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 the most important details when you want a summerhouse to last as long as possible. From material choice to final assembly, we’ll be covering everything. So by following our posts you can become an expert on wooden summerhouses too!
Many people dream of having a beautiful summerhouse in their own garden! For some people it could be a place of retreat, a hobby room or an opportunity 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. They come in many different sizes, shapes and colours. You can also design your very own summerhouse. Tailored to your own needs, this is a project in which you can be very creative.
Build your own wooden summerhouse
For some people it’s very important to give a unique touch to their own summerhouse. So they decide to build it by themselves. They take responsibility for it from the start of the process. This can be a big challenge, because there are a lot of things you should consider when building a wooden summerhouse. The main goal is for you to be happy with your summerhouse for a long time. The previous article in this blog series explained 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 way to process the wood. There are a range of different construction systems to choose between, but the question is which one is right and what should you consider in making your choice? Well, that’s something we’ll be covering in this blog.
Avoid using screws as much as possible
Wood is a natural material which works! So it’s important to choose a construction system which needs as few screws and nails as possible. If you use screws, the individual wooden boards can’t move sufficiently. As a result, components in 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 it is in summer. This causes enormous forces which affect each other. In summer, the wood can also shrink. Due to the drying of the wood during the summer months, cracks and small gaps can occur between the wooden boards.
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 very 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 don’t need screws or nails.
You can also choose a system which uses uprights. With this system, complete wall elements can easily be slid into certain uprights or more specifically into certain posts. The advantage is that the wood is able to work! Rails are available which don’t prevent the growth and shrinkage of the wood – an optimal solution for a durable summerhouse. This system also guarantees perfect insulation of the summerhouse. You can see Lugarde’s Pro and Prima systems in the pictures below:
Tongue and groove
To make a wall construction completely stable, the wall parts should be provided with a tongue and groove construction. This prevents the wall components from bending and 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, you are well on your way to a quality summerhouse. However, when installing the doors and windows, you should make sure these are attached to the wall components 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 on 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 won’t appear.
Special feature for an attached canopy: adjustable feet
Would you like to add a canopy to your summerhouse? If so, you must make sure the posts of the canopy are equipped with adjustable feet. These posts must be laminated. This means they aren’t made of solid wood but consist of different small wooden parts. These wooden 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 don’t shrink. However, the wall parts are still a part of the summerhouse, so the entire summerhouse will work. That’s why it’s 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’s very important to pick the right wood and a construction system with a few or no screws. The choice of windows and doors also influences the durability of a summerhouse. In our next blog post, you can read about what you should consider and the pros and cons of different doors and windows.
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