When you walk through any middle-class neighborhood today you’ll notice that almost every backyard has a portable building. Some of the buildings are brand new and serve as an attractive centerpiece in the backyard in addition to adding valuable storage space. But some of the buildings are falling apart and look like they’ve been neglected. Maintenance for your portable building is an important part of keeping the neighborhood looking good. Before we get into the details of how to maintain a portable shed, a few things to make sure its built right to begin with.
What determines how long a portable shed will last?
Many reputable shed manufacturers have been improving the quality of the materials they use to build their buildings. Wood siding and trim has been engineered to last longer and roof shingles are lasting longer than 15 - 20 years. So the quality of materials is an important factor in determining how long a storage shed will last.
Is the shed you’re thinking about buying built with LP or Duratemp Siding? Learn more about this quality wood siding by watching these videos.
LP Wood Siding
Even with quality materials, a portable storage building will still require maintenance to keep it performing well and looking good. Periodic shed maintenance will keep your storage shed looking good for decades and even make it possible to pass it on to your children.
So why is maintaining a portable building important?
We’re all wired to enjoy beauty. Who wants to see an ugly building sitting in the backyard?
Which Portable Building Would You Rather See in Your Backyard?
Maintaining your portable building is an important part of preserving and growing the value of your property.
Your neighbors will notice and appreciate when you do your part in keeping your neighborhood an attractive place to live. Don’t let your storage shed become the eyesore of your neighborhood.
Like it or not, your reputation is tied to your ability to maintain the buildings on your property. Do you want to be known as the trashy homeowner who never invests in the upkeep of your buildings?
A portable storage building that’s not properly maintained will eventually develop problems that affect its ability to do the job it was designed to do. It may develop leaks that allow moisture to penetrate the inside. This will harm the contents and cause further disintegration of the building.
Portable Buildings Maintenance Tips
We all agree that maintaining your portable building is important. Here are several tips and a list of guidelines on how to maintain your portable buildings and sheds so that it stays around and looks good for a long time. Follow these simple guidelines to protect your portable building investment.
Keep the Shed Floor Dry
If your portable building has a wood floor, it should be protected from excessive moisture. Occasionally parking a wet vehicle or garden tractor on a wood floor is fine, but it should not be expected to withstand continual moisture. If you expect that the inside of your shed will always be getting wet, you may choose to upgrade to a pressure treated floor when you order the portable building. Or you might have your shed installed on top of a concrete pad or stone pad.
Tip: If installing your shed on a concrete pad, make sure the pad is exactly the same size as the shed. If the concrete pad is larger than the shed, you’re inviting rain water to seep under the walls or floor.
Set Your Shed on a Gravel Pad
Another recommendation for a wood floor: Have your shed installed on a level gravel pad that’s at least 1’ longer and wider than the building. This keeps the bottom of your shed dryer and prevents grass and weeds from growing up around the sides of the shed. (Find companies that offer site preparation services)
Install A Critter Gaurd
Install a rodent guard to keep critters from getting under your shed and chewing on the wood floor. Ideally, the rodent guard should be constructed from a breathable wire mesh so that the underside of your shed doesn’t trap humidity.
Keep Dirt Away from the Building
Do not pile dirt or mulch against the sides of the shed. Dirt and mulch trap moisture and will cause wood to rot prematurely. If you’re portable building is installed on the side of a hill, it’s a good idea to install a retaining wall to keep the dirt from eventually piling up against the side of your building.
In addition, avoid stacking firewood (or other stuff) against the side of the shed. Your building should be able to dry quickly after it rains, and stacking stuff against your shed will prevent drying.
Level the Building Doors
If you notice that your doors aren’t opening and closing properly, the portable building may have settled. Try jacking up the one corner of the building and adding a shim to see if that takes care of the problem. If that doesn’t work or makes it worse, try removing the shim and installing it on the other side. A quality gravel shed pad or concrete foundation usually prevents door operation from becoming a problem.
Tip: Unless you’re storing a steam roller in your shed, it should be relatively easy to lift one corner of the building a few inches off the ground. If you don’t have access to a floor jack, try using a stout 2x4 or pole that’s around 8’ long as a lever. Place a block or stone beside the corner that you want to lift and use your lever to pry up the corner.
Paint Your Portable Building
Unless you have a maintenance free shed, you must keep the paint on your building up to date. Years ago, wood siding needed to be repainted every 5 years or less. Today, wood siding like the siding that is manufactured by Duratemp or LP can will hold paint much longer. The thing to watch for is peeling or cracking paint. Your building should be repainted immediately if you notice that the paint is no longer providing a protective seal.
Tip: Many builders offer maintenance free vinyl siding. This is an alternative to wood that will never need to be repainted.
Add Gutters and Downspouts
Add gutters and downspouts to control water runoff from the roof. Water that runs off from the roof tends to splash against the sides of the building. A gutter and downspout system protects the sides of the building from excessive moisture and prolongs the life of the shed.
One final recommendation: Keep leaves cleaned from the roof and remove branches that are making contact with your shed. Too much tree cover means that you building won’t be able to dry out as quickly as it should.
Does That Help?
Maintaining your portable building means that your investment should still be around for your children and grandchildren to enjoy. If you invest in a quality storage building, maintenance should be minimal (but no less important). Staying on top of maintenance will affect how good your building looks in your backyard and how well it protects your stuff many years down the road.
Are you ready? Find your own low maintenance shed or garage.