One of the most important elements of any summerhouse is the base on which it is built. That base needs to be firm and level. If it isn’t then all sorts of things can go wrong. Walls may distort, timbers may bow and doors and windows may not open or close properly. Looking for advice on creating the right summer house base? Read on for the expert guidance you need to ensure the garden building you’ve been looking forward to is built on solid ground.
So many problems can arise due to not having the right base for a summer house. Where a base is not adequately level, it could lead to screw holes not meeting up properly, which can distort walls and lead to bowed timbers. Subsidence can occur, which can cause warped walls, with doors and windows not matching up properly making it difficult to open or close them. Leaks and damp can also result.
There are three main options for a summer house base. These are concrete, paving or timber decking.
Whilst these three options each have their own advantages, there are also disadvantages to consider. It is also important to bear in mind that not all base types will suit all summer houses. Let’s take a look at each base option in more detail.
When laying a concrete base for a summerhouse, it is standard practice to have the foundations raised slightly above ground level. This encourages water to run off, rather than pooling around the summer house base. The concrete will need to be laid on a good base of compacted hardcore.
Concrete bases are more commonly used for larger, heavier timber summer houses.
The advantages of a concrete summerhouse base are that it is permanent and stable, and provides a sturdy way to secure the timber base. Concrete bases can also act as flooring for the likes of storage sheds and workshops. Plus they are low-maintenance.
The disadvantages of a concrete base for a summer house include the fact that it can be quite costly compared to other bases, especially if you have a builder come and lay it for you. What’s more, concrete tends to collect water, which could have a negative effect on the timber. This can however be avoided courtesy of careful maintenance and regular treatment of the timber.
If your summer house is not overly large or heavy, you will get away with a paving slab base. The slabs however must be evenly laid on a base or sand and cement, with anchor points at each corner.
Laying the paving slabs above ground level will encourage water to run off.
Paving slab summerhouse foundations are relatively straightforward to lay, and can look more attractive than concrete, with the option to extend the base out to create a patio area. Paving is low maintenance, and if you decide to rejig the garden in the future, the slabs are easy to remove.
Drainage however may be an issue, as with concrete. Again, wood preservation treatments are important to protect against rot and damp. If there is any discrepancy with how even the slabs are, subsidence may occur which could lead to warping of the summer house.
You may be wondering, can I put a summerhouse on decking? The answer is that yes, smaller summerhouses can successfully be built on foundations of level timber decking.
You’ll need to start with a weed-proof membrane to prevent the timber being infiltrated by weeds, and the timber will need to be pressure-treated so that it can stand up to damp. Concrete anchor points will need to be incorporated into the corners so as to secure the summer house, or alternatively you can screw the base directly to the decking.
Timber decking is one of the most attractive bases for summer houses, especially traditional timber style models and combination rooms that open out onto a covered deck, perhaps housing a hot tub or seating area.
Water runs off decking quite well, which reduces damp related issues. There is also good airflow under the deck which again prevents damp from becoming a problem.
Larger summerhouses will not usually be suitable for this type of base, however. It is also important to bear in mind that timber decking needs regular treatment to keep it in good condition.
Our summer house range is brimming with inspiration. If you are considering purchasing a garden building, you are welcome to get in touch with the friendly team at Surrey Hills Garden Buildings. We’ll make sure you know precisely what you’re doing in terms of your summer house base, so that you are building on the right foundations from the outset, for many years’ enjoyment of your garden retreat.
Why not visit one of our dedicated show sites for inspiration and advice?