(Under 12m2) Specification
This article is about our former summerhouse specification, which has since been replaced by our brand-new Garden Rooms (under 12m2). It's worthwhile reading, but to jump straight to learning more about the new spec, click on!
Sheddie, Summerhouse buying ain’t easy – there’s so much to choose from out there but how can you tell the good from the bad?
How do you know you will get your money’s worth?
How do you know if it’s really good quality and will last?
A summerhouse isn’t just a quick swift product to buy, like buying that new planter or garden chair set to spruce up our space. A summerhouse is a lifetime investment. A space to enjoy, cherish and stand the test of time. You want that gorgeous-looking building to stay gorgeous and not end up as another dilapidated shed in 3 years’ time.
We’ve been building sheds and summerhouses for over 30 years now and we’ve learnt a lot about our products and the industry’s products that you should know about to help you make the best decision for you.
Come with me, and you’ll be, in a world of pure shed inspiration…
What are your garden summerhouse options?
If you’re new here, a first-time summerhouse buyer you’ve probably done a wee Google search and typed in “ Best Summerhouses” – good choice – it gets you started.
Oh, the familiar choices…
It’s true, you can get some decent products from these places and a damn good bargain whilst you are at it. My Steven loves a B&M dander.
In general, these shops are retailers and suppliers – very rarely are they manufacturers. When they do manufacture – it’s not THE best but it’ll do. And that’s fine for the odd pounds here or there. But if you’re going to go big and invest then I know I want that money to count for something. I want to know that my money is going to go far.
My Steven loves a pair of River Island jeans, but he only gets a few months from them and it frustrates the hell out of him. He’s now looking at investing in a good pair of Levis – those forever jeans.
You know that problem, right? We just need a lil bit of courage to invest rather than take the quick route. It’s all lessons for us y’know!
We’re going to go into this a bit here, the point is for what you’re about to spend – your best starting point is to find a local manufacturer and expert in their field – already you’ll have upgraded to better. And shop local is always better 😉
Stay with me because you’ll get to learn some things about Summerhouses here you’ve never heard before…
Wickes Garden Summerhouse
Let’s talk about Wickes baby!
I’m going to be focusing on their 8’ x 8’ Mercia Summerhouse as it is aesthetically very similar to our 8’ x 8’ Vorlich Summerhouse. A comparison like for like is the fairest way.
Wickes: Material and Specification
This part is vital because it tells us how long you should expect the building to last, what type of maintenance is required and what type of problems you might face.
- 12mm Shiplap cladding in a mixed species softwood
- Felt Roofing
- Toughened Glass Windows x 4 plus a set of doors.
- Dip Treated wood with a 10-year anti-rot guarantee provided the timbers are treated every year.
- No information on framing
Wickes Summerhouse Cladding
12mm is pretty average on the market. We recommend anything 16mm+ to really get strength and durability into the structure. Flimsy timbers = flimsy structure. Thinner timbers = more water ingress, warping, cracking, rot and fungi problems. Expect this with anything under 16mm.
Mixed Species softwood – ah this is frustrating. Ideally, you really want to know where it comes from and ideally, you want it to come from the Arctic Circle.
- Learn more: Whitewood vs Redwood: Which is best?
Mixing different timbers is not the way to go. Though used in construction for affordability – it’s so inconsistent. Not only will you get an inconsistent grain finish, different timbers react differently, at their own pace, to the weather. Expansions and contractions happen and if you have the timbers reacting at different times you’re only going to experience more warping and cracking than with a consistent timber. That leads to more water ingress and a breakdown in the timbers.
When looking for timber type – you’re looking for the same timber used throughout.
Wickes Summerhouse Roofing
Felt roofing is fine as long as it’s a higher-quality felt. You can get up to 10 years from a good felt. I don’t know what they are using here, but judging by the price it’s likely to be mediocre to a lower-end felt. There are better alternatives to roofing for your summerhouse out there including shingles and steel.
- Learn more: Felt vs Steel vs Shingles: Which is best?
There are two types of treatment used interchangeably:
- dip treatment
- pressure treatment.
Dip treatment is as the name suggests – the wood is dipped in a treatment which usually only covers the external areas. Pressure treatment is an injection of the treatment into the timbers.
Most cheaper alternatives have this as a benefit on their sheds or summerhouses. It’s used because the timbers they use will break down quickly. It does extend its life – but it will not stop moisture from breaking down the timbers and having constant water stains and leakages to deal with. A good wood from the start with good paint will do the same job. You have to preserve it every year for it to work anyways which is beside the point of the treatment *rolling eyes* – pressure treatment works well in some circumstances but not on a single-skinned building like this.
No information on framing. Essentially you’re looking for framing size here. The thicker the better. Framing is the structural support of the building. Usually with these types, they tend to be thin which means its more susceptible to bending and leaning over time. Any garden building should not do this and it can become a safety hazard.
The total cost comes to £1,680.00 including delivery and assembly. This is great – you’ll want a professional to put it together to make sure it is constructed properly and everything is as tight as it can be.
For the materials used, I’d expect a price like this and for it to last anywhere between 4-8 years. 8 years means taking really good care of it and you will experience problems with the timbers over time. They’ll also be buying these summerhouses from a supplier who tends to make them in bulk with cheaper materials to reduce costs. Don’t expect any advice from them as they aren’t joiners. And the average 14-day returns guarantee will only cover this.
In your first year and summer, it will feel like this brand new summerhouse that’s great to sit in, but as the winter settles in and passes and you get into the next year – you’ll lose the sparkle and it will begin to feel like you’re sitting in an old shed.
I wouldn’t want to spend too much on the internal furnishings as they may get damaged.
Gillies and Mackay Garden Summerhouse
How cheeky of us to talk about ourselves here. I know. This is for you to see the differences in construction and know how much you should expect to pay for these buildings. There are plenty of other decent manufacturers out there and if you want to invest in something like this – shopping at a local manufacturer is always best. We’re hoping that we can give you some guidance here on what to look out for.
We started Gillies and Mackay over 30 years ago because we believed that garden buildings could be done better, last longer and withstand the Scottish Climate. We continue to upkeep this to make sure you have a building you can be proud of for years to come.
Gillies and Mackay: Specification
- 19mm Scandinavian Redwood Tongue and Groove
- 19mm Scandinavian Redwood Flooring
- 19mm Scandinavian Redwood Sarking (Roof)
- 70mm x 40mm Pressure-Treated Dressed Framing
- Bitumen Shingles or Steel Box Profile Roofing
- Mortise and Tenon Glazed Doors with 3-lever lock
- Single-glazed shatterproof windows
Go big or go home. No mucking about when it comes to specification.
Gillies & Mackay Weatherboard
We use 19mm Scandinavian Redwood – after experimenting over the years, this wood is optimum for Scottish weather. From slow-grown trees in the arctic circle – this wood produces tight grains making it more resistant to the changes in the Scottish climate. This minimises water ingress and makes it more durable to move. In this case – the thicker wood acts as a great insulator holding heat for longer and giving the structure more integrity and lasts.
- Learn more: Redwood vs Whitewood: What’s the difference?
Gillies & Mackay Framing
Framing is the structure and foundation of your summerhouse. The balance of framing thickness and what it holds has to be right for the structural integrity of the building and to ensure not only that it stands the test of time, but also withstands our blowy weather.
The last thing you need is to go out after a harsh winter blow to find a lean or your building in the neighbour’s garden. No trampoline summerhouses at this house, only serious buildings.
Gillies & Mackay Roofing
We only use Bitumen Shingles (15-year guarantee) or Steel Box Profile (20-year guarantee) on the summerhouses. Shingles last much better than felt and need little maintenance – the added bonus is your tiled roof effect for those peaked roof summerhouses to blend in with the aesthetic nature of your garden.
Steel, well it’s mighty. The daddy of roofing materials. It’s durable and it’s easy to maintain. Some people don’t like the look of steel and it depends on what style of summerhouse you put it on. You might not see it. It is the best material out there if you’re looking for years out of your building. Keeping it all together.
Gillies & Mackay Pricing
So compared to the similar style of the Wickes Summerhouse – Our 8’ x 8’ Vorlich comes in at £4,314.00 – almost £3,000 more than the Wickes Summerhouse. Jeezo – I hear you say.
Let’s talk about it.
We’ve discussed the materials we use above – only the best for Summerhouses and we continue to innovate and upgrade them over time. It’s vital that this standard is upheld to ensure your building lasts and with the right care.
All the summerhouses are handcrafted in our workshop, by our highly experienced joiners, here in Errol following high-quality checks through each process. Handcrafted ensures that we can check every detail along the way and as our lead Parts maker Dean says “The building fits much better together when it’s all done by hand.” Every detail counts. It even comes with a coat of paint.
The buildings are delivered and assembled by our experienced delivery team – highly trained in Gillies and Mackay buildings. They also go through rigorous quality checks of your building to make sure your summerhouse is to the highest standard.
Service – we have a full team here to help you out 6 days a week. Always on hand to answer your questions. We write and record content for you to follow throughout the process from when you’re thinking about buying to looking after your building, work with the best local companies around for additional jobs you might need such as base work or electrics. And we also offer Site Visits for when you need specific help and we’ll be out to sort out any challenges that come up with your building.
We’re a wee family business that believes in paying our workforce their worth and not squeezing the life out of them. Gillies and Mackay pay employees above the living wage for their skill and work at the apprentice stage and more as they develop over time.
Learn more about our pricing here: G&M Pricing
There’s a lot to take in there and when you are on your summerhouse hunt it’s important to know the differences.
Where should you buy your garden summerhouse from?
Can you buy a Wickes Summerhouse?
Aye, absolutely if that’s where your budget lies. As long as you know what to expect with it. If you’re looking for a summerhouse that is serious – something permanent, reliable, useable for years to come, that looks good for years to come, with as little maintenance as possible then we recommend upgrading.
We always recommend at least starting with local manufacturers – already you’re getting an upgrade and skill and materials there. And really look at what you are buying – the specifications and reviews of the companies. Go to the show areas and check them out for yourself. The last thing we want is disappointed Sheddies. You’ve got this!
If you want to learn more about summerhouses we have a huge bunch of blogs for you to dive into. Here’s some recommendations to get started: