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By Amy Hanlon on 08 Jun 2024

Should I buy a timber garage kit?


Are you thinking about buying a timber garage kit? Maybe you’re wondering how much you can save by building your own garage. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of garage kits, and compare this to a garage built by professionals.

Gillies & Mackay have been building timber Garages for 35 years, and we upgraded our specifications in 2016 to create a market-leading product. Let’s take a look at the differences between our Garages and a garage kit.

What are timber garage kits?

Both domestic and international manufacturers make timber garage kits, which are available throughout the UK. They’re a more affordable alternative to a garage that’s installed by a manufacturer or supplier because you don’t have to pay for labour. 

However, the labour still has to come from somewhere. These products are very much a do-it-yourself job. A kit typically contains all the pre-cut timber and fixings used to assemble the building, plus instructions on how to take these pieces and turn them into a building. 

This isn’t a job for a beginner or even several beginners. Passmore’s, a Kent-based firm that produces timber garage kits in England, describes their kits as suitable for “the more skilled enthusiast.

The most important thing to know about timber garages.

The rafters of a Gillies and Mackay apex timber garage, before the steel box profile roofing has been installed.

Remember that specification change I mentioned? It’s kind of a big deal. Because generally speaking, there are two types of timber garages. There’s the kind that we build, and there’s the kind that everyone else builds. The difference is that we use layers.

Most timber garages, whether built by professionals or supplied in kit form, are built the same way as a shed. They consist of a timber frame that’s covered by a single layer of cladding to form the walls. The roof is covered by either roofing felt or another roofing material.

In other words, a single skin of timber forms the garage walls, and this is all there is to keep the water out. In our experience, this isn’t enough. It’s enough some of the time, or if you live somewhere that doesn’t get much rain. But in Scotland, it isn’t enough to absolutely guarantee that a garage will stay dry inside. 

But what if you use thicker cladding? Surely that will keep the water out? Cladding thickness certainly has an impact on the cost of a building, but in a large single-skinned structure any moisture-related shape changes will still let in water. 

How about pressure treatment? Will that guarantee dry garage contents? Nope! 

Pressure treatment protects timber from water damage, rot and insect damage, and it’s incredibly good at doing that. But it doesn’t stop timber from being permeable to water; in fact, it makes it more permeable

Pressure treatment is a GREAT idea for timber as long as you don’t want it to let in water. If you only have one layer of timber between the elements and the contents of your garage, pressure treatment isn’t the way to go. 

How to make sure a Garage doesn’t leak.

A diagram showing the specification of a Gillies and Mackay timber garage, with each layer labelled.

We know all this because we built single-skinned garages for years. We also repaired single-skinned garages for years when they didn’t keep water out. Eventually, we realised that we needed a better way. So we created The Gillies & Mackay Garage.

With a 3-Tier structure that’s guaranteed to keep water out, whatever you put in a Gillies & Mackay Garage will stay dry. Pressure-treated cladding on the outside, a cavity gap and breather membrane underneath, and a layer of OSB underneath that results in serious protection for your car, workshop, or whatever else you want to store. 

So while you’re here to learn about timber garage kits, we also want you to know that there’s a better way to build a garage. 

Do I have the skills to build my own timber garage?

A partially-assembled Gillies and Mackay timber garage on a concrete plinth

This is an absolutely crucial question to ask before embarking on a kit garage project. If you’ve never even put up a shelf, you’re highly unlikely to have the skills you need to build a garage.

While it’s pretty much impossible to find a set of timber garage instructions online without actually buying a kit (trust me, I’ve looked) I did manage to find the instructions for a metal garage kit here. This building is considerably less complex than a timber garage, but does give some idea of the tools and preparation needed for building your own garage.

Duffield Timber, another English firm offering garage kits, don’t supply instructions until you buy the building, but they do list the maximum weight and dimensions of the components of their kit. 

Duffield suggest that building this timber garage from a kit is a two-day job for three people.

Of course, there are lots of skilled enthusiasts out there who do have the time, the know-how, the manpower and the tools to build their own timber garage. But if you’re in any doubt about whether or not that description applies to you, a timber garage could well be a struggle.

If your aim is to save money, consider the potential costs of any mistakes during construction. Hiring a professional joiner to finish the job will definitely impact your budget.

But if you’re someone who has similar projects under your belt, who enjoys the satisfaction and achievement of saying, “I made that,” and you have the flexibility to devote your time to a project like this, a timber garage kit can be a great way to save some money.

How much does a timber garage kit cost?

As is the case with most timber buildings, there’s an enormous range of price points available for timber garage kits. The very cheapest kits are around £1500, with the most expensive coming in around £12,000. 

Oak-framed garages tend to be more expensive, with log cabin garages coming in at the cheaper end of the scale. 

Costs vary depending on the size of the building, the materials used, the country of origin of the timber, the size and scope of the company, and whether you buy from a manufacturer or a supplier.

How much does a Gillies & Mackay Garage cost?

An apex Gillies and Mackay timber Garage painted in Asteroid Grey Sadolin. The garage has a dark grey roller door and a matching personnel door.

In comparison, Gillies & Mackay Garage prices range from £9,500 to £20,000, depending on customisations like garage doors, double-glazed windows and carports. Each Garage is a bespoke project, so these prices are indicative. However, you’re buying a 3-Tier building that’s guaranteed to stay solid and watertight for 30 years. Our prices also include VAT, installation and delivery within 40 miles of our workshop in Errol. 

Every building is project-managed by our dedicated Sales Team, custom-built by our very clever team of expert joiners, and delivered and installed by our similarly expert Delivery Team. Garages are generally installed in a single day, although lined and insulated buildings or electrical installations can stretch the project to a few days, tops. 

We deal with all associated trades in-house, and communicate clearly with you throughout the project. If there are any planning implications we also provide an application service.

You don’t need any tools or time, beyond the time that it takes for a Consultation, where we answer all your questions about your perfect garage project, and determine a design that suits your needs. 

Should I buy a timber garage kit?

A Gillies and Mackay pent timber Garage painted in Jacobean Walnut Sadolin. The garage has a dark grey Hormann roller door and double glazed windows.

You should buy a timber garage kit if:

  • You’re on a budget and don’t mind putting in the time and effort to do it yourself.
  • You have the necessary knowledge and understanding of timber types and construction methods to choose a good-quality kit.
  • You understand the limitations of a single-skinned timber building.
  • You’re confident of planning permission and Building Control regulations, and how these apply to your project.
  • You have the skills, time, assistance and tools needed to take on the project.

If you’re still undecided, why not visit our Show Area and check out two of our gorgeous Garages. We’re open Monday to Saturday and more than happy to answer any questions that you have.

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