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What makes garden rooms so expensive?

We hear this question a lot - "I can get a log cabin from Dunster House for a quarter of the price, why should I buy one of your garden rooms?"


There are some big differences between a kit log cabin and a premium garden room. In this article we set out some of those differences and what makes a garden room worth so much more.


Summerhouse / Log Cabin Construction

  • 70mm tongue & groove softwood

  • First fix electrics are surface fitted through trunking

  • Usually a felt roof





Premium Garden Room Construction:

  • 95mm C24 Structural Stud Frame

  • 40mm Celotex Insulation

  • OSB Sheathing

  • Breather paper, treated battens, external cladding

  • First fix electrics hidden within the studwork

  • Internal finishes can be softwood, plaster & paint, or unilin clicwall

  • Aluminium or UPVC doors & windows

  • Long lasting roof finish such as EPDM



So which do i need? Summerhouse or garden room?


There are pros and cons to either option, so we have put some examples below:


Summerhouse:


Pros

  • Cheap! A summerhouse is often less than a quarter of the price of a fully fitted garden room.

  • Easy. Whether you have a log cabin style kit or a basic batten & board panel kit they can generally be put together without the help of any tradesmen. Given a couple of Saturdays you should be able to assemble it yourself.

  • Lightweight. This means you often dont need a proper foundation, such as a groundscrew base or concrete raft. Many summerhouse manufacturers will recommend more 'temporary' foundations such as a Probase plastic grid kit.

Cons

  • Cold. It isn't usually possible to insulate a summerhouse, as it is only a single skin structure with no void to fill with insulation. Some manufacturers will insulate the floor and roof but not the walls.

  • Lifetime. Typically a summerhouse will last around 10 years before it starts to lose its structural integrity, and also begins to look rather tired.

  • Maintenance. Generally speaking a summerhouse will be untreated softwood, meaning you will need to treat or paint it regularly. A felt roof will need replacing every 3 to 5 years.

Best Uses

  • Entertaining Space. A log cabin looks great with an indoor bar, snooker table, and dart board. Great for summer Friday nights next to the bbq.

  • Playroom. Ideal for kids, summerhouses are a cheap extra space for them to make all the noise and mess they like away from the house.

  • Storage. A bit better than your garden shed but still a cheap and effective way to keep those bits that don't fit in the loft and don't belong in the garage.


Garden Room:

Pros

  • Warm. Typically insulated with 40mm celotex insulation throughout, a double skin garden room will retain heat just the same as your house. Add double glazed and properly fitted doors & windows and the option for underfloor heating or air conditioning and it can be used comfortably all year round.

  • Lifetime. We don't have a proper gauge for the lifetime of a garden room as yet, because none of them have started to deteriorate yet. However being built from c24 pressure treated studwork, with a lifelong rubber roof, we would estimate they will be around for a good 30 years or more.

  • Flexibility. A custom made garden room has infinite options. It can be pretty much any shape or size, but there are also endless different cladding types or interior design which you just cant have on a single skin building.

  • Adds value. This is not going to degrade over the next couple of decades. If and when you come to sell your house, you have that much additional floor space to put forward, furnished to the same spec as indoors.

Cons

  • Expensive. A premium garden room can cost anything between £20k-£50k depending on size and package.

  • Complex. There are many more components to a garden room, which is why we generally quote a 8-12 week lead time. We will often take up to 2 weeks on site managing the foundations, installing the structure, and fitting it out inside. This is mostly skilled trades work which can't be done as a kit.

Best Uses

  • Garden office. It can be used all year round, store furniture and files without getting damp, and accommodate a substantial electrical package within the walls, plus is guaranteed to keep you warm and dry. And you can't beat it for a backdrop in a zoom call.

  • Garden Gym. Again it can be used all year round, but we can also tailor the fitout to suit the purpose. Reinforced 150mm floor, rubber gym tiles, and substantial timber framework walls that you can hang heavy weights on. We can even install an air con unit.

  • Accommodation. Please note any building built for use as accommodation should have planning permission, and building control! However, if you can get it, garden rooms make brilliant sleepover bedrooms.







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