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Shire Playhouses - Frequently Asked Questions

Shire Kitty Playhouse - Shiplap, Georgian

  • Q: Who are Shire and what type of playhouses do they offer?
  • Q: What size Shire playhouse do I need?
  • Q: Where should I locate my Shire playhouse?
  • Q: What type of base is suitable for my Shire playhouse?
  • Q: What access is required to deliver my Shire playhouse?
  • Q: Is my Shire playhouse suitable for DIY assembly?
  • Q: How should I maintain my Shire wooden playhouse?
  • Q: What is shiplap cladding?
  • Q: How safe is my Shire children's playhouse?
  • Q: Is planning permission required for my Shire children's playhouse?
  • Who are Shire and what type of playhouses do they offer?

  • Shire Garden Buildings is one of the largest manufacturers of garden buildings in the UK. They manufacture great value buildings at very competitive prices. The smallest Shire playhouses are the 4'x4' Shire Bunny, the 5'x4' Shire Kitty and the 6'x4' Shire Cubby. The Shire Pixie is another 6'x4' playhouse with a verandah included. Two storey playhouses include the 5'x5' Shire Croft and the larger 8'x6' Shire Loft. Adventure playhouses include the bunker style Shire Command Post and the Wild West Shire Wigwam. Several platform playhouses are available including the Shire Bunny with Platform, the Shire Command Post with Platform and the Shire Stork.
  • What size Shire playhouse do I need?

  • The space will always be used, so buy the biggest playhouse you can afford provided that it fits comfortably in the space available. There are no precise guidelines regarding the size. Often the size of the playhouse is dictated by the space available. Shire Playhouses are available in a wide range of sizes.
  • Where should I locate my Shire playhouse?

  • Ideally your Shire playhouse should have a clear space at least 18" wide on all sides, if possible. This ensures easy access for both installation and future maintenance. In reality this is often not practical and at many sites it is not needed. A reduced clearance is often possible on one or two sides. If the space around your children's playhouse is restricted remember to allow for any roof overhang. You should also cut back or remove any nearby shrubs and trees. Remember to allow for future growth. If possible a sheltered position is better.
  • What type of base is suitable for my Shire playhouse?

  • All Shire playhouses need a substantial base. The base should be solid, square, flat and level to ensure the stability of your playhouse. Paving slabs or concrete are ideal. A solid concrete base is more permanent and normally more expensive but it provides an excellent base especially for a larger playhouse. Paving slabs are more practical and cost effective, especially for a smaller base at the far end of the garden. The base should be no smaller than the floor size of the new playhouse and no more than a few inches larger.
  • What access is required to deliver my Shire playhouse?

  • Your Shire playhouse will be delivered on a lorry by prior appointment with you. The wooden sections are often large flat panels which may be as long as the playhouse. The delivery is normally to the kerbside but you need to be sure that you can get the playhouse into the garden. Possible restrictions include archways, narrow passages, sharp corners and flights of steps. It is not normally possible to lift large panels over fences and walls. Access through the house may be possible with advance notice. If required larger panels can be made in smaller sections for a small surcharge. Please advise us if there are any access restrictions at the site.
  • Is my Shire playhouse suitable for DIY assembly?

  • Shire playhouses are suitable for DIY assembly with detailed instructions included. Assembly is a straightforward and satisfying project for any DIY enthusiast using only basic tools, such as a hammer, a screwdriver, a power drill, a spirit level, an adjustable spanner, a knife, a stepladder and safety goggles. You should not attempt to lift heavy sections without a helping pair of hands. Remember that extra time spent preparing a good base is normally repaid with time saved later on during the installation.
  • How should I maintain my Shire wooden playhouse?

  • Shire wooden playhouses are like any other outdoor timber building and they require regular treatment. Summer Playhouses recommends that the external timber should be treated with a good quality wood stain every year. This will prolong the life of your playhouse. All major wood stain manufacturers offer suitable products in a choice of colours, available from good hardware shops. At Summer Playhouses we offer a range of microporous wood preservatives in a choice of colours. Although normally offered with a new building only we are always happy to supply any of our microporous preservatives separately at any time to an existing customer who purchased one of our playhouses. Summer Playhouses also recommends that you regularly oil the door and window hinges as required to ensure continued smooth operation.
  • What is shiplap cladding?

  • Shiplap is the traditional and ever popular timber cladding profile used in all Shire playhouses and many other garden buildings. Shiplap features smooth planed and fully interlocking tongued and grooved timber boarding. The design ensures that rainwater drains quickly and the timber dries quickly. This helps to ensure a longer life for your playhouse. Our children's playhouses feature properly tongued and grooved timber boarding which is stronger than the half lap shiplap or rebated shiplap used by many others. Shire playhouses all include shiplap cladding.
  • How safe is my Shire children's playhouse?

  • We take care to ensure that our wooden playhouses including Shire playhouses are as safe as practically possible and strong enough to withstand normal play. Door hinges include a gap large enough to prevent trapping a child's finger as the door closes. Doors are non locking and easily opened with little force. Many doors feature piano style continuous safety hinges, angled to leave a gap when shut to prevent your childs fingers getting trapped. All stable type doors feature a gap between the doors to prevent your childs fingers getting trapped. Doors and windows are glazed with perspex safety glazing. No decorative lead is applied to the glazing. The preservative used complies with BS5665/EN71 part 3. Other safety features include carefully constructed wooden balustrades and hand rails. Screws and nails are recessed into the wood with no points or sharp edges protruding. Even our lowest priced playhouses comply with BS5665 EN71 and include CE Safety Certification in accordance with European health, environmental and safety regulations.
  • Is planning permission required for my Shire children's playhouse?

  • Shire playhouses do not normally require planning permission. However, permission is required for any building which covers over half the garden, which is not for domestic use or which is over 3 metres high with a pent roof or 4 metres high with an apex roof. Larger playhouses which are within 2 metres of a boundary and over 2.5m high (8'2") require planning permission. Some two storey playhouses may be over 2.5m high. Planning permission may also be required for any playhouse which is nearer to a public highway than the original dwelling. For planning purposes a public highway includes any road or footpath with a public right of way. If you live in a Conservation Area or a Listed Building permission may be required for any garden building over 10 cubic metres. This brief summary is not intended to be a comprehensive guide. Contact us for further advice or contact your local planning department. Please note that planning regulations apply to any building whether temporary or permanent including children's playhouses.

Summer Play Houses is a leading UK retailer of childrens playhouses including Shire Playhouses and other top brands. Established in 1981, our retail display site in Norwich, Norfolk is open 7 days a week.

SUMMER CLEARANCE SALE . . . many prices reduced . . . see product pages for details!