How to repair your garden shed

How to repair your garden shed

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

41 guides

Time and lack of care will take their toll on any garden shed: leaks emerge, wood can rot, steel will rust, and windows may crack. But replacing a board or roof shingle rarely takes more than an hour so grab your toolbox and let’s get to work!

Important features

  • Leaks
  • Replacing damaged boards
  • Hinge and door issues
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Garden sheds are generally built using one of three materials: wood, metal or composite materials. Each material has its advantages and disadvantages but any type should provide a sturdy structure for your shed – provided it is well looked after.

No matter what garden sheds are made of, they comprise:

  • a roof made of roofing felt, asphalt shingles or steel sheets, all of which can become less watertight over time (especially along the edges of the panels or roof ridge);
  • four walls composed of panels or boards that are fixed onto a frame. These parts can also rot, rust or simply break as the result of improper care or damage from impacts;
  • a hinged door and often windows that can be locked by means of handle or another type of lock. Weathering may impair the quality and proper functioning of these parts.
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Repairing a roof made of roofing felt or shingles

Found mainly on wooden and composite sheds, roofing felt is inexpensive and very effective. However, it does tend to get brittle and can get damaged quite quickly. Roofing felt rests on the framework of the roof and comes in the form of rolls or squares (which are installed just like a slate roof).

If you notice any leaks or if any of the felt pieces become damaged, you will need to climb up to the roof and carefully remove the affected panel. Use a nail puller to remove the nails or staples while holding the panel in place, making sure not to detach the surrounding felt. You can then lay another panel of the same size in place and nail it down well to create a tight seal. If the garden shed is covered with roof shingles, the damaged parts should be replaced in exactly the same way. Roofing felt panels and shingles can also be melt-welded into place using a blowtorch. Another easy waterproofing solution is to use a sealant gun to apply silicone adhesive.

Garden sheds covered with asphalt or bitumen roofing felt or shingles will commonly leak where the panels meet or along the ridge of the roof. To resolve this issue, you can use a sealant gun to apply a silicone seal in the same colour as the roof.

Repairing a metal shed roof

While metal is generally chosen for its long service life, you may, nonetheless, have to change or strengthen part of your metal roof. But not to worry: the process couldn’t be more straightforward! Using a wrench or screwdriver, loosen the screws holding the sheet in place, as well as those fixing any surrounding sheets. This will make it easier to remove the panel that needs replacing.

Get hold of a sheet of the same type and size – or use a grinder to cut down a sheet to the required dimensions – and put it into position. Secure the sheet back onto the shed frame using pre-drilled holes. Do not forget to tighten small plastic washers onto the screws in order to create a tight seal.

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Silicone adhesive

Repairing wooden shed walls

Changing a cladding board

The main challenge with changing cladding boards is that they are often locked into place via a tongue and groove system. Theoretically, this means that, in order to remove the damaged board, you will also have to take off any boards above it, as well as part of the roof.

A more efficient solution, however, is to remove the single board very carefully and then neatly nail a new board in its place; in this case, the groove system – which is used to keep the walls watertight – can be replaced by a silicone seal.

If the cladding board is only partially damaged, you can also cover it up with wood paste before sanding down the area and treating it with a suitable product.

Repairing metal shed walls

Treating rust

If part of the wall gets rusty, simply rub it with a wire brushsand down the corroded part and the surrounding area and then treat it with a rustproof exterior paint in the same colour as the garden shed. Suppliers will usually indicate the corresponding RAL colour (the exact shade of the colour) of the shed they are selling. That being said, it's always better to assume that regular maintenance will be required; this way you’ll avoid having to repair your shed at all!

Replacing a metal panel

Metal panels usually overlap vertically. It is therefore very easy to change them using just a handful of tools. Unscrew the required screws or bolts and then reattach your new panel (manufacturers usually sell these as spare parts), taking care to ensure the new panel overlaps the adjacent panel as before.

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Door repair

If the door of your shed squeaks or doesn't shut properly, spraying a small amount of lubricant into the lock or hinges may just do the trick!

However, the hinges can eventually wear down, at which point it is necessary to replace them. You have two solutions: either try to fix them using larger screws or get new hinges in the same size (these should ideally be made of stainless steel). If the wood itself is damaged, you can always move the hinges.

If the entire door needs to go, be sure to measure it carefully, unscrew it from its hinges and reattach the new one. Always make sure to check that dimensions are compatible before purchase.

Window repair

To replace a cracked window, take a look at its mounting system, which is often composed of glazing beads that hold the glass in place. Usually, the glass will just be clipped in but it may also be secured by nails.

Most traditional glazing installations are fixed with putty or wood paste. In this case, utility knives or a small knife will be required to remove the filler.

Once removed, you can replace the glass (wearing protective gloves) by inserting it into the glazing beads, or securing it at several locations with glazing points before using a putty knife to apply putty.

If using plexiglass, the replacement process is identical – with a reduced risk of injuries!

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Shop our garden sheds!

Guide written by:

Anne, Painter, Cambridge, 41 guides

Anne, Painter, Cambridge

After 8 years of trade, I turned professional: I trained myself to be a painter and carpet layer either solo or with 16 years old comrades. 9 months later, following vocational school, my registration in Trades Directory, and the label ‘Artisan’ in hand, I created my company. And since then, I don’t even touch my brushes. I’m a self-taught DIYer and decoration enthusiast, I love to find and restore furniture and to create unique decoration elements. I completed the restoration of my sister’s house, this was last summer, with my niece: electrical, tiling, finishing, plasterboard...we did it all. And today, if I can share my experience I'm happy to do it. A total DIY enthusiast joke: ‘What’s the difference between a clown and a DIY enthusiast? A sense of humor.’ Good Luck.