Maintaining your shed requires regular checks to ensure that its structural integrity is at an optimum. The main challenges that garden shed owners face are the sun, wind, and rain. These elements affect the exterior of the shed and if their effects get left unchecked, they can spread to the inside and the integrity of the shed would get compromised. It is thus crucial that you maintain your shed throughout the seasons if you want it to last long. Otherwise, you will end up buying or constructing another shed in no time. Here are some of the steps that you should undertake:
Give the shed some space
The first thing that you should do is ensure that nothing is in contact with the building. Sometimes, people like having trees around the building so that they can provide shade when the temperatures are high. While this is a good idea, the trees should not touch the building as this can get in the way of airflow. Without air flowing freely around the building, drying out of the timber becomes harder in the cold months, and this can lead to mold as well as water damage. Also, if the trees around the shed have overhanging branches, you should cut them. If left uncut, the branches can damage the roof when the winds are strong. Another thing that people tend to leave unchecked is the tools and logs that rest on the shed. Ensure that they too are not in contact with the shed as they can get in the way of airflow.
You should also check for grass and leaves at the base of your shed as they too can affect airflow even when the timber is pressure-treated. Foundation joists have to dry out; else they could weaken over time, forcing you to incur added costs in repairs. With this step out of the way, you can rest assured that you have significantly reduced the chances of mold growth and the damage of your shingles.
Treatment and preservation
It is essential that you treat your wood before the cold months begin. In most cases, the wood treatment gets done immediately you install the building. However, you should continue reapplying the wood treatments on a regular basis to ensure that the shed has adequate protection. Wood preservers work to prevent fungal infections, rot and pest infestations. You should also use some oil to create a watertight barrier. When choosing the chemical to use in treatment, be sure to use a high-quality product that can protect your shed as you head into winter. It is also a good idea to work on the exterior of your shed by applying a coat of paint when necessary and also staining it from time to time. It could be that you want to avoid the use of potent chemicals and in such a case; there are tons of environmentally friendly products on the market. It helps to have a checklist which you can use to see when you last treated your shed to know whether you need to do it again for the next season.
Check your roof
As the cold months set in, the winds get stronger, and it is crucial for your roof to be sturdy enough to withstand the pressure. Check the roof for loose shingles or felt and if there are some, there are two ways in which you can go about it. The first involves buying replacements for the worn out parts and fixing the roof. The second option is to re-roof the shed if the damage is quite significant. It all depends on the situation of your roof. Failure to do so will lead to you incurring costs at the end of the season to fix the water damage that is likely to occur.
Start by checking whether the doors and windows open and shut with ease. If you find that they cannot do so, it is likely that the frames have swollen or warped and you should check on this. If you have to pane or sand a surface to free a sticking window or door, it is crucial that you finish the process by applying wood preserver and treatment. For the locks, handles, and hinges, you should apply a coat of oil on them now and then to ensure that they keep moving freely. You do not have to take everything apart for this and you can use a spray can with a straw to direct the oil into the moving parts.
Check the gutters
Gutter blocking could lead to severe water damage, and it is thus essential that you regularly check to see if water can make its way through the drains. Start by clearing leaves and other debris in the gutter. You can also consider having a mesh leaf trap guard in your downpipe to prevent leaves from blocking the drainage, especially when you have trees around the shed. You can also use rain chains if you do not like the way gutters look. Either way, you will prevent water from flowing down your walls and creating damp problems.
Inspect the interior
You could easily fail to spot some problems in your shed if you do not pay much attention to the inside. One simple way of conducting an inspection is by freeing up space in the shed. As you tidy the place, you are likely to spot mold, nests, damp areas and other problems that adversely affect the structure of the building. Checks should be regular so that you can fix problems at an early stage.
Check the windows
Condensation is a problem that garden sheds face during the warm months. Sometimes, it is not that serious, and at other times, it can create damp issues. Check the frames and sills to see if any problems need fixing. At most times, all you need to do is to apply a wood treatment, and all will be good. Ensure that the sills are dry before using the wood treatment for it to be effective.
As you come to the end of your inspection, it is necessary that you check whether the walls, windows and door frames are at 90 degrees to the ground. If you find that this is not the case, you are probably suffering damp or subsidence issues, and you need to work on the issue before it causes further damage. Following these steps on an annual basis will ensure that you get to enjoy your garden shed for a long time before any major repairs are necessary.