Buy the best shed you can afford. If you haven’t purchased your shed yet, try to go for one with internal storm-bracings such as the TGB Bentley Supreme Apex, TGB Security Apexor the TGB Heavy Duty Apex, as they will last much, much longer than standard sheds. Apex roofs generally are stronger than Pent sheds, as they usually have less area on each panel for the wind to grab.
Consider using ground anchors to secure your building. They can be fitted to existing sheds, as well as brand new models. They are easy to fit and are suitable for use on hard or soft ground. We are currently sourcing some high performance ground anchors, and they’ll be available to purchase shortly at very reasonable prices.
If everything goes wrong, and your building is damaged, don’t try and rescue it during the storm as you will come off worst… instead, stay safe, and wait until the wind eases before trying to make repairs.
Most home insurance companies will cover sheds, garages, greenhouses and outbuildings under their standard buildings policy. A1 Sheds can help with all aspects of replacing your storm-damaged shed, and can provide insurance quotes if required, however please check with your provider to make sure you are covered… BEFORE THE WORST HAPPENS.
Welcome to Simply Garden Buildings’ very first blog post. We’re delighted to announce that the extensive range from A1 Sheds will be merged onto our simplygardenbuildings.co.uk website in due course, however in the meantime the logo has been added, and a few products have already started appearing on the site.
A1 Sheds have a great wealth of experience, and have been servicing the Edinburgh area since 1982. You can view dozens of show buildings at the dedicated display site in Tranent, and you can call in for unbiased advice.