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.