#2 Construction systems – What you should consider!
06 March 2018| News| Mareike Eckhoff
Once a week we give important tips about building a summerhouse in our new series: “What makes a quality summerhouse”. Our architects and wood professionals explain which details are important when you want a summerhouse to last as long as possible. From material choice to final assembly, everything will be dealt with. In this way, you can become an expert on wooden summerhouses yourself!
Many people have the dream of a beautiful summerhouse in their own garden! For some people it could be a place of retreat, a hobby room or the possibility to sit together with family and friends. A summerhouse can be designed individually. There are a lot of different ways you can use it. Perhaps this is the reason why summerhouses are so popular. There are different sizes, shapes and colours. Furthermore, you can design your own summerhouse individually. Tailored to your own needs, it is a project in which you can be very creative.
Build your own wooden summerhouse
For some people it is very important to give a very unique touch to their own summerhouse. Therefore, they decide to build it by themselves. They take responsibility for it from the start of the process. That is a big challenge, because there are a lot of things you have to consider when building a wooden summerhouse. The main goal is to be happy with your summerhouse for a long time. The previous article in this blog series told you how important it is to choose the right wood.
The right wood is essential for a durable summerhouse. When you have found this, you can think about the right processing of the wood. There are different construction systems you can choose, but the question is: which one is the right one and what should you consider? That is something you can read in this blog.
Avoid using screws as much as possible
Wood is a natural material which works! For this reason, it is important to choose a construction system which needs screws and nails as little as possible. If you use screws, the individual wooden boards cannot move sufficiently. As a result, components of the finished summerhouse can bend or cracks may appear. A wooden summerhouse must have enough space to grow. In winter, a summerhouse can be 3 to 4 centimetres bigger than in summer. Then there are enormous forces which affect each other. In summer, you can see a risk in the wood shrinking. Due to the drying of the wood during the summer months the wooden boards can get cracks and small gaps between each other.
You can find construction systems which are free of screws in Lugarde’s pro-system, the log-cabin system and the prima-system. A log-cabin system is characterised by individual wooden boards which are stacked on top of each other horizontally. At the corners the wooden boards jut out. The popular log-cabin system is a system with overlapping corner connections, which makes it recognisable. This means that the corners are formed by overlapping wooden boards. This is a very robust system in which the individual wooden boards support each other, so you do not need screws or nails.
You can also choose a system which uses uprights. With this system complete wall elements can be easily slid into certain uprights or more specifically into certain posts. The advantage is that the wood can work! There are rails which never stop the growth and shrinkage of the wood – an optimal solution for a durable summerhouse. Furthermore, this system guarantees a perfect isolation of the summerhouse. Look at the pro- and prima-system of Lugarde on the pictures below:
Spring and groove
To make a wall construction completely stable, the wall parts should be provided with a spring and groove construction. This prevents the wall parts from bending and it also protects the construction of the summerhouse from wind and water.
Installing doors and windows
As explained earlier, wood continues to work. If you choose a construction system with a few or no screws at all, you are on your way to a quality summerhouse. However, when installing the doors and windows, you should make sure these are attached to the wall parts without screws and nails.
At Lugarde the solution can be found in the frames of the doors and windows. A rail is hidden in the frame, so the doors and windows can be slid onto the wall parts. Because the doors and windows are only slid and not attached with screws, the wall parts can continue to work. In this way, the weight of the summerhouse is divided over the wall parts equally, which means cracks will not appear.
Particularity with an attached canopy: adjustable feet
Would you like to add a canopy to your summerhouse? Then you have to make sure the posts of the canopy are provided with adjustable feet. These posts must be laminated. This means they are not made of solid wood but consist of different small wood parts. These wood parts are then glued together. It is important that the growth rings are in opposite directions for each part attached. This prevents the wooden post from bending. If the post was made from solid wood, it would bend in the direction of the growth rings within a short period of time.
Laminating the wood has another effect on the posts: The working of the wood is very limited, which makes sure the posts do not shrink. However, the wall parts are still a part of the summerhouse, so the entire summerhouse will work. That is why it is important to place the wooden posts on adjustable feet and not on regular feet. If the summerhouse shrinks, the adjustable feet can be adjusted to a lower position. If the summerhouse grows, the adjustable feet can also be adjusted to a higher position. This is very important to balance the amount of force on each post.
The picture below shows a summerhouse with an attached canopy and adjustable feet (circled in green).
To build a quality summerhouse, it is very important to pick the right wood and a construction system with a few or no screws at all. The choice of windows and doors also influences the durability of a summerhouse. In our next blog you can read about what you should pay attention to and the pros and cons of different doors and windows.