Shed Type and Roof Size
The thing that immediately struck us about this playhouse was its size, as this is both wider and taller than any other playhouse that we’ve reviewed. This means that it becomes a much more versatile play area for your little ones, especially as it features two distinct areas that are joined by a ladder. This makes it a great choice for children who not only want a play area of their own to enjoy, but also one that they can invite their friends along to. It’s supplied unpainted, but once painted in a bright, vivid colour we feel it will look very attractive to young eyes.
The apex roof at the top is made of tongue and groove cladding, which is a much tougher material that we usually see used on playhouse rooves, which is then covered in roofing felt. It’s very good at keeping water out, and it also creates a very generous ridge height of 2.42m and an eaves height of 1.42m. The overall width is 3.05m and the overall depth is 1.51m, but when choosing a level area on which to position it the manufacturer also recommends that you also leave at least a foot on each side to make the retreatment process easier. That’s important, because this is a playhouse that needs a lot of retreatment.
Cladding, Frame and Floor
We’re used to seeing tongue and groove cladding used for the walls of playhouses, as it’s very good at keeping rainwater out thanks to its tightly interlocking panels. We were pleased to see that on this occasion, uniquely, tongue and groove had been used for the roof and floor as well. On all these surfaces it has a thickness of 12mm, and when allied to an unusually thick 44 X 27mm frame it creates a very stable and reliable structure that feels solid even in windy conditions.
Treatment Requirements and Warranty
The use of high quality cladding should equal a very long lasting building, so we were disappointed to find that it comes with only the one year warranty which represents the statutory minimum allowed. One reason that it comes with such a poor warranty is that it has only had a dip treatment with preservative. At a price of nearly one thousand pounds we feel that this should have had a long lasting pressure treatment, which could then have facilitated a ten or fifteen year warranty period. The lack of an effective pre-treatment also means that the customer has to add their own wood preserver treatment within six weeks of the installation, and every year after that.
Doors and Windows
A large playhouse requires large doors, and we certainly weren’t disappointed here. The playhouse features a tall single door as well as a slightly shorter but considerably wider double door. This means that there are lots of ways to get in and out, which in itself can become the basis of a fun game.
We were also impressed by the two windows, one on each level, as they’re large enough to allow lots of natural light to reach all corners of the building. We also liked the way that they both feature window boxes of standard, so the playhouse can be brightened up still further with daffodils or other flowers.
Safety and Security
Safety is the quality that we value most of all in playhouses, so we were pleased to see that the windows were made out of styrene, a high grade and clearer variant of perspex. It’s tough and shatter resistant, so is safe for use in children’s playhouses and adds security as well. To increase security, if valuable toys are being stored inside, we feel it may be worthy adding hasps and padlocks to the doors which stay shut via a magnetic catch.
Customisation Options and Extras
In our opinion this is quite an easy to assemble building as long as the instructions are followed carefully. We appreciate, however, that some people have neither the time nor the DIY confidence to carry out self assembly, so it was good to see that a professional installation service was available even if it does add nearly two hundred pounds to the price. Also available, at a cost of £40.99, are a set of floor bearers. We recommend their purchase, as by elevating the floor they protect it against ground moisture, but we would have liked to see them included as part of the standard package.
This is one of the highest quality playhouses we’ve seen, as shown by the use of tongue and groove cladding throughout and the use of chamfered edges on the frame to give extra strength.
Longevity of Materials
The cladding itself will be very durable if a good quality wood preserver is applied regularly, but it’s a pity that the emphasis for adding this vital protection against rot has been passed to the customer.
With two fun areas to play in, this is as big as any timber playhouse that we’ve reviewed.
Ease of Installation
Because of its size you will need a friend’s help to install this building, and you should then allow around six hours for the process to be completed.
Even though this is large and of undoubted high quality, it is significantly more expensive than other playhouses that we’ve seen, many of which come with extended warranties as well.
Final Thoughts: If you want a very good looking playhouse, designed in a traditional style, that offers lots of room for your children or grandchildren to play in then this has to be worthy of consideration as long as you have a budget that will stretch to it. As it is, we feel that the price tag will put it out of reach of many potential buyers as well as extra costs will have to be incurred for the purchase of floor bearers and preservative treatments. Nevertheless, we did like the two level design, and the amount of space available for children to enjoy themselves in as well as the touch of class shown by the use of tongue and groove cladding across all surfaces and not just the walls.
Prices around: £1299
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