12 x 8 Forest Timberdale 25yr Guarantee Tongue & Groove Pressure Treated Double Door Reverse Apex Shed

A garden workshop is a type of shed that makes a suitable location for carrying out practical tasks, whether that’s a spot of hobby DIY or a serious business. There are no hard and fast rules about exactly what qualifies a shed as a workshop; rather there are certain characteristics that determine the shed’s suitability for this type of use.

If a shed displays enough of these characteristics, then the manufacturer may well market it as a ‘garden workshop’ or ‘workshop shed’, but the name of the garden building, by itself, doesn’t always tell you the full story.

Here, we give you that full story by examining ALL of the different qualities required to make a shed an effective base for your practical tasks. Once we’ve done this, you will be able to see beyond the simple marketing terms, gain a better understanding of what really constitutes a workshop shed, and so find the best possible garden workshop for you

What Is a Good Size of Shed for a Workshop?

a 10x6 wooden garden workshop with double doors and 2 windows
a 10x6 wooden garden workshop with double doors and 2 windows
We tend to view 10ft x 6ft as the minimum size for a shed to be classified as a garden workshop, but don't feel constrained by these measurements because they're certainly not set in stone.

Although there are no strict rules governing size, we tend to use 10ft x 6ft as the minimum dimensions for potentially classifying a shed as a garden workshop. The reason we do this is because most people need at least 60ft2 of floorspace to house the tools, machinery and workbenches needed to run a functioning workshop shed, plus enjoy a little bit of wiggle room.

Naturally, the more extensive the activities carried out in the workshop, the bigger it needs to be, which is why we’re more likely to sell 20x10 heavy-duty workshops to people who run small businesses, but more 10x6 workshop sheds to weekend DIYers.

At the bottom end of the size scale, could a shed smaller than 10x6 be used as a garden workshop? Yes, of course, as long as you’re absolutely certain it gives you enough room to manoeuvre, while accommodating whatever’s needed for your workshop to function effectively.

Do Metal, Plastic or Wooden Sheds Make the Best Workshops?

When choosing the best material for your garden workshop shed, the 4 main things to consider are comfort, adaptability, maintenance and durability.

a wooden garden workshop with double doors and 3 opening windows
a wooden garden workshop with double doors and 3 opening windows
Made from a natural insulator and with 3 opening windows, this wooden garden workshop is a comfortable place in which to carry out your practical tasks.

Choosing a Comfortable Garden Workshop

To enjoy a comfortable working environment, you should select a material that’s a natural insulator, so the temperature inside the workshop remains relatively cool in summer and warm in winter. As plastic and wood are both natural insulators, this generally makes them more suitable to work in than metal workshop sheds.

However, the drawback of plastic workshops is that they are more prone to condensation than other types of workshop shed, making wooden workshops our preferred choice.

the inside of a wooden workshop shed
the inside of a wooden workshop shed
A timber workshop, like this one, is a real blank canvas, which you can customise to meet your exact requirements.

How Adaptable Is the Workshop?

By adaptability, we mean the ease with which the workshop can be customised to meet your exact requirements. How simple is it to add shelving, hooks, and the other necessities that keep your workshop shed organised and running smoothly?

Most metal garden workshops, and some plastic workshops, can be customised, and they’re designed with pre-drilled holes, or other amenities, to help you achieve this. However, there’s no escaping the fact that it is still much easier to customise ANY timber workshop, in a far greater variety of ways, without any help from the manufacturer’s design team. So, in terms of adaptability, once again, wooden workshop sheds are our favoured option.

a plastic workshop shed with 2 sets of double doors, windows and skylights
a plastic workshop shed with 2 sets of double doors, windows and skylights
This plastic workshop shed requires nothing more than the occasional wipe down with soapy water, to keep it looking pristine..

What Type of Workshop Shed Is Easiest to Maintain?

In terms of upkeep, it used to be the case that metal and plastic models required far less maintenance than timber workshops, but Forest’s advancements in the pressure-treatment process, coupled with their workshop sheds’ 25-year guarantees, have negated this factor. 

a grey metal workshop shed with pent roof and double doors
a grey metal workshop shed with pent roof and double doors
Constructed from hot-dipped galvanised steel, with reinforced framing and a 10-year guarantee, this metal workshop shed is made to last.

Which Type of Garden Workshop Lasts the Longest?

Ranking the 3 materials in order of strength and durability is an even more difficult task because there are genuinely convincing cases to be made for all 3 types of workshop shed. 

All things considered, when targeting the longest-lasting garden workshops, you’re best off being guided by the length of the guarantees. Price tag can be a decent indicator too, but only when comparing workshop sheds made from the same material and of a similar spec.

When choosing between wooden workshop sheds, the main factor determining their strength and durability is cladding…

The Best Cladding for Timber Workshops

Wooden workshop sheds are constructed from 1 of 3 types of cladding: overlap, shiplap, or tongue and groove.

an overlap wooden workshop with apex roof, 8 windows and double doors
an overlap wooden workshop with apex roof, 8 windows and double doors
For a great-value wooden workshop, you can't go wrong with a Forest 4Life workshop shed.

Overlap Cladding

Overlap cladding consists of a series of horizontal timber boards, where the bottom of each board is positioned just over the top of the one below. As well as being nailed to each other, these horizontal boards are supported by vertical battens, found on both the workshop’s interior and exterior. Because they are easiest to make, overlap timber workshops are normally the cheapest in price.

a wooden garden workshop made from shiplap cladding
a wooden garden workshop made from shiplap cladding
For a weather-beating wooden workshop, try Forest's Beckwood range of shiplap workshop sheds.

Shiplap Cladding

Shiplap cladding, on the other hand, is constructed from interlocking wooden boards, with a scalloped, smooth-planed profile. The boards are locked together by creating a rabbet in their profiles. Renowned for their weather-beating qualities, shiplap wooden workshops are generally viewed as the midmarket option.

a tongue and groove workshop with integral logstore
a tongue and groove workshop with integral logstore
Robust, durable and weathertight, Forest's Timberdale range of workshop sheds make the ultimate wooden workshops.

Tongue and Groove

Tongue and groove (T&G) is a method of joining wooden boards together to form a flat surface. Each board is designed with a thin, deep ridge, known as the ‘tongue’, which seamlessly fits into the slot (‘groove’) of its neighbour. This creates an unbeatably tight, interlocking seal. Although similar to shiplap, T&G boasts a flatter, sleeker, neater fit, which is why it doesn’t have shiplap’s scalloped profile. Usually built from higher-quality timber too, T&G workshops are the most expensive type of wooden workshop. It is universally accepted that they’re the strongest, smartest and most durable too.

So, if only the best will do, a T&G workshop shed is the wooden garden workshop for you.

What Is the Most Suitable Flooring for Workshops?

Flooring should be a key consideration when choosing your garden workshop because it will need to accommodate heavy machinery and cope with regular footfall.

a man stood on a tongue and groove wooden workshop floor
a man stood on a tongue and groove wooden workshop floor
Tongue and groove workshop flooring will easily accommodate your heavy machinery and cope with regular footfall.

Timber Workshop Floors

If you’re buying a wooden workshop shed, look for a floor that’s at least 12mm thick (anything thicker is a bonus), supported by pressure-treated bearers, which raise the workshop slightly off the ground, forming an effective barrier against rot-causing ground moisture. 

Ideally, select one that’s made from T&G too, because, as mentioned above, it’s the strongest, longest-lasting, most weathertight wooden seal. 

a wood polymer composite workshop shed floor
a wood polymer composite workshop shed floor
Wood polymer composite (WPC) is is robust, durable and slip resistant, making it a great choice of flooring for garden workshops.

Other Garden Workshop Floors

It’s important to note that many metal workshops come without flooring because they are designed to sit on a concrete or paved base. Naturally, as long as this base is firm and level, it’s a case of job done. Should you prefer more conventional workshop flooring, some metal workshop manufacturers offer high-quality floor support kits as an optional upgrade.

When buying a plastic workshop, consider the floor’s thickness, any additional support structures in place, and the type of plastic used. High-quality resins and wood polymer composite (WPC), which is weathertight and slip resistant, are both sound options.

What Should a Garden Workshop Roof Look Like?

a 12x8 wooden garden workshop with 6 windows
a 12x8 wooden garden workshop with 6 windows
Reverse apex roofs, like this one, have a ridge that runs from one gable end to the other, with the door posiitoned on the wider side of the structure.

The archetypal garden workshop has a reverse apex roof design. This means that the roof is formed of 2 slopes that meet at an apex in the middle of the workshop, the ridge running from one gable end to the other. Reverse apex workshops differ from apex models because the door(s) is located on the longer side of the structure, rather than at one of the gable ends.

This style of workshop is generally favoured over apex designs because it is seen as providing a more logical layout when entering the workshop and accessing workbenches.

That said, the advantage of reverse apex roofs over apex is small – in our opinion, it’s really just cosmetic. Both of these styles of roof are suitable for garden workshops because they provide far more headroom than flatter pent designs, particularly along the all-important middle of the building.

Should I Choose a Workshop Shed with Double Doors?

a wooden combination shed, including workshop shed and garden storage space
a wooden combination shed, including workshop shed and garden storage space
Not only does this combination shed have double doors leading to the workshop, it comes with a separate side door for the garden storage area too.

Ideally, yes, because not only do you want the easiest possible day-to-day access to your workshop, you may need to move bulky machinery into it too, and this is a heck of a lot easier when your workshop has got double doors.

Providing you’ve got ample wall space for your workbenches, another little nicety is an extra side door, so you can gain quick and easy access to the workshop from different angles. These side doors are particularly prevalent on ‘combination sheds’, which are garden buildings compartmentalised into workshop and storage areas.

In terms of the doors, one thing you should certainly look out for is effective security because as they usually contain expensive tools and machinery, workshop sheds are prime targets for thieves. As a general rule of thumb, key-operated locks are best, then pad bolts, followed by hasp and staples.

At the time of writing, Forest are giving away some fantastic freebies with some of their sheds and workshops, including Yale shed alarms and padlocks – absolutely great ways to maximise security on any workshop shed!

What About Windows?

If you’re carrying out intricate practical tasks, you clearly need to see what you’re doing, so good lighting is a must.

In our experience, wooden garden workshops are usually designed with the most windows, which again makes them our favoured option. Some plastic and metal workshop shed manufacturers try to compensate for this by installing skylight roof panels, but we believe that windows on the side of the structure, supplemented by good shed lighting, works best.

If the windows are openers, even better, as you can ventilate the workshop to keep yourself comfortable, as and when required.

skylight roof panels on a large plastic garden workshop
skylight roof panels on a large plastic garden workshop
Many metal and plastic workshops, like this one, use skylight roof panels as an alternative to windows.

Cheaper and Midmarket Options

Regarding glazing material, just like with cladding, there’s a definite hierarchy. Styrene is the cheapest option, its main selling point being that it is completely shatterproof. Just above this comes horticultural glass, which is thicker than styrene but obviously not shatterproof. Its main selling points are that it provides better quality natural light than plastic alternatives and there’s a greater likelihood of real-glass windows being openers.

Next in the hierarchy come acrylic and Perspex, which can both be viewed as midmarket choices. They are thicker and clearer than styrene, and also have shatterproof qualities. That said, windows made from these materials are unlikely to be openers.

2 toughened glass opening windows on a wooden workshop shed
2 toughened glass opening windows on a wooden workshop shed
We believe that the best form of glazing for a garden workshop is opening toughened glass windows.

The Best Workshop Windows

The best choice of glazing for a garden workshop is toughened glass. This tends to be the thickest form of glazing, which is why it’s used on the best insulated garden workshops. It’s crystal clear too. And, in the unlikely event of it breaking, will form into chunks rather than hazardous splinters – a definite plus in a busy, family-orientated garden. Finally, because of the premium nature of toughened glass, there’s a much greater likelihood that the workshop windows will be designed to open. 

Sheds and Workshops for Sale

a wooden garden workshop with double doors and 8 windows
a wooden garden workshop with double doors and 8 windows
You can fins superb garden workshops, just like this one, amongst our unbeatable range of workshops for sale.

As the nation’s leading online retailer of sheds and garden workshops, we stock an unbeatable range of workshop sheds for sale.

You can view everything that we classify as garden workshops here. This page allows you to narrow down your search by selecting the workshop shed’s size, material, brand and more, from the drop-down menu on the left.

Alternatively, for an even broader search, you can find ALL of our sheds for sale here. After choosing your favoured size of shed, why not use the information provided in this blog to select a tailormade spec from the drop-down menu, so you can find the perfect garden workshop for you.

If you have any questions, whatsoever, about garden workshops, please don’t hesitate to contact one of our UK-based Workshop Shed Experts, who will be delighted to assist you in any way they can.