Buying a Playhouse Guide


A playhouse offers years and years of imaginative outdoor play for the children in your lives. With screen time increasing for young people, a little house of their own in the garden is the ideal way to get kids enjoying fresh air and make-believe games.

Whether given as a birthday present, Christmas present or a ‘just because’ present, a playhouse will be a much-loved garden feature for the whole family and the source of many happy childhood memories.

A wooden playhouse should be a lasting investment. Our guide covers all you need to know about choosing the best playhouse for your children.


Find the best location for the playhouse. Pay attention to whether this spot will provide the playhouse with shade, sun or a mixture of both throughout the day. Make sure there is space for doors and windows to open.

Measure the location and mark it out. Most playhouses are described in feet but metric measurements will also be available in the specification.

Be aware of the height inside the playhouse. Aim for as much headroom as possible so the playhouse can accommodate growing children for as long as possible.

A standard 4x4 wendy house is ideal for a toddler. However, if you can stretch to an 8x7 playhouse it will last longer.

Calculate your budget. Consider the cost of the playhouse, installation and base materials.

Remember to check the playhouse’s specification details and whether these include overhanging roofs, verandas or other features.

Step Two: Understanding Treatment

Wooden playhouses are supplied with either dip-treated timber or pressure treated timber.

Dip Treatment

Dip-treated timber has a surface coating of preservative. This provides it with protection against rot and fungal decay. A dip-treated playhouse usually comes with a 10-year guarantee which is dependent on annual retreatment of preservative each year.

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Pressure Treatment

Pressure treated timber has preservative forced deep into the wood for enhanced protection. A pressure treated playhouse will usually come with a 15-year guarantee. Most manufacturers do not stipulate that annual retreatment is required for pressure treated products, but do check individual guarantees.

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One of the delights of a playhouse is personalising it.

Timber paint is ideal for this as there is a wide choice of colours.

Be aware that pressure treated timber will need a few months to settle before painting as any patches of excess preservative may resist the paint.

Step Three: Cladding, Roof and Floor Information

Cladding construction refers to how the walls of the playhouse are made. The construction will usually be Shiplap Tongue & Groove or standard Tongue and Groove.

Shiplap Cladding

Shiplap Tongue & Groove cladding has a tight interlocking construction for improved weather resistance. The boards interlock via a tongue and a groove for a stronger construction. Shiplap refers to the scallop in the face of the board.

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Tongue and Groove Cladding

Standard Tongue & Groove shares the same tight interlocking construction as shiplap. In this case, the face of the board is flat for a sleeker, more modern finish.

Cladding thickness is measured in millimetres. Most playhouses are 12mm thick. The wood should be smooth-planed to prevent splinters and meet safety standards.

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Roof and Floor

Many playhouses will have roofs and floors made from sheets of OSB (oriented strand board). Some will have tongue & groove or timber boarded floors. These will vary in thickness but timber is always stronger than OSB and more durable for years of children playing.

The roof will be finished in felt. Please note: Palmako do not provide felt.

Details of materials and thicknesses will be in the specification of each playhouse.

Step Four: Window and Door Information

A large single window is the minimum expected for a playhouse.

An opening window provides ventilation. For safety, no second storey windows will open.

All glazing in a playhouse will be a glass alternative such as styrene or polycarbonate. These materials are shatterproof to meet safety standards.

Most playhouse doors will have safety hinges and be easy to push open. A magnetic catch is most common as this prevents children from being locked inside.

Step Five: Double Storey, Tower and Unique Styles

Double Storey

A double storey playhouse has an interior ladder leading to a mezzanine level. It will offer increased headroom for the first floor; often have an upstairs window that offers more light; and offer increased space for play. Best of all, it’s like a real grown-up house that any child will love.

Tower

A tower playhouse is raised on a platform. The platform creates a veranda area as well as space below which is ideal as a further play area or as storage for outdoor toys. A ladder provides access, railings provide safety and, for some designs, a slide provides a fun exit.

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Unique Styles

There are a whole host of exciting designs. From tepees and spy command centres to verandas and pretty window shutters, there are designs to delight every imagination. We even stock children’s log cabins designed to transition from kids to tweens for a long-lasting den.

Playhouse Base Information

A playhouse must be built on a level, strong surface. An inferior base will result in the structure shifting, causing issues with doors, windows and cracks.

If using an existing base such as concrete or slabs, ensure it is level and reliable before installation.

If installing a new base onto grass, the ground must be suitably prepared to make sure it is level. All rocks, tree roots and other obstructions must be removed. A damp-proof membrane should be used. A poured concrete base, concrete slab base or plastic base can then be constructed.

Shedstore sell plastic bases as an easy to assemble kit. 100% recycled, these eco-friendly bases come with membrane and, though light, are extremely durable and strong.

Playhouse Delivery

The lead time listed on the product page indicates when a playhouse will be available for dispatch. During that time period, the manufacturer will contact you directly to arrange the delivery date.

Any changes made to an order can cause the delivery date to change. Check you have included everything before ordering.

Delivery is included with the vast majority of Shedstore’s playhouses. However, some remote postcodes will incur surcharges. Use the postcode checker on the product page to check if surcharges will apply to your delivery.

Contacting Us

Our friendly, UK-based customer service team are available to help answer any questions. Call the team on 0333 003 0518 or use the Live Chat option onsite.

Take a look at our bestselling playhouses below or view all our playhouses here.