And… breathe. Timber Buildings help us achieve sustainability, energy efficiency and natural breathability
Garden Affairs customers frequently ask about improving insulation in our log cabins and timber garden rooms. They want to reduce heat loss and keep a comfortable environment all year round.
It sounds simple enough, but there is a dilemma at the heart of this question. It seems to make sense to ensure any garden office building has airtight windows and doors and high levels of insulation. This helps reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions, but it can also prevent moisture escaping and create internal humidity.
High internal humidity can cause a number of issues, affecting both the health of a building and its occupants. Water vapour trapped within an airtight building causes condensation, reduces thermal performance, and leads to structural damage through mould and rot.
Increased dust mites and mould can make a warm building smell bad and worsen respiratory conditions like asthma.
Any garden building needs effective ventilation. We can use windows with trickle vents or simply open them.
The trouble is, this also lets warm air escape undermining all your careful measures to insulate. At worst you can end up sitting in cold draughts. That’s the dilemma.
Happily, for anyone looking for a timber garden office, there is help at hand. Wooden construction is naturally breathable. It helps control humidity without needing much ventilation.
Timber buildings can be airtight, keeping heat in, and breathable, allowing moisture to escape, despite seeming counter-intuitive.
Natural building expert Neil May explains: “Breathability in buildings is not really about air. It is about water: water as gas and water as a liquid; water inside the building, water outside the building, and water in the walls, floors and roofs themselves. It is not only about how water moves through structures (water vapour permeability), but also about the ability of materials to absorb and release water as vapour (hygroscopicity) and about the ability of materials to absorb and release water as liquid (capillarity).”*
Wood absorbs and releases moisture to keep a comfortable balance as the temperature and humidity change inside and outside. We can enjoy a natural clean-air environment without the need for open windows and cold draughts.
Perhaps the worst materials to use are UPVC, metal and plastic wall finishes. These are inexpensive and quick methods for lining the exterior and interior. However, they tend to accumulate moisture, which becomes visible on the walls, ceilings, and windows.
A wooden building with good insulation and quality doors and windows creates a comfortable work environment. The building is both airtight and breathable.
Other materials such as strawbales, wool, clay, cob, and lime mortar are available for building. However, timber is the most readily accessible and user-friendly option.
Timber buildings are not only robust and hard-wearing. You can oil, paint, or stain wood to enhance its natural beauty.
Use high-quality paints or stains with UV filters. Micro-porous finishes allow the wood to breathe. Water-based finishes are good for the environment and last for years.
For some colour inspiration for your garden room, look at our wooden garden office and log cabin galleries.
From a simple shed to a multi-story house wood is an excellent construction material.
Our Log Cabins and Summerhouses have simple tongue & groove walls that easily slot together. A competent DIYer with a basic tool kit can easily install a log cabin construction building.
Linea garden offices are a panel construction with either a larch or spruce cladding. Designed to comply with planning rules with a 2.5m high roof. Linea garden buildings can be installed in restricted or tight spaces.
At Garden Affairs we've been working with natural materials for over 20 years.
We prioritise sustainability in our businesses and continuously work to improve our eco-credentials. This is to protect the materials we use and the environment for future generations.
The great thing about wood is that it is a natural carbon sink, taking CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it. Trees play a crucial role in combating climate change. This is primarily due to the excessive amount of CO2 in the atmosphere resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
By cutting down trees before they begin to decay and harvesting timber can be a sustainable process that benefits the environment.
The wooden garden structure acts as an eco-friendly hero, aiding in the growth of sustainable forests and storing carbon that would otherwise go to waste. Just take care of your building and help the wood last longer. Celebrate and appreciate its beauty and usefulness.
We source the timber used in our garden buildings from managed forests, mainly from Norway, Sweden, and Finland. The proximity of these forests to our manufacturers keeps transportation costs down. Their colder climate means the timber grows more slowly, creating a denser structure.
The timber used in our buildings is certified by the PEFC (Program of the Endorsement of Forest Certification) or FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). These timbers come from forests in which more timber is planted than is used.
On many of the flat roof garden offices and studios, we install a sedum roof. Customers choose to replace the lost section of nature by installing a bed of living sedum.
A sedum roof is a green roof that looks good, insulates the building, reduces noise, and provides a home for animals.
Order the kit to install yourself or have our expert team install the sedum while building your garden room.
We manufacture our log cabins with solid timber walls in 45mm, 58mm, 70mm and greater thicknesses. Importantly, you can finish them with microporous breathable paints to maintain this natural breathability.
* Neil May: ‘Breathability: The Key to Building Performance’.
Contact us and speak with one of our friendly experts about the benefits of our all-timber garden builidngs.Contact us