Winter is a time of year when we tend to use our gardens and outdoor spaces less. But while you’re staying cosy indoors, harsh weather conditions can take their toll on the exterior of your property.
A common winter home maintenance task is protecting house walls, roofs and surrounding areas from snow and rain. But people often forget that there’s another area which requires extra care and attention during winter: garden sheds, garden gym sheds, and garden offices.
Winter temperatures, snow, and moisture can damage the exterior walls and roof of a shed or garden office. In severe cases, piles of snow and low temperatures can also weaken the walls, leading to leaks and mould.
7 tips to maintain your garden shed this winter
To avoid these problems, you need to spend some time taking care of your shed. Read on for seven easy ways to maintain your garden shed this winter.
1. Thoroughly clean the inside of your garden shed
The first tip for maintaining your garden shed all year round is to clean and organise it frequently.
People often treat their garden shed as a dumping ground for unwanted or rarely used possessions. This can quickly lead to a messy pile of stuff, which makes it hard to find what you’re looking for. Keeping your shed organised and tidy will save you time, and also make it easier to spot any damage or areas that need repairs.
Clearing out and cleaning the shed isn’t the nicest job to tackle in chilly weather, so if possible you should aim to get things sorted before winter arrives. Dust and sweep the walls and floors of your shed, making sure to remove any leftover bird food to deter mice and other animals.
2. Treat the exterior wooden walls
The second tip for shed maintenance in winter is to inspect and treat the exterior walls of the shed. This tip is specifically for owners who have timber garden sheds.
Winters are harsh for wooden exteriors. Snowfall, rain and lower humidity can weaken the wood and cause dampness. To protect timber garden sheds, apply fresh coats of paint in autumn. Doing this means that by the time winter arrives, your paint will be ready to protect against weather damage.
3. Inspect for holes and repair them
Snow, rain, and moisture do not need a huge entrance. They can easily make their way inside a shed through a tiny crack or hole in the walls, roof, doors, or windows. Once this happens, the moisture can quickly ruin your belongings and permanently damage the shed structure.
To stop this happening, you need to ensure that your garden shed has no cracks or holes. Take a good look at it in daylight to inspect for signs of damage. If there are any holes or cracks, make sure to seal them.
4. Check the shed’s roof
It’s really important that your shed roof is sound in winter. Start by clearing away all dust and leaves. Dust attracts moisture, and leaves attract bugs. Both of these can damage the roof.
If your roof needs repairing or replacing, you might like to hire a professional to do the job. If it’s in good condition, consider adding a waterproof sheet secured with weights as an extra barrier to moisture.
5. Store your tools and equipment properly
Don’t leave your tools lying around in the shed. Always store them in a cupboard or organise them neatly to minimise the risk of damage.
You can store your tools in boxes if you have a corner garden shed without any cupboards. Categorise the tools and label your boxes; stackable boxes will minimise the amount of floor space you need.
Don’t store boxes right up against the shed wall; instead, leave a little gap so that any dampness in the walls doesn’t transfer to your storage.
6. Lubricate the hinges
Shed doors and windows can get jammed due to increased friction caused by the cold season. To avoid this, use a brush to generously apply oil to all the door and window hinges.
You can also apply oil to window frames to prevent them sticking. Once you’re done, make sure that all the windows are closed – the tiniest openings can invite moisture, bugs, and mice into the shed.
7. Take care of ventilation
Like any building, proper airflow is important in your shed. Stale air can become warm, triggering mould development and making the whole place smell pretty bad. Warmer air is also potentially a fire risk if you’re storing flammable materials such as paints or fuels in the shed.
The easiest way to let stale air out and allow fresh air to circulate is to simply open the garden shed for a few minutes on a dry day every now and then. Another tip is to install an electric ventilation fan which will maintain a fresh air flow when switched on.
So there you have it: seven easy ways to maintain your garden shed this winter. If you have a great shed maintenance tip please do share it in the comments.