The fundamental rule of garden buildings is “you need a firm, level foundation no matter what you’re doing”. Without that foundation your building or shed for your garden could fall apart. The guaranteed even foundation keeps the walls aligned properly and ensures the screw holes line up.
Uneven foundations can cause problems over the long-term as well as immediate problems. Bowing or bending walls are an early sign of an uneven foundation. Over time this can lead to doors and windows falling out of place due to warped timber. It won’t take long for you to notice the extra dampness and leaks, either.
If you’re planning to build a garden building, a summer house, or a log cabin our wooden summer houses start at £2646. First you need to prepare. You need to look at your options for foundations. The most common options are:
- Paving Slabs
- Timber Decking
There is no perfect foundation option. There are only perfect foundation options – the best choice is the one that works for what you need.
Do summer homes need concrete foundations?
Summer houses aren’t required to have concrete foundations but many people find they work best. People find that it’s best to use 7-10 cm of concrete if one goes this route. Raising the foundation a tiny bit above ground level keeps the water from becoming a moat around your home. If your summer house is smaller in design then concrete foundations are more than you need. Larger homes made of heavier timber – such as a log cabin – it’s best to find concrete foundations for summer garden buildings.
Pros of Using Concrete for Foundations
It’s the most permanent option, creating anchor points that require heavy machinery to remove. It’s easier to clean, making it ideal for garages, storage sheds, and workshops. It can even be the cheaper option – you won’t need extra timber to create a foundation!
Cons of Using Concrete for Foundations
Being permanent means these foundations are far less eco-friendly. A significant amount of greenhouse gasses – carbon being the main but not the only one – are released during the laying process. Concrete foundations often require contractors due to zoning laws. This can cause a concrete floor to be more expensive than other options. Lastly, it’s not as good at draining away water unless specially built with a drain pipe. This can cause timber near the ground to become damp, requiring regular replacement.
Using Paving Slab Foundation For A Summer Home?
Paving slabs can be a good replacement for standard concrete or they can be laid on top of a standard concrete foundation for extra stability. The anchor points, which are crucial to the stability of any structure, are strategically positioned at the corners. This positioning necessitates that you pay meticulous attention to ensuring that they are laid out in an evenly spaced manner. Furthermore, it’s imperative to glue them together with a firm grip to prevent any potential misalignment or detachment.
When it comes to drainage capabilities, paving slabs exhibit a slight advantage over the standard concrete foundations, as they allow water to seep through more efficiently. This characteristic makes them an ideal choice for garden buildings that are on the smaller side in terms of dimensions.
However, if you’re in the process of constructing a more expansive structure, such as a spacious summer home or a cabin, then opting for a paving slab foundation might not be the most prudent decision. In such scenarios, a paving slab foundation may not provide the required support or longevity.
Pros of Using Paved Slabs for Foundations
They’re easy to lay and usually don’t require any special papers or licenses with the city.
They’re stable as well as low-maintenance.
They’re easier to remove than concrete, making them perfect for garden paths and patios.
Cons of Using Paved Slabs for Foundations
While they’re better than concrete foundations at draining water they’re still not great. The dampness problem is easier to deal with, however, and walls can be protected using wood preservation treatments. Paved slabs aren’t as heavy as plain concrete and can be more easily pushed out of place.
Using Timber Decking Foundations for A Summer House?
Timber decking is more delicate than either concrete or paved slabs. This requires extra care to ensure the timber decking treatment is done well and there’s a high-quality weed-proof membrane underneath the foundation. If it’s not pressure-treated then it won’t withstand the damp and wet. It’s still a good idea to use concrete anchor points but pressure treated timber base can be screwed directly to the foundation. Timber decking is one of the oldest styles of foundations so people tend to associate it with beautiful summer homes and log cabins.
Pros of Using Timber Decking for Foundations
Varnished timber is quite attractive, allowing a gentle sheen to reflect the light around it. It’s the best at draining. This allows it to keep the timber walls dry.
Timber decking is usually built on slightly raised anchor points which allows extra air to circulate underneath it.
Cons of Using Timber Decking for Foundations
Timber isn’t well-suited to larger cabins, bending and bowing under the weight of the giant log cabin or summer home. Timber decking can also be rather expensive if you use it for a larger garden building.
Using timber decking as a foundation causes it to remain hidden from most people. This does away with the aesthetic benefits.