Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin Review

One of our customers was very generous in sending a review of their Lauren Clock House Log Cabin (previously known as the Special Ben), with plenty of images to show you guys the installation progress! We do love receiving images here at Tuin, so thank you Mr F for sending this to us!


Mr F writes as follows:

We were both extremely impressed with the quality of the material and the thought and precision that had gone into the preparation of the kit of parts.

The 1st of 3 packages arrives, expertly manoeuvred by Barry, the truck driver. Each load was 20ft long and weighed about 1.7tons. By the second image there was a total of 5 tons of shed. Due to a lack of planning on my part they were going to remain unwrapped for about 2 weeks as the ground work was completed.

Work starts on the base about 08.00hrs. Quite a bit of soil had to be removed to
give us a level area. A load of scalping is delivered to the pit, in all, 12 tons was used to form a base for the cement.

Kharn, the builder, with his whacker plate consolidates the scalping and the
shuttering is leveled. We finished at 20.30hrs – a long day but the pressure was on as we had booked the ready mix lorry for 08.00hrs the next morning.

Leveled Out Shuttering

Impressive work in just one day Kharn!

Day 2 at 07.55hrs, 13 tons of cement arrives… A small dumper truck was used to bring the cement to the site and frantic tamping continued for over 2 hours until all appeared level – very hard work!

A couple of days later and with the concrete hardened the rear bank was ‘landscaped’ and a trench for gravel dug at the base.

Monday, Day 1 of construction at about 08.00hrs. The lower beams had been treated the day before and the black items are lengths of the plastic base material. The walls progressed nicely and the plastic base strips have just been cut to fit and slid under the lower logs. Note the log which will eventually be fitted above the door, has been temporarily positioned to keep things square despite the gap in the front wall.

How the joints between the front and rear wall and the middle wall were to be made was a mystery to us but the long logs with vertical holes near the joints gave us a clue and answered the question, ‘what were the square pegs for?’.

The square pegs or ‘wall dowels’ had their corners and ends rounded slightly which still resulted in a satisfying tight fit but with less chance of splitting the logs. The 3 on the left have been treated with a belt sander. About 1 minute per peg and about 60 pegs in total. A pencil mark at the halfway point was useful when banging in.

Wall Dowels

Don’t worry Mr F, these can confuse most people!

About 12 hours after we started and we realise that it’s quite a big Log Cabin!

Installed Walls

The Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin is one of our longest products!

Day 2 and the roof is progressing well. For the first 2 days of construction there were 3 of us working with lots of carrying from storage area to site and quite a bit of head scratching as we searched for various specific logs. Three pairs of hands were useful as we positioned and fixed the heavy purling.

A start is made nailing the tongue & groove roof boards into position. Much later and all of the boards are fixed. Rain was expected so we protected the roof. Probably no need to but it made us feel better.

Day 3 was mainly spent nailing floor boards. The nail gun chose a bad time to fail and resulted in much manual hammering. Day 4 was mainly spent fixing shingles to the rear. A slow job but looked good when done. Ladders R Us.

Day 5, the small gable comes in 3 pieces which we screwed together at ground level then lifted into position. Inevitably, it complicated the fixing of shingles on the front and it was quite late on the Friday before we finished. On days 4 & 5, some time was spent hiding from the heavy showers which slowed us down a little.

We used some heavier timber to trim the base of the roof to provide a substantial mount for guttering. Note the notches required to fit it around the left, right and middle wall. With a bit more thought I could have cut the timber longitudinally to a better shape for the gutter brackets but now I’ll have to custom make a mounting for each bracket.

End of day 5. It looks like the finished product but still needs a lot of detail work and much brushwork. The most important pieces of paper. A list of contents annotated by me with the log positions and the detailed diagrams showing each log position.

Happiness is 3 empty pallets. Progress would have been quicker if I were able to unpack and lay out in piles all the various bits of timber. The sheer quantity of wood (and the animals in the field) precluded that, so quite some time was spent rummaging for specific pieces as required. The timber had been cut very accurately and we found that the lengths on the plan, accurate to the millimeter, were very useful in identifying the required log.

Empty Palettes

True happiness indeed!

As garden buildings go, this was a big project and I wasn’t too surprised that the main build took 5 days. Kharn, a professional builder, and I were very impressed with the quality of the material and the accuracy with which it had been prepared. The joints were well thought out and accurately milled although we were dealing with significant lumps of timber and found a club hammer, with protective wood, more useful than a mallet! Even a sledge hammer was found a use in squaring-up the part built walls. Apart from the nails in the floor and roof boards, and the wall dowels, virtually no other fixings were used. The wall logs and purlins stay in position because of the clever joints while the entire building sits steady on its base because of its weight. The packing had been very well done and, as far as I am aware, no parts were missing. Indeed, the supply of plain wood parts seemed generous. Although
there were 450kg of shingles we were a little concerned that we would run out. With 378 shingles we finished the roof with 2 remaining – very well judged by the manufactures.

Overall, I’m a very happy customer and, more importantly, so is my wife! An outstanding product at a bargain price. As the Americans would say, ‘A lot of bang for your buck’. Many thanks for the excellent service and the experience of the build has got my builder friend thinking of buying a smaller version for himself. I hope to have the staining and guttering done soon and will send you a picture of the finished item.


Thank you again Mr F for a detailed and informative overview of your installation process for the Lauren Clockhouse Log Cabin. It looks great and we can’t wait to see your pictures for when it’s completely finished! I hope you and your wife enjoy your log cabin!

Other customer experiences, build articles and tips can be found at: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Rosenheim Log Cabin Build Review

We have recently received this review from Mr B of how he installed the Rosenhiem Log Cabin for the perfect shelter for his hot tub! Thank you for showing us your impressive work with the installation of your Log Cabin, we hope you enjoy the Rosenheim and your gift for many years to come!


Mr B writes as follows:

We decided on Tuin for our log cabin after a long 6 months search for the best cabins and every time Tuin kept coming back to the top of the list so we decided with the start of our extension build and the need for the cabin for the hot tub we would finally bite the bullet and order.
We were not disappointed!

Day 0 : Base Construction
As we were having an extension built we paid the grounds workers to lay us a flat 4m x 4m concrete slab. I had originally planned to build a deck base but once I worked out it would need to support over 3 metric tonnes I decided my construction skills may not quite have been up to the job and that the cement slab would be better (plus as it turns out cheaper!)

Setting Up The Base

Sometimes getting help for installing makes it less stressful!

Day 1 : Day of Delivery
8pm we received a phone call from a nice Dutch lorry driver to say that he had managed to get most of the way onto the housing estate we lived on but couldn’t get all the way in his massive 44 foot lorry! I walked down to help unload and escorted him as he drove the Moffett carrying a very long 5.3m package. Unfortunately whilst our drive was 4m wide it really needed to be 4.10m for him to have been able to place it neatly on our drive so after a conversation with our neighbour the cabin was stored across our drive and the neighbour’s garden. A cuppa later and nice Dutchman was back on his way.

Day 2: 6:15am – Day of Construction
Woke up early as keen!

The Log Cabin Delivered

All here and ready to go!

It takes a long time (1hr 45mins) to move all that wood just 10m to the back of the house but important to get it all close to hand and sorted by type.

Day 2: Approx 10am
It’s starting to take shape – fortunately I was able to second one of the builder’s apprentices to lend me another pair of hands so once the foundation beams were all set up and checked to be completely level the logs went on very easily. In the entire build only had two mildly warped beams that needed a little extra persuasion.

Day 2: Approx 1pm
Roof beams all on now and just starting to fit the roof boards. We had opted for an extra side window that you can see here so we had cut out the logs as we went (watch out for jigsaws they are sharp! – My cabin is now permanently marked with the blood of my endeavours!)

Day 2: 3:15pm
Roof boards all on and time to call it a day as wanted to start a fresh putting the roof felt tiles on.

An impressive days work!

Day 3: 8am – 4pm
Long hot day in the blazing sun but got all the roof tiles on – takes a little time to get the first row level and done but then they all just flow from there. Nice sturdy roof that easily took my 15st.

Rosenheim Fully Installed

Second Day of Installing

Day 4 – 6 – The paint job
This was the worst job of the entire task. As we were using it for a hot tub cabin we had been warned to use impregnation fluid (2 coats) on the inside – as this is clear it is very hard to see where you had done so had to be methodical . Once that was on two coats clear treatment on the outside and additional 2 on the inside – Took approximately 36 hours of effort (2 of us at it ) – Don’t underestimate the amount of time this will take! But would completely recommend the treatment from Tuin as whilst it took a long time it went on easily and created a perfect finish.

One additional thing that is worth mentioning is that read all the blogs and suggestions on the main site – and follow the instructions – don’t be tempted to not!
Finally the cabin was finished and we could commission the hot tub and start relaxing. The rest of the photos show the end result – we are very pleased so much so that we have recommended Tuin to lots of our friends who are starting to make their own enquiries and I am sure will shortly be Tuin owners.

The Rosenheim Fully Painted

Tada!

Rosenheim Interior

A perfect fit!


The Rosenheim Log Cabin turned out to be a perfect fit for a hot tub! I personally love how the lighting from the hot tub really sets the mood inside- the ideal atmosphere for a relaxing session!

Thank you to Mr B for sending this in! We always love to see how many ways a Log Cabin can be put into use!

Interested in more reviews like Mr B’s? Find more on the: Tuin Pictorial Customer Reviews.

Julia Log Cabin

We have received a customer review from Mr P of their experience with installing their Julia Log Cabin. Thank you for sending this in!  We love how the bar turned out- It’s a great idea!


Mr P writes as follows: 

Back in February I purchased a Log Cabin from Tuin.

Several months later I have completed the project, turning it into a bar and brewery. Very pleased with it and your customer support and thought I would share some pictures with you!

 


We love the bar and brewery Mr P! Thank you for sending in your images, we hope the brewing turns out well!

Other customer experiences, build articles and ideas can be found at: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Shepherd Hut Review

One of our customers, James from East Sussex, has been very generous in sending us his review of the Shepherd Hut Gypsy styled caravan and his process of installing them from start to finish- with plenty of pictures!


James writes as follows: 

I ordered two Shepherd’s Huts before Christmas to take advantage of the generous discount. They were delivered in the first week in January. The delivery driver was superb and, though it was difficult and time-consuming, he managed to get both into one of our barns.

We debated where to undertake construction and in the end decided that it would be best right by the house, which involved some nice exercise to stroll up and down the drive when stuff was needed.

The kits were extremely well packed and there was no need to use additional tarpaulin or covering. They have sat there in the barn until today when I opened the first one. I used my car to haul the heavy metal chassis and wheels, nuts, bolts and other hardware up to the build area. There is one thing we did: I read a review about the axle being tube which broke when the hut was moved a short distance. We decided to get a blacksmith to beef up that component, just in case, so the tube was cut off and solid steel bar was welded in its place for each axle.

Axle Tube Modifications

Since all the metal work was on top of the kit, I kind of thought that the contents of the delivery would be packed in the order you need them. But that isn’t the case and it’s not a problem. So, after looking at the drawings and instructions and much head scratching, we opened up the delivery and had another round of head scratching.

Day 1:

Our aim for today – I am building this with my friend who is a great deal more handy and adept than I am – was to get the base done. We started at 10.00am and, unusually for me, we carefully studied the manual/building plans and decided we would just go at it a page at a time. So, first order of business was to build the chassis. The metal bit was easy and that was the starting point and first job to do. All we had to do was lay out the metal work roughly where we wanted to build the hut.

It was at this point that we realised we would need various lengths of timber from the kit and, when I opened it, I noticed that a lot of them were right down the bottom of the pallet! So, we would have to take everything off the pallet and stack it in vertical piles. That took a little while as we looked at various components and discussed them and where they would fit into the overall thing. I was very surprised to see that the panels that had windows actually had the glass in! OK, if you want to double glaze your hut you need to change that but it says something for the quality of the packaging and the way things are shipped that all the glass is in first class condition – not a scratch or crack anywhere on it.

Looking at the build instructions, and the separate parts list, the various lengths of timber, some of which look the same length, I had hoped would be numbered to correspond with their number in the parts list. They aren’t. It’s not a problem – but you just need to be careful to make sure you use a tape measure to check the sizes to correctly identify the various components.

For instance, you might just be able to make out below that to join the two chassis units, you need to make up a joist which uses one 2, one 2a and a 2b. 2a and 2b are not dissimilar in size but if you make that mistake – we did – you end up with a joist that is either too short by a few inches or too long by the same amount.

The first task that involves wood is to make two items that bolt onto the metal work. We did these on the ground and then fitted them.

A point on the metal chassis. We did a bit of head scratching because what we had in front of us didn’t match the drawing. It was obvious that this assembly had been beefed up with two additional bolts but that isn’t reflected in the drawing. Sill, you would want to be fairly uptight to worry about it and I am certain that the additional metal and bolts are an improvement.

Metal Chassis Closeup

Getting on with the frame, we built the first two long joists (the 2 + 2a + 2b) that bolt to the metal frames on the ground. Then it was just a case of positioning them accurately, drilling holes and bolting to the metal. This fixes the length of the unit – and it’s big!

From here, you need to assemble the rest of the joists – another five. As mentioned, each one is made of three pieces of different length timber. There was a whole lot of head scratching trying to get the right ones together. Basically, we put all the possible pieces on the part-built base, which is a great work bench, and then worked out what went with what. You just need to take your time and things click into place.

Underlining the point that the Shepherd Hut base is a very handy workbench at exactly the right height, in the image you can see James making up one of the three-component joists.

The Tuin hut is a quality item and as we were working we were having some thoughts about making sure it lasts. The base we are working on, the underside won’t show, unless someone crawls underneath. The wood is untreated and, as it goes through its life, while rain can’t get under there, dew and damp, over time, could. So we decided that we would not fix any of the joists for the moment. That’s because I am going out tomorrow to get some really good wood preservative for everything we have made so far before it is fixed – it’s a lot easier brushing on preservative when I can turn the joist over to get all sides, rather than crawling around under the base. Also, I am going to apply a coat of preservative to the underside of the floorboards – the ones that will be open to mist and moisture from beneath. So this is as far as we got on Day 1 – all the joists are ready to be screwed down but they will get a coat of preservative before that happens.

In terms of time, what you see above is not a day’s work – it took four hours work for two guys from start to finish, and that included a fair bit of time at the beginning getting familiar with the kit, instructions, components and how to read the drawings and specs, looking at parts and figuring things out. Most of all, we want to enjoy this build so we are not rushed. Tomorrow is preserving day. At this stage we are delighted with everything and though we have had the offer of whatever support and advice from Richard at Tuin, we haven’t felt the need to avail ourselves of it.

Day 2: 

Day 2 is a misnomer. On Day 2, as mentioned above, I treated everything with a preservative/sealant against moisture and that included the floor joists and all the underside of all the floorboards. I stacked the made-up joists on the axles and used the hut base to paint on the preservative to the floorboards and then I left them there and covered the lot with the tarpaulin.

We cleared the deck and positioned the five joists. It was at this stage that we discovered a length discrepancy in two of them – one was a bit short while the other was a few inches too long. Clearly we had made a mistake and we figured out we had used the wrong three components, as indeed we had. It didn’t take long to figure out where we made the mistake and we switched over components. However, it underlines that you need to take your time and make sure you identify all the components and put a pencil mark on them so that in the heat of constructing things, you don’t mistake similar sized and shaped lengths.

Things are still a bit slow at this stage, as compared with later but you need to just take your time. The joists have to be positioned accurately and we did that and clamped them in position while we screwed on the metal brackets. There’s 20 of them so, even with two of us, it still took time. I guess, from unwrapping things, getting the joists positioned and putting the brackets in – with a stop for a bacon sarnie and a tea – it took us nearly three hours to get everything ready. After that, things began to speed up in terms of seeing real change and progress. I think it only took us about half an hour or so to screw the floorboards to the joists and suddenly we had a platform and we could look at putting up the wall panels.

We decided to offset the side windows, looking over the timestamps of the images I was able to work out that it took just a few minutes over one hour to get from the first image… To the last one.

It is definitely a two-man job but not a difficult one. Up goes a panel and while one holds it in place and pushed tight against the base and its neighbour panel, the other then screws it bottom and sides to the next panel.

The next task, attaching the curved roof timbers, was a slower job because they are attached at each side with small metal brackets using fiddly little screws plus being up a ladder. But from start to finish, and in all of this construction work we were not in a hurry or rushing things, it took over an hour to fit all of the curved roof timbers and the two end sections.

So below is where we got to by 4.00pm when we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow we need to complete the roof pieces to cover the porch area, and then apply the tongue and groove roof boards.

After James headed off and I did a few chores, I decided it would be pleasant and relaxing to do at least one side with the primer undercoat I had bought from Screwfix that comes very highly recommended. It’s a job that needs doing, so why not get a bit of it done. And, in the way of these things, a couple of hours later and I had done the whole lot.

And so, construction Day 3 looms and the forecast is for it to be very hot and sunny all day.

 

Day 3: 

Today’s forecast was for the hottest day of the year so far and they didn’t get it wrong. It was in the 70s with not a cloud in the sky. I was up early and while having my first coffee of the day, I tried a patch of the blue I have selected for the exterior to check the colour. It will need another coat but I like the light blue.

Paint Test

I was probably jumping the gun last night by priming/undercoating the build so far because we added on the porch today which will need to be primed. But what I have done certainly wasn’t a waste of time. We started work before 9.00am and we used the van to move up all of the tongue and groove roofing boards – there are three sizes that make up a length. As we looked at things, we discovered a slight error in that one of the roof beams was not in the right place – we were about 5cms out, so we did a bit of remedial work to get that set up perfectly. Then we built the porch which went together well. We had some head scratching because we hadn’t noticed that we needed a little batten up top on the outside of the porch upright at each side, but once we realised that, it didn’t take long to find the two bits of board and get everything properly lined up ready to start work on the roof boards.

A word of caution on those curved roof beams. They are held in place by a little bracket which you can see in the photo below. It stands slightly proud – and we couldn’t see a way of avoiding that – which causes some fun and games when you try to put a roof board on top of it. We worked out a way – bash down the metal edge that is protruding and leave the board above loose while you fit the final board, then nail them both down. But it would be good if a nick could be taken off that bracket in manufacture – or maybe we should have positioned it further inward so it didn’t stand proud, but that doesn’t look right as you can see from the second shot.

From the time stamp on the photo, I can see that we started work on boarding the roof at 12.00. It was really hot so it was sweltering doing the work but we got it all done by 3.25pm, which included about 40 mins for lunch.

By the time we had roofed the entire hut, we were tired and decided to call it a day. We haven’t quite made up our minds about the roof – use the felt supplied or go for a corrugated roof with insulation beneath. So we will have to leave things for a few days while we earn a crust so we decided to cover the roof with a tarpaulin. It is not big enough but I have a bigger one that will go on before the rain arrives tomorrow afternoon.

After my friend James left, I was still in the mood to just potter about and do a little more. So I fitted the doors and the door frame and that was a fairly easy process. I just needed my wife to hold the components steady while I screwed them and we got the doors hung after a bit of messing about trying to put them on backwards!

Then I decided to fit the little gates things at the end of the porch. I was hot and tired and not at my brightest so there was an awful lot of head scratching and trying to figure out these strange hinges. I have never seen anything like them in my life before. On the left, that’s just one hinge – I know they are special and let the little gate thing swing either way and open back out of the way. I couldn’t figure out how to fit them, so I left that for another day when I am less tired and hot and bothered…

I contemplated getting out the primer and doing the new pieces we had fitted – mainly the porch – and also the underside of the interior roof but it was still very hot and I decided instead to make up the steps which was a fairly easy task.

Shepherd Hut Completed.

So that’s it. There is more work to do – the roof in whatever material we decide to do it, but other than that we’re pretty much there. There’s the fitting out to do – prime and paint the rest of it; add the exterior trim, run some electric cables inside for lights and power; insulate inside and then panel the walls; lay an oak laminate floor; general painting and decorating and “dressing” the hut, etc. etc. I’ve bought a sofa bed from Ikea specially for it and I have been collecting a few period things that will look the part. But that is an on-going fun element which we will do over the next couple of weeks because we are in no hurry.

As I was reading customer comments on building one of these, it was suggested you can build one in a weekend. Of course the devil is in the detail – at what stage do you determine it is built? If you look at our timings and what you see in the photo above, then certainly, two averagely handy guys, working at a steady, unrushed pace, got this far in a long weekend. If we were building the other one, I think it would be quicker because we did an awful lot of head scratching and that’s understandable. There are no written instructions in terms of describing that you need to do this, then that, etc. etc. and how you do it. The manual is made up of about 18 pages of drawings – very well annotated drawings – that show you what is needed, and where and how it is placed. It shows you what screws to use and where necessary, there are little exploded drawings for key details. It is easy to miss something or confuse two pieces of the jigsaw so double check everything. That is not to criticise the instructions – but what we realised is that we weren’t familiar with following this kind of instruction booklet and at times things didn’t make sense. And then the penny would drop and you would see what was required and it was easy.

I think, most of all, I’m happy with the attitude we approached the build with: this is going to be fun. Let’s enjoy this. We certainly did despite the head scratching as we turned another page onto another stage of the build until it sank in what we were looking at and what we needed to do.


Thank you to James for your article. We appreciate the amount of detail and passion you show in both your writing and your images! I send my best wishes for when you build the other one and modify it. We would love to see images of the interior design when you’re finished!

Other customer experiences, build articled and ideas can be found here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Shepherd Hut Inspiration

A customer has sent me today a CD of their pictures of our shepherd hut, Gypsy Wagon. This is their pictorial story of the arrival, installation and final finishing of their shepherd hut that you may enjoy, the finishing is of particular inspiration if you have, or are considering this building.


gg

Knocking down an old shed

f

Preparing the ground

Perimeter is marked out

Perimeter is marked out

Shepherd hut arrives.

Shepherd hut arrives.

Well packaged and delivered with a de-mountable forklift

Well packaged and delivered with a de-mountable forklift

Shepherd hut Chassis

Shepherd hut Chassis

Main outside rails and chassis is installed

Main outside rails and chassis is installed

All the cross members and rails are in and the floor can be laid

All the cross members and rails are in and the floor can be laid

Floor and veranda is laid

Floor and veranda is laid

Walls and front and rear 'apexes' are fitted

Walls and front and rear ‘apexes’ are fitted

Roof hoops are fitted

Roof hoops are fitted

Steps and veranda parts are installed

Steps and veranda parts are installed

Roof boards are nailed onto the hoops

Roof boards are nailed onto the hoops

NOTE:

The beauty of our Shepherd huts / Gypsy wagons is that they can be customised to whatever you want and this is why so many customers buy our buildings and several businesses exist because of it.

Up to the picture above this was a standard install and now it gets interesting.

Mr U now started to make his own modifications and changes. The following is non standard and not supplied by us but may inspire your own build.

Ignoring our supplied roofing felt Mr U is using a corrugated roofing material

Ignoring our supplied roofing felt Mr U is using a corrugated roofing material

Paint starting to be applied in traditional colours

Paint starting to be applied in traditional colours

Additional battens in the walls and laminate flooring is installed. An electrical circuit is also now in place.

Additional battens in the walls and laminate flooring is installed. An electrical circuit is also now in place.

A stunning oak laminate floor fitted on top of the standard floor

A stunning oak laminate floor fitted on top of the standard floor

Insulation boards fitted in the wall panels.

Insulation boards fitted in the wall panels.

Timber clad lining is being fitted

Timber clad lining is being fitted

Tongue and groove timber lining - we can also supply lining boards of 18mm and 27mm if asked.

Tongue and groove timber lining – we can also supply lining boards of 18mm and 27mm.

Lining complete and starting to paint for the final finish.

Lining complete and starting to paint for the final finish.

Further painting

Further painting

The finished Shepherd hut / Gypsy Wagon.

There has been a huge amount of work in this project but with building of this standard often sold in excess of £10,000 a little work yourself can pay off if you have the time and DIY skills.

These are the finished pictures:

Frosted glass motif in the rear window

Frosted glass motif in the rear window

A stunning writing desk feature

A stunning writing desk feature

Looking towards the rear of the shepherd hut - an amazing finish.

Looking towards the rear of the shepherd hut – an amazing finish.

The completed Hut - Stunning!

The completed Hut – Stunning!

Thank you Mr U for taking the time to photograph and send me these pictures. I hope my present was thanks enough for the inspiration you have given.

To see other customer experiences, build and ideas with our products, this page links several of them together: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

We also have a new version of this Shepherd Hut with doors in the side: Shepherd Hut Deluxe

Buying a Metal Shed – Advice and Fitting

Tuindeco have a new metal shed range for this year and this will join many other brands of metal sheds on the market. In a previous job I gained a lot of experience with these types of building and we sold all of the brands available. I was almost at the beginning of metal sheds in the UK and at one point was with the largest retailer of them.

It annoyed me slightly though that there was not enough information for the customers and a ‘metal shed’ as a product can be quite misleading if you do not have the information to hand. I remember a few customers being disappointed with the shed or that it was not what they were expecting.

With this in mind before I promote and sell this new range of metal sheds I’m writing this post to make you a little more informed, and, to offer you some advice on all metal sheds.

Towards the end of the post I will then walk through the installation of one of Tuindeco’s metal sheds which has some nice features setting it apart from others.

You will be able to apply this advice to many other similar metal sheds and be armed with a little more information than is currently available online. My installation guide of a metal shed towards the end will also give you a reasonable overview on what to expect when you install yourself.

Benefits of Metal Sheds

Anyone selling metal sheds tends to offer a list of all the benefits of this type of shed:

  • Maintenance Free
  • Rot, Rodent, Insect Proof
  • Fire Retardant
  • Will not crack, split or warp.

So, a good number of benefits here and reason enough to look at metal sheds as a solution to your own requirements.

Security and Cost of Metal Sheds

Cost and Security are two major factors with metal sheds and you must realise that not all metal sheds are going to be secure just because they are made of metal.

In the marketplace you will find one or two companies that list these sheds as security sheds and in my experience they are. In fact at the office have a parcel drop box made by one of those companies and it is indeed very secure and very strong.

But, these are expensive sheds and rightly so with the material that is in them often they are over 1mm in thickness and have special security locks.

If it is security that is your motivation then you need to look at these companies and perhaps do not need to read any further as I am not referring here to security based sheds.

As a rule of thumb in your research for a metal shed; look at a 6′ x 4′ shed and if it is over £600 then you are heading for a shed designed for security.  If the cost is less than this then it is designed for simple storage and budget.

Do not think for one moment that a shed at this size under £600 is going to be secure and despite what the seller tells you do not believe it. Metal sheds with a low cost are not meant for security.

Metal sheds with a low price are designed for storage and price, they are not designed for security

Metal sheds with a low price are designed for storage and price, they are not designed for security, do not be mislead.

If you’re set on a metal shed then very clearly decide on security or budget.

If simple storage and cost is your requirement then there a lots of sheds on the market including ours.

Budget Metal Sheds For Storage

Ok, security aside; it’s not a huge consideration for you and you just want a cheap, no hassle, no maintenance shed … In which case there is loads to choose from and this is where the confusion will start on which one you should buy as you look through the myriad of choices online and in the catalogues.

Here’s the standard features of virtually all budget metal storage sheds which all retailers will boast about:

  • Hot dipped Galvanised Steel  – all metal sheds should feature this.
  • Extensive guarantee – 10 – 15 – 20 years depending on where you buy from. Note the small print though, this will invariably be a ‘anti perforation’ warranty.
  • Several coats of paint finish – regardless all of these will scratch.
  • Entry and Exit ramp at the door way.

Most metal sheds are bought online or from a catalogue these days and most companies are quite limited with the information they provide for several reasons.

Within the industry metal sheds are regarded as a high volume product and a retailer expects to sell high volumes.  The prices between various companies, for a 6′ x 4 will invariably be pretty close together, you’ll see difference of £20 – £60 depending on the manufacture.

This isn’t just a competitiveness between them, there are genuine reasons why one ‘budget metal shed’ is going to be cheaper or more expensive than another.

 

Don’t just base your decision on the price, understand that there are differences not immediately obvious of which I will try to explain a little more.

Metal Shed Panels – Folds

All metal sheds designed for storage and budget use the similar thickness metal sheet, ours have a thickness of 0.25mm which is actually thicker than a lot of metal sheds. Tuindeco specified a thicker metal than usual but it still seems pretty thin doesn’t it?

Have a look at what other suppliers list as the thickness, most of the time a gauge will not be listed but they will say something like “High tensile Steel”. If you can find out the thickness of the steel this will help some of your decision process, but …. the difference you’re also looking for when deciding who to buy from is the folds in the metal.

The folds are what increases the strength of the panel and its rigidity. Here’s some examples:

Virtually no folds

Still made of thin metal but notice the number of folds in the panels. Less folds means less strength, normally a shed without folds will rely on an internal frame around the centre but it is still very susceptible to denting

A few more folds

Minimal folds in the metal panel with an intermediate frame.

Increased number of folds

Increased number of folds in this metal shed sees an increase in strength and resistance to denting.  There is no intermediate rail in this one and it is similar to our range of metal sheds although ours has an increase in roof and door height.

Metal shed roof folds

Metal shed folds – this is a picture of the roof of the new metal shed I recently installed, you can see the number of large folds which create the main strength, in between are small folds which add to the rigidity despite the thickness of the hot dipped rolled steel galvanised sheet used.

So, when you’re looking for a metal shed scrutinise the pictures from the supplier or ask the retailer about the folds in the steel panels.

Metal Shed Fittings

All metal sheds will be fixed using a combination of nuts and bolts and self tapping screws. I personally prefer self tapping screws used the most as it makes installation a lot easier and more secure with less likelihood of nuts coming loose.

It’s worth asking the retailer what the screws are made of, most will be galvanised steel which may rust as below:

Galvanised screws will rust as often the galvanising is damaged in the act of installation.

Galvanised screws will rust as often the galvanising is damaged in the act of installation itself and weathering, eventually you will have rusting and this will not be covered under a ‘anti-perforation’ warranty.

If you can, try to find a metal shed that is supplied with Stainless steel screws and bolts. It makes a big difference in months and years to come. Also it is good to ask if they come with washers or if you have to silicon each one.

All Tuindeco metal sheds have stainless steels screws and bolts and plastic washer packs:

Stainless steel screws and plastic washers to ensure a good seal without the need to silicon each fitting

Stainless steel screws and plastic washers to ensure a good seal without the need to silicon each fitting. All Tuindeco metal sheds comes with stainless steel self tapping screws and bolts as well as plastic washers to help create a good seal.

Metal Shed Roof

A very important area that differs quite widely with metal sheds is the strength of roof support. You will find that Tuindeco specify a roof loading strength of 90 km/m.sq. This is hugely unusual as I have rarely seen a retailer even mention this and it should be a consideration. I remember in my previous job complaints over a heavy winter of collapsed roofs, it’s not at all uncommon.

Metal shed collapse due to snow but this is something that should be considered when you are deciding on which metal shed is for you.

Metal shed collapse due to snow. This is something that should be considered when you are deciding on which metal shed is for you. Roof strength is very important but often overlooked.

If a roof is specified for strength you would hope to find features such as the picture below. This is the new Tuindeco metal shed I installed and I was very impressed with the roof structure. I haven’t seen this much support or depth of rafters in any other metal shed I have installed in my time.

Tuindeco metal shed substantial roof supports

Tuindeco metal sheds come with substantial roof supports, also supplied is galvanised brackets transferring the weight to the top rail.

Many metal sheds will only have a single center support so it maybe worth checking the strength of the roof before committing to a purchase.

Metal Shed Foundation Kit and Floor

Like our log cabins, A Tuindeco metal shed is first built on the metal base rail that runs around the perimeter of the shed. This can be secured onto any flat and firm base.

Complete with the shed is a metal ‘foundation kit’ which can also be used and flooded with concrete.  Timber can be added on top of the metal frame to create a floor. This kit comes with all our metal sheds as standard.

In your research you are very likely to find that other companies will have this as an option and charge extra for it.

Metal sheds have the advantage that they can be fitted to any surface so long as it is flat and a floor put in afterwards. Please be-aware that they are quite light and will need to be fixed to the base if you are not using a foundation kit flooded with concrete.

Fitting of a Metal Shed

Across the internet and catalogues you will see the statement: “Easy to install”!

To a certain point I will agree with this but they fail to mention it’s bloomin’ fidley, there’s a lot of screws and metal sheds bite back – plus they can be frustrating at times in the build!

This can be said for every metal shed I’ve installed and I’ve done pretty much every make there is. They’re all a pain, sometimes frustrating and they’re all fiddly due to the small length screws and bolts, some patience is needed throughout the fit.

Also, if you haven’t done one before or are not experienced with plan reading, sometimes the instructions can leave you scratching your head for a while until you have figured out a particular point.

No matter which suppliers shed you choose the metal panels will ALL have sharp edges and they will cut you!

Where possible during assembly wear gloves and cover your arms. Watch what you’re doing and watch out for sharp edges when installing. In addition until you add the plastic protective tips (supplied with a Tuindeco Metal Shed) there will be screw tips showing inside and these are also sharp until covered (if supplied). The problem comes that the screws and bolts are small so you do need to remove your gloves sometimes but keep in mind always they can bite!

Don’t try to install in a wind, I did with this build and it made it considerably harder with a greater risk of bending panels while it is unsupported.

I’ve seen most metal sheds advertised at 2 – 3 hours build time, in fact Tuindeco’s instructions say this as well. I will not agree with this and I would advise you leave at least 6 hours installation time for an 8′ x 6′ shed or below. A larger shed will possibly take longer.

You will need two people to install it easily. If you are installing a larger shed which is going to run into two days make sure you support all the panels fully before leaving them overnight. I did receive a complaint years ago of a collapsed building overnight during a storm. They are quite unstable until built properly.

Tools need to fit a Metal Shed

This is pretty much the same as installing a log cabin or a timber shed but with a metal one there are a lot of screws to fix.  You will need a battery powered drill, two batteries is useful as the drill will be used extensively.

You will also need step ladders, a hop-up is useful and it’s a good idea to have a couple of 3mm HSS drill bits handy just incase something doesn’t line up perfectly and you need to drill the odd holes – Some models on the market will need a lot of holes drilling – a common complaint in metal sheds.

A square is handy as is a spirit level.

Did I mention patience? You will need a moderate portion of this at times throughout the install.

Tuindeco Metal Shed Installation Walkthrough

I don’t like selling anything that I haven’t got experience of so I can help customers if needed. I also need to make sure the product I am selling is a good quality or if a customer experiences it as less in their opinion I can at least defend it based on my experience of the comparable products available.

I admit to being sceptical as metal sheds are tricky things but I really do think this is a good shed when compared to everything else I have been involved in over the years.

Below is a walkthrough and my experience of installing a Tuindeco Metal Shed. All metal sheds will be similar and this maybe helpful for you even if you have not bought one of ours.

Metal shed box and contents

Metal shed box and contents. A very strong box which is highly reinforced which should see our metal shed arrive safely and enable you to store it safely before installation. Transportation and storage of metal sheds has always been a problem for every supplier but this appears to be solved with this packaging. Notice the twin wall corrugated boxing. As a tester we sent this out with a renowned ‘Bad’ carrier and it arrived back to us safely.

Sort out the parts

Like any fitting process I always like to arrange the parts so I know what I have to deal with. It helps to keep referring to the plans and line drawings. Some of these steel rails also form the foundation kit that I haven’t yet installed and were left over at the end of the build. These are all very well labelled.

One thing that pleased me was how well everything was numbered and straightforward to identify, other sheds I have installed took a little longer as parts need to be identified solely from the drawings. Clear labelling did make this easier as there are quite a few bits.

Metal base rail fitted together

Metal base rail fitted together. The frame was made up of 7 pieces and pleasingly all the holes lined up. The sliding door rail is integral on the bottom. The ramp entry and exit point is shared by many sheds. At this point it’s a good idea to square it properly and fix down to your base if you have one at this point. We can supply rawl plugs and screws for this but hilti-bolts maybe a better solution.

A major complaint with some metal sheds is the hole alignment. This was one of my biggest concerns with these new sheds and one of the reasons why I wanted to put one together myself before we promote them. If you look across the internet for reviews you will see it time and again: “holes didn’t line up!” This is a regular complaint and not one we wanted.

I was very pleased though, for the majority of the build, it all lined up nicely, you do sometimes have to pull the panels a little or send a screw through slightly at an angle but it all worked very well, I was pretty smug with the shed and enjoying the build, so far so good!

First two panels according to instructions

According to the instructions they asked for the first two panels to be placed as shown, it then asked for two to the back opposite these. If I had done this I would have needed more helpers or support such was the wind on the installation day.

Stupidly I had picked a windy day to do this, I should have known! Once committed though I wanted to get it done. At this point I chose to ignore the instructions and worked around the building as I could stabile it better.

I worked around the building rather than opposing sides as per the instructions

I worked around the building rather than opposing sides as per the instructions, this was so I could stabilise it better against the wind. At this point it was moving a lot and I was worried I would end up with bent panels.

drgrrd

All the panels are in place and now I’m putting in the top door rail. The bottom one is integral to the base frame. I may have made a mistake working around the building as on the opposite side to this picture a panel was overlapped wrongly and flared slightly. When you install keep an eye on the instruction schematics and where the overlaps of panels should be.

Up to this point everything had worked well, the holes had lined up but as I mentioned sometimes you have to pull the panel, handling the screws is also very fiddly. Watch for sharp edges!

Then, a slight disappointment I did find two holes that were not correct this was the only time on the whole of the build and was the fascia strip that covers the front sliding rail. It was only out by a few mm but nevertheless I did have to drill a new 3mm hole. As it was on the fascia though this was then covered by another panel and not seen so not really a problem. I had hoped though to have a 100% record of lining up properly but sadly now only 99% – Still, pretty bloomin’ good though when compared to the other products I have experience of.

re-adjustment

I had hoped everything would be perfect but I did find one hole that needed drilling as it was out by a few mm.

Check which way up the runners go

Check which way up the runners go! The instructions will show you which way these go and will show you to install them before you put the rail on. If you make a mistake with which way they go in you can take them out again – as I had to do when fitting the doors later – Doh!

Top rails

Once the top rails where installed the whole shed became a lot more stable and I was able to relax a little with the wind. Upto this point though it did feel very flimsy and slightly scarey in the wind.

Apexes

The apexes are made up of two parts and these screwed down into the top rail, again I had no problems with holes aligning. When you are fitting the roof supports keep an eye on the bracket supports, I installed the side ones wrong and had to take them off again. Keep an eye on them, they are ‘handed’. I found it best to lightly nolt them and test I was right first. Before this point the instructions had said to install the roof vents. I left them out until the end as you can then use the holes to hold the bolts for the roof supports and I didn’t need a helper which freed him up to make a cup of tea.

Fitting

Fitting the roof panels was pretty straight forward and actually aided by the strength of the roof as I was able to lean on it to some extent. Each side for this size shed is made up of two roof panels, the second roof panel did need pulling a little. Then I realised the shed was not 100% square. It’s worth mentioning to make sure it is before putting the roof on!

Ridge cap

When I fitted the ridge cap it did have a very slight bow upwards so I added an additional screw in the center, I also had the same with the leading edge trims so you might want to consider this. It’s not shown on the instructions and perhaps considered unnecessary but as I had lots of screws and bolts left over it was my own enhancement.

dd

Up to this point the instructions were very good, despite this I still cocked up a few times as I didn’t pay enough attention. When I started to do the door I did scratch my head at first but this is how it should go if you end up at the same head scratching moment. The top, middle and supporting rails are all installed inside the panel and not the outside as I first thought.

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The door locates nicely at the bottom and then you can screw in the top the the runners. There is three possible locations to screw into and I chose the centre ones. I did notice that both the doors were slightly off after wards and then adjust the hole on one runner to square them, you may need to do the same so please expect some time aligning the doors properly

vent

For me the vents were one of the last things to do. A ventilated gable is very important in metal sheds to stop the build up of condensation which they can suffer if a damp proof membrane is not used or the concrete allowed to dry out properly.

Completed

The completed shed after about six hours of work, a couple of cuts and a small amount of frustration caused by fiddly screws. Overall though I think it’s a  cut above the rest of the comparable models in the same price range. Note the protective plastic on the door panels and see below.

And finally after a bit of swearing, a smattering of frustration and some cuts on my hand I was pleased with the finished metal shed. I liked the colour as well, it blends in nicely and I can see it quite unobtrusive in the garden. Other sheds are green or blue or any myriad of colours and combination but this does hide itself well. Do you really want a bright coloured lump of metal in your garden?

One small thing to note is that several of the panels has a protective plastic film on them. I left most of it on during the install thinking this would be a good thing and help to protect it from me scratching it.

In hindsight this was wrong as it’s a real bugger to get off when all screwed together. I would now recommend removing this as you go!

Limitations of a Metal Shed

If you choosing a metal shed for simple storage on a budget you can’t go too wrong with them. Certainly ours I think is very good value for money with features that takes it above what others are offering. But it still has limitations, as do its competitors:

  • NOT a security shed – despite being made of metal, do not buy this type of shed thinking it has more security over a wooden one. This can easily be broken into.
  • Condensation – Metal sheds can suffer from a condensation problem. This can be limited with the use of a damp proof membrane on installation and making sure you buy a shed with ventilated gables, other factors can influence this and I will follow up on this is another post.

Summary on Metal Sheds

I hope this has been of some use to you. Have a look what others are doing and can offer but keep in mind:

  • Height of doorway
  • Height of roof
  • Material used in the fittings – Stainless or galvanised.
  • Number of folds in the panels – the more folds the better
  • Thickness of sheet metal – Thicker the better
  • Type of packaging – to ensure it arrives safely and you can store it until ready to install.
  • Roof Strength – this is quite important and worth questioning.

Also, don’t believe the ‘easy to fit’ it’s frustrating and fiddly but worth it in the end for a very cheap maintenance free garden shed. See here for more information on Tuindeco Metal Sheds

Shepherd Hut / Gypsy Wagon

I’ve been meaning to write this post for a little while now and haven’t quite had the time since my family and I bought and built one of the popular Shepherd Hut / Gypsy Wagon we supply. (Update – NEW Version with Doors in the side: Shepherd Hut Deluxe)

We’ve got a small field away from our home that as a family we all like to muck around in, it’s great fun for the kids and you can’t beat cooking sausages on an open fire. I’ve always had a hankering for a slightly different style of home office than is the norm. I work a great deal from home and I have always wanted somewhere different from my usual spot away from the daily bustle of family life.

The field makes for a perfect location but the trouble is I would never get planning permission for a log cabin on it as it is designated ‘agricultural use’. I need something totally portable and truly temporary, the Shepherd hut / Gypsy wagon fits the bill perfectly. I wouldn’t want to move it too far but with the aid of the tractor it will move and that’s good enough for me and is indeed a ‘temporary structure’.

We built this during Easter and still haven’t got around to making my perfect office from it. In fact it is still a bare shell but over the winter when work is a little quieter I intend to replace the glass with double glazing and insulate it. I’ll then make some fitted units; a desk, sofa, cupboards etc and with a wood burner installed it should be very cozy. Electricity will come from solar panels and battery storage back up. When I do get around to finishing it I’ll update this post but for now here’s some pictures and a short video at the end. I hope you find this useful if you are considering one of our Shepherd Huts / Shepherd Hut Deluxe

Shepherd hut chassis and base construction

Chassis and base construction takes the most amount of time in the build, the wheels and metal chassis are built first, then the timber frame and then the floor and veranda area. This part of the build took about three hours with my wife and two helpful children.

Chassis and base construction

Be careful when you lay the floor as their is a start and a finish floor board. We made the mistake of not identifying it and had to cut the final board. It wasn’t a problem but annoying I hadn’t spotted it sooner ….. as I always say …. READ the plans …. doh!

The shepherd hut has panelled walls.

The walls are all made of individual panels and are simply screwed together. It does help to have a couple of G clamps handy to clamp them together before you screw them. Also pilot the holes first. All the screws are Torx and you get a couple of spare bits but don’t drop them!

You'll notice my slabs supporting it are just laid directly on the ground, I didn't want to disturb the ground at all and with the adjustable feet it's not a problem getting it level.

You’ll notice my slabs supporting the Shepherd hut are just laid directly on the ground, I didn’t want to disturb the ground at all (planning) with the adjustable feet the chassis has though it’s not a problem getting the building level.

Roof trusses on the shepherd hut

The roof is supported on pre-curved trusses. When you fit these don’t rely 100% on the measurements given as at my first attempt I wasn’t exactly in the middle of the roof board sections. I found it easier in the end to use the roof boards for each section as a template.

Roof boards on the gypsy wagon

Each of the roof boards are individually nailed on. Like the floor there is a start and an end board, watch out for them and identify them first as they will catch you out. It is also a good idea to measure the boards across the arch to find exactly where to start it. We put the small section on fist and only tacked it to get this part right and exactly even both sides.

painting the shepherd hut

Once up the painting went on long into the night. When it is first built it is very white and we wanted to hide it amongst the trees quickly hence the camouflage green paint.

Finished Shepherd hut / Gypsy wagon.

Finished Shepherd hut / Gypsy wagon. Yes the painting isn’t that great but we wanted to make the shepherd hut as unobtrusive from the road as possible. The window sections on the side can be put in either wall but only in the middle section of the building. As you can see we put both windows in the right hand wall as that will be the final position of my desk with a sofa on the opposite wall.

Gyps Wagon

With a couple of friends to visit it really did look more like a gypsy wagon! Neighbours actually thought we had bought an original wagon, they thought it was an antique and the genuine article!

Gypsy wagon and pony

This is going to be an ongoing project for the family, hopefully we’ll have time over the winter to finish it off and update this post with the details. Here’s a quick video I took of it.

UPDATE

A year on and I still haven’t lined the inside as I wanted to,  I’ll get there in the end and post here when I do.

BUT I now have sheep, I’m the very proud owner of eight Hebridean sheep who enjoy sleeping under the shepherd hut at night.

dgd

A little dream of mine come true …  a shepherd hut complete with sheep!