Do you leave your buildings out year around or do you store them during bad weather?

Thomas Lambo

RC, wood craftsmanship & culinary arts
7 Aug 2016
119
56
Southern California
Hello,

After 2 years of creating my garden project I'm now getting ready to lay track and add structures. Idea was to create the garden first (with track layout in mind) and then build the railway and add structures. Kind of like the real world.

I'm wondering how many people leave their buildings out year around.....or do you store them during the winter months?

Some structures will be very detailed and used for video and pictures....or put out for gathering of friends and family. Others are rough in nature and can be left out year around.

Also, I live in Southern California so the climate is about as friendly as you can get.
 

maxi-model

UK/US/ROW steam narrow gauge railways 1:1
27 Oct 2009
4,994
566
Bucks/Oxon/Northants area
How much time do you want to spend maintaining lineside structures ? Depends on the material they are made of and if they are painted or pre-coloured and with colour washes, like Pola & Piko styrene buildings are. Generally purpose built lineside structures, like the makes mentioned, and others specifically made for prolonged outdoor use will withstand year round outdoor living. UV light damage to paint finishes may be your greatest enemy, despite the seemingly benign climate where you are.

My first reccomendation is to site any structures, for prolonged outdoor use, away from full sun positions if possible. Certainly any structure with fine detail of finishing should be stored away when not needed. You never know when a little critter will take a fancy to it or give it some intrusive and possibly destructive examination or, certainly here, a hail storm may strike. Resin structures, as opposed to purpose made styrene, are prone to warping in full sun conditions and painted surfaces will degrade quickly with the constant expansion and contraction processes caused by temperature variations from day to night. Even with carefull preparation and choice of paint materials.

For me in the UK, even with our moderate climate, with only minor winter frosts, I find most purpose made structures have fared well over the years in my garden, subject to the caveats mentioned above.The only exceptions are my wood construction signals and the associated resin signal cabin, that operate them and the connected points (switches) containing their air powered actuators, they come in for the winter months. The ingress of frost and damp can quickly degrade paintwork wood structures and some metal content. My layout's points have a default setting that allows a basic dual loop circuit to operate without the signal & switches being operational. Max
 

Moonraker

Registered
25 Oct 2009
988
96
South Australia
Hello,

After 2 years of creating my garden project I'm now getting ready to lay track and add structures. Idea was to create the garden first (with track layout in mind) and then build the railway and add structures. Kind of like the real world.

I'm wondering how many people leave their buildings out year around.....or do you store them during the winter months?

Some structures will be very detailed and used for video and pictures....or put out for gathering of friends and family. Others are rough in nature and can be left out year around.

Also, I live in Southern California so the climate is about as friendly as you can get.
Our climate in South Australia is very similar to yours. I have three types of building, kit built resin, kit built plastic and scratch built wood. The first two types I leave out all year round and find that I need to repaint them every 3 or 4 years. The wooden ones are returned to my shed between running sessions before the sprinklers start.

Regards
Peter Lucas
MyLocoSound
 

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Martino

Kit bashing, The UK narrow gauge, The GWR, Aviatio
I’m in Northwest Florida - seasonal with four distinct seasons (often in the same day!) - so, slight short freezes in the winter, hot humid summers, tropical storms, hurricanes, and perfect spring and summer. I have resin buildings and bridges in metal, concrete and wood. Everything stays out all year, except when threatened with a major wind event. In those cases, I’d rather bring things in that have to go looking for it in the next state.

We also have an irrigation system working from March to December and in mid summer it’s on every other day.

I do suffer from sun fading. Mostly to any posters attached to buildings. Paint does fade often, so regular maintenance is needed, although not every year. I do spray everything with a UV resistant varnish which appears to work.

The wooden bridges have yearly revarnishing or repainting to protect the wood. However, so far they have lasted well will little damage.

Have a look at my facebook site, or at the South Bucks Light Railway media folder here to see how detailed, or not, my buildings are. They seem to stand up pretty well.

I guess it depends on how detailed your structures are. I work on the ‘if it looks ok from 10 feet away, it‘s ok’ principal. However if you are more detailed, you’d probably want to bring them in.

Oh, I also have a an issue with rampaging squirrels and two large Collies, but that’s just something with which I have to put up.
 
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,524
3,914
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK
Hello,

After 2 years of creating my garden project I'm now getting ready to lay track and add structures. Idea was to create the garden first (with track layout in mind) and then build the railway and add structures. Kind of like the real world.

I'm wondering how many people leave their buildings out year around.....or do you store them during the winter months?

Some structures will be very detailed and used for video and pictures....or put out for gathering of friends and family. Others are rough in nature and can be left out year around.

Also, I live in Southern California so the climate is about as friendly as you can get.
Mine live outside all year, too much of a faff to bring them in and out every time. I relish the deterioration as it replicates the tired East German (pre Wall coming down) feel that I am wanting to replicate. However I am careful with materials, HIPS is only used outside where buildings are in the shade all day, Plastic Coated Foamboard is fine and can be used anywhere, even in full sun so far as I can see.

My only issue is wind blowing buildings around and I screw some ally to my paving slab or decking baseboard and secure buildings to that with a small bit of L shaped bent wire through holes in both. Small brass wire is near invisible once it has tarnished. Other Buildings have cement moulded in the base.

As for kit buildings you may have different issues with the long hot sunny days, but I find that building Pola and Piko kits with some mechanical strengthening (thin wire at joints in drilled holes between the main walls) and Silicone Sealant on the inside joints helps.
 

Paul M

Registered
25 Oct 2016
6,559
1,073
57
Royston
Mine are resin and out all year round. A quick repaint every couple of years is good enough. Most of them are 7 or 8 years old now. My warehouse (resin) is the only one that has needed some structural work doing, it needed to have it's roof restuck.
Isn't part of the enjoyment of this hobby the maintenance?
 
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dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
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St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK

mike

Master at annoying..
Staff member
GSC Moderator
24 Oct 2009
50,478
3,733
Rossendale
www.gscalecentral.net
Out, and proud...
But..the highly detailed figures,and cars lorry ect get swaped for one I'm ok with being left out ..
20201229_134446.jpg
 

casey jones snr

Registered
20 Apr 2010
8,714
6,480
70
Charnwood Forest Railway. Rothley. Leics.
All the CFR buildings are left out all the year round. Some of my plastic buildings have been out for over twenty years. A few bits have fallen off due to adverse weather conditions. The concrete and resin buildings are repainted as and when required.
 

LGB-Sid

Registered
19 Sep 2016
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910
62
UK
All mine are left out apart from lose items like people etc, I learnt the don't site things in full sun rule especially next to a 6 foot fence to reflect the warmth back they get cooked and warp :) apart from that no problems so far after 4 years.
 

dutchelm

Registered
24 Oct 2009
2,734
131
N Somerset
If you leave them out just make sure they will not blow away. Stick them down with silicone sealant, fill them with concrete, anything to prevent the wind lifting them up & breaking them.
 

stockers

Trains, aircraft, models, walking, beer, travel
24 Oct 2009
25,612
3,743
62
Nr. Ashford, Kent. England.
Mine live out. Wood, resin and plastic. Slowly adding lighting.
 

Thomas Lambo

RC, wood craftsmanship & culinary arts
7 Aug 2016
119
56
Southern California
Thanks to everyone for your answers, this is exactly what I was looking for :)

I'll be back soon with a build thread that documents (Pictures, Video and Descriptions) of my efforts on the new Garden Railroad.

In the mean time, if you haven't seen my two build threads listed below take a look.
 
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AustrianNG

Director of my railway
16 Sep 2015
1,184
1,583
Wirral
Out all the time for me - with provisos for some of the comments above

Garsten shed replica.jpg
 

dunnyrail

DOGS, Garden Railways, Steam Trains, Jive Dancing,
25 Oct 2009
19,524
3,914
72
St.Neots Cambridgeshire UK

stevedenver

Registered
24 Oct 2009
5,427
206
Im in Colorado.
i religiously bring mine in. Pretty much anytime im not going to be running trains daily. On vacations too.

this is, in part, due to the scarcity of pola g here in the US. And the increasing prices on what little dan be purchased.

fwiw, i really treasure my pola g buildings, as they have such character, details, and ruggedness* , short of custom builds. They add so much to a layout. They have a polished look, compared to many real wood offerings.

also, i tend to detail my structures. This is the stuff that takes the brunt of weather and outdoor conditions. nicely painted figures too.

While i can scratch build, well, i tend to hate to do so. Time, money, and, building weather worthy and robustly is an added hurdle. So, i love pola, and, a few piko. Since piko is readily available, i will leave it out. Especially the southwestern style structures. Thick, low detail level. Not much to lose or be damaged.

i have several thin , boutique artisan finely detailed resin buildings. They are art. I would never leave them out, due to thier delicate nature. They warp all by themselves, as the resin gases out, lol.

i dont care about deep freezes, or wetness.
but heat is another matter. Direct high altitude sun is extremely hot.


long ago, when i first began g scale, i had some serious plastic warpage on roofs, (double engine house and silver euro water tower), and a ramp into a pola us style repair/garage structure. These were the thinner plastic sheet roofs, not the tiles or shingled type. They were in direct summer sun.

. * hot strong sun, uv Wreaks havoc on some thinner details too. Dogs, etc., heavier falling debris from trees, hail, mud spatter and grit from rain or sprinklers, all cause wear, decorative stickers to curl, paint to fade, glue joints to fail, etc.

dark plastic can be a problem. Those thinner pola plastic roofs will sometimes have removable aluminum foil pressed on top now, by me, to mitigate direct sun problems. looks...ok at best.

one summer a sudden hail storm caused damage to a favorite and hard to replace small switch tower. Hail punched through the roof of an lgb box car!

Typically, things can be repaired, but, since i love the details, i tend to protect my structures as i am reasonably able. I strive to keep them in the shade, and if possible, under overhanging branches. And, mostly out of public view. while i live in what is an upscale low traffic suburb, i am also wary of theft and vandals. While nothing has ever occurred, Im amazed at how life has changed. People are very bold, especially teens.

Unfortunately, too, my 3 mastiffs, who would otherwise eat any male intruder, and less possibly females too, live indoors.....they are sensitive new age mastiffs, and dislike extremes of any type, except food and affection.

Fwiw, i hate managing stuff like this, but i also hate broken toys.
its up to you. Weather will cause wear. Otoh, so may excessive handling, unless you're really careful. So, as mentioned, its maintenance one way or another.

i have actually purchased a more than a few “sacrificial” duplicate buildings to worry less. Sigh....i still don't leave much outside....
 
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Gizzy

A gentleman, a scholar, and a railway modeller....
26 Oct 2009
34,126
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Cambridgeshire
www.gscalecentral.net
I've just started putting buildings on my layout.

The resin Signal Boxes will contain LGB Point Decoders, and will stay out all year. Other resin buildings will also be outside permanently.

My Pola Station has been repainted as to my eyes, it looked too shiny and plastic, but this does come indoors. My Piko Engine Shed is also painted but this will stay outdoors. Like the other railway buildings, they are painted in a similar 'Corporate' colour scheme, whch should help to protect them from the elements.

The village houses were brought at a Garden Centre and are designed to be outdoors in all weathers, so these also live out in the open....
 

John Le Forestier

Registered
15 Feb 2020
61
11
72
Toronto
Elsewhere on GSC I posted another take on structures entirely, which will weather well in any climate, although originally the idea was simply to prevent their being devoured by bugs. These buildings won't blow away either, nor do they require painting. And repainting. And repainting...... Not even once.

 

David Palmeter

Registered
7 Dec 2017
74
42
82
Noblesville IN
August 1, 2009 - A Garden Texture cedar kit that I built was installed on the Frankfort Terminal RR in the Central Hoosier Flatlands*. This is the northeast corner of the building.

*Near Indianapolis, Indiana USA (40.03N -85.99W Elevation 244 feet)

DSCN9539f2.JPG

April 12, 2020 - This is the southwest corner on the last day outside. My old age and decrepitude made moving the FTRR into my basement an obvious decision. I wanted natural weathering so this building had stayed outside 365 days a year and no maintenance was done for more than 10 years. The only modification after installation was opening the bottom half of the windows and installing screens to prevent moisture buildup inside. The weathering looked as I hoped other than the cedar shingles that almost completely disintegrated on this south side.

IMG_9598f3.JPG
 
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