Below you’ll find some useful tips for the installation and care of your house from Polhus. Please read the entire text, as it may contain useful information you might not have considered. You can also download the manual Assembly Guide for the DIY Builderwhich we have created to make the task easier for you.
- It's important to check with your local council whether you need a building permit or not, as different regulations may apply for different councils.
- In Sweden: Your neighbour's consent is required if you plan to build closer than 4.5m to the boundary of your land.
- What the ground conditions are, in order to be able to plan which foundation best suits the construction.
- Whether you’ll need extra windows or doors
- How much insulation you're planning to add in the floor, walls and roof, which is determined by what you want to use the garden house for.
How you want to heat the garden house. Will it be used for occasional overnight guests, as a garden shed, or will it later become a permanent residence?
- Will water, electricity and sewage need to be connected?
- Roofing, insulation, electricity, water and sewage are not included in the kit.
Feel free to contact us, and we will send a construction estimate and give you advice and tips for all these questions.
Getting started with assembling the house
The following tools are needed when assembling your house
- The manual with the material specifications
- One hammer per person
- Screwdriver, electric or manual;
- Ruler or measuring tape;
- Spirit level;
- Possibly a long lashing strap;
- A saw and a mitre box for mouldings;
Some advice before assembly
- Study the manual carefully before you start work and store it in a plastic folder if it's raining. It may sound like silly advice to someone who's good at DIY, but studying the manual, getting acquainted with the various steps and actually having the manual on hand during assembly all reduce the risk of human error.
- It's important that the foundation is well made and completely level. If any of the foundation stones are higher or lower than the others, this results in gaps occurring between the log turns and doors and windows not working properly. See the attached file for a proposed general layout for the concrete foundation supports: general layout for the concrete foundation supports.
Once the foundation has been laid, you can start with an inventory of everything in your package and check that all parts are there, according to the attached materials specification. Now you can sort all the parts into piles around the construction site so that all the parts are on hand when needed. If you intend to insulate the floor, don't nail the support boards that carry the bottom layer under the floor ridges until you have nailed the foundation together.
Weigh in the floor construction and make sure that the diagonals in the house are exactly the same length. Fine-tune the base with thin wooden wedges or mason pieces so that it's perfectly balanced.
Now the fun part begins Lay the first tier of wood, which consists of half and whole timber profiles. Check the diagonals and nail the turn to the base in corners recessed with long nails. It's best if you pre-drill and use screws to fasten the first turn. At this stage, you can put the floor in place to have something to stand on when you assemble the walls. It's a good idea to cover the floor with protective cardboard so it doesn't get dirty. The floorboards are raw board and are intended to be sub-flooring for carpets or parquet laminate, but it may be that you're content with the planed topmost side as a floor, despite any knots or small cracks.
Now it's just a matter of layering, tier after tier. Hammer in the corners firmly each turn so that the wooden pieces fit snugly together. Please note - here you should never hit the tongue directly, but use a piece of board to protect it when you hammer it in. Place the board on the edge of the knot socket and hammer the corner together.
Never hit the tongue directly, use a piece of board to protect it
Make sure you keep track of the stage at which the door and window(s) are put in place. If you build too high, it's difficult to get them to slide down into the opening. Fold the side walls together at regular intervals so that they don't lean outwards at the windows and doorways. When you get up above the door and the window turn, it might require a little extra force to get the wall together so that the upper piece hooks into the previous turn. Support the walls from each side or fasten together with a long strap (if you have one to hand). Please note that there should be a gap above the window(s) and door - it's not a mistake but serves as shrinking room as the house eventually shrinks due to the wood drying. Fill the space with a little insulating wool and cover the gap with the enclosed cover strip. Lay on the roof trusses as you reach the sockets for them and nail them down with long nails.
Nail the tongue and groove panels to the roof and make sure that you bang together the tongue and groove panels on the boards over the entire length, so that you don't get a fan effect with the result that the last board doesn't fit. The last board on each half of the roof will probably have to be sawn off lengthwise to make it fit with the length of the roof truss. Mark the board at the ends of the trusses and draw a line between the markings. Adjust the door and window frames by weighing in the lower side of the frame and attaching it to the underlying log. Weigh in the sides of the frame and fasten to the top with a screw so that you can adjust the frame later. Please note that the upper adjusting screw must be removed at regular intervals to allow the house parts to settle. Please note that windows and doors can always be adjusted so that they open and close effortlessly. Don't use a plane, either during the construction phase or later if the door and windows stick.
The house will settle Houses made of knotted timber shrink a few centimetres when they have been allowed to stand for a while. This may be partly due to the drying of the wood, and partly due to the fact that it may not have been tightly joined during the assembly. If it has been difficult to get the pieces together due to the fact that it has rained during the assembly, it's good to know that the wall joists will seal themselves once the house has been allowed to stand for a few months. We take this settling into account when we manufacture the houses and leave spaces, or make a recess between the door/window frames and the overlying planks/logs. To cover this gap, an accompanying strip is nailed over the gap. The L-strip is nailed to the frame, not to the wall. You can insulate by putting some mineral wool in the gap.
Roofing When you have nailed the tongue and groove panels to the roof, you should immediately cover the roof with a waterproof layer. If the finished nailed roof gets wet, there is a risk that the roof boards will bend up and pull out the nails as they swell from the moisture. Start with the underlay and then cover the roof with roofing felt, shingles or sheet metal. Remember the ventilation of the roof if you add insulation. Moisture that comes from inside the building can cause damage in the roof's wood panel if you don't arrange it so that the moisture can be let out. The ventilation is created by building in a ventilated air gap between the heat insulation and the wood panel. This air gap should be provided with ventilation openings both at the ridge and at the eaves.
Feel free to add gutters and downpipes to avoid the rainwater running down the walls. Gutters also prevent the water from the roof from spraying up soil and sand and discolouring the lower part of the house. Keep the roof clear of large amounts of snow.
If you want to put a grass roof on your house, you’ll find a concept sketch here to the right. To get professional help, you should contact a professional in the field. One of the best can be found here http://www.torvtak.se.
Surface treatment of the cottage
As soon as the house is standing, you should treat it with impregnation of some kind, both externally and internally. Be meticulous with the end wood treatment. Many of the problems that afflict wooden houses are due to moisture. As moisture goes in much more easily along with than across the fibre direction, it is important to 'seal' the end wood with the primer treatment (primer oil and primer). Choose to paint using a paint system (also called a coating system), as this usually provides the best protection at the lowest cost in terms of maintenance. A paint system involves first using oil, then primer and finally two coats of paint to finish. Choose proven products from a reputable manufacturer. The floor joists must be treated with wood protection before installation. It's also a good idea to consult a paint specialist. Folksam's paint tests (where parts of this text are taken from) give you good guidance. We also recommend that you consult a paint retailer for the best results.
Ventilation: Valves/grilles (not included in the delivery) must be installed so that moisture and mould problems don't occur in the houses and sheds. Install a valve/grille at each end. Important: This applies to all Polhus garden houses, saunas, garden sheds and playhouses.
It's a great idea to use scaffolding and the best possible tools. Make sure you don't risk falling and injuring yourself or others. Don't choose an overly light colour. On a dark colour, discolourations are not as visible, and the panel heats up more, meaning it dries faster, making it tougher for the mould. Choose environmentally friendly products as much as possible to reduce the environmental impact.
Don't let vegetation be too close to the façade as it causes an unfavourable microclimate.
Don't forget the façade, check at it at least a couple of times a year before small problems get out of control. If the garden house has had a mould infestation, you can wash off the discolouration with bleach, or specially made detergent for the purpose that you can find at paint dealers. Be sure to get the ventilation of the house right. Wooden houses that are unheated over the winter can develop mould problems indoors if good air circulation isn’t ensured. Install ventilation vents for the floor and up in the ridge. Indoors you can paint the walls with water-soluble panel varnish. The varnish prevents the walls from attracting dirt and spores. Wood is a good breeding ground for mould and cold and damp houses is its favourite environment.
Additional insulation. The insulation of the walls is created using the following layers: A layer of wind paper is stapled to the wall timber. Then the wood studs and insulation.
If the house is going to be heated all year round, there will now be a moisture barrier. Last to go in the room is the inner wall, which may consist of a panel or some type of wall board. If the house is only used from time to time and is unheated for longer periods, no moisture barrier is needed. When adding additional insulation to your house, remember the setting and don't lock the walls with static wood studs. Use 'sliding bars'. Polhus provides Sliding fittings (see picture to the right) which makes installation very easy. The fittings are delivered with a suitable screw and torx bits for your screwdriver.
Fasten the fittings with 4 screws in one of the wall joists and with a screw at the top of the bolt. You need one sliding fitting per metre of wood stud.
You can also make the slider yourself. Cut one or more longitudinal grooves with a circular saw in the wood stud(Fig. 1))
The track must go through the entire wood stud. Saw so that the groove is at least 10 cm long even on the underside (Fig. 2) Attach the wood stud to the wall by nailing the nail to the top of the longitudinal groove (Fig. 3) Also remember to leave a few cm spacing between the rule and the ceiling (Fig. 4). The wood stud can be nailed directly to the bottom log tier. If settling isn’t taken into account, the walls will hang on the inner wall joists, with the result that cracks will appear between the wall planks, which in turn can cause them to twist. Correcting the error later n can be very hard work.
The picture on the right shows how to insulate the roof from the inside. You can also apply insulation from the outside, and the principle with the different layers is the same.
Wind protection In exposed areas where there's a risk of rain hitting the house horizontally, we recommend you add additional insulation from the inside. In this case, the wind screen prevents the wind from being able to force water into the room. If your house is located in a place that is very exposed to strong winds, for example on an unprotected island or in the mountains, you should secure the top wall boards with vertical bars to prevent the roof from blowing off. Screw a wood stud in each corner behind the notch point from the top wall board to the bottom. Use a brass screw so that you can open the lower attachment of the bolt at regular intervals (once a year) and adjust for shrinkage. Bolts and screws are not included in our deliveries as this precaution should only be taken if you know that the house might be exposed to strong winds.
WE WISH YOU ALL THE BEST FOR THE ASSEMBLY OF YOUR HOUSE AND HOPE THAT YOU WILL ENJOY FUN AND BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS IN IT, GOOD LUCK!
Installation of sliding fittings 5 screws/fitting, 1 fitting/m wall
Fig. 1. Saw the longitudinal groove through the wood stud
Fig. 2. This is how it should look.
Insulation of the roof
Fig. 3. Nail the wood stud to the groove
Fig. 4. Leave expansion/sinking room for the ceiling