We all have a budget, and when buying a garden office it can be tempting to cut corners on some of the basic elements in favour of a designer feature. We are all guilty of doing this! Based on our two decades of working in the industry, we urge you to carefully think about the elements of the building you might cut back on.
We have formed as list key elements that you should ensure are the best quality you can afford. If you are going to cut back on an element so you can justify a designer feature like bi-fold doors, please ensure its not these!
You will quickly realise that our list features the key parts of the core structure of a garden office. By ensuring these are the best you can afford, you will end up with a garden office that will last for decades and require little maintenance through the years.
Foundations – the basis of good garden office
There are many different foundation systems used in garden office design. There is certainly no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Most garden office suppliers will have a preferred foundation system for their buildings. The final decision on the type of foundation should be made during the site visit, when the ground will be assessed. This assessment is one of the most important reasons for having a site visit.
Every garden office site is different. If your chosen site means you have to spend a little more on the foundation system than the standard one offered, don’t skint on it. After all the foundation really is the basis of a quality garden office.
Frameworks – the core of a garden office
There are two main types of garden office framework. Some designs are based on a traditional timber frame, others make use of structural insulated panels (SIP’s). These two systems are available in house quality levels and pared down, lighter weight versions. Now we are not necessarily saying that you should go for a house quality system, but we urge you not to go for the lightest weight build-up either.
You want to create a garden office that is sturdy and will stand the test or time. Think about the thickness of the timbers or SIP’s used to create the core of your garden office. Weigh-up your options and buy the best quality structure your budget will afford.
Insulation – keeping you warm in winter, cool in summer
Insulation is a key element of a garden office. Like the other elements we are talking about here, there are several systems used in garden office design. Some suppliers use fibreglass, others use eco insulations like sheeps wool. Many suppliers choose to use rigid, foil backed insulations which offer high performance levels, whilst being relatively thin.
The best perfuming insulations also tend to be the most expensive, but you need to bare in mind that what you might save today, you will almost certainly spend in running costs in the future.
Insulation is not just designed to keep you warm in winter, it will also help keep your garden office cool in summer. So, don’t cut corners here as it is such a significant element of a garden office.
Cladding – an aesthetic and practical choice
You’ll have a lot of choice when choosing your external cladding for your garden office, and its this choice perhaps more than others which will effect the way your office looks. It also acts like a coat protecting the inner core of the building from the elements. You will therefore want to choose a cladding that will withstand the worst of the British weather, and act as a barrier for moisture penetrating into the building.
Timber claddings are the most popular option. Some timber claddings need less ongoing maintenance than others. Claddings like cedar tend to be more expensive than say treated redwood, but they will need little maintenance and have a long lifespan.
Your choice of external cladding is really important, and you will not want to cut corners from either a aesthetic or practical standpoint.
Roofing – protecting from the top down
The roof coverings used in garden office design have come a long way over the last decade. This is great news, particularly if you are building a flat roof garden office as the element of roof failure has virtually disappeared. Garden office designers have adopted roofing systems that have been used in large scale commercial buildings like office blocks for years. These systems are designed to have long maintenance free lifespans, and are often fitted in one piece so to eliminate the risk of leaks.
It can be tempting to cut corners on a roof covering, and not go for the best system on offer, after all who is going to see the roof? Please don’t though, as a well fitted roof covering will protect your room for years to come.
Glazing – goes hand in hand with insulation
Its not common we must admit, but we still see garden office specifications that quote single glazed doors and windows. Please avoid these. Your really need to buy a garden office with double glazing if you want to use it all year round.
The glazing in a garden office works hand in hand with insulation to keep your garden office at a comfortable temperature to work in, all year round.
Electrics – powering up your garden office
All the electrics in a garden office must be fitted to meet current Building Regulation standards. Your garden office supplier will be fully aware of these rules and will ensure that their work is compliant. In many cases when buying a garden office you are asked to organise the connection of the garden offices electrics to the mains supply in your house. This connection also needs to comply with current Building Regulations. This is not something you can do yourself, you need to employ a registered electrician to undertake the work.
The connection to the mains supply will be made by an armoured cable. In most cases this is buried underground, although we know that some suppliers will attach the armoured cable to a boundary fence. This connection is fairly expensive, how expensive will depend how far your garden office is from your house and the state of your fuse board.
So, you can’t afford to cut corners on the connection of your garden offices electrics to the mains supply. You also don’t want to cut corners on the number of power sockets you need – pro tip order more than you need today. You’ll also want to think about including a data point, as we are becoming more and more reliant on the internet. It will be cheaper to include this at the design stage than trying a retro fit option at a later date.