Log Cabin Glass Removal

You may have a need to remove the glass from your doors or windows for maintenance or to paint behind. Most log cabins will have removable beading on the frame and it’s pretty straightforward to remove.

Below is how I remove the glass without causing any damage which may help you should you wish to take yours out for whatever reason, it’s straightforward to do and takes a few minutes to accomplish.

If the beading has already been painted then firstly score down the beading with a sharp knife to penetrate the treatment.

If the beading has already been painted then firstly score down the beading with a sharp knife to penetrate the treatment.

Using a small flat blade screw driver or similar this can be pushed down the side of the bead, work along and the pins holding the bead will become loose.

Using a small flat blade screwdriver or similar this can be pushed down the side of the bead, work along and the pins holding the bead will become loose.

Gently lever out the bead.

Gently lever out the bead.

Continue around the other beads, first score the bead to break the treatment seal as before.

Continue around the other beads, first score the bead to break the treatment seal as before.

The bead once loosened can be easily removed.

The bead once loosened can be easily removed.

Lever off the other beads using a small flat blade screwdriver.

Lever off the other beads using a small flat blade screwdriver. I prefer to put the beads in order of how you took them out. Doors are windows are hand made so there may be some minor variations in each bead.

With the beads removed the glass can be taken out to allow you to replace it or treat behind for aesthetics and longevity.

With the beads removed the glass can be taken out to allow you to replace it or treat behind for aesthetics and longevity. Please note it maybe necessary to use a sharp blade behind the glass and frame to break the seal of any sealant used.

Refitting the glass is the reverse of taking it out. If you wished to you could add a bead of silicone sealant although this is not necessary.

Refitting the glass is the reverse of taking it out. If you wished to you could add a bead of silicone sealant although this is not necessary.

Using a hammer tap the pins through the beads so the bead can be easily fitted.

Using a hammer tap the pins through the beads so the bead can be easily fitted.

Place the glass back into the frame and start to refit the beads.

Place the glass back into the frame and start to refit the beads.

Refitting the beads.

Refitting the beads.

Tap the pins into the frame, Depending on the type of bead it is often easier to slide your hammer head along the glass.

Tap the pins into the frame, Depending on the type of bead it is often easier to slide your hammer head along the glass.

With the glass replaced you can wipe off any finger marks or stray sealant if you decided to use any.

With the glass replaced you can wipe off any finger marks or stray sealant if you decided to use any.

To finish, retreat the beads if you have already painted the log cabin.

To finish, retreat the beads if you have already painted the log cabin.

Please Note:

As with any DIY project you need to give full consideration to your safety and those around you. Therefore I recommend wearing safety equipment such as goggles and gloves while removing the glass and taking all care and consideration whilst doing so.

Log Cabin Doors

No matter how good a fitter you are, with the most perfect eye you will always need to adjust the door frame during the install, especially if it is a double set of doors. This will need to be done to have a 100% perfect fit.

It may also need to be done over the life of a log cabin due to seasonal variations in moisture content, direct sun, direct weather, all of which will affect the cabin. Of course as I talk about in previous posts, treatment makes a huge difference to this and how susceptible the doors or windows are to these changes.

Door Frame Adjustment

Several factors need to be considered for a perfect door set up, these are:

  • Square of door frame.
  • Tightness of door frame.
  • Level of door frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to center.
  • Door leaf bow or warp.

The square of the frame is of obvious importance and this can be done in a number of ways. Personally I always make up my frame on the ground first and use a square in all the corners. I will always screw my frame and sometimes I may also consider glueing and screwing for a stronger fit over the lifetime of the building (check the frame is correct before glueing).

I have known some installers that do not screw or nail the frame at all, I do not recommend this!

With a double door the level of the frame will make a big difference to how the doors work together and if this is out slightly, it will be very evident when looking at the top of the doors where they meet in the middle.

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

Look at the above picture and you will see the two leafs do not match each other at the top and the bottom. This is because the base rail that is supporting the frame is a few mm out of 100% level. You may think the base is perfectly level but the doors will always show an error.

This is easily resolved in this case by putting a 2 – 3mm shim under the left hand side of the door threshold between the foundation beam and threshold, the two leafs will then be level.

If you are certain the door frame is fitted tightly and is 100% square (glue or screws or both, or even nail although I prefer to screw every time). If you are also certain the door threshold is 100% level and adjustment is still necessary then this can be done on the hinges.

Log Cabin Hinges

Several types of hinges are used in log cabins, all of which will allow you to make adjustment to the door.

surface mounted hinge - generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Surface mounted hinge – generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Some people have asked me about security with these hinges, they perceive the screws on the outside to be a security risk. When I have installed these and a customer has asked, I simply use a large metal drill and take out the slots of the screws rendering them impossible to remove. You can of course use security screws available from most DIY shops.

Two piece hinge forming a cup and spiggot. These can adjust the door in both planes.

Two piece hinge forming a cup and spigot. These can adjust the door in both planes and like the hinge above are found on lighter doors.

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted. These are used on heavier doors for more strength.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane - up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane – up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Other hinges also exist but they will all feature a similar mechanism of adjustment, the three part hinge tends to be the most popular.

Log Cabin Hinge Adjustment

The three part hinge for some reason confuses some fitters and is also the most commonly used, please see some examples of it’s use and adjustment below:

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

This hinge can move the door leafs closer or further away from the door frame. It can also move the door leafs themselves closer and further away from each other at the door center.

The pin can be removed using a drift, or, in our case a small philips screwdriver. There is always some resistance and a hammer will generally be needed to tap the pin out.

The hinges themselves can then be turned in and out, to either move the door leafs closer / further away from each other (door leaf part), of course the doors can be moved closer / further away from the door frame adjusting the two parts on the door frames.

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver, this is the door leaf part the moves the door leaves closer or further apart at the center.

Personally I like to firstly ascertain which direction I need the door to go in and then only turn the hinge parts a maximum of three turns either in or out, I will then do the same with the other hinges. Using only three turns keeps it simple and consistent.

Don’t be tempted to carry out adjustments in both planes at the same time as it can get confusing.

The pins can be loosely put back in to test your adjustments before knocking them back in fully.

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment of the hinges

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment and check of the hinges as you progress through making the doors perfect.

Adjusting the frame hinge parts on the door frame.

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Once all adjustments have been made and you are happy, then knock the pins back in fully.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

Using the above hinges adjustments, the threshold 100% level and the frame square all door issues are easily resolved in regard to fitting perfectly.

BUT

Very rarely you may have another problem to deal with which is almost 99.9% caused by storage. A warp or bow in the door!

A warp or bow is Never a problem and it is easy to overcome or avoid.

Warp in a Log Cabin door

As well as normal adjustments to the hinges when installing, and over the life of the building you may also have to contend with a warp in the door itself. This is unusual but can happen and it’s normally caused by storage or the weather and a rather undesirable feature of wood itself – it moves when allowed to.

Doors and windows in a log cabin are probably the most expensive and complicated part of the whole building and the supplier will go to great lengths to protect these parts. Unless the building is very large or complicated the doors and windows will come within the main log cabin package and normally buried under logs.

Doors packed within a log cabin package to protect them especially from warping

Doors packed within a log cabin package to protect them especially from warpingparts o

Doors and windows are often protected within the package to avoid damage to the glass, but mainly to prevent warping and bowing. All timber when  supported will maintain its shape. As soon as it is unsupported it can be susceptible to movement. As well as support a supplier will also build safeguards into the door itself such as the choice of direction of timber grain and more recently laminating timber to reduce warps.

I’ve said before in other posts how an installer can greatly influence the build on how they store the parts once they are unpacked. We can cause all sorts of problems with the storage of logs and purlins, in my log cabin installation advice post I talk about storing logs flat and top of each other.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Like other timber products, how we store the timber will make a huge difference to the install. I show more examples of bad storage in one of my gazebo installation advice posts.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

This is what happens to parts when leant against a wall or not on a flat and level surface. Imagine the same thing happening to your door or windows.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

This is an extreme example of what happens to a door when left up against a wall for several days before being installed:

An extremely warped door.

An extremely warped door. This has happened due to storage and care. Easily fixable but very avoidable with the correct storage.

A warp or bow is never a problem though and can easily be fixed but it is better not to have the issue in the first place so consider:

  • Keeping the doors and windows supported as they were in the pallet.
  • Store them 100% flat and on top of each other.
  • Never lean them against a wall while building your log cabin.

In a previous life I used to make sheds and summerhouses. After every door was made we would stack them on top of each other with spacers in between and finally we would put bricks on top of them to stop them from warping, until they were put into a building, when they were then supported by hinges, frame, locks and of course gravity, being supported level, upright and square. You should also consider the doors and windows when waiting to install them.

It’s not a problem though if you have this problem or created this!

If I’ve cocked up and made a warp in my install or even if the door moves over the install which it may do on rare occasions.

The heat from the sun can play havoc with a log cabin door or window. I talk about moisture content, cracks and warps in another post which you may be interested in and also explains what you are seeing and why: Cracks and Splits in Timber I also talk about moisture content in log cabins.

The solution is easy though, one of these ……

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb button

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb turn button.

These are handy little things and available from all DIY shops, we’ll send you one or two free if you need them and these clever things will always remove a warp or bow over a month or two of application. As I’ve said above with careful consideration and handling you rarely need them, but they are a solution when you need to overcome a warp.

I’m asked occasionally how you fit them, here’s an example, I’ve oversized the pictures for demonstration purposes but you will get the gist.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piec e of timber

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piece of timber that matches it. Parts from the pallet or off cut roof or floor boards is generally ideal for this.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

We've oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

We’ve oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the turnbutton in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

With the turn button in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

From my picture bank I sadly like to keep, this was my worst warped door from an install I did:

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

With a turn button this was fixed very quickly and I never heard from my customer again.

Should you have a similar problem with one of your Tuin Log Cabins please do not keep it to yourself, we can help you to solve this easily and will send you out one of these buttons to help you.

Please be aware though that timber is a bugger, and can also do this over the life time, a huge amount comes down to the level and quality of treatment you use on the doors and windows. Without good treatment you can expect this to happen with any building, no matter the supplier. Please see this post for more details on treatments: Log Cabin Treatment.

Ulrik Twin Log Cabins

Our customer ordered two Ulrik Log Cabins to solve a storage, workshop and office problem he had and has been kind enough to share his story of the build with me. Mr J has some very good tips in terms of the base he used and construction and it’s well worth a read, especially if you are using a timber frame base.


These are the finished Ulrik Twin Log Cabins on a timber frame base with decking.

Ulrik 45mm log cabin, also available with double glazing

Ulrik 45mm log cabin, also available with double glazing

As well as a lot of other cracking ideas Mr J had an interesting use for our foundation beams, he wrote:

Firstly, I just wanted to say how delighted we are with our pair of Ulrik cabins. Your comprehensive website made the build process an absolute breeze, so I averaged 1.5 days for each including insulation – but not including treatment (almost at the end of 4 coats a piece using Sikkens).

Speaking of which, I thought I’d share a little ‘tip’ I discovered during the build.

I insulated both floor and roof (100mm and 50mm celotex respectively). I’d had a look at your website to see how you trimmed the eaves to cover the 50mm celotex, noting you said that additional wood may be required. Whilst I’d ordered the tantalised, profiled foundation beams with the cabin, as my build was already on a wooden frame they were effectively surplus to requirements. However, as luck would have it they are also very conveniently profiled so that mounting them to the eave edge with the lower ‘lip’ under the roof boards leaves almost exactly 50mm of upstand for the celotex! I just pilot drilled through to hit the roof board ends in the centres and fixed with 60mm screws.

Not only does the end result look perfectly neat, it resists the weather being tantalised! The fact that the lower lip acts as a drip edge is just a bonus. I just need to add the guttering.

Anyway, have attached a couple of pics of the trimming and the ‘twins’ now that they are complete. Who knows, it may result in some additional orders for the foundation profiles! Feel free to pass on with the website if you think it’s useful? I showed my neighbour (who also ordered a Tuin cabin on my recommendation) and he adopted the same approach – well, I helped him build his too after all.

Interesting use of our foundation beams when insulating the roof

Interesting use of our foundation beams when insulating the roof

Below is Mr J’s story, pictures, tips and advice which may also help you in your build, there are a lot of tips and very relevant if you are intending to use a timber frame base for your Log Cabin as well as some good hints on the actual install.

First job was to level the site. The garden has quite a fall on it, so the end was lowered and flattened to level. This also kept the ridge height below 2.5m

First job was to level the site. The garden has quite a fall on it, so the end was lowered and flattened to level. This also kept the ridge height below 2.5m

A 600mm-700mm trench was dug from the house to take 2 x 6mm SWA cables for electrical supply. The blue conduit contains 3 x CAT6 cables for internet etc.

A 600mm-700mm trench was dug from the house to take 2 x 6mm SWA cables for electrical supply. The blue conduit contains 3 x CAT6 cables for internet etc.

The blue conduit contains cat5 to the log cabins

The blue conduit contains cat5 to the log cabins

The trench was partially backfilled, then hazard tape laid to give warning for any future digging.

The trench was partially backfilled, then hazard tape laid to give warning for any future digging.

This was the supply to one of the old sheds. Plastic conduit just under the turf with twin and earth. Definitely NOT recommended!!!

This was the supply to one of the old sheds. Plastic conduit just under the turf with twin and earth. Definitely NOT recommended!!!

Site was marked out for the foundation frames and holes dug for the supporting posts.

Site was marked out for the foundation frames and holes dug for the supporting posts.

To support the wooden frame, holes were dug to take 4” tanalised posts set in postcrete. Whilst only 50mm-100mm is visible, each is about 600mm long

To support the wooden frame, holes were dug to take 4” tanalised posts set in postcrete. Whilst only 50mm-100mm is visible, each is about 600mm long

As a ‘belt-and-braces’ precaution, the posts were also coated in Creoseal. The bore holes in the top ensure that the Creoseal got to the heart of the post to stop rot. Whilst it’s the earth/moisture and organic matter that rots the posts, the holes were backfilled mostly with stones to deter this. A strong weed membrane was laid, large enough to create a French drain around the perimeter. Although, a soakway was also dug to take rainwater was the cabins will be guttered.

As a ‘belt-and-braces’ precaution, the posts were also coated in Creoseal. The bore holes in the top ensure that the Creoseal got to the heart of the post to stop rot. Whilst it’s the earth/moisture and organic matter that rots the posts, the holes were backfilled mostly with stones to deter this. A strong weed membrane was laid, large enough to create a French drain around the perimeter. Although, a soakway was also dug to take rainwater away and the log cabins will be guttered.

The frame extends also to create a front decking area. The cabin foundation ‘ring’ was doubled up with 150mm x 50mm timbers. This also means that the floor has something to sit on as the second timber sits inside the foundation perimeter.

The frame extends also to create a front decking area. The cabin foundation ‘ring’ was doubled up with 150mm x 50mm timbers. This also means that the floor has something to sit on as the second timber sits inside the foundation perimeter.

Care was taken at every stage to ensure the frame was absolutely level. Whilst a fall is required for the decking, this would be added later with spacers under the decking itself.

Care was taken at every stage to ensure the frame was absolutely level. Whilst a fall is required for the decking, this would be added later with spacers under the decking itself.

Perimeter beams all in. Now to fit the rest of the joists. Note soakaway to front. Rainwater will be collected via gutters to a water butt at the rear with overflow into the soakaway.

Perimeter beams all in. Now to fit the rest of the joists. Note soakaway to front. Rainwater will be collected via gutters to a water butt at the rear with overflow into the soakaway.

Joists installed with hangars. You could build a house on this frame, let alone a cabin!

Joists installed with hangars. You could build a house on this frame, let alone a Log Cabin!

Framework done, 100mm of Celotex was installed. As you can see from the middle ‘holes’, batten was used to the lower sides of the joists to support it. I have some concerns about rodents getting into it, so you could ply out the bottom first. But we have a cat ☺

Framework done, 100mm of Celotex was installed. As you can see from the middle ‘holes’, batten was used to the lower sides of the joists to support it. I have some concerns about rodents getting into it, so you could ply out the bottom first. But we have a cat ☺

Foundation framework all done – so just need some cabins to put on them.

Foundation framework all done – so just need some cabins to put on them.

Unfortunately for us, the site location is about 50m away from the drive where the cabin will be offloaded. Beams laid (level) to keep the cabin off the ground in case of rain.

Unfortunately for us, the site location is about 50m away from the drive where the cabin will be offloaded. Beams laid (level) to keep the cabin off the ground in case of rain.

Timely delivery of the cabin and the moffet lift.

Timely delivery of the cabin and the moffet fork lift.

Whilst we ordered two cabins, they came at staggered timings allowing us to erect each independently.

Whilst we ordered two log cabins, they came at staggered timings allowing us to erect each independently.

log-cabin-delivery-2

Easy does it!

Easy does it!

log-cabin-delivery-4

The shingles were removed and stored in case by some miracle we got some hot weather whilst the log cabin was built.

The shingles were removed and stored in case by some miracle we got some hot weather whilst the log cabin was built.

The packaging of the cabin is cleverly done, with very little wasted space. The plans are inside the package – but have a good pre-read of Tuin’s website to get a feel for the process

The packaging of the cabin is cleverly done, with very little wasted space. The plans are inside the package – but have a good pre-read of Tuin’s website to get a feel for the process

(For installation advice, videos and walkthroughs please see the Log Cabin Installation Advice page)

The packers at Tuin must love ‘Tetris’ ;)

The packers at Tuin must love ‘Tetris’ 😉

This was the second cabin I’d built (the other is exactly the same and sits to the right of this shot), so I knew the process. But to give you an idea of time – the foundation beams were laid at 18:05. I pre-treated the undersides of them with Sikkens Cetol and they also sit on a DPC. Checked for square, a screw was put in each corner to stop it moving about.

This was the second cabin I’d built (the other is exactly the same and sits to the right of this shot), so I knew the process. But to give you an idea of time – the foundation beams were laid at 18:05. I pre-treated the undersides of them with Sikkens Cetol and they also sit on a DPC. Checked for square, a screw was put in each corner to stop it moving about.

Now the walls start to be built.

Now the walls start to be built.

Refer to the plans to ensure you don’t build too high for the windows. It’s easily done as the walls go together so quickly! There’s quite a lean on the right side in this shot, but that will be corrected later when the gable goes on.

Refer to the plans to ensure you don’t build too high for the windows. It’s easily done as the walls go together so quickly! There’s quite a lean on the right side in this shot, but that will be corrected later when the gable goes on.

Door and window frames installed. Remember, do NOT fix these to the walls. They should float which allows the wood to move as it expands/contracts with varying moisture levels

Door and window frames installed. Remember, do NOT fix these to the walls. They should float which allows the wood to move as it expands/contracts with varying moisture levels

Now the gable and purlins are on, things are a bit more plumb – but not quite right yet.

Now the gable and purlins are on, things are a bit more plumb – but not quite right yet.

I didn’t have this issue with the first cabin, but that’s the nature of wood. The top wall planks on the right had a bit of twist in them which was pulling the wall out. A bit of ratchet strap engineering was employed and the cabin left overnight to settle. To get from foundation beam to this took just 2.5 hours – time stamp on pic shows 20:37

I didn’t have this issue with the first cabin, but that’s the nature of wood. The top wall planks on the right had a bit of twist in them which was pulling the wall out. A bit of ratchet strap engineering was employed and the cabin left overnight to settle. To get from foundation beam to this took just 2.5 hours – time stamp on pic shows 20:37

(Mr J gives a good solution here to a rare problem. If you come across this and the build time is critical you can also brace one side with a spare log or pallet parts to bring the structure square, when the roof boards are nailed on to the top logs and purlins the twist will always come out)

With the sun out on the following morning, it was time to roof the cabin.

With the sun out on the following morning, it was time to roof the cabin.

On a cabin of this size (3.8m x 3.8m) it takes about 90 minutes to board out the roof with two of you working on it.

On a cabin of this size (3.8m x 3.8m) it takes about 90 minutes to board out the roof with two of you working on it.

Lovely ☺

Lovely ☺

Top tip. Whilst I’d ordered tanalised, profiled foundation beams, I didn’t need them as I have a wood frame foundation. However, they are perfect to create an upstand on the roof edge for 50mm Celotex insulation! Being tanalised they’re perfect for the job ☺

Top tip. Whilst I’d ordered tanalised, profiled foundation beams, I didn’t need them as I have a wood frame foundation. However, they are perfect to create an upstand on the roof edge for 50mm Celotex insulation! Being tanalised they’re perfect for the job ☺

As you see, the profiled beams are perfect to trim the insulated roof boards. Note the double shingle layer on the right roof. The lower shingle is installed upside down (gravel side facing ground). I have over sailed to allow for guttering.

As you see, the profiled beams are perfect to trim the insulated roof boards. Note the double shingle layer on the right roof. The lower shingle is installed upside down (gravel side facing ground). I have over sailed to allow for guttering.

50mm Celotex fixed to roof with 60mm screws and washers (to stop screws from pulling through the Celotex). Boards foil taped together.

50mm Celotex fixed to roof with 60mm screws and washers (to stop screws from pulling through the Celotex). Boards foil taped together.

Before and after shingle-wise

Before and after shingle-wise

Shingles take time to do, but are very simple. Good instructions on the Tuin website. Note neighbours foundation frame – they have a Tuin Log Cabin arriving shortly too!

Shingles take time to do, but are very simple. Good instructions on the Tuin website. Note neighbours foundation frame – they have a Tuin Log Cabin arriving shortly too!

(For installation advice and videos showing the shingles please see: IKO Shingles. Please note when using roof insulation you will need to use longer clout nails sourced locally, for more advice on insulating your log cabin please see: Insulating a log cabin roof and floor)

Ridge done accounting for the usual wind direction.

Ridge done accounting for the usual wind direction.

The Ulrik ‘twins’ log cabins. The wood is protected with 2 undercoats of Sikkens Cetol HLS plus and finished with a further 2 of Sikkens Filter 7 Plus in light oak.

The Ulrik ‘twins’ log cabins. The wood is protected with 2 undercoats of Sikkens Cetol HLS plus and finished with a further 2 of Sikkens Filter 7 Plus in light oak.

Flooring installed using 22mm P5 T&G floor boards. Edges glued and screwed.

Flooring installed using 22mm P5 T&G floor boards. Edges glued and screwed.

Whilst one of the cabins is purely a workshop, the other is a day/play room. As such, it gets an oak engineered wood floor. The base membrane is breathable to prevent warping due to different moisture levels between the P5 and the flooring.

Whilst one of the log cabins is purely a workshop, the other is a day/play room. As such, it gets an oak engineered wood floor. The base membrane is breathable to prevent warping due to different moisture levels between the P5 and the flooring.

log-cabin-floor-2

log-cabin-floor-3

Cabins finished, time to deck the front. 144mm x 32mm Redwood planks in this case.

Cabins finished, time to deck the front. 144mm x 32mm Redwood planks in this case.

Decking finished, the only jobs remaining are to fill the French drains with slate, guttering and install the electrics.

Decking finished, the only jobs remaining are to fill the French drains with slate, guttering and install the electrics.

I would like to thank Mr J for sending me this post and pictures, there is some great information here and I know it will help other customers with their project.

If anyone would like to send in pictures and a story we always offer further discounts on products, presents and in some cases a cheque.

For all Customer pictorial reviews please see this page: Tuin Customer Blog Reviews

UPDATE: Mr J sent in further pictures of his building and an ingenious use of left over parts: Ulrik log cabin pt 2.

Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

This post follows on from the Gazebo Installation Advice post. It will feature mainly pictures of the gazebo roof but the method is highly relevant to the install of a pyramid roof on a log cabin.

Storage of the roof parts

Wood is a bugger and you really need to think about this when you are unpacking. The roof is always the last part to be installed and while you are mucking about with the walls of your log cabin or the posts of the gazebo the roof parts will be lying around doing all sorts of things behind your back. We failed to follow our own advice during the install and had a bit of a problem.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked!

When we unpacked the pallet everything was perfect. Come the afternoon when it was time to install the roof we found the rafters had bowed all out of shape. If we had stored them flat, out of the sun etc they would have remained straight. One was a cracking banana shape!

If you find the same thing don’t panic. You have two options when faced with this:

  • Call us and shout down the phone that it’s really bad and all our fault demanding replacements whilst holding up your install for several days. Or ……
  • Carry on using it knowing that you were a bit daft not to keep them safe. You will of course be able to sort this out and is not a problem at all. You don’t need to demand replacements at all, it’s easily resolved.

Please note that this does happen with wood, it cannot be helped when it is unsupported. This will happen in a matter of half an hour so please watch out for it and follow our advice like we didn’t!

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

Here’s an example from a log cabin roof, these could still be used with some adjustment as I’ll show later in this post, or, look after them properly so it doesn’t happen at all.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

Base and support

It’s always important to have a 100% level base and to make sure the building is 100%. With normal apex roofs you can get away with it a little if it’s not but with a pyramid roof it is REALLY important. If you are not 100% level and square you will pay for it when installing the roof so please check this. Please see this page for more advice on bases.

Pyramid Roof Construction

Other people will do it differently but this is the way I prefer to make a pyramid roof. The secret with a roof like this is:

  • 100% square and level.
  • Be methodical and have a system.
  • Preparation – batch piloting holes
  • Don’t worry about it. Sometimes things don’t look right but it will all come together, you can spend a lot of time worrying about it.
  • Realise that wood is wood, it cannot be precise by it’s nature but it can be worked with.
  • Keep an eye on your safety as you will be working from stepladders. You may also want to consider using a scaffold tower.
  • Make sure you identify all the parts correctly using a tape measure and the plans.

Before you start it’s a good idea to run a tape measure over the various parts and compare the parts to the plans. Some log cabins, mainly when there is a dividing wall or a gazebo to the side, will have a few subtle different sizes of rafters, identify all the parts first and be sure of their positioning from the plans.

King pin and corner rafters

In this example the rectangular gazebo has a king pin that joins the end rafters to the ridge. ALWAYS use pilot holes before screwing. It’s a good idea to pilot everything that will be screwed into the top of the roof first as a batch. DO NOT pilot the bottom ones yet.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Preparation is key to this, I also like to find the center point of the ridge beam, if it’s a longer roof there maybe more marking needed, it’s easier to do it on the ground rather than a head of a ladder.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

Fix the corner rafters to the king pin if applicable to your build. Some will be larger than others but the principle is the same when a pin is supplied.

Screwing the corner rafters together.

Screwing the corner rafters together. he rafters will normally sit to the top of the pin. If there is a chamfer on the pin it can go either way but looks nice facing down.

Use a prop of whatever material you like to get the rough roof height, this helps greatly in your build. I tend to tack the corners of the rafters into the ring beam until I am certain they are in the correct position.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder and a fishing rod?

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install.

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install and in bigger roofs such as this it keeps things level.

Now go to the other end of the building and again using a prop fit the corner rafters.

The opposite end of the gazebo fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop.

The opposite end of the gazebo and fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop lightly screwed into the side of the pin.

Both sets completed and stable.

Both sets completed and stable. note the bracing we are using across the middle to make sure we keep everything inline.

Fix the ridge beam which you will have piloted beforehand.

Fix the ridge beam to the king pin which you will have piloted beforehand.

Props removed

Props removed and all four corners in place the ridge beam fixed.

Don’t worry at this point that it isn’t level or straight. If the measurements of the parts were correct according to the plan and you are sure you have used the correct parts then this will come good when you add the remaining rafters, at this point you can spend a lot of time worrying, please don’t.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don't worry about this at the moment.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don’t worry about this at the moment.

Wood and roofs can play tricks with you!

You’ll notice that we’re using the wonky banana parts we accidentally made at the beginning by not following our own advice. We’re still not worried about them either as it will all work out – we had considered calling ourselves to make a complaint and ask for replacements but decided we wouldn’t get too far!

 Side Rafters

Now you can start to add the side rafters into the king pin if applicable. I only fix the top ones first, don’t fix them to the walls or ring beam yet. You may want to check the fixings in the corner rafters at this point and fully send the screw home as we know they were in the right position as the ridge beam was reached and has been fixed.

Fix the corner rafter as we are happy with its position

Fixing the corner rafters as we are happy with its position, it’s roughly level and has been spanned without a problem. Note, regarding the gazebo we are installing here we are using the longest screws through the rafter into the ring beam. For log cabins I also recommend screwing all rafters into the ring beam. It is strictly not necessary but I prefer to do it for extra strength.

Log cabins will have notches created by the ring beam of the cabin and there is only one way to locate it. Technically you don’t need to screw through the rafter into the ring beam but I ALWAYS do this, weighing just short of 16 stone I like to make sure the roof is as strong as possible when I get on it to shingle.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don't have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don’t have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it. Don’t let the fact that the ridge beam is slightly higher, it will all work.

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don't have to try measuring from the ladder.

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don’t have to try measuring from the ladder. When rafters go to the ridge beam they will be flush with the top of the beam.

Fixing the lower edge rafters

We now start to make a few adjustments and there is a little bit of mucking about at this point, it’s best to be methodical and work with the building getting the ridge straight. It can take some adjustment, it may also be necessary to release the corner rafters again to get everything perfect. Take a slow and steady, thoughtful approach to this.

Remember these pictures are of a gazebo, a log cabin generally has notches in the main ring beam for locating the rafters. Some pushing and pulling maybe necessary to locate them. See my advice above regarding screwing the rafters into the top log.

Back to the gazebo install:- As we are confident the corner rafters are well positioned we measure the overhang either side of the center rafter taking our cue from the corner rafter overhang.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Also check that nothing has gone wrong with the top wall or ring beam, a quick eye to check it is still straight. Bracing normally keeps things nice and straight. Log cabins will be easier as you will have numerous logs keeping it straight but please still check for straightness.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Methodically work around the rafters getting the alignment just right or as near as damn it. Remember our banana rafters will be throwing things out slightly. If you need to push a rafter in slightly the clamp is very handy.

We're using the clamp to put some pressure on the refter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out.

We’re using the clamp to put some pressure on a rafter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out. Don’t forget to use pilot holes before screwing!

Sometimes it goes really smoothly, other times it can take some playing with. Please expect this as part of the building process with any pyramid roof on a log cabin or gazebo.

This particular gazebo has some additional bracing.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we're using the smallest ones.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we’re using the smallest ones here.

With that, the roof structure is complete, time to put on the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Ready for the roof boards.

A log cabin roof complete and ready for the roof boards.

Roof boards and Banana Rafters

We’ve still got a problem with the bowed wood we created. We did decide to ring the office and make a serious complaint, we even demanded someone comes and rectifies it for us.  Unfortunately we were met with laughter by the sales team so we’ll crack on.

Does this look like a real problem though to you, some fitters may worry over this?

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner.

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner. It’s a cracking example of a problem you can encounter with timber which can be easily overcome.

We don’t want to start with this yet until we have the building stabilised, pushing on this to straighten it without strength elsewhere would not work so we’ll come back to worrying about this a little later.

We’ve already sorted out our roofs into the triangle sections, this makes it so much easier and quicker and you can easily see how they are going to go together without confusion. Please note with the gazebos you will also have spare straight end cut boards should you need them, don’t let them confuse you and put them to one side in case you need a spare due to a split or knot you don’t like.

Roof section already laid out. This is the two ends of a rectangular pyramid roof

Roof section already laid out. This is the two shorter ends of a rectangular pyramid roof.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both sides.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both of the longest sides. Note due to the length the lower edge of the roof is made up of two pieces of board. For log cabins you may have a center roof section instead with two outer triangles. Regardless it helps the install to lay out the roof section so you can see it before you install it.

We had some discussions on the best way to do the roof boards and the best way to advise you. Both Wayne and I differed on how we did it and you may have a different idea as well, there really is no right or wrong way of doing this.

I like to test a triangle section first so I will tack the first board and then lay in all the others. Tacking every few boards. This then tells me if the triangle is going to fit and whether I need to cut any boards, as I’ve only tacked it I can remove the boards and adjust easily.

To minimise trimming I can raise or lower the triangle and perhaps only trim the leading edge board at the bottom. Once I’m sure it will work I then fix fully and use this as a template for the rest of the boards.

This isn’t the way we have done it on this building example though. The is Wayne’s (Tuin UK Service Manager) method and seems to work very well, he’s fitted a few more buildings than me so I’m bowing to his experience on this one. You may well have a better method.

Regardless though expect to have to trim roof boards for a perfect fit! Wood is wood and we are only human, it is very rare that you will get the perfect situation intended by the factories design computer for a perfect fit without adjustment, a few millimeters out here and there will affect the fit of the boards, it’s impossible to get the roof structure 100% perfect. If you have to trim a few you have made a near perfect roof. If you have to trim a lot you are quite a bit out somewhere but as long as it looks good at the end it is all that matters

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tack your first roof board and carry on around the whole building first, this will tell you the alignment is correct, it should be sitting roughly to the center of the rafter. Don’t worry if they don’t meet together perfectly, if you’re happy with the alignment then nail home fully.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

After again assessing the building and our self created bananas we decide to start at the place that is the best, this is the furthest away from the really bad bow. There’s other smaller ones  we created by our dodgy storage the we want to remove as well. Using a plank and our trusty clamps we remove the bows as we go around the building.

using clamps we can brace of other rafters and push or pull bows out.

Using clamps we can brace off other rafters and push or pull the bows out as we fit the roof boards.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don't be tempted to use a nail gun.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun.

Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun when you’re doing the roof, please use the nails we provide. Two nails in each board across every rafter. Note the gazebo roof boards are flat edged, all the log cabin roof boards are interlocking Tongue and Groove.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

We now come to the worst bowed rafter we looked at earlier. As we have now boarded all the other sections of roof we have stabilised the building more and given it a lot more strength to brace against taking the bow out is now no problem at all.

Badly bowed rafter

Badly bowed rafter which will not look very nice from inside. This is easily removed as below.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out when the roof boards are nailed on. This bow will be removed and will disappear, adhering to the shape we’ve asked it to maintain.

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

What bowed rafters? There’s no bananas here!

This is what I love about wood. By working with it and thinking about it most things can be overcome. Wood is very flexible and can be moved, pushed and cajoled into working with us.

We can carry on laying the rest of the boards on this gazebo, do not worry if it’s not particularly neat where it joins. As long as you can nail it on the rafter it is fine as all will be covered by the roof covering.

Don't worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

Don’t worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

When you come to the small triangle pieces at the top of the roof it’s a good idea to pilot hole them or you will break them guaranteed.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

As I said there is always adjustment and cutting to do with any roof and this was where we needed to trim on this particular roof.

The last two final boards needed trimming

The last two final boards needed trimming to fit. As expected and normally you would have to do more. Not bad considering we had big bows as well.

Completed Roof and Notes

With the roof structures and boards on the final roof covering can now be added. You have the choice of Roofing Felt or Roof Felt Shingles. The latter looks for nicer and lasts forever. If you are fitting roof shingles please see the advice and videos on the shingle page linked to a couple of lines above.

For flat roofs you have a choice of either EPDM or Easy Roof Membrane. You could also use the ERM on apex roofs as an alternative to felt.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Notes.

The square, pyramid roof construction of a log cabin is pretty much the same as the rectangular roof described above. For the square roof gazebos it is a little different and uses a truss system making it easy to do and a lot less complicated. This looks good in a gazebo but I wouldn’t want this system in a log cabin.

Square roof truss system used in making a roof on a square gazebo.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Some buildings will have additional corner rafters as the above and below pictures show (the ones in the corner). I will fit these after I have put on some of the roof boards as you can then push it up into the roof boards for a perfect fit. For a log cabin you will need to put them in the notch before the roof boards go on.

Corder bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

Corner bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

There are different ways of doing things, you could also start from the top of the roof as this install was done, there really is no right or wrong method and all fitters will chose their own. This page is only my advice and you may have a better idea to accomplish your install quickly and easily.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. Note the smaller kingpin in this roof.

I have come across one or two buildings where the roof boards are not pre-angled. I actually prefer this as you simply nail them in, mark with a chalk line and cut down the line, to a certain extent it saves a lot of mucking about getting the perfect fit.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

Finally please only use nails in your roof boards, a great deal of the overall strength of any building comes from the roof. Two nails in every board across every rafter. And please, NEVER use staples in the roof like this customer did.

Staples sued in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn't fare will in a huge storm!

Staples used in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn’t fare will in a huge storm with the roof boards lifting in places.

Using a Builder or Carpenter for your Log Cabin?

Log Cabins are pretty easy to install as long as you know the basic fundamentals.

The problems come if you don’t understand the build and sometimes worse still; if you employ a ‘professional’ to do the build for you who does not understand the process.

Sometimes beware of the professional as they may lack the understanding fully of what is involved despite their credentials of a professional builder, carpenter or joiner.

Please note most professional Tradesmen are absolutely fine and competent, this post is aimed at some that you employ that maybe too confident in their own abilities and may not understand the build, or, in some cases will not find out the complexities believing it to be a simple shed.

Professional Trades People

I’ve said it before, anyone who is a qualified builder / carpenter / joiner or ‘time served’ or ‘experienced’ or ‘trusted’ does not necessarily know about how to install a log cabin.

I think sometimes it is down to their professionalism and that they believe they should know it all but there are some key points that should be understood. Sometimes though this may not be fully realised by your chosen, (non log cabin experienced) installer

In a previous post (Here) I recounted the story of a customer who was recommended as follows:

“A friend of mine who has been a ‘time served chippy’ for 40 years told me that all I had to do was nail a board over the gap.”

Just because your chosen installer is a ‘professional’ it does not mean they know what they are doing with a log cabin install so please thoroughly check with them and make sure you ask them to read and understand our advice: Log Cabin Installation Advice.  

We also list a great deal more advice here: https://www.tuin.co.uk/Tuin-Useful-Information.html this advice may also be pertinant to other reputable suppliers, regardless whether you buy from us or not. All these things are useful to know if you are considering a Log Cabin from most reputable retailers.

Please remember though; “installing a log cabin is easy” – I say this all the time: Log Cabin Fitting Tips. BUT to make it easy you need to understand some basic things about the install and have a proper understanding of the building.

Below are examples of some very silly mistakes made by tradesmen who didn’t understand a log cabin install. All of these customers came to us rather fraught and we had to guide them or the installer on how to do it correctly, in some cases we had to visit site and correct the build, in the extreme it needed a complete new building.

Log Cabin Floor

A log cabin floor should go inside the cabin, not the cabin on top of the floor!

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The floor needs to be a floating floor as you would in your house.

Our log cabins have a floating floor inside the cabin and it is installed after the cabin has been built.

Our log cabins have a floating floor inside the cabin and it is installed after the cabin has been built.

Never allow your installer to lay the floor first and then the cabin, this will cause you lot of problems in the future. The floor should be a floating floor and your builder should be aware of this. Some ‘professionals’ treat a log cabin as a shed, a log cabin is a completely different beast to simple sheds.

Log Cabin Base

We explain the importance of a base for your log cabin and this must be passed on and understood by your chosen builder.

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This base is hugely out of level and the installer is trying to make good by blocking it up

He ignored the foundation beams supplied and installed the first log directly onto the base .... why?

As well as trying to block in he hasn’t used the foundation beams and the bottom log is in constant contact with the base. This is really not good!

If you are going to chock up the mistake in the base then at least use a treated timber to do this. These pieces will rot over the next 12 months and then everything will drop badly with huge problems to the building.

For smaller gradients you can use timber shims to take up a small gradient but do not use untreated wood as these will rot very quickly and the building will drop

This builder is using unstable blocks to chock the base level and is also using untreated timber.

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As well as unsuitable blocks the builder has also laid the floor first and the cabin on top.

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Unsuitable blocking of a timber frame base

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Untreated timber being used as shims will very quickly rot.

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A block directly on to grass with untreated wood is not acceptable.

Please also watch the base your builder puts down when using concrete, a wriggly and unlevel base is not a good thing for a log cabin.

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This is a very bad base for a log cabin, rough concrete is never very good. Notice also how unlevel it is and one side needed to be chocked. This poor lady had a few problems with water ingress and very unlevel doors

This was a terrible install by a professional builder. The base was hugely out and to compensate for the building lean he cut the lower logs to match and then added some sort of filler! In the end this complete building had to be replaced.

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This base was terrible so the builder cut the logs to make the windows level in the hope the customer would not notice.

A very bad base causing the whole building to lean. This builder then cut the logs to make the windows straight!

A very bad base causing the whole building to lean. This builder then cut the logs to make the windows straight!

Log Cabin Walls

I will warn you as I have done in other posts, professional builders, joiners and carpenters may do this if they do not understand the intricacies of a log cabin …. they fix the doors or windows to the wall logs. For some reason they may forget the idea that wood expands and contracts especially when unsupported by a frame.

Gap appearing in a log cabin wall

Gap appearing in a log cabin wall

You may have seen this picture in other posts of mine and this is one that sticks with me, I use this example over and again as it was so costly for the customer. She was a Doctor and I knew exactly what the problem was when she sent me a series of pictures. The fitter had attached the window and door frame to the logs.

There then followed a dialogue about how experienced they were, she had used her personal carpenter of twenty years and her stone mason to install, she also had a professional painter to treat the building.

We agreed that if it was our fault we would replace or repair, if it was the builders then they would pay for our time. Our service guy was onsite for two minutes and fixed it by removing screws and the whole log cabin dropped happily.

Unfortunately it did cost her. The professional carpenter of twenty years standing who had been watching very quickly went away when everything settled into place.

This is THE biggest mistake made by a ‘professional’ who does not understand a log cabin or timber expansion or contraction. I find this with builders, as they are used to fixing frames in houses they will do it to a log cabin – please check for this.

Log Cabin Roof Shingles

Sometimes I will look at customers pictures of a complaint or a help request and I really can’t believe them. This was a ‘professional experienced builders’ roofing install:

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Look at it closely, ALL the shingles are upside down!

Every tile, unfortunately, is installed upside down.

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Another experienced roofer cocks it up – notice how the ridge times are done!

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This is another favourite ‘experienced roofer / builder / Carpenter / Joiner mistake. No correct spacing and each shape should form a true hexagonal, these were all dropped down too much and massively effects the design intent and aesthetics, not to mention you run out.

Watch out for the above, if someone does not know what they are doing or does not follow the instructions, spacing of the tiles will start to go horribly wrong and you will run out of shingles.

We have some good videos that show how best to install shingles, instructions are also on each pack of shingles.

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Another example of a ‘professional’ install. Please show inexperienced fitters the instructions and videos before hand. Not all builders or Carpenters understand what to do.

Upside Down Log Cabin

This builder was just not at all on the ball and made a very silly mistake. He asked me why the top log would not go on. I replied ….. ‘because you have built it upside down’!

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Upside down log cabin, please look at the instruction advice and check the plans, the tongues always go up. You do not want to have your builder make it upside down and then have to take it down and install the correct way up.

 Botching a Log Cabin

I see this a few times each year, something has gone horribly wrong with a build and then it’s bodged to hide up the mistake. This was a particularly bad one and one I did not enjoy helping to solve as it was so far gone.

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This one wasn’t very fair. The builder had not read the plans or parts properly.

The installer did not read the plans and measure all the parts, he added them as he thought fit and then realised it was not going together. Instead of taking the roof apart and correcting before nailing on the roof boards he carried on with the build.  This produced all sorts of problems.  He then had to hide up silly mistakes with bits of wood in various gaps with pieces of trims and blocks. It was quite a mess at the end and not a lot we could do for the poor customer.

This was a bad building recently. The customer was lovely and they had chosen a Bergren Carport and Garage. A great building but one that does takes some knowledge to install, a bit of skill and time. It’s one of our hardest to install though and should not be taken on lightly.

Sadly the builder made a bit of a mess of it rushing through the install and not really considering what he was doing or taking into account the basic fundamentals of timber, a log cabin base or the effect of the environment around it.

He later admitted he was not prepared for it.

Unfortunately the install went very badly and we were asked to correct it for them. This meant a total disassemble and reassemble correctly on a level base and joints correctly aligned and made.

This is the finished building:

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Berggren log cabin carport and garage.

These pictures are some examples of where it had gone horribly wrong, the builder had not made any joint correct and then started filling the bodges. He should have stopped and analysed the build before going any further.

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As the bottom logs were so out of true this transposed to huge problems at the top. The builder then used filler to try to hide the ever increasing problems the higher the cabin went.

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out-of-level-log-cabin

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Every single part of this install was bad and so much went wrong. Most of it stemmed from a poor base and incorrect fitting at the start of the install. The builder should have stopped and done some basic checks:

  • Base level across the whole build.
  • Logs made correctly.
  • Joints made correctly and tightly.
  • Levels correct.
  • Completely square.
  • Measurements correct.
  • Check for errors in manufacture or errors in fitting low down.

At the end though all was correct and the customer was very happy after we corrected the install. We did though have to replace several logs that had been damaged by the builder.

It should not though happened if the builder had taken some simple advice from us, stopped and looked at what he was doing and checked the above.

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The completed log cabin and a happy customer.

A Professional Builder Summary

Like any tradesman you can get some good and bad people but I always advise customers to make sure they pass on our online advice here:  Log Cabin Instructional Advice and to make sure the chosen installer has read it regardless of their skills and profession, there might be some things in there that they hadn’t considered and it will make the install quicker and cheaper and less likely to be a problem in time to come. It maybe an idea to ask them to confirm they have read our advice before starting the build.

I also highly recommend that if you are using a builder, carpenter or joiner who may not be fully experienced or you may not be sure of with a log cabin install to familiarise yourself with the advice. If anything is going wrong you will very quickly realise it and can stop the build before it goes too far.

Please though, at any point if you or your installer have any questions please let us know and we’ll be pleased to help before things go wrong. Send us a picture or what you are seeing via email, a quick description and we can advise, even out of normal working hours.

EPDM on Log Cabins 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

Tuin Roof Shingles Complaint

This is a tongue in cheek post …….

A customer complained that it ‘took longer than expected to fit the shingles’ so I thought this post may help to quicken things up for you.

Shingles is very subjective, it can really take as long or as quick as you want. The videos below may help you in doing it really quick. Do not be tempted to use a nail gun, most nails guns will fire a small headed unsuitable nail or worse still (in my opinion) staples.

We try to give some good advice about your install of your log cabin here: Tuin Log Cabin Installation Manual we also offer advice on how to fit shingles to your garden structure or building

Want to make your log cabin roof quicker? Let’s speed things up a little …… watch these guys …..

Roof Shingles Installation

There’s some very good tips in these videos on how to carry out your roofing, really quickly if you want to !

Or  – Take your time and enjoy the process of a really good completed roof that will last for years on your, shingles can take a whole day on some buildings but it is worth it in the end and you don’t need to speed like the guys above. Enjoy your log cabin or Shingle install!