Frequently Asked Questions
In this section we try to answer some of the questions people have when thinking about buying a garage, and also some questions they may have about the building they already own.
If you don’t find the answers you’re looking for here, don’t hesitate to call us on 0800 316 6390 and we’ll do our best to answer your questions.
What causes condensation?
It occasionally happens that condensation is reported in a Leofric garage or building and although this is not in any way caused by a deficiency in the construction it can be interpreted as such when first observed.
To assist with the understanding of the causes of condensation it should be borne in mind that the technical information is given here is in good faith without accepting any responsibility for causes or for the action that can be taken to reduce condensation.
Condensation develops when the water vapour present in the atmosphere reaches saturation level ‘DEW POINT’ and can no longer be contained within the atmosphere. The water vapour in normal atmosphere is referred to as ‘HUMIDITY’ and the proportion of vapour present to the maximum containable amount to cause saturation is termed ‘RELATIVE HUMIDITY’ (R.H.). It follows that 100% R.H. is the “dew point”.
The saturation quantity (amount of water vapour per cubic foot of air) varies with the temperature; such that cold air will not carry anywhere near the water vapour carried by warm air and it is obvious therefore that warm air at dew point (100% R.H.) must shed water (condensate) as it cools down.
In open air, when dew point is achieved the coolest air is at ground level, hence the condensation is deposited on the ground (as dew) but in buildings the coldest air may well be that touching a cold surface, perhaps the underside of the roof, the wall or even the floor and in each case the condensation will be deposited on the surface. It follows that the walls and roof surfaces away from the sun or swept by the wind will be those most likely to receive condensation.
In buildings with highly insulated walls and roof surfaces, the condensation will occur on the floor surface, particularly around the edges of a floor where any internal warming of the slab is lost. Although condensation will occur most readily at low temperatures, heating by itself is not always a cure as atmospheres at any temperature can reach dew point, as temperatures vary at different levels above ground and in different currents of air. Dispersing the water vapour into the largest volume of air is a desirable process to minimise the relative humidity and of course ventilation assists this dissipation.
Water vapour in the atmosphere comes from water evaporation, by physical, biological and chemical process. Evaporation of water from rivers, lakes and the sea is an obvious physical process but the evaporation of drying of damp materials is not so obvious, but can be the most likely cause of high humidity in new buildings. As an example, the base of a garage constructed in normal concrete will contain about a ton of water and less than one third of this will be used by cement hydration and less than one third will remain permanently present, the rest in excess of six hundredweights will be ‘DRIED OUT’ within the first few months after casting. Similar process will take place in concrete, brick, plaster, screed, and timber; indeed almost all materials dry out after the buildings completion. Biological and chemical processes occur all the time and include water vapour given off by people breathing, by plants, trees etc, and most dramatically as a bi-product of combustion. Installing a washing machine or dryer or the use of a parrafin heater will produce subsantial amounts of water vapour and, therefore, condensation.
The amount of condensation encountered in buildings will vary considerably and if a particular surface, considered by itself is required to be unaffected then it can be most effectively treated by adding insulation, but if it is in a building where such insulation would ‘DRIVE’ the condensation to an alternative surface, then ventilation should also be provided. Water vapour is relatively pure, but condensation can have harmful effects through its dampness causing degradation and mould growth, and by dissolving aggressive chemicals from the surface of one material and carrying these to react with other elements. The typical case of this contamination is the absorption of alkali from cementitious surfaces. In this case chemical attack by the free alkali in water suspension can occur on metal supports (particularly galvanised steel) or on certain paints.
Providing adequate ventilation is the most significant factor to bear in mind when discussing uninsulated buildings, such as garages, sheds and workshops. Condensation can be reduced in a garage best if the eaves are left open allowing through currents of air. If one intends to insulate the roof with an under purlin or between purlin lining. In fact it is essential that the cold space between a roof lining and the sheeting is ventilated if condensation in this space is to be avoided. Sandwich construction will of course not be ventilated within its thickness, but its insulation property may tend to drive condensation to the walls and in this case ventilation within the building is still desirable.
To summarise, it should be clearly understood that humidity is an atmospheric condition and cannot be dictated by buildings. It can be increased by trees, people, surface water and new construction. It can be controlled by insulating construction, heating and ventilation. Its effect on a garage is not significant but may be on the contents.
Furthermore, although we coat most roof undersides with “anti-condensation material” this is not condensation elimination material and should not be construed as such. Without such a coating the amount of condensation would be greater.
Do I need planning permission?
Usually, in the majority of situations, no. Planning permission is not normally required due to the nature of our product, i.e. “portable sectional building” – providing the garage is within certain size limits which in turn are governed by the size and other aspects of your property. The usual criteria to meet to avoid planning permission are…
The proposed garage is not in front of the building line.
The proposed garage is under 30 sq. metres and under 70 cubic metres.
Your property is not in a Conservation area or a listed building.
We can give guidance, but we suggest that you talk to your local planning officer if in doubt. Also recommended is the booklet: “Planning A Guide for Householders” by the Department of the Environment. It may be available in your local library.
You may need permission if you intend to use your garage for commercial use (e.g. a garage for a commercial vehicle or a workshop for a small business), or if it goes against original planning permission for the house. Note that we can provide plan and elevation drawings for your local authority planning department. Please contact us for details.
Useful link: Planning: A Guide for Householders ( Updated 2011 )
What sort of base do I need?
All our buildings require a concrete base on which to stand. You can get our standard base drawing here. The base on which the garage is to stand must be 6 inches (152mm) wider and longer than the external dimensions of the building itself. It must also be flat, level and square and this can be achieved by using shuttering and, as the concrete is poured in, by using a level board across the width of the base to tamp flush as you go.
Unfortunately, we do not provide a base-laying service.
Can you arrange removal of my old garage?
Yes, please phone us, for a quote.
Here are the links to the manuals.
Download one of the following manuals
Can my garage be increased in size at a later date?
Thanks to our unique concrete panel systems, expansion is usually possible, especially lengthwise. Our pitched-roofed garages lend themselves to extensions to either the front or the rear, but a flat roofed garage using our post-and-panel system can only be expanded to the rear, with a maximum length of 24ft 8in (7518mm).
Please note, however, that specifications are liable to change over time – e.g. roofing materials may change, and therefore future extensions to your garage may not be straightforward. We would therefore recommend that you plan ahead and buy a bigger garage than you currently require, to allow for future needs.
Can you help me find a spare part for a garage I 'inherited' from previous owners?
We only supply parts for garages we manufacture. The first step to consider is whether your garage (or workshop/shed) is one that we made. If so, please also consider that often it would be far cheaper for you to get some items from a local builders merchant if possible, as anything we supply would obviously incur a carriage charge.
I have lost the key to my garage, can you supply me with a replacement?
We can only supply keys for the garages we have sold. We have limited stocks of keys, so please call us to ascertain the availability of the key you require. Before phoning, please obtain the key number which is on the face of the lock.
We charge £10.00 per key.
Will my 4 x 4 fit in one of your garages?
Our pitched-roof post and panel garages can be increased in height to accommodate even the tallest vehicles. Our models can be supplied to give a door clearance of 7ft 7ins (2311mm) (7ft 9.25in (2369mm) for timber folding doors), and our other models can even be supplied to give a door height of 9ft 6.25in (2902mm)!
I already have a garage. Is it one you manufactured?
We can probably help you to identify the original manufacturer of your garage. Before calling us, measure the width and height of the panels, and the height to the top of the wall. Also, note whether your garage has an apex or flat roof, and what the internal and external wall finish is.
Why are your garages better than your competitors?
We believe the quality of our garages far exceeds that of our competitors. Our Mayfair range of garages cannot be matched in specification. Features include:
Five different finishes
Stronger roof purlins and trusses
7ft high panels as standard
These features are also to be found on our Leofric “Banspar” range of garages – Cornwall, Avon, Worcester, Severn, Surrey and Sussex. For more information on all our concrete panel systems, visit our concrete panel system page.
Where can I see one of your garages?
On our site.
How do I order?
Our ‘How to Buy’ page tells you everything you need to know.
How long will I have to wait for my garage?
Typically, from the time we receive your order, delivery is 4 weeks for our Leofric range, and 5 for our Mayfair range. We are the fastest in the country!
Can I erect my garage myself?
Whilst we offer a complete erection service, for the enthusiastic DIYer, on many models, self-erection is an option.
Who, or what, is "Leofric"?
Leofric was an 11th Century Earl of Mercia, husband of the famous Lady Godiva. The founders of our company selected a name that reflected our ties with the city of Coventry, in the heart of the industrial Midlands.
What is the warranty of the building?
Leofric buildings are the market leader in quality and integrity. With our unique tongue and groove system technology and post and panel construction, our buildings are built and assembled in parts, thus ensuring costs are kept down and quality is kept up. We are constantly looking for new, innovating ideas to improve our product.
All Leofric buildings come with an industry leading 15 year structural guarantee, from the date of installation, showing the faith we have in our product and also helping customers to have the security of knowing that any problems which affect the structural integrity of the building will be rectified, subject to terms and conditions.