Please note: online orders placed after Thursday 20th December 2018 will be processed from Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

Buying a garden shed or fence? Improve your timber know-how

Turnbull  share their knowledge about garden timber with you

What’s the most sustainable material in your garden?

It's good news that more trees are grown than harvested in Europe, where 90% of our garden timber comes from.  These forests act as carbon sinks, sucking up carbon dioxide released from natural and man-made sources.   Look for PEFC or FSC Chain of Custody certification and you’ll know you’ve got a shed, arch or gazebo made from timber grown in a sustainable, managed forest.

Durable or non-durable timber: do you know the difference?

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When buying a shed or fence it’s important that it’s made from timber that’s fit for purpose.  Garden timber buildings, fencing and structures need to be made of wood that will have a life of at least 15 years.  Some timber is naturally more durable - its structure and density make it long-lasting and resistant to rot.  Make a shed from oak or a greenhouse from Western red cedar and you’ve got natural durability.  Other imported timbers that have this natural durability are ipe, iroko, jarrah and balau.

Why garden timber products are made with pressure-treated wood

Most of the garden timber products available to buy in the UK are made from European softwoods that have been pressure-treated to ensure they are durable enough for outdoor use.  You’ll recognise timber that’s been treated with wood preservative under pressure by its greeny/brown tint.  Modern preservatives are safe for plants, pets and people unless eaten. However, the advice from the industry is: don’t burn offcuts from pre-treated timber on a bonfire or barbecue.  They should be disposed of in a landfill site.  If you are applying coats of solvent-based preservatives on sheds or fence panels, then it’s important you follow the manufacturer’s advice and instructions established by the Wood Protection Association.

How to tell whether you’ve got the right timber for the job.

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Wood must be treated to comply with BS8417, and there are four different treatments or Use Classes.   These timber treatments are graded according to intended use.   When buying a garden timber product, it’s especially important to check whether the timber is suitable for above ground or in-ground contact.  The Timber Trade Federation gives the following useful summary: Class 2 treatments for internal timbers, Class 3 for external timbers used above ground and Class 4 treatment for external timbers used on or in the ground.

Have you seen treated timber with tiny vertical cuts on its surface? It’s called incising - each post is subjected to multiple fine saw cuts.  They are then kiln-dried to reduce moisture and then the preservative is added.  Timber that’s been treated this way soaks up the preservative very effectively and lasts longer.  Manufacturers using this process offer longer guarantees.

2018 possible timber shortages and price increases

Just a heads up for you - industry associations are concerned about future possible timber shortages and price rises.  The global demand for timber is huge, with the Chinese market being particularly hungry.  They’re also worried new customs arrangements post-Brexit could create a supply logjam from the source countries, impacting on UK construction and manufacturing of timber products for homeowners.

Where to find out more about garden timber?

The Wood Campus offers a wealth of useful information, training and guidance for DIY individuals, architects, builders and merchants.  It’s the ‘UK’s timber learning and information portal, providing a range of learning and information tools for professional users of wood, from customers and staff of builders’ merchants to architects and specifiers.’  Worth a look!

Of course, you can speak to our team anytime about product suitability. Give us a call on  01529 308839. We've a wide choice of high quality timber garden sheds, fencing, pergolas and buildings choose from to suit all budgets.