Shed Terminology

Shed Terminology

Getting confused between apex and pent?

Struggling to know the difference between dip and pressure treatment?

When it comes to buying a shed it can be rather daunting, especially when faced with some very technical terms. This guide will take through all the terminology used when buying sheds and other garden buildings.

Take a look at our 'Shed Terminology Explained' video for even more information. 

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QuestionWhen is a shed not just a shed? 
AnswerWhen it’s a pressure-treated shed with shiplap cladding, reverse apex roof and OSB flooring!

Shed Features Explained

The key features of a shed are not always obvious and especially not to a novice. Who knew that sheds had different flooringmaterial, different window materials, that the wood is treated differently and what exactly is 'Z'!? Our helpful graphic does all the talking, these are the features of a shed simplified.

Shed Features

Finial - Covers the join of the apex where the barge boards meet and adds a decorative feature to the shed.

Barge Boards - Used to finish off the roof apex of each shed. These vary in specification and will generally increase in thickness and width with the higher the specification/quality of shed.

Hinge - Hinges, although such a tiny proportion of your shed, they are an essential element for use. Hinges can be seen as a decorative item to add something unique to your doors but concealed hinges are used on some models, providing added security to your shed as they cannot be accessed from the outside.

'Z' Bracing - Gives both horizontal and vertical structural bracing to doors to ensure they do not drop.

Lock - All of our sheds are fitted with various specifications of a hasp and stable lock, this then provides you with the opportunity to add a padlock to keep your contents secure.

Flooring - If you’re evaluating the cosmetic exterior of your storage building only, you’re making a big mistake. That’s because a poor foundation sets you up for not only moisture problems (which can wreak havoc on your expensive storage equipment) but also invites insects (which can damage the entire framework of your storage shed). A sturdy, Tongue & Groove floor or an OSB floor with pressure-treated floor joists and runners is optimal in any storage building.

Bearers - Bearers are pressure treated posts which run in opposite directions to the floor joists making a criss-cross formation providing sturdy support and allowing good air circulation.

Cladding - All of our wooden sheds are clad with the highest quality timber, the type of cladding depends on which construction you choose - Overlap, Shiplap or Tongue & Groove.

Windows - You can choose to have a shed with or without windows depending on your preference. Our shed windows are typically made from either glass, styrene or polycarbonate. 

Roof Bracing - A durable, weather-proof roof will protect your storage shed (and its storage contents) for years to come, so roof braces are advised to stop the roof from sagging and creating potential leakage.

For more information, visit our Buying Guide

Shed Treatments

PT explained DT explained

All of our wooden sheds have some form of preservative treatment to prevent the timber from rotting due to adverse weather and fungal decay. Two types of shed treatment are available: dip-treated and pressure treated. 

Dip Treatment: Dip-treated sheds are the most common and they can be recognised by their cedar-red finish. Dip-treating is the quickest and cheapest method of applying preservative to the sheds' timber but it is not as long lasting as pressure treatment and so requires regular applications of brush preservatives to maintain protection.

Pressure Treatment: Pressure-treated sheds have the preservative forced deep into the heart of the wood and the grain structure under vacuum pressure. In effect, the preservative becomes an integral part of the timber giving it a long life and effective protection against rot. Anti-rot guarantees with pressure treated sheds can be as much as 15 years.

Apart from longevity, the biggest benefit of a pressure-treated shed is that you never need to apply preservative throughout its lifetime. A more subjective consideration is that
 the pressure treatment leaves the shed with a more natural timber colour which you may prefer.

Shed Construction Types

Overlap Shiplap T&G

Garden sheds not only come in all shapes and sizes but they also have different types of construction. The three that are the most common are Overlap, Shiplap and Tongue & Groove .

Overlap Sheds: Overlap sheds are the easiest and cheapest of the three construction types to manufacture and so they are relatively less expensive. Basically, 8mm rough-sawn timber boards are nailed to the vertical bearers of the shed and overlapped. The overlapping of the boards allows the timber to shrink and expand easily - which it naturally does throughout the year – but without warping. The overlapping also allows the rain to run away but overlap boards do not form a close seal so they are more prone to moisture ingress and draughts. Not a problem if the shed is to be used for garden storage but if you intend to spend a lot of time in there, say, for a hobby or leisure activity, you should consider a tongue & groove or overlap-matched shed. 

Shiplap: Shiplap cladding has the appearance of a tongue and groove shed along with many other similarities including strength. A recess is cut into the edge of the timber boards so that the boards can overlap very slightly, this creates a relatively tight seal which will protect your shed from the elements as well as allowing the rain water to run off effectively. This cladding is also secure and durable.

Tongue & Groove Sheds: Larger sheds that are more likely to be used as garden workshops are made using a tongue & groove construction and with thicker, smooth-planed 12mm boards. The interlocking of the thicker boards leaves no gaps and means that the shed is better protected from draughts and rain - essential if you spend many hours in there. Also because 12mm boards are used, there is less movement in the wood due to seasonal variations in temperature and humidity.

Shed Roof Types

Apex Reverse Apex PENT

Apex: With an apex shed, the roof is in two wooden sections which meet at the highest point to create an upturned ‘V’ shape. Unlike a pent roof, the maximum height of an apex roof runs centrally from the front to the back. The height of the eaves is designed to allow for generous storage at the sides while allowing for optimum standing height in the centre so that you can work comfortably.

Reverse Apex: With a reverse apex shed it is same design as an apex shed but it is turned around. The 'V' Shape slopes down to the front and back of the shed whereas a standard apex shed will slope either side. The maximum height runs from side to side rather from the front to the back, perfect for allowing more headroom along the width of the shed.

Pent: With a pent shed the roof is formed using a single sheet of wood that slopes from the front of the building to the back at an angle of about 15 degrees. The slope is optimal to provide sufficient height for the door at the front and to ensure rain runs off the back of the shed.
A pent roof is ideal for garden sheds that are is to be situated against a fence or wall, or is going to be tucked under overhanging branches. Obviously, as the roof slopes from the front to back, the maximum height is at the front of the shed – this is useful to bear in mind when planning the layout of your shelving and your internal work space.

Roof Bracing: Roof bracing (or roof framing) is a vital part of a solid shed-construction but it is all-to-often not a purchasing consideration. The importance of roof bracing becomes more apparent as the shed gets larger in size – if you’ve ever seen a sagging shed roof, you’ll know what we mean - put simply, quality roof bracing can mean the difference between a sturdy, long-lasting shed and one that is unlikely to stand the test of time. 

If you are looking to buy a larger shed or workshop it’s advisable to check the thickness of the framing and whether it is supplied with a truss. A truss is an extra support in the centre of the roof that adds more strength and stability.

On larger, premium sheds, planed framing (also known as PAR or Planed All Round) is often used for the bracing. This type of bracing is of higher quality and is generally thicker - often up to 45 x 45mm - than the rough-sawn bracing used on cheaper sheds. The main advantages of PAR bracing are that it has a much smoother finish (saving you from splinters and making it easier to build), it’s water resistant and it provides a much sturdier garden building. All our heavy duty workshops come with PAR bracing and the larger workshops have 45 x 45mm framing with a middle roof truss for added strength and stability. 

Shed Sizing

There are a few key measurements which you should be considered to prevent ending up with the wrong size shed for your garden.

This diagram to the right shows you the 5 key measurements you should always look at when choosing your shed or garden building and what they mean.

  • We size our sheds in both metric and imperial measurements.

  • All of the technical details regarding each product is listed within the 'Detailed Specification' tab on each product page. Here you will find all the in-depth measurements of the shed and materials used.
If you ever need any extra guidance regarding sizing, our team of experts are always available to help and our Buying Guide has all you need to know about choosing the right shed.
Shed Size

Arbour - A light, open structure either formed from trees, shrubs, or vines closely planted and twined together to be self-supporting or formed from a latticework frame covered with plants. Arbours are generally less extensive and less substantial than "pergolas".

Cabana - A small cabin, simple enclosure, or tent-like structure erected at beaches or swimming pools as bathhouses.

Floor Joists Wooden beams that sit parallel beneath the flooring, to provide added protection against surface damp. Floor joists must be supported by a firm and level base

Gardenhouse - An ornamental, usually open, garden structure used for dining, viewing, or relaxing.

Gazebo - A small structure, usually roofed and open-sided, located in gardens or parks from which one may gaze out over the surrounding grounds.

Greenhouse - A structure enclosed by glass (or other transparent or translucent material), and devoted to the cultivation and protection of plants out of season or climate.

Garage - A building or part of a building where motor vehicles are parked or housed, usually temporarily.

MFP (Multi Function Panel) - A high quality chipboard with consistent long strands, perfect for heavy duty load bearing. The board is bonded with a high quality melamine urea resin giving it long lasting resistance against humidity. In appearance it has a smooth surface and it is slightly stronger than OSB.

OSB (Orientated Strand Board) – Also known as Sterling Board, formed by layering chips of wood in specific orientations and bonding them under high temperature and pressure in a press to form a structural board with similar properties to plywood. In appearance it has a rough and variegated surface with the individual strips (around 2.5 by 15 cm (approx. 1 in by 6 in) each) lying unevenly across each other.

Pavilion - A part of a building that projects outward from the rest, or the detached or semidetached units into which a building is sometimes divided.

Pergola - A structure with open wood-framed roofs, often latticed and supported by regularly spaced posts or columns, and covered by climbing plants such as vines or roses, shading a walk or passageway Pergolas are distinguished from "arbours" which are less extensive in extent and structure.

Playhouse - A small house-like structure designed for children to play in.

Roof Pitch – The angled degree of slope of a roof (from ridge to eaves)

Shed - A small structure, either freestanding or attached to a larger structure, serving for storage or shelter.

Shed Base Made from Pressure Treated Wood or plastic, allowing a shed or garden building to be laid directly upon unprepared ground (however the area must be level) Ideal for a Non-DIY enthusiast as it requires no skills to prepare.

Smooth Planed Timber – Timber that has been planed to remove the rough surface

Sunhouse or Solarium - A building or room designed to receive maximum sunlight.

Summerhouse - A structure of varying forms in gardens or parks designed to provide cool shady places of relaxation or retreats from summer heat.

Workshops - Generally a larger space than a standard shed for optimal space for both storage and work space for hobbies or crafts.