How do I prepare my shed or garden building for winter?

Your garden shed, summer house or outdoor timber building will likely be a major feature of your outdoor space, especially during the warmer months. It will also probably have been a large financial investment. Therefore, you’ll want to ensure that it’s protected and maintained, especially during the colder, wetter months of the year. 

As you begin preparing your garden for the approach of winter, you’ll probably want to think about how best to prepare your timber garden building for the approaching damp and colder weather.

Carrying out routine maintenance on your timber garden building before the onset of bad weather will ensure it’s looking its best when spring comes around again.

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Here’s some tips to help get you started.

1. Checking your roofing felt

Starting at the top, give your roofing material a thorough check over. Paying particular attention to the edges, apex and areas around nails where damage could allow water in.

If the roofing material is seriously worn or damaged then it would be well worth repairing or replacing it to ensure there’s no danger of water entering which could not only damage the building but also its valuable contents.

2. Tidying & Cleaning

Make a start on a nice dry autumn day and clear the building completely if you can, so that you can give it a thorough tidy and clean. This way you can get rid of all the mud, dirt and dust that may have gathered around your tools, furniture and equipment during those busy Spring and Summer months.

Use some soapy water to wash the windows and frames inside and out, dust and clean the walls and sweep out the interior.

Doing this on a dry day will allow you to air the building and let any areas you’ve washed thoroughly dry.

It might also be a good opportunity to clean all your tools and equipment, letting them thoroughly dry, that way they’ll be clean and ready for action once winter is over. It’s also a great time to dispose of anything broken or no longer needed.

3. Inspection

Once the building has been emptied, cleaned and tidied you’ll be able to give the building a thorough and complete check over inside and out. Any damp areas or mildew can be seen clearly so you can assess the causes and make repairs and adjustments as necessary.

4. Checking insulation and heating

Keeping your shed properly insulated, with fire proof insulation, with adequate ventilation (to ensure the building can breath), will keep the building warm and dry and alleviate damp and mould, keeping everything dry and safe for the winter. 

If your garden building is an office, hobby room or workshop you’ll also need to check that you have adequate heating and light, and that these meet all the necessary fire and safety regulations.

5. Wood Protection

A quality garden building will have been painted or wood stained initially, but it’s vitally important to re-apply this periodically, to all surfaces of the exterior of the building, to ensure the wood continues to be protected against the elements. Water based paints and stains work well, are quick drying and offer additional fungal protection, they are also more environmentally friendly than spirit based paints.

6. Drainage

Consider fitting guttering, this will not only keep the water away from the timber walls, but, if you add a water butt, will mean you can collect valuable rainwater for use on the garden when you need it.

If you have guttering fitted already, then that’s great, but don’t forget to check it’s clear of leaves, moss and debris.

7. Windows and doors

Wooden windows and door frames will need checking for damage as these can be possible water entry points. Also check for broken window glass.

Once the windows and frames are washed check the paint for rot or damage and make repairs as you need to.

Remember to check hinges and locks to ensure they’re well-oiled and functioning properly. 

Consider fitting draft excluders, if you haven’t done so already, to keep out nasty drafts and to help stop water entering the building.


Keeping your garden building well-maintained will not only ensure it lasts longer but will mean it will continue to be useful and give you maximum enjoyment in the years ahead.

What sort of base will I need for my garden building?

  • Discover the best base to use for your garden building.
  • Learn why assessing the area is so important.
  • Find out whether a concrete or timber base is best.
  • Discover why a sub-frame is a quick and easy way to lay a base and why it’s great for undulating ground.
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