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How To Look After Your Shed In Winter

If you want to know how to look after your Shed in winter, you’ve come to the right place.

🎶 For the weather outside is frightful,

But your shed can stay delightful.

To learn what you need to know,

Read below!

Read below!

Read below! 🎶

Why do I have to look after my Shed in winter?

It’s easy to look after a timber building in the summer months because you’re much more likely to be in your garden at that time of year. 

If you’re a gardener, you’ll be in and out of the building using and storing tools. If you keep the kids’ paddling pool in your Shed, there might have been dry sunny days where you needed it. 

But in the winter everything slows down in the garden. You’re very unlikely to sit out and enjoy the weather (unless sitting in the rain is your jam) and it’s easy to forget about your Shed. 

This is unfortunate because winter is exactly the time of year when a timber building needs a little more TLC. Why?

Is my shed affected by temperature changes?

Once upon a time, summers were warm and winters were cold. Sheds had a chance to get used to the change of the seasons because they happened slowly and at predictable times of the year. 

These days, the weather is all over the place! 6°C in late December? The forecast is for 10°C next week. But a fortnight ago it was -4C and the woodburner in here was working hard. 

Timber is sensitive to temperature changes because it has a natural moisture content. This is a huge benefit precisely because your building has the ability to adapt and breathe. It makes it resistant to condensation and allows for small movements in the building.

But large temperature changes are stressful for timber. They can cause larger movement in the timber, which can compromise the integrity of the walls and roof. Cupping, bowing and twisting are all ways that boards can warp, and warping is caused by changes of temperature and water.

Is my shed affected by water?

The interior of a single-skinned timber building showing mould around the cladding boards as a result of water ingress.
This poor Shed is showing signs of water ingress leading to mould.

Speaking of water, this is another reason that winter is hard on sheds. Because timber is porous, it will always have a moisture content, and this will change as the moisture content of the air does. In winter, we see more rainfall, so more moisture in the air, and the potential for your shed to soak up more water. 

Monthly rainfall in 2023 (Met Office)

When the weather is wet, the timber in your shed swells as it takes in moisture. This can cause doors and windows to stick or change shape. 

If there’s enough water and not enough ventilation, moisture will pass through the walls of your shed. This is when we see issues like mould and water staining happening. 

How do I look after my Shed in winter?

As always, we can help you avoid these wintery woes!

Will paint protect my Shed in winter?

The most important thing you can do to avoid shape changes and water ingress is paint your building.

Sadolin is a water-based paint that still allows your building to breathe, but also protects it from the weather. Because it limits the amount of moisture in the timbers, it helps prevent both warping and water ingress.  

While winter isn’t the ideal time of year to paint your Shed (you’re looking for a couple of dry days where the temperature is above 5°C) your building will endure the winter months much more easily if you make sure that it is painted. This doesn’t have to be done every year – depending on where you live and how much weather exposure the building has had, a fresh coat every 3-5 years is perfect. 

Should I ventilate my Shed in winter?

A Gillies & Mackay Potting Shed with its central window open.
Get the windows open!

While it can be difficult to keep your Shed in mind as your thoughts turn to Halloween, Christmas and all the other millions of things going on in wintertime, it’s really important to ventilate your building.

This is particularly crucial when the weather is wet. If there’s a big muckle rainstorm that goes on for three days, the next time it’s dry, get out to your Shed and open the doors and windows. Leave them open for a good few hours to get plenty of air into the building. 

If your Shed has a window, get into the habit of leaving it open on dry days, and you’ll have no problems with mould. 

Or, if ventilation isn’t possible, another option is to use moisture catchers, which are little pots which collect excess moisture in the air. A combination of both will keep your Shed nice and dry. Or if you have electricity in your Shed, a powered dehumidifier will do the same job.

Does my shed need any extra maintenance in winter?

All of this advice applies year-round, as single-skinned timber buildings are susceptible to moisture and temperature changes all year round. However, because you may not be in your garden as much at this time of year, and because of the weather, winter is often the time of year that problems can happen. 

So keep your Shed in your thoughts this time of year, and get ahead of yourself for next year. If your Shed is painted in the summer and you’re prepared in advance to ventilate the building when the weather gets wet, winter will be a breeze for your and your Shed! 

Read more:

How To Fix Summerhouse Doors That Are Too Tight

How To Fix Summerhouse Doors That Won’t Close

Why Is My Shed Door Sticking?

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