Garden rooms come in many designs, constructed from a myriad of materials and therefore varying degrees of quality, and, of course, vastly differing prices, so it can be difficult to ensure that you are comparing a ‘like-for-like’ product and understand exactly what you are getting for your money.
Here the team at SMART give you some pointers on what questions you should ask to assist you in making the right choice, first time, when you buy your garden room.
Will My Garden Room Require Planning Permission?
Planning requirements vary from project to project and will depend on all kinds of variables such as how the garden room will be used, its size, its proximity to the boundary and what Permitted Development Rights you have on your property.
In most cases a garden room can be installed without the need for planning permission, but on those odd occasions that it is required, we offer a free planning application service for all our customers which means that you can sit back and relax while we manage the application on your behalf.
Do You Carry Out Site Visits?
A visit to your site is an absolute must, because let’s face it, if you find your perfect garden room but it cannot actually be installed on your site, then your dreams will be left in tatters.
SMART consultants travel all over the UK mainland and are available Monday to Saturday to carry out free, no-obligation site consultations. This visit provides you with the opportunity to have all your questions answered and for the consultant to understand your requirements. By providing their expertise you will soon have your perfect design and all costs confirmed so that there are no nasty hidden surprises when you place your order!
What External Materials are Your Buildings Made of?
Most garden rooms are constructed from pine, plywood, feather board, thermowood, larch or western red cedar. Pine is typically the ‘budget’ option with western red cedar being the most ‘premium’.
At SMART, we also use a variety of woods and our ranges are priced according to the materials, which means that you have full visibility and the choice to select the option that suits you and your budget best. Rest assured, though, we only use premium materials to provide the best quality products with longevity and minimal maintenance in mind.
What Interior Finishes Do You Offer?
The interior finish of your garden room is probably the most important element of your garden room as you will see it every day as you either relax, work or play, so it is important to get this element right.
At SMART our standard interior is a coated Finsa MDF with natural timber beading to provide a wipeable, neutral surface which will require minimal attention.
For those of you who prefer a softer finish, then we also offer a range of painted options too.
We do not, however, offer a plastered interior as this is not the best finish for a timber garden room as they naturally flex, and cracks will continually appear. It also takes a lot longer to install, which will all add to the overall cost.
Is the Garden Room Insulated?
Most garden room suppliers will claim that their buildings are fully insulated but the type, levels and quantity can vary considerably. It is therefore important to ensure that it is fully insulated so that you can use your building all year round, no matter what the weather.
All SMART garden rooms are fully insulated in the floor, walls and ceiling using 40-45mm of industry-leading foil-backed insulation in all areas, meaning that this will assist with keeping the building cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
What Type of Foundations Do You Install and Are They Included in the Price?
Foundations are an extremely important element, even for a garden room, as ground will move over time or with extreme weather conditions, meaning that the building will too.
Again, garden room companies offer a wide variety of options – from blocks, plinths, ground screws to full concrete pads. Some of these are included in the building price and some aren’t!
At SMART our recommendation is a concrete ring beam which is dug 6” into the ground and reinforced with 10mm steel rebars. This provides an extremely solid and stable foundation and also prevents vermin from getting under the building.
We do not include the base in our building prices as often our customers wish to either install the base themselves or employ the services of their own local contractor.
What Type of Construction Method Do You Use?
The 2 main construction methods for garden rooms are modular and timber frame.
Timber frame, despite taking longer to install, would appear to provide the most flexible option in terms of sizes and specification offering a far more bespoke build, but of course this will come at a price!
SMART buildings are modular using our own unique TuSC™ system which allows us to manufacture all components here in our own factory and then simply assemble them on site, reducing build time, on-site headaches and, of course, the cost. This construction enables us to offer limitless conﬁgurations, enormous structural strength and the ability to build on-site which provides huge advantages over the timber frame method.
What Type of Doors and Windows Do You Provide?
It is important for your garden room to have high security doors and windows that provide good thermal efficiencies.
All SMART buildings are supplied with high quality PVCu double glazed windows and doors as standard. These are 28mm sealed units with low-e glass and are manufactured to current building regulations with high-specification security and environmental accreditation.
It is also worth checking whether adding more glazing will add to the cost. At SMART we offer UNLIMITED double glazing which means you can have as many windows as you wish at no extra cost.
Will You Carry Out Any Groundworks?
Often garden room companies do not offer you the full service and will only install once the site has been cleared and levelled.
Here at SMART we have our own groundwork teams who provide a good level of expertise and hard work to get your site ready for installation.
Are Electrics Included?
You will of course require electricity, heating and lighting in your new garden room so it is important to check what is included and what isn’t. It is also worth checking how the wiring is fitted – either concealed inside the internal walls or run in trunking around the room.
SMART garden rooms are supplied with numerous double sockets, light switches, internal lights, a heater, a fuse board and all internal wiring hidden inside the internal walls. We can carry out the connections, set live and issue a Part P certificate at an additional cost, or are happy for our customers to use an electrician of their choice.
Is Delivery and Installation Included in the Price?
With so many garden room suppliers to choose from, don’t forget to check whether there are any additional costs for delivery and installation as these charges can vary dramatically depending on how far away the supplier is.
SMART will deliver and install across the whole of mainland UK and for free to any addresses within 100 miles of its production facility in Suffolk. If surcharges apply, these will be confirmed at the point of the consultation so that you fully understand the associated costs.
What Warranty Do You Offer?
With such a major purchase, you need to be assured that the price you pay includes a warranty. These can however vary from as little as 12 months right up to an impressive 10 years.
With a SMART garden room, you get a peace of mind 10-year structural warranty which warrants that the structural elements of the SMART Building will be free from any significant defect in materials or workmanship for a period of 10 years. In addition, the company warrants that upon installation the SMART building shall be free from any significant defects in other materials and optional extras for a period of 12 months from installation.
So, as you can now tell, not all garden rooms and garden room suppliers are the same and with a little time and effort, you will soon be able to decide which company and which product is the right one for you.
We believe that there is a SMART to suit all tastes, budgets and garden sizes and we are proud of what we have achieved over the past 13 years.
If you’d like to get to know us better, then request your free SMART 54-page catalogue today by clicking on the link, or call one of our friendly and helpful team to book your FREE, no-obligation site consultation and start planning your dream garden room with the UK’s leading garden room, office and studio supplier.