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By Nicola Hutchison on 25 Mar 2021

What kind of base do you need for your Gillies & Mackay shed?

If there’s one thing we want, it’s to ensure that everything goes as smoothly as possible on the day of delivery. 

To do this, we need to make sure that you’ve got the right base in place. We usually ask for pictures of this in advance to ensure that everything is a-ok👌

But it’s always handy for you to know what you need, and why in advance…

In this blog we’ll look at what base is suitable for a shed, and why it’s so important that you get it right.

Please note: We highly advise you obtain landscaper quotes for base work before ordering your Gillies and Mackay building to obtain a full and clear picture of project costs.

➡️  Related content: Site access – how we make sure we can deliver you G&M building

Why do you need a substantial base for your shed?

Do I really need a base?

Can I not just shove it on the grass and hope for the best?

Eh no, you need a base. And a good one at that. 

The reason we ask you to follow our guidelines on base preparation is to avoid common issues with your building such as door misalignment, leaking, sagging, water ingress, movement, what else?

Wood moves and moulds to its environment. We design the buildings based on them being held on a sturdy and level surface. Any movement caused by an unlevel base will have a significant negative impact on your building. 

We say our sheds last a lifetime, this absolutely starts with having the correct foundations in place.

We always recommend you get a landscaper or construction company to carry out this work for you.

What happens if my base is not right on the day of delivery?

One of the biggest issues we’ve come across on site is bases not being correct. It causes the most delays on delivery day and sometimes we aren’t able to deliver your building because of the base.

If your base is NOT level on delivery day and the guys need to spend time rectifying, you will be charged for their extra time to fix it. Remember, they are not landscapers, they are joiners.

The deliverer has the right to refuse delivery if they believe your base will not hold your building and it’s beyond their ability to rectify.

If this is the case, your delivery will be moved according to our lead time and you will be charged for re-delivery.

If the deliverers come across issues with your base, they will explain this to you and let you know how they have rectified it or why they are unable to deliver.

What if my site isn’t level on the day of delivery?

If your garden is unlevel you’ll either need to dig down to make the surface level or build up. 

If you are digging down, consider the water flow in your garden. If your building is sitting at the bottom of a “hill” in your garden, it’s likely that water will build up there.

If you are building up and creating a kind of platform for your building: Consider the size of the platform. You may want to go bigger than the building to allow for some walking or sitting space. You may also have to consider adding a step to get onto the platform and into your building.

What kind of base do you need for your shed?

There are two different types of base that we usually recommend for building a shed. These are:

  1. Level Compacted Hardcore Base
  2. Level Slabbed Base

Let’s look at these in a little more detail.

1. Level Compacted Hardcore Base

If you are building a level compacted hardcore base, then there are a couple of things that you need to consider.

What is an acceptable base?

✅ Dig down to firm ground

✅ Fill with type 1 hardcore (Limestone rubble)

✅ Compact down to level.

The guys will bring breeze blocks and bearers for your shed to sit on.

What is not an acceptable base?

❌ Grass

❌ Soft ground such as sand, soil, wasteland

❌ Hardcore chucked on top of soft ground

❌ Non-level surface

The reason why these surfaces do not work is that they are susceptible to change and sinking over time. This will cause your shed to move out of alignment and you will have issues.

2. Level Slabbed Base for a Shed

The bigger the shed, the heavier it gets. What you don’t want is the base sinking over time with the weight causing yourself all sorts of shed problems.

We recommend that anything 10′ x 10′ or above should really have a sturdy, level, fully slabbed base in place to add years to your shed.

If you are building a level slabbed base for your shed, then there are a couple of things that you need to consider.

What is acceptable?

✅  Dig down to firm ground

✅  Fill with type 1 hardcore (limestone rubble) compacted.

✅  Lay slabbing on top and make sure it is level and sturdy.

What is not acceptable as a base?

❌ Do not chuck slabs down on soft ground, the ground will move or sink over time and so goes your building.

❌ Old broken and wobbly slabs is not a level and sturdy surface. Your shed will move with the surface.

Can I use monoblocking?

Lots of people ask about using monoblocking to build their shed on. 

Monoblocking tends to be an ok surface, however, we will need to do a site visit to check the viability and level of it.

New monoblocks will usually be fine, old monoblocks can move over time and become unlevel.

If you plan to have your building on monoblocking, please state this so we can organise a Site Visit.

How to avoid splashback from your shed base…

When a base extends the size of the shed – especially if it’s a concrete or slabbed base – what tends to happen is water hits the ground and splashes back onto your shed. 

This is why the most likely boards to rot on your shed first are those closest to the ground. It’s a sucker for moisture.

The aim is to keep water away from your shed as much as possible – to extend its longevity –  and to have effective drainage. 

We recommend that the base you have sits in a square with your shed or slightly under with a gravel perimeter around your base to allow for that water to drain away effectively.

Who builds your base?

It’s good for us to know this as we have some trusted companies that we work with. If we know the basework has been completed by them, we know you won’t have any problems with your base.

Our recommendations are:

Ready to get your base sorted?

Getting your base sorted is something that can worry a lot of people. But, it’s really not that complicated. 

And as always, we are here to help make sure everything is right for the day of delivery. Remember we want things to go smoothly on the day of delivery, it makes for much happier #sheddies. 

So, if you still have any questions then let us know. 

You can read all about our site access and base requirements here. 

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