Ever seen a home with a perfectly maintained exterior but a sad looking wooden garden shed in the yard? Even after winterizing a home’s exterior, that shed can be overlooked, looking downright shabby next to the newly painted and caulked home. In our part of the Midwest, wooden garden sheds take quite a beating. Harsh winds tear at the shed’s shingles. Heavy snowfall can strain the roof and ice storms can leave scratches and dents on the sides of the structure. But a few simple steps up the odds that your shed will survive winter with minimal wear.
How to Prepare your Wooden Garden Shed for Winter – First Steps
In many ways, winterizing a garden shed isn’t all that different from home winterizing. Since sheds don’t have to be heated, you don’t have to worry about heat retention. You can start the winterizing process by simply walking around the outside of the structure. A camera will help hone in on problem areas. Photos can show details when you talk to a hardware or home supply store salesperson. Peeling or weathered paint are obvious signs that the shed needs to be repainted, assuming it is still solid and otherwise in good condition.
Look for signs of insect damage. Obviously, wasp nests or signs of boring bees mean you’ll need to get rid of them. Animals can be another problem. We’ve had badgers, foxes and even skunks dig dens under our wooden shed. In one instance, our shed actually started to tip because the ground was weakened. If wood is starting to mold, decay or show signs of rot, make sure you add that to the list of repairs. Check for loose boards or nails which are starting to come loose.
Be sure to test the exterior doors thoroughly, making sure hinges are still holding tight. If the door seems way too loose or about to fall off the hinges, it may be time to repair or replace it. In some instances, buying a new garden shed may be necessary. Even if well-maintained, wooden garden sheds don’t last forever. If there are windows, you need to check those for lose panes or gaps between windows and garden shed frame.
How to Winterize a Wooden Garden Shed – Next Steps
Even though you’ve done a ground level examination, you’ll need to check the roof as well, using a well-positioned and sturdy ladder. Although our kids manage to get on top of our shed by climbing up an attached dog run, we take a more cautious approach. It also pays to push on the shingles with hands before even attempting to step onto a shed roof. While you are on the roof, don’t forget to look up and notice if any trees have overhang the roof.
Too much shade on a garden shed can promote the growth of algae, mold and a rotting roof. Try to keep trees trimmed away from the roof.
Check the Garden Shed’s Interior Before Winter Strikes
You’ll need to get rid of excess or unwanted items before you can even get a good glimpse at the interior of your shed. Now take a flashlight and examine the underside of the roof, up near the ceiling, for signs of dampness or leaks.
Don’t neglect any interior garden shelves. They, too, can fall prey to leaks and rot. If the exterior of the shed is in terrible condition and the interior isn’t much better, you may be limited in your ability to save a wooden garden shed. But let’s hope for the best, with only minor repairs to be made.
We always keep extra winter supplies in our shed, buying them from the Lowes or Ace Hardware store near our home.
Winterize A Wooden Garden Shed – Repair and Maintenance
This is the time for absolute honesty. No point in scraping, painting and trying to hold together a shed that is barely functional. Sometimes it can be cheaper in the long run to simply replace the structure. Otherwise, go to the hardware store and either buy paint, caulk and other repair supplies or hire someone to do the job. A spray washer can save time in removing old paint and a power sander can also make things easier. Let the wood dry out before painting.
Once you’ve repaired all roof leaks (which are, hopefully, minor), it is time to get down to painting the shed and caulking any areas that could be exposed to wind, snow or ice. Use the proper exterior grade caulk as well as paint which will stand up to the winter. Prime and paint the shed, making sure to put on enough coats of paint. Repair any leaking or wet spots on the ceiling and replace any loose or broken shingles. Stand back and admire the results, knowing your wooden garden shed is set to handle winter weather.