Wooden v Composite Summer Houses

As part of your search for the perfect summer house or garden room, one of the chief decisions will be your choice of materials.

Choosing between a summer house made from wood or one constructed using composite materials will affect the aesthetic of your garden building and your impact on the environment.

As you will see below, most other factors weigh equally in the choice of materials leaving you scope to curate and personalise your own home from home at the heart of your garden.


Pros and cons of wood versus composite

A summer house made from wood


Chimes with nature: wood has a timeless, rustic charm and has been used by human beings in construction since time immemorial. Scotts has been manufacturing wooden structures for over 100 years since our founder James Scott started making agricultural buildings in the 1920s. With a timeless, rustic charm, a wooden summer house blends well with nature and fits seamlessly with your garden design.

Infinitely flexible: a summer house crafted with care and precision can be styled more easily from wood with decorative features to bring its grain to life. Wood is highly versatile which is why Scotts is able to offer such a range of summer house shapes and sizes from octagonal to lozenge shaped. You can even select a corner summer house that has been specifically designed to make the most of underused outdoor spaces.

Environmental benefit: wood is a renewable resource and all Scotts’ summer houses are made using materials from sustainable sources. The external cladding, wall framing, doors and windows are precision-made from sustainably sourced hardwood Red Grandis, and the floor is custom-made from European Redwood. Choosing sustainable wood options contributes to the preservation of natural habitats and ecosystems and reduces your personal carbon footprint.

Quality of manufacture: with the right design and production techniques, a wooden summer house becomes a work of art as well as being structurally sound and functional.

wooden versus compositeCons

Maintenance: wooden summer houses require some maintenance although Scotts’ models are all finished with a spray paint coating that minimises any work. You will need to dust off and brush the roof to keep it free of pests or the incursions of wildlife. Keep the summer house clear of debris and encroaching undergrowth that could undermine the integrity of the structure. You will need to keep the painted surface clean and check for any damage that might need making good periodically.

Susceptibility to weather: wood is sensitive to changes in the weather and extremes of heat or cold might cause warping, cracking, and fading if left untreated. All Scotts’ wooden summer houses are crafted to withstand the impact of nature and the painted finish provides strong and long-lasting protection against the elements.

Lifetime cost: some wooden summer houses may have a lower upfront cost particularly if they are made from softwood such as pine or spruce. Budget summer houses may prove more costly over their lifetime as you will need to invest in maintenance and repair. However, a hardwood garden building will last many years with minimal maintenance.

A garden building made from composite materials


Durability: composite materials are typically manufactured using a blend of wood fibres and recycled plastics, making them resistant to rot, decay, and insect infestation.

Minimal maintenance: composite materials are available in a range of colours and do not require painting. They can be cleaned with soap and water.

wooden composite coloursCons

Cost: a summer house made from composite materials could cost you more to buy depending on the size and shape of the structure.

Limited aesthetic options: there are some options for design and texture, but colour choices can be limited, however, and it may be more difficult to find the exact tone to set off your property to best advantage. Composite materials lack the natural warmth and character of wood and can fail to appear authentic.

Environmental concerns: while composite materials do contain some recycled material, their production processes may involve the use of chemicals and fossil fuels, something we are all working harder than ever to avoid. The disposal of composite materials at the end of their lifespan may pose challenges for recycling.


Weighing up the advantages of wood

Composite materials can offer a useful, practical solution for garden buildings but ultimately wood brings so many more advantages. The most significant of these is its tasteful appearance and style, alongside the environmental benefits.

The decision depends on your priorities and long-term goals for your outdoor space. With our experience of working with wood for decades, we recommend choosing wooden garden buildings if you are looking for:

  • A classic, elegant structure that complements the style of your property.
  • A haven of peace and tranquillity that does not jar with its natural setting.
  • A garden building that can be customised to suit your needs and preferences with a wide range of rich and durable colourways.
  • A high-quality summer house that will bring delight to you, your family, and your guests with its appealing, attractive aesthetic.


Colours of the rainbow

The most popular brands of composite decking offer variations on greys and brown. Choose a painted wooden summer house from Scotts and you will be offered a wide choice of 11 colours from dark and brooding blues and greens to light and lovely Lilac, Duck Egg and Birch.


All about the base

All garden buildings need a firm and level base, and a wooden summer house can sit on a deck, concrete pad, or its own integral stilts! Scotts works with The Ground Screw Centre and offers an adapted timber summer house floor that can be used with ground screws. These stainless-steel pillars work like over-sized screws to securely fix your garden building structure in position on any terrain making a sloping garden no barrier to installation. If you are still interested in the properties of composite materials, you could choose to create a deck that complements your wooden summer house and offers minimal maintenance.

If you cannot decide which view of your garden you prefer, choose to add a rotating base to a Scotts’ wooden summer house and you will be able to turn it through 360 degrees and follow the sun. The nylon wheels are maintenance free and discreetly hidden behind a timber skirt.

Our expertise in wood

Scotts has a long pedigree of wood-working prowess and a myriad of skills have been handed down through four generations of the same family. The business has always focused on high quality craftsmanship and founder James Scott harnessed the skills of experienced cabinet makers producing agricultural equipment to serve the First World War effort. The family has never retreated from its passion for craftsmanship and introduced its bespoke joinery division around 50 years ago. Scotts has blossomed and expanded over the decades and also produces specialist equestrian buildings and timber stables as well as many forms of garages and car barns. Its timber expertise has led the business into timber engineering for roof structures.

If you are weighing up the potential of a garden building made from wood and cannot decide on the best materials for your project, contact our team and we will be standing by to answer your questions. Contact us online or give us a call on 01832 732366.

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