About Richard

This blog is my personal platform which I do enjoy. It is my own viewpoint and my own ideas. I may not be right and other installers / experts may offer a different view point or a alternative way to do something. I welcome contributions from anybody experienced to do so.

All my blog writing is MY OWN personal opinion ONLY and is NOT always the opinion of TUIN | TUINDECO as a company.

Log Cabins and Garden timber have a myriad of intricacies , I love to give away the secrets, there are a lot!

I enjoy using this blog to expose them so you know what you are buying. I love to know I am causing a few problems in the industry as it can be on occasions less than honest.

I actively encourage everyone to install their own buildings. So many times I would fit and the company I was working for would charge loads for my time, only then to be faced with the embarrassment when the customer says 'I could have done that' and YES you can without paying hundreds of Pounds!

I have over 19 years experience within the garden timber industry. I have particular expertise in garden buildings including the manufacture, design and installation from sheds to log cabins and all the way up to timber framed houses.

In my time I have been involved with virtually every manufacturer and supplier of garden buildings. I have also installed pretty much every make of Garden Building there is from ALL suppliers and manufacturers.

Prior to my career change I was a Watch Commander in the Fire Service with particular expertise in chemical incidents, training, technical design / technology / IT /Procedures / ISO Systems and road traffic accidents. I retired due to a nasty injury after 20 years service.

During my time in the Fire Service, on my days off, I was a self employed fitter for any type of garden building, I worked with most of the well known companies as a subcontractor.

I now work with Tuin | Tuindeco in the UK, supporting and advising on the vast range of products. I keep an eye out for help requests when we a supposed to be closed and can usually get back to you out of hours via email only (wife and children permitting on my days off).

In my private life I consult as an independent expert assessor for companies or private individuals when a dispute is present over their structure which results in producing an impartial report and assessment for whoever requires it. This is often higher valued than a structural engineers report born from my credentials, experience and widely recognised as an 'Expert' in the field.

I am a freelance writer for numerous companies, publications and blogs as well as an independent expert and fault finder for parts of the Industry and consumers with a particular emphasis on timber structures, both framed and of an interlocking design such as log cabins.

I produce numerous articles about timber in general, information on general timber products and specific guides when needed. I hope you enjoy and find my writing useful.

Please contribute and comment to my posts as you would like and I will try to respond as best I can.

Thank you

Richard.

The Forgotten Log Cabin Accessory

I’m always being asked what’s the most needed accessory for a log cabin and I tell customers the usual:

  • Treatment – This can’t be overlooked, without this you won’t have a cabin worth keeping in a few years and you may also experience a few problems with it if overlooked – Log Cabin Treatment
  • Shingles – Without these it just looks really rubbish, felt shingles really does set a log cabin off – Free Offer Shingles
  • Roof shingle glue – This I always recommend for the ridge and especially if you are in an exposed area. My most favourite review on the site said about the glue: ‘The stickiest thing since Sticky the stick insect got stuck on a sticky bun!’ and yes it really is very sticky – Felt shingles Glue

After these three it then gets very building and need specific, you may want a floor, some supports for the canopy posts, maybe an extra window or doors, perhaps you want to add an internal wall, pressure treatment, maybe you want a posh finial etc.

All of our accessories can be found here: Log Cabin Accessories some of the major ones may already be on the drop down list of  the log cabin you are looking at.

I always forget about our annexes though so I’m writing this to show you but also to remind myself we have them, they’re at the top of the pages and I think as customers and myself whiz down the pages for a log cabin they’re looking for we both miss these handy accessories.

Log Cabin with a Storage Shed:

Some of our best selling log cabins have a shed adjoining them, buildings like the Agnes corner log cabin:

Agnes corner log cabin with a storage shed to the side in 45mm wall logs

Agnes corner log cabin with a storage shed to the side in 45mm wall logs

We have several of these buildings, they’re very popular and very handy indeed, here’s another one – The Lukas:

The Lukas log cabin with a shed integrated into it. Extremely handy

The Lukas log cabin with a shed integrated into it. Extremely handy and many customers love it’s practical nature of design.

My other personal favourite is the Wolfgang log cabin, this has been a long standing best seller:

The 45mm Wolfgang log cabin with a shed to the side and a delightful front porch.

The 45mm Wolfgang log cabin with a shed to the side and a delightful front porch.

So bearing in mind we have lots of best sellers with a shed to the side we really should cater more for this shouldn’t we?

Maybe more buildings featuring them? Except – I forget we do!

Log Cabin Annexe – Shed Extension

This is the accessory, the must have one I sometimes forget about and I know customers overlook as they whiz through our pages. It’s a very handy little annexe you can bolt onto your log cabin, even if you didn’t buy your log cabin from us:

A shed extension you can add to any log cabin, we have them in 28mm or 45mm thick wall logs.

A shed extension you can add to any log cabin, we have them in 28mm or 45mm thick wall logs.

We have these annexes, or shed extensions for your log cabins in two sizes with either a 28mm thick wall log or a 45mm one:

Versatile Extension for your Log Cabin

The lovely part of this accessory for your log cabin is that is can turn it into a completely different building, it becomes very practical and you have the best of both worlds, a shed and a summerhouse. Here’s some nice examples of the shed extension in use

This is a nice use of the log cabin shed extension, this customer has put it on the back of our Asmund Corner Log Cabin and turned a simple building into something a little more special:

The Asmund corner log cabin with a shed extension log cabin accessory to the rear of the build.

The Asmund corner log cabin with a shed extension log cabin accessory to the rear of the build.

I think this one is really nice, it’s totally changed the look of a standard log cabin. This cabin is the Johan, here’s a picture in it’s standard build:

Johan log cabin in it's standard build in 34mm logs, a lovely building as it is and very practical.

Johan log cabin in it’s standard build in 34mm logs, a lovely building as it is and very practical.

I like it as it is but when we add one of the annexes it transform it into something else with more potential and more uses:

Johan log cabin with a shed extension added to the front. This extension can be placed on most walls as required at installation.

Johan log cabin with a shed extension added to the front. This extension can be placed on most walls as required at installation.

Log cabin shed extension, you can have this in two sizes in either 28mm or 45mm thick wall logs and two sizes.

Log cabin shed extension, you can have this in two sizes in either 28mm or 45mm thick wall logs and two sizes.

The log cabin shed extension annexes are a nice addition, you may like to consider one with your cabin or maybe you already have a log cabin and fancy adding a storage shed to it. This annexe is a simple solution and worth considering as perhaps one of the most important log cabin accessories.

Log Cabin Roof Strength

Sometimes we find our selves at a bit of a disadvantage selling log cabins in the UK, the main reason being standards, we have them but don’t really need them here!

UK Standards in Log Cabins

In the UK there are no building regulations for garden buildings, there’s not even guidance. The UK can make anything they want and shed manufacturers do. Same with summerhouses greenhouses and of course the same with log cabins – especially when they are ‘Made in England’ or for the UK market and designed for it’s crazy planning regulations.

Basically a manufacturer can produce anything they want to, and they do.

Europe Standards for Log Cabins

The trouble we have when competing in the UK is Tuindeco sell across Europe.

To do this they have to meet certain standards and not just make ‘anything’ they feel like to a price point.

For instance:

  • Germany, it is required by law, that there has to be a snow loading capability of 120 kg/m.sq,
  • Austria and Switzerland it has to be 90 kg/m.sq.
  • Spain and Greece are substantially lower of course but there are still standards and a lot more so now the Euro-Codes are being adopted more and more.

Costs of a good Log Cabin Roof

Trouble is, when selling in the UK we then have the costs of this strength when compared to UK companies manufacturing whatever they fancy with no regulations or standards to follow. This can sometimes see our prices being slightly higher on some buildings. It can also raise a complaint such as this which I saw mentioned in one of our reviews on our site:

“I would happily foregone the extra 9 cm in height that would have reduced the cabin apex 2.5m height and therefore ‘legal’ as regards planning aspects especially within boundaries to borders of less than two metres.”

And this is part of the problem we have, you’ll look at the price, the height, but have you thought of the strength you are getting? Will it last over the years without a sag developing?

A sagging roof can develop over time due to a miscalculation of loadings or cheap manufacture.

Weight applied to a Log Cabin Roof

Lets, for a moment, pretend we do have standards to meet in the UK. Lets look at a building and what we are designing to:

Forces acting on a roof of a log cabin

Forces acting on a roof of a log cabin are the same as any other structure – Dead Loads and Live Loads.

The input loads will be made up of the following:

  • Dead Loads – This is the loading of the weight of the roof itself, the roof boards, purlins / rafters and what the roof is designed for as the final roof covering such as felt or shingles, tiles, sedums etc.
  • Live Loads – This is the weight applied to the roof from external factors such as snow, rain, wind loading and of course maintenance – such as people working on the roof to install it and maintain it.

The Output of these loads needs to be transferred to the supporting rafters and purlins, the wall logs and ultimately to the load bearing element which of course is your base and then finally to the earth it is sitting on. We have to make sure the structure is capable of carrying and transferring these forces safely and securely. Of course we also have to make sure that the building will carry on doing this for years and years.

The roof needs to be designed correctly for the loads placed upon it. This will be reflected in the ridge height, strength and number of purlins and thickness of the roof boards.

The roof needs to be designed correctly for the loads placed upon it. This will be reflected in the ridge height, strength and number of purlins and thickness of the roof boards.

Snow Loadings in Log Cabins

This was an interesting picture from 2010 when the whole bloomin’ country was covered in the stuff!

Snow in the Uk, the whole of the country was covered at one point

Snow in the UK, the whole of the country was covered at one point

It might well have been this that made Scotland adopt the Structural Euro Codes in 2010 and that England is following suit now along with the rest of Europe and several other countries such as Russia, Algeria, China etc.

When we design a roof we’re looking at the strength of the timber used, in our case Northern Spruce. We then look at the angles and compare that with the intended roof covering which is always shingles. Lower than 10 degrees WILL result in failure at some point of the shingles, you may not find it for a year or two but they WILL fail, really watch out for low pitch roofs with shingles, you will need to use under-roof membranes and a lot of glue to make sure they seal. They will not be doing any good on their own.

Angles play a huge part, for instance for every 10cm we can go higher in the roof pitch we can get an extra 5 kg in supportive weight. This makes a massive difference when calculating the strength of a roof on a log cabin.

When we have a ridge height of 2.59cm in the example above there is a reason for it. To reduce the height lower it then would not be strong enough for the snow loading calculations we work to or enough of a pitch for roof shingles to be effective.

Weight of snow

In the past in the UK we haven’t really been worried about the stuff but it does seem to be getting worse in the UK. Here’s an interesting map:

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

This map is showing the required snow loading calculations that should be met for a residential property in the UK. You’ll notice the maximum is 80 kg/m.sq and thank goodness Tuindeco cabins far exceed these and I don’t have to worry about a complaint in a few years time!

December 2010 was exceptional in the UK’s snowfall, at one point 60cm fell over night and on a lot of roofs 50cm was sat on top.

Fresh fluffy snow is about one tenth of the density of liquid water. One litre is 1000th of a cubic meter. One litre weighs 1kg. This means that 10mm of snow is equal to 1mm of water.

Therefore if we look at our 50cm on the roof the loading is 1m.sq x 500mm deep / 10 = 50kg

So, overnight you have 50kg sat on top of each 1m.sq of your roof.

As snow settles it will change form several times depending on temperature and time so the weight of the snow on the roof can become heavier due to compacting ice crystals.

You can see from this why the UK has a snow loading requirement of 60 kg/m.sq and higher in some parts.

As I’ve mentioned, for garden buildings in the UK there are no standards at all, we can make what we want, out of whatever we want and it’s great for you if it’s to a price point. It may be a bit of a problem down the line though if we carry on having heavy snow falls.

Also it’s worth asking your insurance company if a garden building is covered for structural damage caused by snow loading. I bet it isn’t!

A Log Cabin Roof Costs

Lets go backwards, let’s pretend you’ve found our buildings or even another supplier but the price just doesn’t match up to the REALLY competitive price. Then let’s pretend we do not have standards to meet and we’ve got to match it, here’s some figures for you to consider:

  • Every 10cm / m.sq higher cost us at the factory £7.50 (ex VAT)
  • OSB is 80% cheaper than Tongue and groove Spruce.
  • Pine is cheaper than Spruce
  • 16mm – 12mm is cheaper than 18mm
  • Cutting a purlin in half is 50% cheaper.

If Tuindeco were not constrained by standards in Europe but made solely for the UK everything could be so much cheaper. There’s a lot of cheap cabins out there, trouble is they’re not as cheap for the consumer as they should be bearing in mind where the costs are cut.

Log Cabin Roof Strength Calculations

All the good manufacturers list a calculation for the strength of the roof, Bertsch, Lugarde, Scan Holz, Tuindeco. They do this for a reason and it’s an important one that you may not have considered when you are buying a log cabin.

I would recommend, regardless who you are buying from that you ask them what specification they build to. The UK standards for building construction asks for a minimum of 60 kg/m.sq and 80 kg/m.sq in some parts of the UK. Your log cabin should at least comply to this.

Tuindeco design cabins with a snow loading of 110 to 140 kg/m.sq and this makes for a very strong roof indeed. This calculation is reflected in the ridge heights, strength and number or purlins and the thickness of the roof boards that are used.

Your log cabin should be designed to at least the UK snow load building requirements. Ask your supplier what the snow loading specification is and ask for a reassurance that your roof will not sag  – Ever and regardless of ‘Extreme’ weather conditions!

‘Extreme weather conditions’ is the excuse that will be given when sags start to develop as is ‘Out of Warranty’. This should not be the case in your log cabin or indeed any garden building if it was designed correctly in the first place.

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

 Installation of a Log Cabin

As well as the loading calculations you’ve also got to be able to get on the roof and install the building, you’ll also need to do maintenance on it over time. All log cabin roofs should be designed for this. Specifically ask your supplier if this is part of the design intent for your log cabin.

There are a lot of cabin roofs out there that you really wouldn’t dare to get on and I’ve known fitters refuse to shingle roofs because of it.

Make sure there is a design intent that allows you to walk on the roof for installation and maintenance

Make sure there is a design intent that allows you to walk on the roof for installation and maintenance

Customer Detailed Reviews For Tuin

Featured

We all like to see some reviews and hear other people’s stories, here’s a selection of detailed reviews, some of them also include video walkthroughs and advice.

For other simple, written reviews on our site please see here: Tuin Reviews. You can also see other reviews on the internet such as Trustpilot Reviews of Tuin.

I recommend you have a look at some of these pictorial stories below, they will help with your decisions for the base, delivery, installation and time frames for your building.

If you decide and buy from us and afterward feel you would like to leave a picture review or a story please let us know. We always reward stories with presents, discounts and thanks.

  1. All of the Pictorial reviews in order can be found in the Tuin Review Category of my Blog.
  2. See this page for all of the main website Tuin Product Reviews

Pictures and Video Files

Over the years we have built up a good database of pictures and videos customers have kindly sent us. We are making the files available to you if you are interested in browsing them. Many feature customers modifications, some models may also be out of date but we make the files available as inspiration.

NOTE: Please only check the product page for specifications. These files are for inspiration and ideas only. If you have an enquiry on a specific picture please send us the picture concerned.

They are hosted on Google Drive and can be found here: Tuin Customer Pictures and Videos

Customer pictures found in our Google Drive system. Click on the folder of interest for more folders and files.

Tuin Facebook Page

If you are interested in various installation pictures, base pictures, inspiration etc we have a lot of pictures on our Facebook page you’ll also find some reviews from customers.

Customer Video Reviews

We have collected loads of customer walkthrough videos within our Vimeo account, you may enjoy watching some of them regarding our products and Log Cabins. All of these are posted on the corresponding product pages.

Tuin Vimeo Channels of customer walkthrough of their buildings.

Some customers will send us videos of their products. We are always very grateful for this and will often send a present or a prize as a thank you.

Trustpilot Reviews.

Tuin on Trustpilot

Tuin Reviews on Trustpilot website

Log Cabin Foundation Beams

We offer a five options for your log cabin. These beams are designed to sit between the first log and the base of your log cabin and act as sacrificial timber to prevent the first log ever sitting in water. Further details on bases can be found here: Log Cabin Base Advise

These are optional and do not have to be used within the build.

Please note that any height dimensions given for the log cabins cabins EXCLUDE the additional height created by a foundation beam.

If you were in any other part of Europe buying a log cabin nothing would be supplied but we prefer to supply at the very least a standard foundation beam and these will be sent with every building.

It is often the case that other UK suppliers of log cabins also do not supply foundation beams. Many customers will buy ours even when they have sourced a log cabin from elsewhere.

In addition we also offer different profiled foundation beams. These will not provide any extra longevity and is a choice of Aesthetics. They do ‘present’ the cabin slightly better and the slope allows water to wick away from the bottom of the log.

Profiled beams are available in the following:

STANDARD FOUNDATION BEAMS

This is tanalised / Pressure treated timber with the dimensions of 44mm x 70mm and 2.40m in length. Longer timber can also be supplied if required and this is very useful for use as floor joists as well if you are using a pier type base: Foundation Timber

The video below shows how we fit the standard foundation beams. It’s a good idea to set them in 1- 2mm this then provides a natural drip stopping water from running under the log.

A corner cabin will have a cut angle of 22.5 degrees and two of these will form the 45 degree angle required at the door.

When using standard foundation beams the base is made to the minimum footprint dimensions shown on the product page of your log cabin.

PROFILED FOUNDATION  BEAMS

The video below shows how we install the profiled foundation beam. This is applicable to all of them. Please note it is necessary to adjust the upstand when the corner interlock. This may also need to be removed when placing the doors.

For profiled foundations base dimensions are often increased to account for the slightly wider footprint. Please see the following diagrams for guidance:

28mm profiled foundation beams

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 34mm

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 45mm

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 58mm

EXAMPLES OF FOUNDATION BEAMS in USE

Standard foundation beam being used in a build

Standard foundation beam being used in a build

Hardwood foundation beams in use

Hardwood foundation beams in use

Composite foundation beams in a log cabin build

Composite foundation beams in a log cabin build

Best Time to Buy a Log Cabin

Oct 2021: Ben

This blog was made some time ago now and a lot has happened since 2019, so.. Is this still relevant and has anything changed with the effects of Covid and the global timber shortage.

For the better part this is all still very current although with the welcome reopening of everything fun in the last few months things have slowed down a little earlier than normal with people taking that well needed staycation instead.

However with that said, keep an eye on the market as we get into those 3 golden months as things should start dropping,

Nov 2019:  Richard,

It always amazes me how quiet everything suddenly goes in this industry once the leaves start dropping and Autumn is here, it gets worse when the clocks go back. For me it’s time to put my feet up a bit, grab a quick holiday and some time with the family.

I do think though us humans are funny creatures, as soon as it gets a bit murky we’re not interested in anything outside, especially the garden. But, as soon as it gets light and sunny again we’re away.

You might be interested in this graph of how busy we have been.

November, December and January are the best times to buy your log cabin

The graph shows our busiest period over a 12 months. This is the same for every company I’ve been involved within the garden industry.

Sales start in January as people look forward to the Spring. Then it builds to the crescendo of March and April. Then drops steadily down until the summer holidays. Then some renewed interest as the weather stays nice. Then, strangely September and October we sell a lot of bigger buildings. In a previous job we’d sell a lot of garages.

Then comes the clock change, the weather gets rubbish and bam, that’s that for a few months and I get to relax and chip off somewhere hot.

But we still have a nice trickle through of customers and these are perhaps the clever, canny customers. They waited and are planning for the Spring next year, perhaps they know how the garden industry works?

Simply put, if you want anything major for your garden late Autumn and early Winter is the time to buy as the prices will be the lowest possible!

I found an interesting article on a recent search which was as a result of a survey on the best time of year to buy various items from computers to gym membership. Strangely they didn’t survey the garden industry which is a shame as it’s worth just over £5 Billion a year in the UK, we do love our gardens!

If they had surveyed the garden sector they would have found that the best time to buy for your garden is November, December and January.

Perhaps you wouldn’t buy a fence or a planter, or even garden furniture. But these months are the time to buy a major expense such as a shed, summerhouse or log cabin.

This three month slot is the best time to buy a log cabin, gazebo or any major expense because:

  • Lowest possible prices
  • Retailers will be wanting to remove stock to make way for the new season.
  • Timber price and product prices will start to rise the middle of January early February.
  • Hauliers will be re-negotiating costs which will trigger late January early February.
  • Retailers will need to maintain a cash flow.
  • The very best service is often given in the quiet months as staff are a lot less busy and can often give you far more attention.
  • Prices will be at their lowest to maintain and encourage sales, lots of deals will be on offer.

We’re the same as everyone else, we drop a lot of our prices for Log Cabins, Gazebos, Verandas etc to try to keep the sales coming. We have some crazy, crazy bargains during those three months. We practically make nothing on the products but it keeps things moving.

Weather Window and too cold

Of course some customers will want to wait until the weather is better, until it’s warmer. Granted laying a base can take longer when it’s wetter and churn up your garden a bit but if you can manage it and get your log cabin up it will be worth it plus you’ll be ready for next spring and saved a ton of cash!

I always tell customers that the only thing that is affected by rubbish weather is the fitter and never the building!

The joy of a log cabin install in the wet. I remember this morning, we had to remove a layer of snow off the roof and then it rained all day while trying to install the insulation and roof shingles.

The joy of a log cabin install in the wet and cold. You too could be enjoying yourself this much if you bought your cabin in the late Autumn / early winter 🙂

EPDM on Log Cabin Roofs

For flat or sloping roofs on our Log Cabins we normally supply roofing felt but as an option we do have the far more superior roofing material of EPDM.

What is EPDM?

EPDM is a highly durable synthetic rubber roof membrane, it’s posh name is Ethylene Propylene Diene terpolyMer. It’s two main ingredients are Ethylene and Propylene which come from oil and natural gas. It’s been used on flat roofs for over 40 years. The main technical features of EPDM are:

  • Cyclical membrane fatigue resistance
  • Proven hail resistance
  • High resistance to ozone, weathering and abrasion
  • Flexibility in low temperatures
  • Superior resistance to extreme heat and fire
  • Thermal shock durability
  • Ultraviolet radiation resistance
  • High Wind Resistance

Why Use EPDM on your Log Cabin?

Roofing felt is an ideal solution for a flat or gently sloping roof but it’s life expectancy is not that high. About 5 years is a very good life span for ordinary felt. EPDM though has been known to last for thirty years without concern. For a long term economic prospect it is good value for money.

The benefits of EPDM on your log cabin roof are:

  • Cut to size for your building so no joints (except modular buildings)
  • Inert and UV stable
  • Will not crack or Perish
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Applied cold
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Long Life Expectancy
  • Economical when compared to re-felting every few years

Installation of EPDM

There are three ways EPDM can be fitted and this includes Ballast, Mechanically Attached and Adhered.

The Adhered system is the one we will use and is the one used by many roofing companies. Basically it is glueing the membrane to the roof and is pretty easy to do.

Log Cabin Roof Variations

Before reading too much further all this article is going to do is tell you the basics on how to fit EPDM to your log cabin roof and simply put the membrane is:

  • Rolled out
  • Allowed to settle
  • Glued down
  • Trim as you wish

The trim as you wish is the bit that’s left up to you as there is no hard and fast rules for this. You can either finish as you would with roofing felt and tuck it behind your barge boards, you may want to trim it flush with the roof boards or you may want to do a little more. This is all up to your preference, requirements and skill set.

Also, bear in mind this is my own personal recommendation on how I do it, I’m sure other fitters, roofers, builders etc will have their own take on it. Some may even say I’m wrong which wouldn’t be the first time.

Roll out the EPDM on your Log Cabin Roof

Take the roll up on to the roof and undo the ends, you should find some glue inside in the form of spray cans.

dd

Normally hidden inside is enough cans to glue your roof down. It’s very unlikely you won’t have enough but any contact adhesive also works if you run out and need it quickly.

Three cans

Three cans were found in the depths of the roll. The EPDM is cut for your building, this membrane is 3.9m x 5.4m. Three cans was more than enough.

This is where I may differ from all the advice you see from the roofing people, they always say to unroll it, layout flat on the roof and then allow it to settle as it is.

I have done it this way and it works on a hot day but I still prefer my technically named sausage method.

Roll the full length out across the roof

Roll the full length out across the roof

fold out

Start to fold it out flat across the whole roof.

nn

Then start to roll it up again length ways, try to do this reasonably tightly, it does help if there is two of you and try to keep it as level as possible.

Keep rolling

Keep rolling together with your partner, keep it level and quite tight!

Saua

At the end you’ll end up with a sausage.

Allowed to settle on the Log Cabin Roof

When complete you’ll end up with a sausage sat at the start of your roof, I will always start at the highest point and work backwards.

I mentioned trimming earlier and you’ll notice where we have set the barge boards, this is just my preference, there is no right or wrong way. I wanted to give a little extra clearance for headroom below. It does not matter though how you do these.

It does help though to only start with the front ones on and add the side and rear if applicable later.

Once you’ve made your sausage, leave it for a little while on the roof and as it’s rolled so tightly a lot of the creases from storage will start to come out. The sun will also make it a little more pliable.

I’ve mentioned it already but it really helps if the sausage as been rolled level as you will use it’s edges later on to check you are rolling it out on the log cabin straight and true.

if

If you end up with a wonky sausage unroll it and start again. Nothing worse than a wonky sausage!

 Glue the EPDM Down

This part of the install on your log cabin is exactly what it says, we are just glueing it down on to the roof. How you want to trim it is up to you, I may have mentioned this.

The principle is how I’m glueing it.

dfh

This is something I do, you do not have to do this unless you want to.

As you will see from this picture I have used a bit of timber to create a slope against the barge board. You do not have to do this, you can finish it as you want, tuck it behind the board, glue it directly to it, however you wish.

I’ve done this though as I think it looks nicer, it also stops water going behind the barge board. Due to the height I raised the boards I was able to use a floor board to create the slope, if I had less of a height I might use a trim from skirting or roof boards or even a packing piece laying around. There is no hard and fast rules on this other than it needs to be glued down.

KK

I now shuffle my sausage forward and align the edge to where I finally want it to finish.

ss

Give the cans a good shake, I think they advise two or three minutes of vigorous shaking, I can’t remember but give them a good shake for a while.

Start to glue

Once everything is aligned and the cans have had a good shake then roll the sausage back slightly

With the sausage rolled back a little you can take the front and uncover the area to be glued. Spray the glue evenly at a length of about 50cm all the way along the roof, it does start to go off pretty quickly. You don’t need to apply it really thickly, too thick and you fight against the glue itself.

Don’t spray right to the ends or right to the front at the moment.

Glue all the way along the roof

Glue all the way along the roof at about a depth of 50cm so the glue does not go off too quickly.

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Now fold the membrane forward and start to smooth out.

I’ve seen videos and instructions and professionals and all sorts of recommendations on how to smooth out the EPDM, they’re probably really good and certainly give them ago and let me know how you get on but I still prefer to use my hands and push out the bubbles of air, smoothing the membrane as I go.

Note though I haven’t glued the edges yet as I may want to still much about with this. This is particularly the case at the sides as the barge boards are still not on.

Once the first part is done, now knell on it and roll out the rest, glueing every 50cm as you go, smoothing out as much air bubbles as you can.

Once the first part is done, now knell on it and roll out the rest, glueing every 50cm as you go, smoothing out as much air bubbles as you can.

Glueing ever 50cm and then rolling out

Glueing every 50cm and then rolling out

Smooth as you go

Smooth out any air bubbles as you go, I use my hands but you may have a better idea or system or received better advice

Another 50cm and the roof is glued down and that’s as far as this advise goes on how to fit your EPDM. It’s really quite straightforward, we’re unrolling it, then glueing down, and smoothing it out.

When the main body of the roof is down you can then work on the edges and fit the barge boards and trims as you require and completing the final glueing stage in these areas.

The rest is up to you.

Trim your Log Cabin EPDM Roof as you wish

I’m often asked what is supplied as regards trims with EPDM. I answer there is nothing extra and nor does their need to be you can use this exactly as you would felt. You can though utilise offcuts and produce slopes to ensure all the water is taken away and make a really professional job of it.

You can also use capping pieces on top to make it look nice or battens to secure it fully so as not to rely wholly on the glue at that point.

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I have the slope at the front you have already seen but I also did the same at the sides and added a capping piece to make it look nice. To the side I have added a batten to sandwich the EPDM so as not to rely completely on the glue at that point (in this picture I am yet to cut the batten flush with the barge board)

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Not a bad finish, most of the air bubbles came out and pretty smooth. Shame about my boot marks but they will wash off and the creases will disappear.

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This is another fitters roof on a Yorick Log Cabin, he finished everything flush and that is his preference and still works the same in producing a secure roof for many years with water draining to the rear and following the slope. Upstands are always better though and prevents any rot to trims.

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Another fitter has added a small up stand and uses a batten to fix the EPDM at the top.

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Someone else has gone to town making top trim pieces. We also sell aluminium strips that can do this for the front of the cabin.

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Or … just fold it over the top of the barge boards. This is the Yorick Log Cabin and a customer chose to do this. Nothing wrong with is at all other than perhaps aesthetics.

Summary on Fitting EPDM to your Log Cabin

In summary all we are trying to do is glue down the membrane with as little bubbles in it as we can.

We also want the roof to drain well and if you wish, it’s nice to create slight slopes all around to encourage the water to flow. This is something the flat roof boys do on your house so we may as well do it on our log cabin. You don’t need anything special apart from a few off cuts of wood which you will have when you have finished your cabin.

Some customers worry about installing EPDM  on their log cabin but it is far the quickest roofing method, it doesn’t rip, it’s quite forgiving and easy to work with unlike felt which can be a real pain especially in very hot weather. Plus in the past 17 years now I have never had to re-meet a customer to re-do his EPDM, I’ve met a few to re-felt though!

Trimming is easy but have a ponder on how you would like it to finish before you start and make sure water drains away if the roof is totally flat on your log cabin.

For our modular buildings there will be a join as each part of the building is a separate section, all you do is glue over the seam as you would the roof and as long as you are flat this is not a problem, professional flat roofers do exactly the same.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.

Cracking and Splitting in Timber

Timber – A bit of a pain

Cracking and Splitting of timber is a complete pain for our industry during the summer, it’s at this point we get customers questioning the ‘quality’ of our timber used in some of our products as some cracks and splits start to appear in items that use posts such as play equipment and gazebos.

Thankfully, it’s not just us either, every single supplier of timber products for the garden gets exactly the same thing.

Summer historically costs the timber industry thousands upon thousands of pounds due to perceived ‘defects’ in timber by customers when 99% of the time no defect exists at all.

Natural Organic Substance.

Timber is a natural substance, we all know that.  And, as it is organic, it is greatly influenced by it’s surroundings and more specifically it is trying to reach an equilibrium with it’s natural surroundings.

Water Content.

When a tree is first cut down (green wood) it can contain over 50% of it’s weight in water.  This water is naturally contained in the wood and is divided into two categories:

Free Water and Bound Water.

Free Water is water that is held within the wood via capillary action.  It can be absorbed and expelled.

Bound water is water within the wood that is bonded via hydrogen atoms.

When timber is dried it will be the free water that is the first to leave.

Before timber is used it is dried when most of the free water is removed (fibre Saturation Point of Wood (FSP)) FSP is achieved at about 25 – 30% moisture content.  Wood is dried to it’s natural surrounding environment and as such is engineered to work within it to about 20 – 25%.

Benefits of dried timber.

  • Decay organisms generally cannot thrive in wood with a low moisture content.  Many wood loving insects can only live in green timber.
  • Dried wood has better thermal and insulation properties.
  • Preservatives and finishes penetrate better with dried wood.
  • Dried wood is generally a lot stronger than green wood.

Equilibrium of the environment

As I’ve mentioned wood wants to be the same as it’s environment both in moisture content and temperature.  This is where we start to see a problem, especially during the Summer months and soaring temperatures. The timber starts to exhibit cracks and splits where it further dries out from it’s original point of FSP.

It is, by its nature trying to reach an equilibrium with it’s surrounding air moisture. During summer this moisture content in the air is going up and down all the time as is the temperature and the wood is trying to do the same thing.

Seasonal Wood Shrinkage.

Regardless of how well dried a piece of wood is it will always grow and shrink according seasonal changes in relative humidity of the air.

Changes in ambient humidity is all that is needed and will always affect timber regardless of any other influences.

A good treatment can slow this process down greatly regulating how fast moisture gets in and out of the timber. Wood shrinks by different amounts in different directions, there is however very little movement in the grain lengthwise.  There is some shrinkage radially and a greater amount tangentially (along the curvature of the growth rings).

Here’s a picture of my gate post at home, the weather we’ve been having is having a major impact on it.  You’ll notice that cracks and splits are appearing and will continue to do so at different rates. Most of the splits are occurring perpendicular to the growth rings because there is more shrinkage along the direction of the rings.  At the moment this piece of timber is still drying to reach an equilibrium with it’s surroundings, the inner core is wetter than the outer but once that has dried to the level of the atmosphere virtually all these splits will dissapear.

Cracked and Splitting timber

Cracked and Splitting timber

Here’s another basic but extreme example.  Because of the different rates of radial and tangential shrinkage, distortion of the wood can occur.  It can also cause radial cracks from the centre of the wood to the outer edge.  This is because the circumference shrinks more than it’s radius and a big radial crack appears allowing the circumference to shorten.

Shorter circumference resulting in a radial crack

Shorter circumference resulting in a radial crack

Here’s my post again showing a crack top to bottom, this is a radial split as above and will close up once the whole of the post has reached an equilibrium either by further drying or expansion as the moisture in the air increases such as Autumnal weather.

Longitudinal crack along the radius of the grain.

Longitudinal crack along the radius of the grain.

Here’s another example, this is a crack that’s just starting to emerge, they can appear very quickly during a hot day and often after installation if exposed in the hot sun or stored in a hot environment such as a garage.

Gazebo Post Crack starting to appear.

Gazebo Post Crack starting to appear.

The same thing happens to furniture when out in the sun or a change of humidity.  This is the timber from my picnic table I photographed yesterday, you’ll notice small cracks are just starting to appear.

Cracks starting to appear in the top of a picnic table.

Cracks starting to appear in the top of a picnic table.

Round poles such as the type used in many play centres, swings and climbing frames also exhibit the same properties and often far worse:

Round pole split along the radius

Round pole split along the radius

What is mainly affected?

The properties exhibited here are mainly found in products that utilise posts such as our gazebos and outdoor play equipment.

This is because the posts are made from a whole tree trunk.  You can see that very clearly with my fence post as an example, this was not supplied via Tuindeco but by a local fence supplier, our posts however will be the same.  This post has been in the ground for about 12 months and supports a gate.fence-post This post is encompassing both the ‘Heart’ and the ‘Pith’ of the tree  and as such it shrinks and swells at different rates.  A whole tree trunk is used as it is considerably stronger than the outside of the tree, If we were to use the outside then we would lose a huge amount of strength, the strongest part of a tree of course is the heart.

Summary

As I’ve said and we all know, wood is an organic substance.  It also tries its hardest to match it’s environment which you may not know.

It moves, swells, and shrinks to do so and is normal timber behaviour.

This should be fully understood and expected when buying any timber product for your garden. Sometimes these cracks can open up alarmingly large but remember it is entirely normal and once the inner core has dried the crack will close up.  Likewise as the moisture in the air increases so will the free water absorbed by capillary action in the wood and once again the cracks will close up.

None of these splits or cracks in the timber will affect it’s structural integrity or inherent strength.

If however, it concerns you I recommend the use of a good quality timber treatment as this will restrict the moisture both entering and leaving the wood.

Basically timber can be viewed as a bit of a pain!

Customers sort through the DIY shops, they buy gazebos or other ‘post’ style products and immediately reject them as being defective, this is simply not true!

Wood, by definition cannot be defective, there is nothing to go wrong other than obvious rot which is very rare in graded timber.

If you experience cracks and splits in your timber, especially when it is obviously milled from a whole trunk it is not a ‘defective’ product, nor is the strength impaired, it simply is timber exhibiting it’s normal state and characteristics.

Enjoy it and embrace it as it is part of it’s charm and warmth we all enjoy.  Watch it and marvel at it’s behaviour, cracks and splits will disappear, open up, wander and move …. is it really a pain or a bloomin’ clever feature of a very basic material we all love?  If you don’t like it, treat it with a good timber treatment and restrict the flow of moisture in and out.  However!  Even the best treatments allow moisture transfer, even plastic does to a certain extent.

The ONLY thing to remove the transfer of moisture is aluminium as found in crisp packets!  Cover your posts in this and they will never crack or split!

A personal Experiment with Cracks in Timber

Update:  11th August 2013

I’m going to try and prove my own waffle, I’m going to focus on my fence post, bear in mind it’s been in the ground for about a year and I’m now going to try and study it.

I plan to photograph it over the weeks, months and maybe years ahead.  It’s all very well me spouting on about the theory.  Some may even see it as excuses for a dodgy bit of timber so lets actually see what happens with this post over time if at the end I’m a liar I apologise.  This is going to be interesting ….. as far as a bit of wood can be …

I’m also going to find a brand new post from one of our Gazebos, stick it in the ground and see what that does as well, for now, my fence post …..

This picture is dated 5th August:

August 5th, split fence post

August 5th, split fence post

Updated picture, today, 11th August 2013

Split post taken on 11th August

Split post taken on 11th August

Some of the radial lines looks smaller to me, or am I just imagining them?  The split at almost 12 o’clock is smaller.

There’s changes but nothing has really closed up.

The week’s weather has had some rain, a couple of storms but not massive amounts, it’s still been pretty warm.  Lets see what the next week or two does to it.

The next time I’ll keep the camera back like the picture above so we can really see the changes ….. if any … or at least compare them better.

Update 29.10.13

A huge change since the last time I looked at the post.  You can really see the change this time and most of the splits have closed up.  Both the heart and the pith are reaching an equilibrium.  Clever stuff wood!

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The splits that were showing in the side of the post have almost gone as well.

Fence post cracks are almost gone.

Fence post cracks are almost gone compared to the summer months.

Timber splits in Construction

I enjoy looking at the properties of timber, it fascinates me how it moves twists and turns yet remains the exact same strength.

On a recent trip to a city shopping center it tickled me to see this split in a main supporting post.

Crack in supporting post

Crack in supporting post

A crack big enough for my daughter to put her finger in!

A crack big enough for my daughter to put her fingers in!

Amazing stuff timber! This isn’t defective. It’s not a problem and its strength is not at all affected, I hope not, as it’s supporting a massive canopy in the cities new shopping centre!

Update, 11.10.2018

One of our employees had recently returned from a long weekend away in a log cabin – Lucky for some, I know. Although the log cabin she has stayed in is seen as a ‘traditional’ log cabin, meaning that they mostly use rounded/half round logs in their construction, the timber is similar. Just like almost every type of timber you’ll find, there will be cracks and split, but it hardly affected its use for our employee’s holiday!

She writes as follows:

“So thought this might be of interest, I stayed in a pine log cabin over the weekend and you should have seen some of the splits in most of the logs… I’ve attached some pics, it was interesting to see. (The pics aren’t great, sorry).”

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I think that the pictures show more than enough to prove that even with cracks the log cabin is still standing strong.  It is more than suitable for the accomodation purpose it provides!