Will a Garden Office stand the test of time?

We’ve all experienced it: ‘Lifetime guarantee!’ ‘Built to last!’ ‘The grandchildren will still be enjoying this long after your day!’ Then your new toy breaks. Or rusts, or rots. Another big promise, another big spend. And another big disappointment.

When you’re looking for a new garden office, you’re expecting value for money. But how long should you expect your new investment to last? What’s the life expectancy of an outdoor building?

In this guide, you’ll discover how to look after your garden office so it gives you a permanent WFH solution that stands the test of time.

Garden Affairs first building

Garden Affairs first building still standing strong after 20 years.

How long will a garden building last?

The lifespan of your garden office will depend on numerous factors. One thing’s clear though. As your grandma may have told you: buy cheap, pay dear. A building made from thin, untreated, low-quality timber, with poor insulation and shoddy craftsmanship, simply won’t last.

But if you invest in quality materials, maintain your building well and protect it from the elements, a timber-based garden office could easily last you 25 years, or more.

  • Choose the right timber – slow-grown is more durable.
  • Look for a long manufacturer’s guarantee – at least 5 years.
  • Get professional help where necessary – are your DIY skills up to self-assembly?
  • Invest in double-glazed windows and doors – they’ll help reduce moisture levels.
  • Don’t skimp on insulation and ventilation – both will help avoid internal temperature fluctuations, condensation and dampness.

98mm Thick timber

Slow-grown tongue and groove timber boards used in Garden Affairs log cabins

What affects your building’s lifespan?

The longevity of a timber building largely depends on the environment you subject it to.

Obviously, your building is outside. This means exposure to the elements: changes in temperature and moisture levels, rain, wind and frost. All of these can affect the building’s lifespan.

Persistent frost creates freezing and thawing of moisture within the fabric of the building. We’re all familiar with burst pipes. Frost can also damage electrics, and cause cracking to your roofing, windows and doors.

The biggest enemy of the garden office is trapped moisture, which will eventually cause your timber to rot. Persistent rainfall, and internal moisture that can’t escape because of poor ventilation, provide perfect feeding conditions for the fungi that cause dry rot. 

Remember, your garden office timber may be shelter for you, but it’s food for fungi. And as long as they’ve got moisture and warmth, they’ll happily and rapidly feed on it.

  • Make sure your timber is adequately treated (you may need to retreat it every 3-5 years, as exposure to the elements will wear down protective layers).
  • Check for surface water pooling on the building base. Ideally, your building should be raised from the ground using treated foundation beams.
  • Make sure your office is well ventilated. Moisture naturally in the air, or created by you, your kettle or your gas heater will find its way onto your timber walls if it’s not allowed to escape. The fungi will find it and feed!
  • Don’t allow your internal walls to get damp, and if they are, wipe them down. Allow the air in your office to circulate by opening the windows and doors regularly. 

Growing mushrooms

Keeping moisture out will stop the fungi from getting in.

How should you maintain your building to make it last?

The things you love need your regular attention and input to ensure they get the best chance in life. Your garden office is no different. Stay on top of the maintenance of your building and you’ll hugely increase its life expectancy and enhance the enjoyment you get from it.

Here are a few simple steps to keep your garden office in tip-top shape so it really does last a lifetime. For more maintenance tips, check out our next blog.

  • Carry out an annual inspection of the exterior timber on all sides of the building.
  • Pay particular attention to windows and doors. Check seals and handles for any damage that may let in rainwater.
  • Look out for any splits and cracks in the external paintwork. These will let in moisture and may allow rot to set in. So they need to filled and repainted.
  • Keep an eye on how your building is changing over time. This will allow you to take appropriate action when you need to.
  • Look out for damage to the roof (e.g. from falling branches), and any rotting to the foundation beams – it’s essential to keep these in good repair as they are holding your entire building in place!

Most likely, for our timber buildings, you’ll need to apply a coat of paint or stain every 3-5 years. Here are some of the brands we recommend using:

For our high-quality Proline range, you could go up to 10 years without needing a new coat of paint on the walls, if water-based paint is applied at the outset. Use a quality paint shop like Brewers to buy water-based paint in your chosen RAL colour.

Garden Affairs Proline building made from Tricoya

Low maintenance Tricoya garden building - Proline garden office range.

For more advice and guidance on giving your garden office the best chance of a long life, call us for a chat with a member of our expert team. And why not visit our showroom to see our range of garden offices.

 

What our customers say...

“I would like to say how pleased we are with everything ... the team that assembled the Cabin were excellent and an extremely nice group of men.”

Mrs Cosier - Hampshire

“Thank you again for everything. We really are thrilled From the first visit to the office for tentative discussions to the moment the construction team left our garden, Garden Affairs could not have been more professional, friendly, knowledgeable, agreeable and flexible to deal with, and the result is a studio with separate 'garden/bike shed' space that somehow fitted into our tiny garden and raises the spirits every time we look at it, let alone spend time in it. We are so grateful to the whole team…”

Mrs Gahlin, Bath

“We would like to thank you for all your help .... in the selection, supply and build of our garden room. You were all extremely helpful & courteous, and willingly helped me with "tricks of the trade" for the construction of the base and the the self-assembly of the garden room. When I broke my finger during construction (nothing to do with building the room - waterskiing!) you stepped in at short notice to help finish the roof. We are very happy with the building, and would willingly recommend…”

Mr Langley-Johnson - Wiltshire

“ Just to thank all at Garden Affairs for the new cabin.... It's perfect and it was a pleasure to do business with you again.”

Mr Brinley - Pontypridd

“Our summerhouse is all finished and we are over the moon with it! It far exceeded our expectations and is absolutely stunning. Thank you kindly for all your communication and assistance from start to finish. The installers, are an absolute credit to your company.”

Sarah Mahoune - Luton, Bedfordshire

“First may I say we are highly delighted with the cabin. My mother was full of praise for the workmen who did a brilliant job in difficult weather conditions. She was most impressed with the fact that as to not mark the floor, they took their boots off when working inside the cabin.”

Mr Steele - Poole, Dorset