Repairs to Garden Sheds, Garages, Fences, Gates, and Paths
The good state of outbuildings and other exterior features is just as important as the maintenance of the main structure to the well-run home. The outbuildings, etc, should be inspected at regular intervals and any necessary repairs should be carried out as soon as deterioration is noticed.
Whatever it may be used for, the garden shed should be watertight. Assuming that the shed is reasonably well-built, inspection for water-tightness should be directed mainly to the roof and the base of sides — these are the parts most easily attacked by varying weather conditions. If the shed has a wooden roof that is covered with roofing felt, the felt may deteriorate with the passage of time, and as soon as any ageing which permits the entry of water is noticed, the roof should be re-covered. This may be done with roofing felt or with tiles made of the same material as the felt. The best type of roofing felt is manufactured from a bituminous compound, and is obtainable in rolls 3ft wide.
The felt may be laid vertically or horizontally on the roof and a l2 in. ridge piece should be used to cover the apex of gable-roofed sheds. If the felt can be left unrolled for a few days, it will be easier to apply. It should be nailed to the timber of the shed roof with large-headed galvanized. In exposed areas well-seasoned and weather treated battens can be screwed to the roof, if there is any possibility of the nails being insufficiently secure. Each strip should overlap the next by at least two inches and at the sides and eaves the felt should extend at least half an inch below the bottom edge of the boarding to allow water to drip off without risk of rotting the underside. Nails should never be spaced more than 2 in. apart. At corners surplus material should be moulded into a flap and secured to the edge of the boarding. Some makers of roofing-felt supply a special cement which may be used to seal the overlaps more securely.
Floors of garden sheds are usually of timber or concrete. Whatever the floor material, adequate protection should be afforded against the seepage of water dripping from the edges of the roof. If this is not done, the outside edge of the floor, and the base of the timbers at the sides of the shed, are subjected to a great deal of unnecessary wetting which becomes absorbed in the timbers or concrete flooring, and will eventually rot the lower ends of the timbers and make the shed damp. Any interior dampness should be avoided as much as possible, if the shed is used as a workshop. A shallow trench should be dug all round the edge of the shed, for a width and depth of about three inches; the trench should then be topped up with concrete, which should slope sharply downwards and outwards. Water dripping from the eaves of the roof will then run off the concrete (which may be improved by mixing with waterproof cement) to prevent the entry of a great deal of unnecessary water.
If the lower timbers of the sides of the shed have been subjected to frequent soakings in rain-water they may rot, but provided the timbers are not too fragile any broken gaps along the lower edge of the sides may be filled in with a gravel board. 6-in. by 1-in.is suitable for this purpose, and the top edge of the board should be planed to provide an outward and downward slope. All sides of the board should be liberally coated with outdoor wood preservative before the boards are nailed in place to the upright timbers.
Windows and doors of sheds should fit snugly in their frames, and the door of a garden shed is best if it opens outwards and not inwards. This allows better protection to be given against the entry of rain-water, also the opening of the door does not take up any of the working space inside the shed. If the shed door faces a rainy direction, additional protection against the entry of rain-water may be afforded by fitting a weather-board over the top of the door, and another smaller weather-board along the bottom of the door, this one fixed to the door itself. The weather-board at the top of the door consists of a piece of 6-in. by 1-in. softwood, nailed to triangular supports at the ends, which are secured by means ofdriven through from the inside of the shed. The weather-board on the lower edge of the door is made in the same way from 3-in. by 1-in. softwood.
A garden shed requires ventilation and a simple way of affording this is to bore a series of holes through the ends of the gables. If the eaves do not give sufficient protection against the entry of rain-water through the airholes, the vents should he overhung by a simple weather-board. The vents should be drilled at each end of the shed, or — in the case of a lean-to — ventilation holes should be drilled through at the top of the sloping sides. Should it be necessary to conserve heat in winter, a hinged door can be fitted over the inside of the holes.