Wooden Storage Sheds: Care And Maintenance

There are 3 main threats to the health of your wooden storage shed.

  • Termites and wood eating insects
  • Water damage
  • Fasteners loosening

Termites And Wood Eating Insect Damage

Wooden storage sheds with a properly build foundation and floor is the best defense against termites. Floors should be built with at least a 6 inch wood to earth gap. This means there should be at least 6 inch gap between the ground and any untreated wood on your shed. If you build the foundation and floor out of pressure treated wood then even if the termites get to the floor, they will not eat or damage the pressure treated wood.

The second thing to look for is brush or debris that might accumulate under or around your shed that would allow termites a path into your untreated wood.

The third thing to be careful of is not to store or lean any un treated wood up against your wooden storage shed. I have seen this many times, people just don’t think about this one. And this includes building a ramp out of untreated wood. If you need a ramp on your shed, be sure to build it with pressure treated wood.

Whether done intentionally or accidentally, when the termites find a path into the un treated wood of your shed, they will make themselves at home and do damage to the inside of the wood far before you ever notice their presence.

Water Damage

The biggest threat to the lifespan and health of your wooden storage shed is water damage. Here are 3 areas you need to keep an eye on.

  • Roof
  • Floor
  • Paint

Roof

Obviously your roof is the first line of defense against  the elements. Replace any loose or missing shingles immediately. Check the inside of your shed regularly for stains that indicate water damage. If you find some stains onside your shed, that is a sign that your roof has a leak.

Once you have found the leak, how you repair it will depend on what type roof you have. Usually a good quality caulk or roof coating will do the job.

Floor

Floors that are not properly ventilated or without a proper foundations that keep them out of standing water can start rotting because of accumulated moisture. A properly build wood floor will last several generations.

You might need to raise your entire wooden storage shed up several inches or more to get it away from the moisture if the area where your shed is sitting has poor drainage.

Many people don’t like to see a gap between their wooden storage shed and the ground. Some times they want it closed to keep the little animals out, or just for aesthetic reasons. But this gap is what provides ventilation to keep the moisture from destroying your shed floor. If you must cover this gap, at least leave enough screened ventilation to remove the moisture so that it will not accumulate.

I have seen many other wise perfectly good sheds with rotten and saggy floors because the original builder didn’t properly ventilate the wooden floor.

Paint

Paint serves 2 functions. The first is to make your wooden storage shed look good. The second is to protect your shed against water. Paint is a water tight barrier that keeps water and sun from touching the wood that your shed is made of. It is a protective coating.

But it wears out over time and with physical abrasion.

Caulking covers the large gaps that paint can’t cover. Then you paint the caulk to protect it too.

A good quality paint will last 5 to 10 years. Keep a close eye on it as it gets older and re caulk and re paint before it fails completely.

Fasteners Loosening

Your shed is put together with nails, screws and possibly carriage bolts. But over time the wood these fasteners are installed into will relax and the fasteners will loosen up.

After your wooden storage shed is 3 to 6 months old, walk around it with a hammer and inspect for nails heads that are popping up. This mostly happens in the floor. Just pound them back in.

If it happens on the outside, re touch the paint around the area that the nail head broke through.

If the fasteners holding your door come lose, your door will start sagging. So be pro active here and keep the screws or bolts tight so your door stays in proper align.

Keep Your Wooden Storage Shed Looking And Feeling Good

You have a lot of time and or money invested in a good quality wooden storage shed. The routine maintenance part doesn’t take much time or money. But it’s a necessary part of owning a wooden storage shed to keep it looking and feeling good so that it can continue doing it’s job of protecting your tools and household items from the elements.