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Howarth Help & Advice

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Garden Sheds Explained

Looking for a new garden shed, but confused by the number of options? Our guide is here to help.


Garden Sheds are a common sight in the UK, creating a secure home for our outdoor tools and equipment, as well as providing a space for potting plants and perhaps even undertaking our favourite hobbies and leisure activities.   

However, there is a wide range of garden buildings that are available in a range of sizes as well as having so many different styles with various cladding and treatment types, it’s easy to get confused about which one is right for you, your needs and most importantly: your budget.   

That’s why we have put together this guide to help explain some of the most important features of sheds.   

1. Roofing

The roof, of course, is an important part as it protects the interior of your shed from the elements, ensuring that everything inside including your tools and equipment is kept dry.   

Apex. This is the traditional style of shed roof; peaking in the centre as you look at it from the front. The side panels then slope down at an angle, typically framing the door. The front wall of the shed is usually narrow, with long side walls.   

The benefits of this style include:   

  • Looks attractive   
  • Water can run off both sides of the shed   
  • The upside-down “v” shape of the roof allows for plenty of headroom down the full length of the shed 

Perfect For: Placing in a prominent position in your garden   

Reverse Apex. This is the opposite of an Apex roof, with the peak going across the width of the shed and sloping downwards at the front and back, creating a shed with a wide front and shorter sides. The benefits of this style include:   

  • Water can run into drainage at the front and back of the building   
  • The “v” roof allows for plenty of headroom across the width   

Perfect For: Placing against a wall   

Pent. Whilst Apex style roofing is made up of two panels, pent only has one that peaks at the front of the building and slopes down towards the back of the building. The benefits of this roof include:   

The main height is at the front of the building   

It has a lower height than Apex sheds, making it ideal for areas where there might be a limitation   

Perfect For: Smaller and/or narrow gardens that don’t have a great deal of space. Placing against walls or beneath overhanging tree branches.   

2. Treatment    

The treatment relates to the method used to treat the timbers in the walls, flooring, and roofing. Treatments are important because they help to protect the building from rot and decay.   

Dip-Treated. Most sheds are dip-treated, which is a surface treatment that involves the timber being dipped into an anti-fungal preservative and left to absorb. Regular retreatments will be required to ensure that your shed is fully protected in the long-term.   

You can usually recognise that a shed has been dip-treated by the distinctive colouring, that is quite orangey.    

Perfect For: If you are looking for a cheaper option initially, and don’t mind retreating the external walls annually.   

Pressure Treated. This is a long-lasting penetrative treatment that involves the anti-fungal preservative being forced into the timber using hydraulic pressure. Pressure treated timber is protected against rot and decay for 15 years, without any surface treatments being applied during this time.   

Pressure Treated Timbers tend to have a more natural looking colour.   

Perfect For: If you don’t have the time or ability to regularly retreat your shed.   

3. Cladding Construction

The cladding is the main part of the exterior of your wooden shed, acting as the covering for the walls. Cladding comes in three options:   

Overlap. This is made from rough sawn boards that overlap one another creating a small slant. The main benefits include:   

  • Helping water to run off them   
  • Allows for seasonal movement which occurs naturally in timber and involves it either expanding or shrinking. The overlapping nature prevents the boards from warping   

Perfect For: This is the ideal choice if you are using your shed for garden storage, rather than somewhere you intend to spend time.   

Shiplap. With a shiplap profile, the boards are also designed to interlock in a similar fashion to Tongue & Groove boards. The main benefits include:   

  • The combination of overlapping nature with the added benefit of interlocking boards create a tight seal against the elements   
  • These factors also create a cladding that is secure   

Perfect For: If you are looking for a middle ground option.   

Tongue & Groove. Often referred to as T&G, these boards are smooth planed and interlock with each other. The main benefits include:   

  • The interlocking nature creates a watertight seal that prevents the ingress of water   
  • The boards are usually thicker than other options, helping to prevent draughts   
  • The smooth planed surface of the wood offers an attractive finish   

Perfect For: If you intend to spend large amounts of time in your shed for example if you want to use it as a hobby room. 

4. Windows

Garden Sheds are available with and without windows, depending on your preference. However, if you do choose them you are likely to be made from either:   

Polycarbonate. This is popularly used on the more affordable sheds and is chosen because it is unbreakable. These windows don’t typically open.   

Acrylic. Found on pricier garden sheds, acrylic windows are an excellent choice if you want to add ventilation to the building as they tend to open. They also have high-quality latches ensuring added security.   

If you are purchasing an Apex Shed, the windows can be placed on either side of the roof to suit the needs of the space you are working with.   

Why would you choose not to have windows? You might choose a shed without windows if it is being placed in an area with little space or that won’t get any natural light, thus making windows pointless. Another reason you might choose not to have windows is if you require plenty of wall space for storage etc.  

5. Door

The door plays a crucial part in your garden building, as it is where extra security is often required to reduce vulnerabilities. Doors most commonly have the following features to do this:   

Hidden Hinges. These are placed on the inside of the door, meaning that they cannot be tampered with from the exterior.   

Double ‘Z’ Frame. This adds strength with the addition of vertical and horizontal braces across the door ensuring that it remains secure.   

The shed door will also feature a plate hasp and staple latch, or a rim lock door latch to offer extra security.  

Now you know what you are looking for in your new shed, why not check out five sheds that won’t break the bank for inspiration before you purchase.  


Have a look through all our shed options


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Kat Musselwhite – HT Blogger