'Corrugated Lean-to Roof' - or - 'Words You Learn When You DIY in the UK'

Yes, we've done what the rest of the UK seems to do over a May Bank Holiday weekend: DIY! As our bathroom is nowhere near happening, we needed to do some 'deferred action', or whatever it's called, and turn our hand to the leaking, shattered plastic lean-to roof.

A lean-to, if you don't know, is a structure that leans towards the house, often one wall of it formed by the house wall.

Just that it turned out that we first needed to tidy up inside the lean-to, which took a full day and two trips with the car to the dump. I have no pictures from before we started to clear out... as it would be too distressing. All those gathered bits of broken bricks, lime mortar gone off (hard) in its bag, bags with powdery substances that nobody could identify (mortar? cement? ready mix? pozzolan?). Most of it had to go - and then we could get stuck in. First we removed the old corrugated roof.

Guess who this builder's bum belongs to...

Me, of course. 

The corrugated plastic roof is fixed with these little screws with plastic caps that are supposed to keep the rain out. Of course they don't really work that well, so most of the screws were pretty rusty and a pain to remove from the frame. 

Hmm, and I just realised that Screwfix does them for a quarter of the price than B&Q. Thankfully, we received a donation of leftover screws from a lovely friend, who had a couple of bags spare. 

The roof is fixed with flashing tape. It does stick like hell. And so it should, I guess. Again, we replaced like for like, using a heat gun to help the tape bonding, as it was pretty chilly outside. 

We then went and bought exactly the same corrugated roofing panels that were on. Kind of stupid, as we could see that they're neither pretty nor durable, but we needed to keep the rain out of the shed quickly. Also, they're not very environmentally friendly, for being plastic and not durable. 

Eventually, in a few years, we want to build a proper timber structure above the lean-to base, with decking to sit on or storage space for firewood logs on top. If you have any ideas for this, please get in touch! It should be sturdy, raintight, and still let light through to the toilet and larder in the house. 

Anyway, that's another project, so this repair we did now needs to last for five years or so. 

First, I had set my eyes on a different system, something like this flat, double-chambered, polycarbonate sheet, but it would have added a lot to the cost. In hindsight though, I think it might have been easier to install than the corrugated sheets. 

We also replaced the bargeboard, which was totally shot (almost see-through), re-using the old coverings that the previous owners used to black out the loft windows. Did I mention that we have wonderful loft blinds now

The wooden frame was still very sturdy, so I just added some battens at the bottom, in order to make the bottom more level with the rafters. You can see this below. I think it will help to keep the roof in better shape for longer, as it won't bend around the rafters. 

And we added the foam spacers on all levels. Previously, they'd only been used on the bottom rung, and had pretty much disintegrated. Be careful to buy the correct size. The ones we picked up at B&Q were not, even though they were on the shelf directly next to the corrugated sheets. Nothing on the pack indicated that they weren't suitable and they were only type they stocked. Homebase helped us out with the proper 3-inch profile ones. 

At last, a tidy lean-to. You can also see that I've added a bit of wood at the back to prop up the middle beam, which had been sitting on... nothing. 

Then I painted the bargeboard, door and frame with my favourite product: linseed oil paint. I have plenty of tester pots knocking around, so this is 'Slate Grey' Allbaeck linseed paint, with the door in a light grey called 'Sea Mist'. I have a feeling this product won't be available in the UK much longer, but there are alternatives (see below). 

I painted the little shelving unit that was left by the previous owners in 'Chatsworth Blue' from Ottosson linseed paint, ordered via Oricalcum in the UK.

Pretty dust- and cobweb-free now, too. But the spiders will surely see to change that. 

We're really happy with the result. It's watertight, lots of light coming through and we've tidied up the shed as a 'by-product'. We still have some work to do to lay out the space inside a bit better, with more hooks. Ideally, we'd find another place for our bicycles too. But my seedlings for the allotment are already feeling very happy in their new lean-to-greenhouse.

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