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By Amy Hanlon on 27 Apr 2023

Will a timber garage leak?


Timber garages, eh?

They’re beautiful, and natural, and add real value to your home. But wood? As a building material? Won’t a timber garage leak?

I’ll lay it on the line for you – once upon a time we had a problem with leaky garages. 

The horror!

Of course, responsible Sheddies that we are, we repaired them the best way we could. But as time passed, and every 1 in 30 or so garages developed problems, it was clear that there was a bigger issue on the go. We had to go back to the drawing board.

From the drawing board (well, Auto-CAD) we developed a garage specification that saves our customers from the hassle and disappointment of a leaky garage. We had to. You’re worth it, and so is your garage.

Since then, leaky garages are a thing of the past. A mere memory! But all this taught us one thing that we can absolutely guarantee. 

A well-designed, well-built timber garage will not leak. A garage-sized timber shed is more likely to.

Here’s why:

Is a Timber Garage the same as a big shed?

Excellent question, Sheddie! The simple fact is that a timber garage is NOT the same as a big shed.

You can build sheds large enough to keep a car in, but if that shed is going to let water in, I wouldn’t suggest leaving your prize motor in there. Think of the rust!

No garage owner wants to deal with water ingress.

Is water ingress the same as a leak?

Water ingress is the term for when water gets into a structure. 

This is BAD NEWS, whether your building is made of brick, concrete, timber, or anything else, really. 

Water ingress causes problems such as mould, damp and condensation, and in timber buildings it encourages wood rot. These problems apply to anything that you keep inside that building. Your car, tools, garden furniture, or whatever, will also get wet, mouldy, or rotten.

Not what you signed up for when you bought your beautiful garage!

Water comes from all over the place. It falls from above (in ridiculous quantities in this part of the world). It seeps up from below, and in timber buildings, it’s also possible for water to seep THROUGH walls. Timber is a porous material, meaning that water can soak into it, and this can mean that water from outside may get into your building.

However, this sort of water ingress isn’t quite as dramatic as a leak. Quite simply, leaks happen when there are holes in a structure. 

Who would build a garage with holes in it?

No one would – on purpose. However, the construction of a building and the type of timber used to build it can lead to holes emerging as time passes. Because timber is a natural material, any warping or bowing of the wood can lead to holes that will let water in. Once a leak appears, your timber garage is susceptible to all of the problems that any sort of water ingress causes. The more water, the bigger the problems will be.

Can I stop water from getting into a wooden garage?

If all of this is putting you off buying a timber building, don’t worry! There are a number of ways that you can minimise water ingress and leaks. 

Our top tips to prevent water ingress in a shed or summerhouse are:

All of the advice above applies to sheds, summerhouses, or any single-skinned timber building. A single-skinned building has walls made of one layer of wood attached to a frame. 

These are the walls that will allow water through if you don’t look after your building well.

But garages are different. 

Well, garages SHOULD be different. Garages shouldn’t leak. You should be able to put anything you like in there and keep it dry. Garages should be watertight, weatherproof, and designed to withstand the worst of the Scottish weather. And yes, you can stop water from getting in!

How do I stop water from getting into a timber garage?

How is this wonderful water-free situation achieved? It’s all about the walls.

A diagram showing the layers of a 5-tier timber garage, and how these are laid on the garage's concrete base.

We know that water can seep through a single layer of timber. The solution to this problem is to build garages with more than a single layer.

The cladding on a garage is what makes it look so beautiful. Underneath that, there has to be a cavity – an air-filled space. This means that any water that does penetrate the cladding won’t get through to the inside of the building. 

Between the cavity and the inside wall, we need a damp-proof membrane – a layer of material designed to keep the water out.

Once these things are in place we can add the material for the inside wall itself. Since this layer is completely protected from moisture, water just won’t get through to it. Your garage will stay entirely dry, and you can forget all about water ingress.

Will A Timber Garage Leak?

Now that you know that a timber garage is not the same as a big shed, you’re well-placed to answer this question.

A timber garage will not leak, as long as it has three-tiered walls specially designed to keep the water out. 

So go ahead!

Get browsing for the timber garage of your dreams, safe in the knowledge that your classic car, vintage Landrover, workshop tools, cane furniture, or anything else will be safe and dry. Your watertight, solid, engineered garage will be a beautiful addition to your garden, and you might find that you just don’t want to go back into your house at all!

Here at Gillies & Mackay, we’ve been making and installing timber buildings for more than 30 years. Our three-tiered specification was designed to create garages that are guaranteed not to let water in. If you’d like to find out more about our gorgeous garages, read on:

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