Garden rooms may scream out high maintenance to some buyers. While it goes without saying that they will require some TLC over the years, the truth is they don’t really need that much. Buying a quality garden building that you then take care of can bring you joy for many decades.
Garden rooms are not just a novelty. They use many of the same materials and techniques you’ll find in house building which means they are built to last and be comfortable year-round. But just like your beloved home, garden rooms require some maintenance to keep them looking their best. So, how much maintenance does a garden room need? We take a look at the main requirements below.
There are two prominent types of timber-clad garden rooms; painted and unpainted. These types of garden rooms follow the latest trends and form the vast majority of those found on the market and in back gardens. Cedar-clad garden rooms are often advertised as the zero maintenance option, and this is true unless you want to maintain the original purchase colour! If you don’t fancy the weathered patina look, then you can opt to oil your cedar every 3-4 years. The type of oil used is usually an OSMO UV-Protection Oil.
Painted garden rooms are a great way to add a splash of colour to your outdoor space. They typically use pressure treated cladding or smooth marine ply as the basis of their decorative paint finish, ensuring that it will not flake off due to weathering and maintenance intervals between 5-15 years. These finishes tend to biodegrade with weathering rather than flaking off.
This means that even that painted garden space needn’t be a headache. Simply cleaning off the cobwebs with a soapy wash down will be enough most of the time. When it does come time to repaint, you can do this yourself or, of course, hire a professional. Some suppliers even offer a maintenance service.
If it’s colour that you long for, other options are a metal or UPVC garden building or even composite cladding. While not as readily available as timber clad garden rooms, these options do offer a paint-free alternative that stands up to weathering and sunlight.
Metal clad garden rooms have powder coated finishes available in several shades. The colour palette of UPVC options is more limited; however, new options are being created each year for both types so that there will always be an option to suit your needs! Both metal and plastic require nothing but a wash-down to keep their appearance beautiful. Composite cladding is taking off right now as it looks like wood without all the maintenance work involved with wooden cladding. You can also choose from a range of colours available.
If it’s the reddish-brown of cedar garden rooms that draws you in, remember that while cedar is a durable softwood with a natural resistance to fungus and rot, it will not maintain this gorgeous colour without being maintained and sealed regularly. The absence of this maintenance will result in the garden room fading to a silver-grey over its 25-year lifespan. This is also true for Siberian Larch and Oak claddings.
Windows & Doors
When summer houses and garden rooms first game about, the doors were a genuine issue of contention. Made exclusively of timber, they would swell and shrink in the weather and often needed to be adjusted to hang correctly; however, you will undoubtedly find that most suppliers have overcome this niggle by choosing aluminium and PVC doors and windows. These low maintenance alternatives rarely need more than a soapy wash-down.
If a timber door is specified, many suppliers will offer to come and adjust them if they swell, which is often included in the project’s cost. Make sure you ask when placing your initial enquiries. Some suppliers will match the door to cedar or oak cladding choices meaning it can be left to weather to silver grey if no maintenance is preferred. Softwood timber doors will require a stain finish or protective paint if you want them to be preserved.
The roof of a garden room is similar to that of a house’s in its’ quality. This means they will have a long, maintenance-free lifespan. You’ll need to look them over every year to make sure that nothing has come loose.
One option that has recently become more popular is that of a living roof. These look stunning but will require significantly more maintenance. You will either need a gutsy rooftop gardener, or you will need to brave the heights yourself to take care of the roof annually.
Rainwater guttering is an essential part of a garden room; it’s surprising how much water will run off the roof. However, gutters can become blocked, especially if the garden room is positioned below trees. Keeping the gutters clear is actually a quick and easy job.
Decking is an increasingly popular addition to garden room designs, but it can become slippery. You’ll want to keep your deck clean by power washing regularly or through the application of chemical cleaner, which will rectify the problem. Decks can lose their colour, so you may want to apply a preservative too. There are lots of options available, these will depend on what type of wood you have. These preservatives can be applied with a brush or roller and will need redoing every few years.
Some suppliers do offer composite decking, which blends polymer and wood fibres; this option requires little more than a soapy wash.
It would be best if you always endeavoured to keep the base of your garden room free of long grass or fallen leaves. This will help to keep dampness away from the cladding.
We hope that’s answered the question ‘how much maintenance does a garden room need?’ for you. As you can see, a garden room may not require as much maintenance as you had initially thought. There will be some requirement for upkeep to preserve your investment, meaning you get to spend more time enjoying the space and less time labouring over it!