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By Cara Mackay on 05 Jul 2018

Why won’t my Summerhouse door close?

What about this heat?! I know – best we’ve had since 1976. 

“When looking at daytime temperatures the UK average for the month was 19.9 C, the same average maximum daytime temperature as in the June of the still talked-about summer of 1976, and placing it joint-second…” (Met Office 2018)

So what’s that got to do with your Summerhouse doors? Well, quite a lot actually.

This heat is playing havoc with your timber. Timber is a porous, natural living breathing material. This means when we have a prolonged spell of dry, sunny weather it’s only a matter of time before your timber starts to shift.

Summerhouse doors are particularly susceptible because they are facing south… with the hottest of the sun beating down on them… all… day.


This results in the doors shrinking.

It’s literally a matter of millimeters difference than can affect the lock and keeper from parting but it causes an almighty annoyance. The doors won’t catch and therefore they won’t close.

The other thing that can happen is the doors can drop to one side. This then allows one door to pop out at the top.

This is usually to do with the entire building shifting – throwing slightly off level. It is again a matter of millimeters that can make all the difference.  

It’s all very scary I know. But honestly – don’t panic. You have a couple of options to consider.

Your doors will contract with the weather.

This means when the rain comes (and it will, this is Scotland after all) your doors will swell back to their existing size. Depending on the severity of the wet season, they may swell too much and you will have the opposite problem, your Summerhouse doors won’t open!

So, you can leave the doors, manage them with their slight shrinking with a not so catchy lock, knowing fine well in a couple of months they’ll sort themselves out.

Or, you can have a shim added to the hinge side of the door.

This will bulk out the doors to meet again in the middle. What you find normally happens is that shim needs to be removed again when the wet season is in full swing.

One thing you must do regardless of remedy is to prevent the movement happening next year.

You must paint your Summerhouse doors properly. If you can’t do it yourself – get someone else to do it. It’s really important – just as important as re-treating the whole building.

Painting the doors in their entirety is what is required.

And by this I mean the outside, inside, hinge side, lock and keeper side, the top and bottom grains.  Best practice would be to paint the door frame also.

This is something we introduced 2 years ago. It has made a vast improvement to minimising movement. It is also our recommended practice for ensuring the longevity of your Summerhouse.


That’s not helping you right now, so what is a girl to do? Adjusting Summerhouse doors is pretty straight forward and any decent carpenter will know what to do. It’s not a long job so if they’re quoting you half a days work, tell them to jog on.

If your Summerhouse is a Gillies and Mackay we can carry out this service for you.

There is a charge to cover the cost,  but it is not a money-making exercise – we know it’s a pain in the bahookie but we’ve got mouths to feed too. It used to be that Grant (Gillies, boss man) would do this out of goodwill when we had half the buildings we do now, but it’s just not possible. We can’t afford it.

Times have changed and Gillies and Mackay expect you to maintain your Summerhouse. We’re doing everything we can to make sure you have all the information to be able to do that and we strongly encourage you to ask questions – directly to me obviously, Cath and Alison are dead busy doing proper work, not pretending with all this blogging and video nonsense.

It is also possible the doors are beyond saving and it may be a case of replacing them. This is usually only in extreme circumstances and/or if the Summerhouse is over 15 years old with little looking after.

Here’s hoping this blog has helped.

We do have an extensive Aftercare Guide for previous G&M customers to help you look after your building.

Also, you may find the following related content helpful!


All my love Sheddies


NattyShedGirl x


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