Log Cabin Skylight – Roof Vent

We’ve been looking at this for a while. We get asked a lot of times for windows in the roof or can you fit something like a Velux window in the roof of your Log Cabin.

The answer is yes you can. But to fit a velux requires a lot of modification, a lot of strengthening and a bit of mucking about. They can be fitted but it’s not a fun job.

This is a cracking new product we have added, it seems to tick all the boxes, it’s easy to fit, light enough to not worry about extra strength and provides a good lot of light into your log cabin.

Showing the before and after, it's quite a difference.

Showing the before and after, it’s quite a difference.

You can see there is a huge difference. The skylight is easy to fit on a fresh install but you do need to base it around a felt backing, the surface that the oil based compression gasket seals onto needs to be relatively smooth, standard shed felt or EPDM or Easy roof membrane is ideal. If you have a shingle roof you will need to have an area of felt only.

Using felt shingles but you will need an area of Felt or Easy roof membrane to help it to seal.

Using felt shingles but you will need an area of Felt or Easy roof membrane to help it to seal.

Installation of the skylight / roof vent is very straightforward and you do not even need to be on the roof. Installation as a retrofit is a little trickier and I will be doing this over the next week or so and posting on this on the way I think it is best done.

As well as a normal roof you can also install this on an insulated roof, it may though be necessary to add additional trim around the rim of the unit.

Installed with an insulated roof. Longer bolts may need to be sourced locally and also trim for the inside.

Installed with an insulated roof. Longer bolts may need to be sourced locally and also trim for the inside.

If you are interested in this product please see more details here skylight / roof vent for log cabins

Some interesting pictures of a recent customers install of their roof vents in an insulated roof log cabin:

Roof Shingles for Log Cabins – Watch out!

For the past few months we have been offering our customers certain ranges of IKO shingles free with our log cabins and the offer has been very well received. It’s a genuine offer and accepted by loads of very pleased customers. Please see this page for the full offer and availability: Free Roofing Shingles.

What do we supply?

All our shingles are from IKO. We supply these either as a FREE felt shingle option or as a bought option with all our log cabins and also some of our Garden Buildings:

IKO Felt Shingles for use on log cabins and our garden buildings.

These are the very best you can get in Europe and probably the world, IKO is known all over. This is their website: https://www.ikogroup.co.uk/ virtually everywhere you go you will see the IKO brand, for instance, have a look at the branding on the roofing membrane of new build houses before they put the tiles on. A good builder will always use IKO.

Other Shingles

Of course there are other shingles on the market, not just IKO and we’ve tried a lot of these ourselves but we still come back to IKO.

We have independent fitters who you, the customer, deals with direct and you pay them direct. We pass these details on to you when you place an order with us as a free service.

These are often the same fitters who are sub contracted by other companies.

Sorry while I’m on the subject of fitting have you seen the costs! Looking at a 3m x 3m corner log cabin tonight from a company and they wanted over £2000!!! to fit it. Truly unbelievable.

Speak to any fitter direct and they would normally charge you about £450 for a 3m x 3m.

I’m digressing, sorry. Back to shingles. I suggest, when buying or receiving shingles with you log cabin you ask the following question.

Dear Supplier,

Could you please tell me if the shingles you are providing me are CE Marked?

Our independent fitters install for several companies but they and I are good friends after many years together, and they whisper to me. Recently I was shown shingles they were asked to fit and …. oh my!

Looking at them they were of a far lower quality than the ones we use and then we notice that there was no document of performance (DOP) with them and they are not approved in Europe,.

At the moment to supply in Europe for construction they must be approved and CE marked. You will find these shingles have a far thinner base layer and top layer which makes the total shingle a LOT lighter. This causes easy cracking and absolutely no protection at all when felt nails are used and leaking around the nails will be far more common. I dare you to claim on the guarantee.

So, please ask the question when you are buying shingles from your supplier either as a free option or bought. Are they CE marked and approved for use in Europe. It does make a HUGE difference to how long they will last.

 

IKO Green shingles for log cabins

IKO Green shingles for log cabins

Insulating a Log Cabin Floor and Roof

If you were one of my customers and you were buying a lovely new log cabin from me, especially one of our thicker wall log cabins such as 50mm upwards, I would be strongly urging you to insulate at the least the floor of your new log cabin. I would also try to nudge you to insulate the roof as well.

You may also be interested in this post on double glazing, R and U values and Log cabin thermal properties: Double Glazing in Log Cabins

The benefits are obvious for you.  You’ve decided upon your building, you’ve weighed up the benefits of the thicker logs and of course the double glazing.  But, a lot of heat is lost from the floor and it’s cold rising up and of course loads is lost through the roof.  Ideally we want these areas insulated and to the same or similar as the wall thickness.

Lots of retailers supply ‘insulation kits’ with their buildings, we don’t, but we could, we could make a bit of money out of it as well.  But seeing as the cabins are costly enough as it is do you really want to add more cost if you can help it.  So, instead of me supplying you a special insulation package and making some money from it I’ll tell you how to do it yourself and save money or better still spend the saving on better quality insulation.  All the insulation I talk about is ordered through any builders merchant, most of which will deliver to you at the fraction of the cost of a retailers special ‘Insulation pack’.

I like the Celotex brand of board, I’ve used several types over the years but get on best with this one.

celotex-log-cabin-insulation

Here’s a link where you can download more details on the product:  Product Details

I know lots of other manufacturers do a similar product, some better and some worse, that part is up to you but I prefer a solid fibre board to work with as above.

Of course there are lots of ways to accomplish an insulated roof and floor.  Some fitters favour adding it underneath the roof and boarding it out thus keeping the insulation in.  Some will put a frame on top of the roof and use rockwool and ply over the top.  I have never used these methods as I can’t see the benefit other than perhaps a saving in the insulation material cost itself.

So, my rough and simple guide on how to insulate your roof and floor of your new log cabin.

Insulate the floor

A quick one before explaining this:  Have you considered a DPM?  A damp proof membrane either within your base or on top of it.  It’s well worth it and prevents any damp coming up and into your building. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damp_proofing)

I build my log cabin as usual on the 44mm tanalised timber foundation beams we supply with every building and I’ve now completed the build.  I’m left with the floor to put down and the roof covering to apply.  If I’m using a floor pack I will set out my floor bearers as normal.  I then cut up my insulation board which I’ve ordered from the local builders merchant at 50mm deep.  This sits perfectly between and within the bearers, the joists support my build while the insulation boards supports it. If you want to be exact to the joists then use 40mm.

Insulation board is placed within the bearers

Insulation board is placed within the bearers

Now I simply lay my floor boards as normal, happy that the floor is insulted.

Another method is to not bother with the floor pack and to fill the inner area of the cabin with the insulation boards.  On top of that you use far cheaper OSB sheets or chipboard flooring, this is especially relevant if you are later putting down carpet as OSB is certainly cheaper than our nice T&G pine.

Obviously you’ll need to work out how much board you need with a simple calculation of length x breadth to find the square meter and order the equivalent from your local builders merchant.

Insulating the Roof of your log cabin:

The roof is a little trickier to do and takes a little more work.  Before we start you need to decide what thickness of insulation board to use.  50mm, the same as the floor is very convenient and often used.  You could also go up to 70mm to gain the same R value.  I have also used 100mm when specified by planners.  Regardless the same principle applies.

Work out how much you need by calculating one side of the roof area and times it by two.  As well as the insulation boards you will also need to order longer clout nails.  These need to be long enough to go through the final roof surface, insulation and into the roof timber boards.  If you’re using 50mm insulation then order 65mm nails for the flats of the roof and 70mm clout nails for the ridges.

Lay the boards so they are flush with the leading edge.  Bare in mind this is going to be exposed so consider how you’re going to cover it.  In this example we were using 50mm board and turned the roof trim the other way up:

Roof trim along the leading edge ready for the insulation board

Roof trim along the leading edge ready for the insulation board

You can also cover this portion later with additional timber but it is worth considering it at this point.  You may need to source locally the additional trim timber.

Now lay one layer of insulation boards and fix into place using one clout nail in each corner and one in the center.  You can then felt or shingle it up to that first board.  Don’t be tempted to do the whole roof with the insulation as you will eventually have to get on the roof to tile or felt it and with the whole roof done it can be very slippery.

Once a board is complete with tiles or felt move on to the next and carry on adding boards and tiles until you reach the top.

Insulating a log cabin roof

Insulating a log cabin roof

For tips on shingling your roof please see this post: Tips on how to fit Felt Shingles on your Log cabin

insulate-log-cabin

The last consideration is the bargeboards to the front and back.  You can either move the supplied one up or double up the barge boards as below, again you may need to source this additional timber locally:

bargeboard

The same principle also applied to hipped, octagonal and hexagonal roof.  The only slight difference is that  you will finish the corners of the ridges slightly differently where by you will cut them flush with the end of the roof boards.  You will then cut a fillet to fill in the ‘v’ that naturally forms.

One last tip, if you haven’t got a timber saw or a proper board saw, your wives bread knife works a treat for cutting the insulation boards!

Insulated Log Cabin

Insulated Log Cabin

More on insulating a log cabin can be seen here, it’s a bit of a rant about the current trends in the ‘Log cabin industry’ and all the rip off’s that abound. Please see here: More on Log Cabin Insulation

You may also be interested in this post on double glazing, R and U values and Log cabin thermal properties: Double Glazing in Log Cabins

Please see the following article of how to make insulated walls, partition walls and how to use thicker insulation in the roof: Dealing with expansion and contraction in Log Cabins

Finishing the Leading Edge.

Recently I have been asked for more details on how to finish the leading edge of the roof, hopefully this sketch will give you some ideas:

Ideas for finishing the leading edge of the roof.

Fitting Felt Shingles for Log Cabins

We use IKO as our supplier for felt shingles.  We find them to be the best on the market, they’re also the easiest to use.  All our log cabins and gazebos are offered with them as an option.

We’re the only supplier that offers such a range of colours and styles, a possible combination of 6 colours and three styles:

Felt IKO shingles supplied with our log cabins and garden buildings
Felt IKO shingles supplied with our log cabins and garden buildings

The instructions on how to fit them are on the packaging received but can be a little confusing if the installer has not done this style of roofing before and I do seem to spend a lot of my weekends on emergency calls to customers who need a little advice and are getting in a muddle with them.

So, lets throw away the instructions and I’ll explain how I fit them to log cabins.

First thing to know, is don’t leave them in direct sunlight, they have a bitumen strip that runs along the back of the tile.  This is designed to melt with the sun and stick the roof together, the last thing you want is to have them stick together in the pack.

The tiles come in strips which contain three or four tiles in line depending on the type.  The strips are in 1.0m lengths.

Felt shingle strip
Felt shingle strip

First we need to apply them to the leading edge of the roof and this is where I differ from the instructions but I think it gives a better finish.

Overhang

Consider whether you will be having guttering or not.  If you are then you will need to work out the overhang needed to reach the centre of the gutter.  If you are not fitting guttering then we need to set the overhang.  I tend to use a piece of roof board (18mm) and use that as a template for my overhang.

Starter Tiles

The first tile, put on the roof and turn it upside down so the tiles are facing up.  Then turn it upside down.  I like to do this as when the log cabin is finished and I’m looking up at my handy work I see the tile surface underneath and above.  I think it looks nicer.  I then carry on and butt each tile together for the full roof length.  I tend to only work from one side of the roof starting with a full tile.  When I get to the other end I then cut the tile flush with the roof board.  Make sure it is exactly flush as if not you will not get the bargeboard on.  In the case of hipped roofs also make sure this is flush at the corner points, it will save you problems later on.

Now we have the first layer on start again from the side you started at.  I always start from the left.  Take your tile strip, this time the right way up with the tiles pointing downwards.  Place it directly on top of the ‘starter’ one.  I then move it half a tile to the left which of course then covers the joins on the tiles butted together underneath.  I differ again with the instructions and only use three nails.  One in either end just above the bitumen strip and one offset in the centre of the tile.  If you follow my ‘three nail’ recommendation please do make sure you offset the centre one otherwise you will see nail heads.  When we’re finished you shouldn’t see any nails at all.

Some fitters, for quickness, like to use staple guns.  I’m told this method works well but it’s not something I’ve done as I prefer a good ol’ nail to make sure of the fixing.

I now carry on my first layer, once again butting them up together and, once again making sure I trim flush with the boards.

Trimming

The normal method for trimming the tiles is with a stanley knife or similar.  However, you’ll go through loads of blades and get cramp in your hands.  Where I want to trim I carefully fold the tile over and then hit the crease with my hand or hammer, I call it my ‘folding over and bashing’ technique.  This breaks the tile where the trim is required.  It’s not a neat finish but the trim line is never seen and it does save your hands!

Subsequent Layers

Starting from my preferred left hand side I’m now back to a full tile flush with the edge of the roof.  I then position the tile to the top of the split line of the tiles beneath.  It’s normally about 145mm.  I then cut a block of wood from leftover boards at that measurement and use that as a template so each and every tile I lay is to that measurement.  This makes sure they are all level.

I then carry on up the roof laying each layer of tiles.  I do stop periodically, especially on very large roofs to check I’m still working in line, there’s nothing worse than seeing ‘wiggles’ in the tile lines.

Ridges

Once I’ve reached the ridge I will fold over the tiles as appears to be the neatest to me.  I may trim as necessary.

Next we now need to finish the ridge or in the case of the hipped roof the corners.  To do this we cut the tile strips into individual tiles.  Again I use my ‘folding over and bashing’ technique to do this as it saves my hands from cramp, feel free to use a sharp blade though if you want to be really neat.

To make it easy to fold over the ridge I find the small ‘nick’ in the side of the tile and cut upwards at an angle or use the ‘fold and bash’ technique.

Cutting the tiles for the ridge.
Cutting the tiles for the ridge.

Wind

I now lick my finger and stick it in the air.  I’m looking for where the wind comes from the most as I don’t really want my ridge tiles to be overlapped with the wind coming directly at them and under the flap.  Once established I will start from my chosen end.  My nails are driven in either side of the tile at the bitumen strip and once again I’m overlapping them by about 145mm or using my template block.

If I feel the log cabin is particularly exposed or it is during winter when I am installing I’ll use a drop of mastic or the proper felt tile glue in each of the corners of the overlapping tiles.

Final

If you’re doing a hipped roof such as one of gazebos, and you haven’t got a roof finial for it, you will have to be a little careful how you finish.  With a pyramid roof such as our corner log cabins the tiles on each of the corner tend to form a rose type fan at the top, they naturally want to interlock into each other, be careful at this point to finish it nicely.

I hope this has helped to explain a little how to do the tiles or at least how I do them.  I also hope it might reduce my Sunday morning emergency customer help calls!

But I’m always here for customers who have bought directly from us.  So contact me any time day or night and I’ll help you through your install, please though, consider my lay in Sunday morning.  After 1000 is fine for an emergency call 🙂

New Videos added which helps to explain more visually.

Raining on the roof

I’m sat here looking out, the rain is bucketing down.  Not the best start to the New Year.  From where I work I can see my old log cabin, it’s been up in the garden for over 15 years and still going strong.  A little raggedy around the edges perhaps and could certainly do with a coat of treatment this year.

I look to the roof and am still amazed by the tiles.  We use, and have always done so the range from IKO.  These are one of the leading manufacturers and after 15 years of installing these I have never had any problems.  Even now, in excess of 15 years of use, covered in moss, algae, bird dropping and rubbish the tiles still keep off the rain, the cabin is as dry today as the first day I installed it.  Needless to say we shall keep on supplying these felt roof shingle tiles with all our log cabins, gazebo’s and sheds.  Of course, we also sell these separately and many pallets are delivered across the country to our customers.

Moss covered roof after 15 years and still going strong on my log cabin.

Moss covered roof after 15 years and still going strong on my log cabin.

If you need to re-felt your roof, certainly consider these.  If you’re buying a garden building this year ask whom the manufacturer is, if they’re IKO felt roof shingles you have a good roof covering.

I’m not sure now whether to clear the moss and jet wash the roof or leave it now for another 15 years, surely they must leak at some point?