Use of a Log Cabin

On occasions a kind customer will send us in pictures of their project or of their completed log cabins. Most of the time following the sale we never hear back from anyone, so it  fascinates me to see what does happen to our log cabins.

We have recently given customers access to our picture files of log cabins, you maybe interested to see this article if you would like to see more pictures not available on the product pages of various builds and projects: Log Cabin PicturesOur facebook page also has several builds posted so you can see what you are letting yourself in for.

Here’s a small selection of the uses customers have put their log cabins to:

Aiste log cabin bar

Quite often we will see the log cabins being used as a bar. This one is found within the Aiste log cabin

Our customer has even replaced the glass to keep up with the theme.

Our customer has even replaced the glass to keep up with the theme in his Aiste Log cabin

A completely different use for the Aiste log cabin, this time with fitness in mind and two turbo trainers

A completely different use for the Aiste log cabin, this time with fitness in mind and two turbo trainers

I see quite a few 'man caves' being made, the Asmund log cabin suits this well

I see quite a few ‘man caves’ being made, the Asmund log cabin suits this well

Alternatively the Asmund log cabin is ideal for use as a summerhouse

Alternatively the Asmund log cabin is ideal for use as a summerhouse

Another Asmund Log cabin as a summerhouse. Being 28mm thick it does lend itself well for this purpose

Another Asmund Log cabin as a summerhouse. Being 28mm thick it does lend itself well for this purpose.

Great seating area and great for the summer, another Asmund Log Cabin

Great seating area and great for the summer, another Asmund Log Cabin.

How about relaxing in a hot tub, the Barbara Log Cabin gazebo seems ideal for this.

How about relaxing in a hot tub, the Barbara Log Cabin gazebo seems ideal for this.

Ample out door living space is provided in the substantial Ben Clockhouse Log Cabin, being 70mm thick this can be used all year around with the addition of insulation

Ample outdoor living space is provided in the substantial Ben Clockhouse Log Cabin, being 70mm thick this can be used all year around with the addition of insulation

More comfortable out door living is found in the Chloe 40mm log cabin.

More comfortable out door living is found in the Chloe 40mm log cabin.

Back to a man cave and a bar, is there a theme starting to form? With the canopy at the side of the Elburg log cabin you can have a hot tub enclosure as well!

Back to a man cave and a bar, is there a theme starting to form? With the canopy at the side of the Elburg log cabin you can have a hot tub enclosure as well!

This is a little more serious with the Emma Log cabin being home to a beauty studio. At 40mm and with added insulation the Emma works well all year around.

This is a little more serious with the Emma Log cabin being home to a beauty product studio. At 40mm and with added insulation the Emma works well all year around.

Or ... use the Emma log cabin for outdoor living, 40mm and double glazed it's ideal for all year around use with the application of some heating and insulation.

Or … use the Emma log cabin for outdoor living, 40mm and double glazed it’s ideal for all year around use with the application of some heating and insulation.

A really posh summerhouse can be made using the Gudrun Lo Cabin, the bi-folding doors really allow the outdoors in,

A really posh summerhouse can be made using the Gudrun Log Cabin, the bi-folding doors really allow the outdoors in,

The Gustav log cabin being used as a garden office.

The Gustav log cabin being used as a garden office.

Or perhaps you just want some extra living space or to get the teenagers out from under your feet, this Heino Log Cabin is ideal

Or perhaps you just want some extra living space or to get the teenagers out from under your feet, this Heino Log Cabin is ideal.

Do you have need for a hunting lodge? The Hendrick Log Cabin seems to work well.

Do you have need for a hunting / ski lodge? The Hendrick Log Cabin seems to work well.

Very cozy extra accommodation, this is the Henning log cabin and highly suitable for year round use.

Very cozy extra accommodation, this is the Henning log cabin and highly suitable for year round use.

Like the Asmund Log Cabin the Emma works REALLY well and great for all year round use with additional heating and insulation in the roof and floor

Like the Asmund Log Cabin the Emma works REALLY well and great for all year round use with additional heating and insulation in the roof and floor

The Jannie Log Cabin gives you the best of both worlds, sit outside and enjoy the weather, if it turns a little cooler you can pop indoors.

The Jannie Log Cabin gives you the best of both worlds, sit outside and enjoy the weather, if it turns a little cooler as evening approaches you can pop indoors and still enjoy your log cabin.

The Jos Log Cabin makes it a perfect log cabin for a corner location, a small and compact summerhouse.

The Jos Log Cabin makes it a perfect log cabin for a corner location, a small and compact summerhouse.

This is great! Our Julia log cabin is host to a bar and nightclub!

This is great! Our Julia log cabin is host to a bar and nightclub!

The Julia Log cabin is very versatile being 40mm. One moment its a nightclub the next a cinema.

The Julia Log cabin is very versatile being 40mm. One moment its a nightclub the next a cinema.

Here a customer is being very sensible and getting fit using the Karen Log cabin. Again at 40mm and with the application of insulation and some background heat you can work out everyday.

Here a customer is being very sensible and getting fit using the Karen Log cabin. Again at 40mm and with the application of insulation and some background heat you can work out everyday.

Another bar theme, it seems this is rather popular. This is in the Leipzig log cabin, at 5m x 5m there is plenty of room.

Another bar theme, it seems this is rather popular. This is in the Leipzig log cabin, at 5m x 5m there is plenty of room.

The same bar in the Leipzig but now decorated better.

The same bar in the Leipzig but now fully decorated and ready for the first customer. If i remember correctly the bar was made from left over parts and pallets.

The same building - The Leipzig log cabin but now it's being used for a little extra accommodation.

The same building – The Leipzig log cabin but now it’s being used for a little extra accommodation.

A step up from the 40 - 45mm log cabins. This is the Liverpool 58mm Log Cabin, VERY strong, very thermal efficient and a serious building. for serious uses, in this case it is a classroom.

A step up from the 40 – 45mm log cabins. This is the Liverpool 58mm Log Cabin, VERY strong, very thermal efficient with the addition of insulation in the roof and floor, a serious building. for serious uses, in this case it is a classroom.

The Lukas Log Cabin is a very popular building, to one side you can have a living area or a summerhouse.

The Lukas Log Cabin is a very popular building, to one side you can have a living area or a summerhouse.

You can use the other side for storage, very handy and adaptable the Luka Log Cabin

You can use the other side for storage, very handy and adaptable the Luka Log Cabin

This is the Lukas being used for sensory play.

This is the inside of a Lulea Log Cabin, a simple beach hut theme.

This is the inside of a Lulea Log Cabin, a simple beach hut theme.

I really want a hot tub - The Maga Modern Log Cabin seems to be really good for this.

I really want a hot tub – The Maga Modern Log Cabin seems to be really good for this.

Another bar, the Meribel Log Cabin may prove ideal.

Another bar, the Meribel Log Cabin is proving ideal.

WOW .... this is a caribean themed bar using the Olson Log Cabin. AMAZING.

WOW …. this is a caribbean themed bar using the Olson Log Cabin. AMAZING.

An amazing Olson Log Cabin

An amazing Olson Log Cabin

This is one of our Rune log cabins being used as hydrotherapy room. The Rune is a very serious building for serious uses. This one also had an annexe to the rear to house the water pumps and equipment.

This is one of our Rune log cabins being used as hydrotherapy room. The Rune is a very serious building for serious uses. This one also had an annexe to the rear to house the water pumps and equipment.

another 58mm log cabin, a very substantial and serious building for all year around use, this is the Stian Log Cabin in 58mm and being used as a craft room in comfort all year around with the addition of insulation and background heat.

another 58mm log cabin, a very substantial and serious building for all year around use, this is the Stian Log Cabin in 58mm and being used as a craft room in comfort all year around with the addition of insulation and background heat.

Now this I love! Ever fancied your own Pool or Snooker room? This is the Truus Log Cabin being used for this purpose.

Now this I love! Ever fancied your own Pool or Snooker room? This is the Truus Log Cabin being used for this purpose.

Another cinema, this was a bespoke version of our Yorck log cabin with all the windows removed.

Another cinema, this was a bespoke version of our Yorck log cabin with all the windows removed.

Or ... if you don't want a cinema simply enjoy the Yorick Log Cabin for some out door living.

Or … if you don’t want a cinema simply enjoy the Yorick Log Cabin for some out door living.

Log cabins are really great garden buildings, they can be used for anything you can imagine.

I tend to use this as a rule of thumb when advising customers:

19mm Thick Logs – this is a shed, ideal for storage and far better than any shed you can find in the traditional panel construction.

28mm Thick Logs – these are a great all rounder and lend themselves to a perfect summer house for occasional use. BUT with modifications they can be perfect for all year around use. See this article if you wish to insulate the walls of your log cabin. Generally though we would recommend you opt for a thicker log for more thermal capacity for all year around use.

34  – 45mm Thick Logs – Now we are starting to get a little more thermal capacity, the building is starting to become more useful across the seasons. There will be a trade off between heat and log thickness. This range is a good balance between heat costs and budget costs of the actual log cabin. Regardless you will need to add insulation to the roof and floor.

58mm thick logs – These are ‘proper buildings’ as I call them. A great middle of the road between the 70mm and this size. A VERY strong and sturdy building with high thermal capacity. If I was picking a building with a serious all year around use this is the one to go for. You will though need to add insulation to the floor and roof.

Please see this page for my advice on insulation in the floor and roof of a log cabin

Above 70mm – this is the very best size for full time accommodation all the way up to 120mm. This is a serious log cabin for housing purposes but at this level you may encounter problems with building regulations and planning permission, please contact us for our advice. Anything above the Edelweiss Log Cabin may cause you problems with planning and regulations.

Log Cabin Use

It’s amazing and fascinating how these customers have put these log cabins to use, if you would not mind, please, also send me pictures of what you have used yours for, for others to enjoy.

Log Cabin Treatment Gone Wrong

Winter 2017

As I’m writing this it is January 2017 and this is relevant as you read this post.

Occasionally we will receive pictures asking for advice on treatment when something has obviously gone wrong with a log cabin. We can also receive complaints about treatment that has been applied to our log cabins from customers who have used our own treatment or other log cabin treatment we have recommended.

Please see this page for our advice on the treatment of log cabins with our recommended treatments, ours and also others. Please also see this file for a discount from a local company who we highly recommend as do other professionals: Brewers Discount.

When treatment goes wrong

We will receive pictures such as these which do look rather awful and the poor ol’ log cabin is starting to look really sad. We usually receive pictures such as these during the late Autumn and Winter when there is a lot more moisture in the air, more rain of course and snow, generally pretty rubbish weather.

This will be when the treatment that is applied is really tested.

Here’s some examples of what will happen when it all goes wrong and your lovely log cabin starts to get some horrible problems.

Bad staining is forming at the bottom of the cabin.

Bad staining is forming at the bottom of the cabin.

Door trims have started to discolor

Door trims have started to discolor

Discolouration and marking of lower logs

Marking and possible spores forming on the door.

We also get sent pictures such as this which are a bit of a fib, you can see that there was a lot of discolouring before the treatment was applied. Perhaps there was a problem before hand?

A bit of a fib, you can see that the discolouration and marks are present under the treatment.

A bit of a fib, you can see that the discolouration and marks are present under the treatment.

This winter we also received this picture.

A picture of an internal wall sucking up moisture and resulting discolouration.

A picture of an internal wall sucking up the weather and resulting discolouration of the inside of the logs that are still wet. Wood is a sponge unfortunately!

All of the above problems are NOT caused by the treatment, they are ALL caused by:

  • Application of the Treatment
  • Amount of the Treatment used.
  • Depth of treatment applied – Basically the number of coats applied.

Please see this article where I talk about specifically about the depth of treatment and moisture content in a Log Cabin

Treatment Experiment

Every year I expect to get complaints such as the above, we get pictures and very occasionally we get arguments that the treatment has been applied as we advise or the manufacturer has advised.

January 2016 I made an experiment board so I can be sure of my advice and to give examples. Here it is:

Experimental treatment boards.

Experimental treatment boards.

These are my logs I painted and fixed to the side of our Shepherd hut display, in front of this is a veranda to make sure the logs are not in permanent sun light, I was trying to reproduce a sheltered postion.

I dated these in January 2016 as a reference and started with no treatment, one coat and all the way up to six coats of treatment. I only used our own supplied treatment which was:

Now a year later this is quite interesting and does show quite clearly what happens with the various coats that have been applied.

Now I can actually see this rather than rely on advice from my own experience, the treatment producers and experts have given me in the past, this is starting to show up where the faults may lie, now I can actually see what is happening and confirming what the faults in a treatment could be:

  • Application of the Treatment – how well and how carefully has it been put on.
  • Amount of the Treatment used.
  • Depth of treatment applied – Basically the number of coats applied.

No Coats

My experiment started with no coats of treatment at all.

No coats of treatment have been applied, this is completely bare wood.

No coats of treatment have been applied, this is completely bare wood.

As expected the wood is discoloured and not looking great. This though is of course not wood rotting – wood does not rot if allowed to dry out naturally. You can see though that some fungal spores are starting to form within the structure.

If you don’t ever treat your cabin you can expect the whole building to look like this. Treatment of log cabins

Completely untreated log cabin.

Completely untreated log cabin. This one is now very old but is still not rotten but it doesn’t look great.

Please see my advice on treating your log cabin, you really don’t want this happening to yours:

Carefree Protectant Timber Treatment

Here’s my experimental board using our Carefree Protectant Treatment

Carefree protection board

Carefree protection treatment board

You can see what happens with one coat of treatment, it simply is not enough. We recommend four coats of this treatment. Actually it only requires two coats but PROPER coats and this is always the problem with a totally clear treatment, you cannot see the damn stuff, you have no idea where you have treated! It was easy for me with a small log as I am pretty sure I coated it correctly.

Please note the ‘one coat treatment’ and compare to the pictures at the top of this post. Similar?

Now look at the ‘two coats’ log, you will still see some discolouration, mainly with the tongue part which has borne most of the weather and maybe also where I was a little thin in my application.

Then again look at the third log, it’s better but finally look at the fourth…. now everything is well covered, we know even on the parts you are missing which is happening with a clear treatment you will be getting at least two proper coats on the log.

This of course doesn’t just apply to our own very clear Carefree treatment but also to other producers of treatment.

A clear treatment, in my experience is the WORST to apply as you cannot see where you have been and that results in problems such as those shown in the pictures above.

Embadecor Timber Stain

Here’s my experimental board using our Embadecor Stain Treatment

Embadecor timber stain experimental board.

Embadecor timber stain experimental board.

A stain or a paint is a lot easier to apply properly as you can see where it is and how you applied it. This has worked very well and I am not seeing anything bad here. But there are big differences between one coat and three coats. Please see the previous articles on advice, three coats will at least give you the depth your require to keep your log cabin from problems and absorption as shown in one of the pictures above.

Embalan Timber Paint

Here’s my experimental board using our Embalam Paint Treatment

I was really pleased with the paint, it went on well, I tried a further experiment one that was as standard:

Embalan standard paint

Embalan standard paint

With one costs you can still see the grain coming through, maybe like one of the ‘fib’ pictures above? Three coats is working well (most paint suppliers will recommend three coats and often include an undercoat) Four and five are perfect!

Then I tried mixing, we wanted a darker colour for the highlight on the doors and window of the Shepherd Hut:

Mix of paints from the Embalan range.

Mix of paints from the Embalan range.

Maybe it was due to the colour but this worked really well, yes there is a difference in the coats, maybe four seems to be the best?

Treatment Recommendations and Problems

With my experiment I think I have shown what happens, I’m going to leave the logs out for another year to see how this develops and follow up in 2018.

My advice …. is …. please follow my advice and avoid some horrible problems happening with your log cabin … oh and don’t cheat or fib ….. the Autumn and Winter will decide how well you have treated your Log Cabin.

Also, please watch out for:

  • Application of the Treatment – how well has your coverage been applied?
  • Amount of the Treatment used – Have you applied the right amount of coats?
  • Depth of treatment applied – Basically the number of coats applied. Have you applied the right amount of coats according to recommendation?
  • MAKE sure you treat the door and window trims and quadrants / beads- These are often missed as it is close to the glass and hard to do and you maybe applying a thinner coat?- Maybe consider removing the glass for better coating.
  • Be careful at the lower levels of the log cabin. These four or five logs get the most weather, treat them accordingly.
  • Be really careful when using a clear treatment to thoroughly cover the log.
  • Pay extra care to lower logs any ledges / tongues.
  • Thoroughly coat the corners and any joins.

Continuation

I am going to leave the experiment up for another year to see what happens, this is really quite interesting ……