European Larch and Douglas Timber

I love Larch, it has such a wonderful colour and feel to it, a really lovely hue of pinks, oranges and yellows. We’ve recently built a raised decking area on our show site incorporating Larch decking, steps and balustrade, we built it around one of the very popular Tourist Gazebos and it really has worked very well.

Tuin UK Show site

Larch decking and balustrade incorporated into one of our standard treated pine gazebos.

It looks gorgeous!  Larch does not need treating but I love the colour of it and to ensure we can see it for a very long time we’ve treated it with Clear Carefree Protectant.

Of course, being made from Larch you do not have to treat it, it is a very oily, resinous and dense wood that does not need any maintenance. It will weather eventually to a silvery grey and this process depends on its location, weather conditions and positioning. Of course if you would like to keep the gorgeous colour then it can be treated with a clear timber treatment as we have done.

On a recent to visit Tuindeco we went through the latest products for the coming season and I was really pleased to see as well as the stunning Larch Modular Garden Building Range they are also introducing a Gazebo range, all made from Larch. I have already ordered one and we’ll be putting it up on show soon, I’m sure sales of these will far exceed the pine ones, not only for its beauty but also its extensive longevity, strength and ease of care.

Larch is such a wonderful timber, it’s been used in construction for years and is also used with boat building, in Central Europe it has been long regarded as one of the best building timbers. It’s stronger than pine and is very popular with architects for external cladding and outdoor structures. Un-dried larch is particularly good for heavy structural work.

Larch is unusual amongst the softwoods as it is deciduous and sheds its pine needles in the Autumn. It also features in Lapp and Siberian folklore as the ‘World Tree’. The smoke from burning the timber is said to ward off evil spirits and is used as protection by their Shamans as well to induce visions (not recommended).

Properties of European Larch

Strength and its ability to withstand constantly changing wet and dry environments is its main desirable property, couple this with its natural rot resistant properties, wonderful colour and fine texture which make it lovely to work with and enjoy in your garden.

  • Larch is a deciduous, softwood, conifer tree, highly resinous, and a medium density wood (530 kg/m3)
  • Tuindeco Larch is sourced from Western Europe – PEFC or FSC. Environmentally sound and sustainable.
  • Being a  very dense wood it can resist constant changes from wet to dry with very little distortion, warping and shrinkage once dry. It can be prone to surface splits but this does not affect the strength, longevity or durability.
  • A strong timber and stronger than other conifers such as Spruce and Pine. It is 60% stiffer than European redwoods, 30% stronger in bending and compression, 40% harder. It does though have similar crushing and impact properties to that of pine and spruce.
  • Larch is faintly scented and has a wonderful straight grain with small knots. It is reddish, orangy, pinky in colour with contrasting white sap rings. It has fine texture and a high definition of grain.
  • Low maintenance and does not need treating, when allowed to weather if becomes a silvery grey colour. It is a good idea though to treat it where it is directly in contact with the ground.
  • Larch is in the durability class of 3 – 4. Durability is the measurement of a 50mm x 50mm cross section of timber left in the ground unprotected. Class 3 is 10 – 15 years. Class 4 is 5 – 10 years. When untreated and NOT in ground contact you can expect a life of 50 – 60 years. When treated and outdoors the life expectancy is 100 years.

Larch Limitations:

Like everything there are some limitations and foibles that it’s worth bearing in mind when you are working with Larch.

  • Due to its dense nature larch can split easily if you nail it without some preparation. Always drill a pilot hole before nailing or screwing to stop any splits being created.
  • Larch can leach slightly when new and can stain concrete surfaces. This is due to the high tannin content. It is a good idea to treat the timber when in contact with the ground
  • The Tannins can also react with iron and will produce and blue / black colour stain. Ideally always use non-ferrous nails and screws to guard against this.

Identification of the Larch Tree

A couple of useful videos to aid in the identification of a larch tree should you wish, the first one I found particularly useful!

Tuindeco Larch Timber Products

The ranges of timber are constantly expanding, numerous lengths, profile, and pieces are available for your own Larch construction project

Larch

Larch timber is available to complete any garden construction project in a huge variety of thickness, profiles and lengths.

Also available is an extensive range of Douglas modular buildings in both flat roof and apex roofs. Douglas is very similar to larch in colour and density. a very popular choice for garden structures.

Apex larch gaben building

Modular Douglas Garden Buildings in three main styles and a myriad of possibilities, sizes and styles.

New for this season are Larch Gazebos: I can see these really taking off as these will make a stunning addition to any garden.

Larch timber gazebos

Larch timber gazebos

Tuin Log Cabin Type Construction Advice

Log Cabin / Construction Installation Advice –

This advice article covers ANY building using the Log Construction Method supplied by us including Saunas, Garages, Log Cabins, Summerhouses and Sheds all using the same method of interlocking construction and interlocking, corner slotted buildings.

You can download a copy of this article in PDF for printing: Tuin Log Cabin Installation Advice

Please read and follow these instructions in conjunction with the pamphlet and plans that arrive with your cabin – Example of Instructions.

This instruction advice covers:

  • All log cabin type construction
  • Garages made of logs
  • Summerhouses made from logs
  • Sheds made from logs
  • Carports made from logs
  • Verandas made from logs
  • Corner Logs Cabins including elongated pyramid roof Log Cabins
  • Flat Roof Log Cabins
  • Log Cabins for possible use as Garden Offices

Every Link and Article in this Page is Important to your Install – Please take the time to read it so your install goes smoothly.

Tuin Fitting Service

If you would like your building installed for you we can offer installation as a company.

As well as our own Tuin fitting service we also work with self employed installers whom we recommend. Working for themselves our recommended self employed fitters are considerably cheaper and come highly recommended.

Details are passed to you on request if you wish to ask the installers for a quote for one of our buildings.

We always encourage you to install the log cabin yourself and offer support throughout the process if you need it. It is generally very easy to do! BUT, if anything in this page is not clear. please ask us.

External Tradesmen Fitters

Please make sure any Tradesman are given these instructions before working on your building to avoid mistakes in installation.

Installation Help Service

If you have any questions prior or during your install please email us for help. Do not worry if it is out of hours, we will always try to advise you quickly even on a Sunday.

PLEASE EMAIL: outofhours@tuin.co.uk this is manned by experienced staff on their days off but are happy to help with urgent questions

 ONLY Follow the plans you find inside your log cabin package – IMPORTANT

MAKE SURE you only follow the schematic elevations such as below found in the plans. Anything else is an example of the installation method.

Only follow the elevation plans in any instructions sent. These will show each wall.

Only follow the elevation plans in any instructions sent. These will show each wall and must be followed for a successful and correct install. Any Isometric images are for an installation overview only.

Your plans will always be inside the main package and will be found within the logs. They will NOT be found on the external packaging.

If we have sent you plans previously as an example STILL Only follow the plans supplied WITH the building in case of minor variations or design upgrades.

Introduction from the Basic Manual supplied WITH your Log Cabin or building using the log construction method.

We have extremely modern factories and  your log cabin has been made with the greatest of care and expertise. It has been built from high quality, slow grown Spruce with a European standard humidity level of 14%. Your log cabin has a snow loading calculation of 110 – 140 kg/m.sq. Strength in Log Cabin Roofs

Your log cabin has Seven Dimensions applicable to the overall size: Log Cabin Dimensions

At the 90 degree corners it has Wind and Watertight Connections (28mm and over)

Wood is a completely natural product. We cannot exclude the possibility of minor shrinkage, bending ,warping or small cracks appearing on the surface of your wood. An irregular pattern of side branches is a characteristic of Spruce.

Allowing your cabin to get wet or installing in the wet will not affect the build in anyway, it is only you that worries about a ‘Weather Window’ not your cabin.

Foundations and Bases – IMPORTANT

A good base for your cabin is essential for the stability and durability of your log cabin. Only a completely 100% level and supporting base can guarantee a perfect assembly of the wall logs, doors, window frame and roof parts. The minimum base size required is to the advised ‘Footprint’ of the cabin, this is shown on all our log cabin product pages.

We advise you to use our foundation beams. These are available in impregnated timber, hardwood and composite material. You can also use concrete curbs, sleepers or brick.

The purpose of a foundation is to protect the first layer including the door from ground contact. As standard you will receive 44mm x 70mm x 3000mm pressure impregnated beams if no other style has been ordered.

NOTE: Foundation Beams go under the complete building including the doors

There are videos further down the pages showing how best to use the two types of foundation beams. Please also see the notes section for more advice on bases when you are using the profiled foundation beams.

Without a good base that is 100% level throughout its entirety and 100% square please expect problems with the installation and possibly the longevity of the log cabin.

Duration of an Installation

Duration of your fit will depend on several factors. This article helps to explain more:

Delivery of your Log Cabin

Delivery of your log cabin will be via a 40′ articulated lorry. On the back we have a demountable, self powered Moffet forklift. This can travel for about a mile from the main vehicle if necessary and can operate on ground that a vehicle can. Please see this article for more details: Log Cabin Delivery

Your cabin  will arrive with a main cabin package. Accessories such as floors, foundation beams, roofing material such felt, shingles, EPDM finial etc will be on top or on a separate pallet. If you have ordered these accessories, a  floor, foundations etc please check these against the delivery note and order. Roofing Nails and Tacks will be in a separate pack to the Floor screws and nails (if applicable) Door frame screws will be with the door and window furniture packs in the main package. Identify these before your install.

Floors, shingles, foundation beams, fitting kit of nails, clouts, etc will be on top of the package or delivered on a pallet to the side.

Floors, shingles, EPDM, felt, foundation beams, fitting kit of nails, clouts, etc will be on top of the package or delivered on a pallet to the side. Please do not assume they are in the main log cabin package

Package Number – BEFORE YOU START – IMPORTANT

Before you start identify the unique package number found on the labels on the packets and or plans. Keep this number safe as it will be needed in the unlikely event that you need replacement / additional parts or to claim at a later date against faults.

Identify your package number before installation and make a note of this.

Identify your package number before installation and make a note of this.

Alternative label , these numbers are important to note before your installation and kept in case of a problem later.

Alternative label , these numbers are important to note before your installation and kept in case of a problem later.

Installation of your Log Cabin

Do not let the sight of so many parts discourage you from the installation. Sorting out these parts into sizes and components will make assembly a lot easier. Use the building plan that comes with your cabin to identify the parts. Before you start building please check the parts against the packing list some variations to roof boards amounts may exist do not worry about this as it does vary according to the size of board sent with your log cabin. Often there will be packing pieces which can confuse in identifying parts. Be aware of this.

The plans give you an overview of the construction process and will show you the position of each part. Keep referring to the plans throughout your fit.

If you have any questions on installation and or instructions please let us know and we’ll be very pleased to help. Most of our log cabins will require tools and skills such as:

  • Drills, saws, hammers, screwdrivers, spirit levels etc
  • You will need a basic understanding of construction and DIY
  • An ability to read plans and understand orientations and elevations within them. Each set of plans will show the position of each log size for a particular wall.
  • You will need an understanding of the inherent properties of timber.
  • You will also need expect to use a ladder on our buildings and working from some height you may want to consider the use of step ladders, scaffolding and harnesses. We would expect you to have understanding of this if carrying out an install yourself.
  • You may also require other tools for our buildings such as stanley knives, pilot drills, hole drills, power tools, planer, bits such as torx. All normal tools an average DIYer should carry.
  • It is a good idea to have a tarpaulin(s) to cover the main cabin package on delivery in case there are any knicks in the plastic. It is also useful to have during the build to protect components such as apexes and purlins from the sun or rain.
  • Larger buildings such as Beggren or Edelweiss will require a higher level of skill and understanding and will be harder to install for an inexperienced installer. Please ask us what may be required for a complex install.

Basic Essential Tools Required:

  • Hand Saw
  • Screwdriver – A powered screw driver will help with an assortment of bits including Torx and posidrive.
  • Drill
  • Heavy Rubber mallet – Two is ideal.
  • Hammer
  • Spirit level – at least four foot long.
  • Measuring tape
  • Pliers.
  • Ladders / step ladders / scaffold / Harnesses.
  • Wood Clamps and possibly sash clamps / ratchet straps for larger builds.
  • Plane / powered or hand for trimming and final finishing at the apex or where the pent roof joins at the walls
  • Power tools are useful such as drill, saw or jigsaw.
  • Wood glue and pins may also be useful.

An example of Basic Tools Required for your log cabin install:

We wish you a lot of fun and good luck with the construction of your log cabin. 

Sort the parts as described in the plan close to your base and stacked on top of each other in the various sizes that make up the cabin.

1. Place the starter logs onto your base. There will be two half logs and two full logs opposite each other. Then put the foundation beams next to them (see further down the page for extended details on foundation beams). Measure, cut and slide them underneath the first logs. The beams will go around the perimeter of the cabin. If necessary use the heavy rubber mallet to knock the logs into position and carry on using this throughout the build.

Please Note: The HALF starter log is a log cut directly in half and therefore has a flat bottom.  The FULL starter log is an ordinary log and not any different to a standard log

If you do not have a rubber mallet, and instead are using a traditional steel lump hammer, make sure you do not hit the logs directly and use sacrificial timber to protect the tongues. A log can be hit anywhere, not just in the corners.

2. Ensure the log cabin is square and level by eye. You can then fix the first half log to the foundation beams. At about level five FULLY square your cabin (Advice is at the bottom of the page on how to do this)

3. As you build the cabin periodically check the base layer is still square. Ensure you tamp down the logs well as you go. Stop every few layers and check all are going down. Any slight warps or twists can easily be manipulated into position using clamps and your mallet. At around layer five properly square your cabin.

4. Build the walls layer by layer. Be careful where you place the windows and keep following the plan. In most cases if you wish it is possible to place the windows a log higher or lower, please check your plans to see if this is possible.

5. When you are between 3 – 7 logs high, slide the door frame into place. Depending on your cabin the frame and doors maybe in separate packages. If necessary screw the door frame together in the case of double doors. It is a good idea to also glue the four frame parts once you have identified their positioning. Single doors will generally come ready made. With some models of log cabins it is possible to adjust the hinges to ensure the door fits perfectly. With most of the log cabins, if you want to you can install doors and windows after the building install by removing the fascias from one side. This is useful when you want to protect doors and windows from ladder movements.

6. When all the wall logs have been assembled you can place the gables and then nail the roof boards in place. Follow your plans some cabins will feature a bevelled top wall log. Following the gables fit the roof rafters (purlins). A good fitter will always screw the purlins into position for extra security and strength. For apexes we will often screw these together at the ends to aid installation and to stop them moving when the purlins are fitted. This also helps in lateral strength and is only screwed to depths of about 20mm to allow for movement.

The roof is finished with tongue and grooved roof boards, when fixing please allow +-2mm for expansion between each board. The last roof board will need to be trimmed. Start assembly of the boards from the front of your log cabin. As you are laying the boards keep checking that the edge of the boards are running parallel. Also check the roof boards are lined up in the centre of a rafter or purlin.

Expect to plane the top wall logs /  apexes in together for a perfect fit. It is often impossible to finish 100% flush due to variations in your building technique and the timber moisture content. Ensure that all the logs are tamped down as well as possible in the walls during the build and that no swarf is between the logs preventing them from coming down. Ensure your base is 100% level. If it is not this will become very evident at the top logs being uneven.

All roof boards are fixed using two nails side by side in the top log and where they cross all rafters.

If you have a flat roof log cabin the roof gables are often screwed together for delivery. You will need to unscrew these and take apart to place the roof purlins in.

Pyramid Roof Log Cabins

Four sided roofs are a tricky install, the bigger the roof is, the harder it gets, so some logic and thought will be applied. Note: A bad base will cause you problems at roof height with a pyramid roof and will be more noticeable than an apex or flat roof.

This is an example of one of our largest roofs:

Pyramid roof plans

Pyramid roof plans

  • Look at the plans, there may three of four different sizes of purlins. To start – Identify the longest ones. These are for the corners. Fit these and I recommend always screwing them (screws may not be supplied as they are not strictly necessary – this is a tip and my preference). Fit these to the main cross purlin and level. Pilot all holes!
  • Next find the next size down, these go into the king pins / centre points. Fit and Screw again.
  • Some force is often necessary as the dimensions are very accurate
  • Check your levels and Base if you are having problems!
  • Fit the corner parts.
  • Fit the rest of the rafters.
  • Check the plans for measurements of the roof parts. There will often be small differences in each component. It is a good idea to check measurements with a tape measure and grade the parts of the roof. If you cannot understand them start with the corners, then the main cross beam and everything else will become obvious as the roof is built.
  • Ensure your levels are correct from the corner and main cross beam, Fix and then add in the other parts.

Try to be methodical when fitting this type of roof, on the big ones it can be a tricky install.

For four sided roof boards it is best to tack the first triangle to ensure alignment. Once you are happy with the alignment up and down you can fix and use this roof panel as a template for the others.

For a more in depth overview of installing a pyramid roof please see this post: Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

Boards on a four sided roof may need to be trimmed. It is easier to fit the boards and then trim / cut with a saw / jigsaw or circular saw.

Pent and Flat Roof Log Cabins

For some guidance on how the modern log cabin roofs go together please consider reading the following, Its an overview of what to expect when the kit arrives and how it can be constructed; Pent Installation Roof Advice

General Log Cabin Installation Video – BEFORE YOU START – IMPORTANT

Please watch this video completely before carrying out your installation, it is heavily annotated with lots of information including fitting shingles on an apex roof. 95% of this video content is applicable to ALL log cabins including flat roof,  pyramid buildings, garages and log cabin style interlocking carports.

Regardless of your model of Log Cabin please watch it all the way through to make your install VERY Easy.

More information on this video with annotations and extra explanations can be found here: Log Cabin Install Video in Depth

Another video you may like to look at is an install of a flat roof building, it also has tips on using the ‘Easy Roof’ membrane system.

Roofing material installation.

Fit the leading edge roof trims in the case of an apex log cabin. For pyramid roofs fit the barge boards before applying your roof material.

If you have roofing felt, metal roof tiles or shingles you can place them now. Roofing felt should be self explanatory and it is fitted as you would a shed.

Roof shingles:

One Pack of shingles is enough to cover 3 m² of roof surface.

Installing roof shingles:

Install the starter course with the shingles upside down (tabs facing up the roof). These are nailed and ensure you have an overhang of 20 – 35mm. If you are fitting guttering increase this to 50mm

Place the second layer directly on top of the starter course the correct way up (tabs facing down the roof). Off set this strip by half a shingle to cover the gap of the ones below.

Work up the roof from the first layer, each shingle strip will overlap the one below. Check your overlap distance is to the tab cut out below. Do not overlap too far or you will run out of shingles.

Always nail through two layers of shingles. Use the VERY minimum of three Felt Tack nails that we supply. Do NOT use staples.

Some additional tips can be found here: Fitting Felt Shingles

You do not need to heat up the shingles at all. Felt shingle glue is recommended especially during a winter install as it will take longer for the bitumen strip to melt.

Further details on: IKO roof Shingles

Pyramid roof shingles instructional video – IMPORTANT

Please Note – Shingle Storage:

All the shingles have a bitumen strip within them. If they are stored in direct sunlight or a hot garage for several weeks they will melt together. Please store them, undercover and shaded and well ventilated. Even when melted they can still be separated with a sharp implement and safely used.

Bitumen strips melted together due to storing in heat. These are still quite easy to separate and can still be used.

Bitumen strips melted together due to storing in heat. These are still quite easy to separate and can still be used.

The ridge tiles are cut from the full strip of shingles. Place these over the ridge of the roof and nail in two places. Overlap them similar to the main roof face shingles. Each pack of shingles is enough for about 3.5m of ridge.

Roofing Felt

Roofing felt is very straightforward and is the same principles on a flat roof as it is a apex roof. A 100 – 150mm overlap is usually used with nail spacing of about 50mm apart. This video has some good advice from our roofing material supplier.

Please see this page for more advice: Felt Roof Installation.

100 - 150mm overlap of the felt and nails spaced about 50mm apart and close to the join.

100 – 150mm overlap of the felt and nails spaced about 50mm apart and close to the join.

Flat Roofs

The video is of an apex roof but all flat roofs follow the same process as one side of an apex roof.
For a video specifically showing the installation of a flat roof, see our Installing a pent log cabin blog post.

The felt can either be rolled over the roof boards and finished with the barge-boards or cut flush with the end of the board. To the rear of the building water can drain away as there will be a gap between the roof boards and the barge-boards. An overhang / fold over of about 50mm is sufficient behind a barge-board.

At the corners before folding it, it is a good idea to cut the edge as a curve before folding. If you rip felt a dab of silicone and rubbing felt grit on it will seal your rip. Handle felt carefully! Shingles or EPDM is always a better roofing solution for longevity. Roofing felt only has a life span of two to five years. Trees above it will greatly reduce it’s life.

For more information, see Pent Installation Roof Advice.

EPDM

Please see this page for details on installation of EPDM on your Log Cabin. We sell EPDM and this can also be bought elsewhere. For longevity of your flat roof this is Highly Recommended and you should consider this material.

Weather Conditions for Roofing Material

Please note shingles, EPDM and Roofing felt will be affected by temperature. In the heat they will be very pliable and loose. Felt can be easily ripped in the heat! In the cold shingles and felt will feel brittle. EPDM will be less pliable in the cold and may need longer to settle to remove the fold lines.

8. Fit the barge boards to the apexes or to the faces in the case of a flat roof. Please note sometimes it is easier to fit fascias on flat roofs as a guide before laying the main roof boards. For Flat roofs the roof boards are always touching the front and side barge boards. To the rear there will be a gap for drainage.

9. Any accessories can now be fitted; Storm kit, metal finials, gutter set etc. Metal finials can be pre-drilled and screwed on or stuck down with bitumen glue. If storm slats are provided and shown on the build plans these MUST be installed.

If you have a supporting post it is a good idea to use the optional post adjusters under the post. If these are not required please be aware the supporting post will need periodic adjustment to account for natural expansion and contraction in the wall logs.

Log Cabin Floor

Start with the tongue facing the wall. Interlock each board into each other the same as the roof boards. The last board will need to be cut. Two fixings into each board and each joist. leave a 5 – 10mm gap all around the floor boards. Do not fix the boards to the wall logs. Cover the gap with the skirting. We recommend treating the underside of the floor boards.

The floor is a generic floor and is supplied for the area of cabin. The joists can be placed as required and normally 350mm apart. At least one nail should be used where the boards cross a floor joist. Ideally two are used to ensure the floor does not move.

The laying of the floor is straightforward and is carried out after the build of the log cabin.

The laying of the floor is straightforward and is carried out after the build of the log cabin. this one features insulation in between the floor joists.

Alternatively add your own floor to your own design and finish.

Alternatively add your own floor to your own design and finish.

Please see this page for advice on fitting the floor: Log Cabin floor details 

IMPORTANT – PLEASE NOTE: VERANDA FLOORS

If a floor is ordered this is ONLY for use inside the log cabin. Do NOT use untreated Spruce on a veranda as this is exposed to various weather conditions. A veranda is personal choice and many people, particularly if they have spent a lot of money on a nice base will leave it as it is. Alternatively you can use decking in either pressure treated, hardwood, Larch or composite. We can supply this or source it locally. Tuin Decking Boards

If a floor is ordered this is NOT for the veranda. For the veranda you would order additional decking or leave as it is.

If a floor is ordered this is NOT for the veranda. For the veranda you would order additional decking or leave as it is.

Frequently asked questions

Question 1: The wall boards do not fit into the window and door frames easily.

Answer: Our door and window frames are built from assembled parts. Sometimes the wall logs will be tight in the frame depending on the time of year and moisture in the air. You can loosen the fascia fixings increasing the gap slightly. Once the frame is in place re-tighten the fascia fixing.

Question 2: There is a gap above the door and windows.

Answer: Due to local atmospheric conditions and treatment the log cabin will expand and contract. Each untreated log can expand and contract by as much as 3mm over a year. A log cabin may have 15 logs in a wall, this equates at the maximum an expansion of 45mm. The gap is to allow for this expansion. When a log cabin has been freshly installed this gap may be more and is visible. Lift the door frame so the gap is closed more and put a slither of wood under the frame. Keep the frame square. This may need to be removed when the cabin has settled after a few weeks.

Question 3: The door does not close properly and there are gaps surrounding it.

Answer:  This is normally caused when the door and frame is not at right angles with each other. A slither of wood choking one side can often resolve this. Sometimes the hinges will also need adjustment. You can lift the door off the frame and adjust each hinge by screwing both the door and frame hinges in and out for a perfect fit. Depending on treatment you may need to do this again over the year.

Question 4: Will my log cabin settle

Answer: After you have installed your log cabin there will be quite a bit of settlement as each log sinks further into the one below. Settlement can be as much as 100mm and will take a few weeks.

Question 5: Will it matter if the cabin gets wet.

Answer: None of your build will be affected if it gets wet or is unpacked in the wet and this should not be a cause for concern. It will also not matter if a partial install gets wet. Please allow the timber to naturally dry before applying treatment.

Further Installation Help and Advice

We pride ourself on our installation back up service which is why we encourage you to fit your log cabin yourself. If you have any problems during your install and need some help or advise please take a photo of the problem you are seeing and email us with a description of the issue.

We have very experienced technicians who will get back to you quickly and often out of normal working hours, evenings, weekends and bank holidays.

Our opening hours are 0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday. BUT if you have a problem send us an email and someone will be able to get back to you out of normal opening hours.

Foundation Beams

Videos showing both the standard foundation beams and also the profiled ones.On some buildings you may need to take the upstand off the profiled beams under the door area. For the tanalised and hardwood profiled beams the base needs to be slightly bigger than the footprint.

Damp Proof Membrane

It is a good idea to have a damp proof membrane within your base.

It is a good idea to incorporate a damp proof membrane within your base

It is a good idea to incorporate a damp proof membrane within your base

If this is not possible use a DPM between the concrete base and the foundation beam.

Use this between the foundation beam and the concrete base. This will also compress and with the foundation will help to seal the cabin at the base.

Use this between the foundation beam and the concrete base. This will also compress and with the foundation will help to seal the cabin at the base.

Some of the options of laying a DPM with your cabin. It's a good idea to use a DPC between the foundation and the base to create a good seal.

Some of the options of laying a DPM with your cabin. It’s a good idea to use a DPC between the foundation and the base to create a good seal.

Once you have built your cabin then add a full membrane between the base and floor joists. Adding this before you have finished the build will make working conditions very slippery and you will risk puncturing it.

Corner and Pyramid Roof Log Cabins

Very brief overview of a pyramid roof, corner log cabin installation. This is similar for a lot of our corner cabins such as the best selling Asmund and Ingrid.

For a more in depth overview of installing a pyramid roof please see this post: Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

Notice though the position of the centre roof block and that it is flush with the top of the rafters. Be aware like other cabins you may see the logs start to bow out as you get higher, do not worry about this as you build. This will pull back when the top log and ring is in place. The triangle above the door can be fixed internally or externally or beaded as you see fit for aesthetics so long as you are not restricting the door frame or the logs from moving.

Boards on a four sided roof may need to be trimmed. It is easier to fit the boards and then trim / cut with a saw / jigsaw or circular saw.

Pyramid Roof Log Cabins

The same guidelines should be followed with a pyramid roof log cabin as an apex building so please still watch the video above. It is easier to join two corner purlins together first. Then the second set. If you have an elongated roof join the cross beam to one side.

Using a pole and a clamp you can then set the height – similar to what we are doing here to keep a post height correct.

Post and clamp is handy for setting a beam or purlin height.

Post and clamp is handy for setting a beam or purlin height.

Once the four corners are in and the cross beam or block other rafters can be laid in easily and adjusted square.

Another tip is to only tack the corners until you are sure everything is square and happy and then final fix.

For a more in depth overview of installing a pyramid roof please see this post: Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

Squaring your log cabin

At first eye your building is square. Once you are about five logs up then square it properly, either use a large builders square or use the diagonal method:

Diagonal Method

Call the four corners A, B, C, & D going in a clockwise direction. In order for the corners to be square the diagonal measurement from A to C must be the same as the measurement from B to D. You will have to keep moving point C and D until you get the measurement to be the same.

How to square your log cabin using the diagonal method

How to square your log cabin using the diagonal method

Builders Square Method

You can also make a builders square using the 3,4,5 rule. Make your square from flat timber, you could use the pallet pieces. Mark the timber exactly with one side 3 units, the other 4 units and the hypotenuse is 5 units. Join them together at these unit measurements and you will form a perfect right angle to use in the corners of the cabin. Making it fairly large will help.

Make a builders square to easily square your log cabin.

Make a builders square to easily square your log cabin.

Fitting Bargeboards on Pyramid Roof Log Cabins

A brief video showing how we do it. There are other ways though but this will help you. Clever fitters will add miters but we’re not that clever.

Doors – If you need extra help – please see these notes:

Double door frames and some window frames:

Please see this sketch for the configuration using the frame and fascia boards back and front to secure the frame in place. Do not fix the frame to the wall logs. Fascias can be screwed or nailed as required. 10 – 15mm is enough of an overlap for the fascia and main double door frame.

Please note: a frame no matter for what building will always have a threshold, two sides and a door head.

The doors set will always need some form of adjustment, please see the article for additional advice: Door Hinges Adjustment

Door frame for double doors.

Door frame for double doors.

58mm Door Bank Set with windows either Side

If you need additional help with the 58mm log cabin front door bank set please see this file: 58mm Double Door Set with windows either side Extra Help

58mm door set

58mm door set

Smooth Door Connection

If you need extra help with the smooth door connection frames as pictured below please see this PDF for extra help and pictorial explanations: Smooth Door and  Smooth Door Connection Examples

Smooth door connection examples.

Smooth door connection examples in a quick pictorial format to help further.

Unidentified Parts

On some of our smaller buildings you will have a part that you may not be able to identify from the plans. This is a window sill and is used inside the cabin you will see this in the corner log cabin video.

Window sill found on some of our smaller buildings that you may not be able to identify from the plans.

Window sill found on some of our smaller buildings that you may not be able to identify from the plans.

If you are left with parts similar to the below these are glazing bars to create a Georgian effect for the windows if desired – These are used mainly on the 58mm buildings.

These are glazing bars to create a Georgian window effect that you may want to use.

These are glazing bars to create a Georgian window effect that you may want to use.

Some of the cabins we provide span beyond the normal depth of a single log which means you may have two logs that need joining horizontally, in this situation you may find yourself butting up two half notches to one another

In this situation and where required, the kit will come with an array of different joining pieces to strengthen the join which may look like this and would need to be fitted ontop of, then hammered in above every join.

In other situations, especially with the larger buildings you may find a whole load of pre-drilled holes in a lot of the individual logs and you may ask yourself what these could possibly be for.

In that situation continue to check through the rest of the kit as you will also have a large bundle of dowels to hammer inside. Now the first thing you will notice is that the dowels are squared where as the holes for them are circle.. Strange right?… I first thought so at least until i understood why that was necessary.

The square dowels create a very tight fit which is very much on purpose as they need to grip the wood on all corners, holding the walls steady and providing added support, If the dowels turn out to be so tight you’re struggling to even hammer them in then just grab your stanley knife and carefully skim off the corners

An example can be seen in the link below

https://support.tuin.co.uk/hc/en-us/articles/360000148377-Wooden-Dowels

Log Cabin window stay fitting tips

Other parts may also be within the packages you cannot identify. These will often simply be packing pieces to balance the packages for transportation and to prevent breakages. A fitter will very often use left over timber to add trims and further enhance the cabin:

Unidentified timber is a common occurrence and is mainly packing pieces but are very handy for additional trim as required.

Unidentified timber is a common occurrence and is mainly packing pieces but are very handy for additional trim as required.

Ventilation

If you do not use your cabin often or you do not have a damp proof membrane we highly recommend the installation of our vent to stop condensation.

Treatment of your log cabin

In our climate the wood is exposed to highly varying weather conditions. You should treat your log cabin in the best available timber treatment.

NONE of our Log buildings are treated as standard. The colour is a pale Spruce wood as supplied and shown on the main product pictures. ALL BUILDINGS will need a proper timber treatment applied.

We highly recommend our treatments:

We also highly recommend Sikkens as a treatment, this is available from lots of outlets but Brewers is the best source of advice. Generally they will advise two coats of preservative followed by two top coats. Please do not be tempted to use anything suitable for fences or sheds, it does not have the properties needed for the care of a log cabin.

Regardless of treatment you must attain a treatment depth of 80 – 120 microns to fully protect your log cabin. This is equivalent to two – three coats of a very high quality quality expensive treatment. To attain the same depth with a cheap shed treatment will take 8 – 10 coats. Future problems with timber can always be traced to the quality and level of treatment used on your log cabin.

Using a top quality treatment will inhibit the natural movement of wood reducing cracks and splits. It will also protect your wood from the weather and UV light preventing rotting and fungal attack.

Imagine each log is a sponge sucking and expelling moisture. This we need to inhibit with a good treatment.

Notes on treatment

  • Pay extra attention to cross-cut ends, tongue and grooves, frames and doors. Ideally do this before or directly after installation. Applying treatment quickly will stop movement due to absorption and contraction caused by woods inherent property of moisture transfer from its environment.
  • When you are using a transparent stain make sure you apply it in the direction of the grain.
  • Make sure you apply treatment liberally to the cut ends
  • Make sure you apply treatment liberally to all seams, groove and connections to ensure a good seal and prevent water ingress into the joints.
  • Cut, bare parts during installation should be treated.
  • Treating of Doors and Windows inside and outside is HIGHLY recommended. This will reduce the possibility of warps.
  • Be-careful with transparent stains that you actually cover all the areas, this is important for doors and windows as these can be missed close to the glass.
  • If you have a hot tub, sauna or similar always treat inside your log cabin.
  • Ideally remove all window and door fascias and paint behind them to avoid untreated areas when the cabin expands and contracts with the seasons.

For a long life and a lower re-application time DO NOT USE any CHEAP treatments on your cabin

For Further Treatment advice please see:

Dealing with Expansion and Contraction in Log Cabins:

As we have said, log cabins move. BUT, you can still do some very clever things with them, please see this article for details on how to fit shelves, partition walls and twin skins: Dealing with expansion and contraction in log cabins.

Please see this article from what happens if you or your fitter does not understand and allow for Expansion and Contraction in a log cabin – Problem and also Expansion of a log cabin in the winter months

 Recommended Additional Reading

Recommended Accessories

Advice on installing the Generic Addtional Windows for you Log Cabin

Other accessories and options are also available, please see this category: Essentials for log cabins

Understanding your log cabin – IMPORTANT

Due to the inherent nature of timber it can exhibit characteristics that can be perceived as a fault. These are not faults.

Knots, Splits and cracks

Spruce has considerably less knots than pine and is aesthetically more pleasing and more stable and less prone to warping. Knots will still be present though.

Knots will be present in your log cabin

Knots will be present in your log cabin – if you find over time a knot opens or splits it is very easy to seal this with a mixture of sawdust and wood glue. It is then almost imperceptible and can be sanded down if the finish is slightly rough.

Splits can sometimes be present due to it's natural movement.

Small splits can occasionally be present due to woods natural movement.

Please read this article which explains more on Cracking and Splitting in Timber. A good treatment will prevent this and close up splits very quickly.

Warping and Bows

Wood by it’s nature is susceptible to warping when it is unsupported. Warping can happen to a lesser or greater extent depending on the weather conditions. We have the biggest problems with warps in the highest point of the summer as the heat dries one side below 14% moisture content.

If the logs are not stored correctly this will happen with your logs. Keep all logs directly on top of each other and stored flat and level.

Unpacking and Installation in the Rain or Snow will NOT have any impact on reducing or increasing warps and bows. High temperature summer days can have an impact as the wood dries too quickly. Protect your logs from the sun on extended fits particularly the purlins as these are the last to be fitted.

If your untreated log cabin gets wet during or after the fit at all, this will not affect it in any way if allowed to dry out naturally. Do not worry about rain!

Warps and bows are never a problem, if you come across one. Do not worry about it.

Wood is very flexible and can easily be pushed or pulled into position. Very Extreme warps can be soaked with water with a weight applied overnight.

Warp in your wall log

A warp example. These logs are not being stored correctly. Keep them all flat and on top of each other.

A warp example. These logs are not being stored correctly. Keep them all flat and on top of each other. This warp was easily manipulated into place and will disappear when supported by upper and lower logs.

A warp can easily be pulled and pushed into position, with support from the lower and upper log this will disappear.

Bows in your wall log.

Sometimes wood can bow in either an upward or downwards direction. If you find such a log use it lower down, with logs and weight on top the bow will disappear very quickly. This includes bows in the top logs, with the roof fitted they will disappear.

Example of a downward bow. With logs on top this will quickly close.

Example of a downward bow. With logs on top this will quickly close.

An example of an upward bow with logs on top this will go down very quickly and is not a problem

An example of an upward bow with logs on top this will go down very quickly and is not a problem

An extreme upward bow example. Even this is not a problem with other logs put on top. It very quickly goes down.

An extreme upward bow example. Even this is not a problem with other logs put on top. It very quickly goes down.

Twist in your wall log

Very occasionally you may find a twist in a log. Like the bows and warps this is caused by wood moving due to absorbing and expelling moisture while unsupported. This is not a problem.

Please see this video on the easiest way to deal with a twist in your wall log.

Expansion Gaps above the door and windows

There is intentionally a large gap above and to the side of the window and door frames. This is to allow for expansion. This is not a fault. The gap is hidden behind the fascias. This gap can sometimes be quite large when the cabin is first installed, especially if the logs have not been dropped down enough. This will very quickly close up to the proper level over a few weeks as the building settles. If a gap is still showing with the fascia in place add an off cut between the door threshold and base to raise it slightly. Remove this after a few weeks!

Expansion - Contraction gap above and to the side of the windows and door frames

Expansion – Contraction gap above and to the side of the windows and door frames

If you reach this point you will still need to add the fascias to the front and rear of the door frame to create a U section for the logs to sit in. 90% of windows are already made. This is a picture from a Bespoke log cabin.

If you reach this point you will still need to add the fascias to the front and rear of the door frame to create a U section for the logs to sit in. 90% of windows are already made. This is a picture from a Bespoke log cabin. Note the expansion gap either side, there will also be one above the window frame. These gaps are covered by the fascias.

Walls Bowing Out

As you build up your log cabin you may see your walls starting to bow inwards or outwards. Do not let this worry you as you are building. This is normal and when you push the walls and add the top log, ring beam or apex the walls will become straight again.

Walls starting to tilt outwards as the build gets higher, do not worry as the top log will key it all in. The side walls will need pushing in to meet the top log.

Walls starting to tilt outwards as the build gets higher, do not worry as the top log will key it all in. The side walls will need pushing in to meet the top log.

Sap

We use Spruce instead of pine for several reasons and one of them is the likelihood of hidden sap pockets. This is substantially reduced with Spruce. However this is not to say it cannot happen. When it does it is annoying and there is no way we can guard against this within the drying processes or milling process as these pockets are invisible.

Sap pockets are invisible during the processes but very occasionally one may erupt.

Sap pockets are invisible during the processes but very occasionally one may erupt during the life of a log cabin.

If you find you have a sap pocket open during the life of your cabin you can allow it to dry naturally and then cut the sap off with a stanley blade. Alternatively use a hair-dryer or heat gun. Residue can be cleaned off with white spirits.

Sap Removal

Common Mistakes – IMPORTANT

A few mistakes or assumptions that could be made by you.

Delivery of your log cabin

Be aware of how your log cabin is being delivered

Your packages are the length of the longest logs and can take up a lot of room. They are also extremely heavy depending on your building. Immediately take in and store undercover the shingles, floor packs and foundation beams (if applicable) Check the log cabin plastic for knicks and tape if needed. This can then be stored outside protected until you are ready to install. Note the package number down in case it is needed later.

A log cabin is a substantial package and comes in it's component parts.

A log cabin is a substantial package and comes in it’s component parts.

Be aware delivery will take place with an articulated lorry, these are substantial vehicles. An articulated lorry is 16.5m long and 2.6m wide. The driver alone is responsible for his and his vehicles health and safety and we cannot influence this.

Log cabin deliveries take place with an articulated lorry and a demountable forklift.

Log cabin deliveries take place with an articulated lorry and a demountable forklift.

Using Profiled Foundation Beams

If you are using our profiled foundation beams you need to make the base slightly bigger to accommodate the overhang.

If you are using our profiled foundation beams you need to make the base slightly bigger to accommodate the overhang. The amount extra will depend on the thickness of the wall log, 28mm it will be a bigger overhang from the stated log cabin footprint. Larger logs and the overhang will be less. Plastic foundation beams have a completely flat bottom.

More details on Foundation Beams

Please see this page for additional details on our foundations, there use and base requirements:  Foundation Beams for Log Cabins

Orientation of wall logs

The tongues of the wall logs face upwards. Be careful to identify all the parts from the plans supplied with your building.

Upside down wall log.

Upside down wall log. This part would be used above the door.

Door Frame.

If you have a metal stip on the frame this needs to go at the bottom of the frame

door-upside-down

If you think you are missing part of your door frame please check as the door head and door threshold are often inside each other for packing.

The door head and door threshold is often sent one inside the other

The door head and door threshold is often sent one inside the other and will slide apart to reveal two parts.

Please also check parts are not elsewhere, a customer recently wrote: “My mistake , wife has left them in conservatory, didn’t see them, sorry”.

Gaps appearing.

Gaps appearing over time will be caused by logs that have been fixed to the door or window frames or their movement has been restricted in some other way such as electrical components, wall brackets etc. All of the logs need to be able to move independently.  Poor treatment can also cause this as smaller logs will expel moisture quicker than bigger logs if they have not been treated correctly with a depth of 80 – 120 microns (Two – Three coats of High quality treatment) a cheap shed treatment may need up to 10 coats to be effective on log cabins.

Gaps may appear due to poor quality treatment or the logs being restricted

Gaps may appear due to poor quality treatment or the logs being restricted

If you wish to fix items to your walls first create a slotted batton and fix this to the walls and the item to it. If you fix two or more logs together the cabin will split and or have gaps. Always allow room for it’s natural expansion and contraction.

Slotted bracket to allow you to fix items to the walls. Fix one end tight and the slotted end logs to allow the logs to still expand.

Slotted bracket to allow you to fix items to the walls. Fix one end tight and the slotted end loose to allow the logs to still expand and contract unrestricted.

Log Storage.

Be very careful how you store your logs, try to keep them on top of each not side by side. Do not lean apexes or any logs against anything, everything must be kept flat to avoid creating warps.

Do not store your logs like this, keep them stacked on top of each other otherwise you can create warps, twists or bows.

Do not store your logs like this, keep them stacked on top of each other otherwise you can create warps, twists or bows.

A better way to store your logs with one on top of each other to avoid warps, bows or twists.

A better way to store your logs while building with one on top of each other to avoid warps, bows or twists.

Hinge adjustment

Make use of the adjustable hinges when applicable. These will close up the doors and make them fit correctly. Sometimes you will need to do this again depending on the treatment you have used.

Use the hinges to adjust your doors.

Use the hinges to adjust your doors to make them fit perfectly.

If you do not treat your doors correctly you can expect problems with them in the future. Problems can also occur in unventilated log cabins. Use a high quality treatment outside and preferably inside. This will stop any warps.

A warped door caused by a lack of treatment which has allowed the moisture content to change radically creating a warp. Warps can be closed again using a turn button.

A warped door caused by a lack of treatment which has allowed the moisture content to change radically creating a warp. Warps can be closed again using a turn button.

Warps in doors can be easily solved using a temporary turn button.

Turn button applied to the warped area of the door will resolve it over time and after correct treatment has been applied.

Turn button applied to the warped area of the door will resolve it over time and after correct treatment has been applied.

Door Lock – Adjustment and Oiling

On very rare occasions the plunger for the door lock may not be correct – This is easy to resolve:

Take hold of the plunger with pliers or similar, pull out and rotate to the correct orientation and push it back in. There will be some resistance.

Take hold of the plunger with pliers or similar, pull out and rotate to the correct orientation and push it back in. There will be some resistance.

Please treat the door lock as any other lock, the application of a light oil will help as will WD40 or similar to keep it in good working order. Please apply this during installation and every Six Months.

Building Regulations

None of our buildings, structures or products comply to building regulations as standard. To comply to building standards other elements will need to be added such as fire proofing, insulation, safety – toughened glass and foundations. Please contact your building control office for the requirements needed to meet building regulations.

Floors in your log cabin

With our log cabins the floor goes in AFTER the log cabin itself has been built. Do not install your floor and then put the cabin on top of it.

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. This is an example of how NOT to lay the floor.

If you order a floor for your cabin that has a veranda normal Spruce flooring does NOT go on the veranda. For the veranda you would either leave the base as the floor or use decking or something similar that is suitable for outside use

Do not use ordinary flooring on a Veranda!

Do not use ordinary flooring on a Veranda! An example how NOT to do it.

Roof Shingles

Do not be tempted to overlap your shingles too much, the overlapping shingle should come exactly to the cut out below.

Do not overlap your shingles too much, you will run out and distort the design intent

Do not overlap your shingles too much, you will run out and distort the design intent. These ones have been overlapped far too much.

Base for your log cabin

It cannot be stressed enough how important it is to have a 100% flat and level base in either planes and across it. Without this you will have a myriad of problems installing your cabin and subsequent life of it.

Base is very badly out of level in both planes causing huge problems with the install. This log cabin had to be taken down again and rebuilt once the base was correctly laid.

Base is very badly out of level in both planes causing huge problems with the install. This log cabin had to be taken down again and rebuilt once the base was correctly laid.

Trimming of your Log Cabin

Many customers and fitters will do on to further trim their cabin. You can do this inside across the roof corners, outside, you can scallop the bargeboards and make it unique to you.

This customer has scalloped thier bargeboards to make it unique to them. Sometimes extra boards are added. Notice also their lovely veranda deck.

This customer has scalloped thier bargeboards to make it unique to them. Sometimes extra boards are added. Notice also their lovely veranda deck. Other customers will also do the same to their window fascias.

Here is an example of further trimming. Here our fitters have used off cuts of floor or roof boards to make the triangle under the corner overhang look nicer:

We will often trim to make things look nicer and further enhance the building. Sometimes we will also trim around the purlins and eaves.

We will often trim to make things look nicer and further enhance the building. Sometimes we will also trim around the purlins and eaves. Trimming will often enhance the cabin. You can use left over floor or roof boards / packing pieces to make various trims.

Damages to your Log Cabin  – IMPORTANT

It is extremely unlikely you will have any damages but very occasional they can occur.

When your cabin arrives inspect the packaging and inform the driver and us of any damage found. Please also send a picture via email straight away and we can advise further. We will also need the package number mentioned above.

Damage to the package will be obvious as below.

Damage caused by the delivery drivers forklift

Damage caused by the delivery drivers forklift

We will always replace damages as quickly as possible. We generally have spare parts in the UK. Doors and windows are held in Holland and will take longer to replace if needed.

Other damages / faults

Very occasionally there maybe other damages / faults such as a split or missing tongue due to packaging straps, when you are unpacking or the very nature of wood rarely are any of these a problem and the following examples can be safely used in a build, they will not affect the aesthetics or integrity of the log cabin and need not be of concern.

Split running along the tongue of a wall board

Split running along the tongue of a wall board – this can be safely used in the build

Broken piece of tongue. Again this can safely be used in the build.

Broken piece of tongue. Again this can safely be used in the build.

Broken knot in a roof board. If you find this consider using it as your last board that you trim. Very often you will find spare boards within the pack.

Broken knot in a roof board. If you find this consider using it as your last board that you trim. Very often you will find spare boards within the pack.

Split groove caused by either the packing straps, unpacking or something dropped on to. This log could still be used without affecting anything.

Split groove caused by either the packing straps, unpacking or something dropped on to. This log could still be used without affecting anything.

Split to tongues and grooves which has been caused by the packing straps. These can safely be used within the build.

Split to tongues and grooves which has been caused by the packing straps. These can safely be used within the build.

Glass breakage

All our log cabins are packed very tightly and secure. In the extremely unlikely event you find a crack in the glass please photograph it while it is in the pallet with the pallet and packaging visible and email it to us.

We will ask you to obtain it locally and we will reimburse you the cost of the glass ONLY and like for like. We will not pay for installation of the glass by a glazier as this is very easy to do.

Please note the glass is NOT toughened glass and nor is it required to be for garden buildings in the UK.

Replacement glass is generally £10 – £30 from a glass supplier. It is extremely easy to replace by removing the frame beading. Please source from a local glass supplier and send us the receipt via email.

glass

Breakages During Unpacking and Installation

Occasionally you can break parts yourself while installing and especially unpacking. One of the most common areas is breaking the tongues as you take the logs from the pallets, it happens to the best of fitters, normally occurs when one end is lifted and the log is interlocked with another in the pack. This is rarely a problem but watch out for it as you unpack..

Split log during install

Split groove in the log during install. This can sometimes happen as you are installing. It’s never a problem and a smear of wood glue will put this right.

Apex damage

Some apex parts can be very susceptible to damage. Before you move any part look at it’s structure and support it as you move it. Quite often the points on the apex can be hit. This is rarely a problem and even if it is snapped this can safely be used within the build as all will tie together once the purlins and roof boards are in place.

Another example of a broken log, it is easy to break a joint when unpacking or moving logs around but this can be safely used in the build and will not affect anything.

Another example of a broken log, it is easy to break a joint when unpacking or moving logs around but this can be safely used in the build and will not affect anything even if it is completely snapped off.

Problems, Queries and Support.

If you have any problems please let me know so I can expand this guide to encompass everything for every building, situation and customer skill set. Please remember though the only thing you need to follow to the letter is the plans received with your log cabin.

We are here to help:

If you are having any issues with your installation please Email us initially, please include pictures of the issue or problem and let us know a brief description as well as your order number, name and building.

Ideally please send these pictures in a large format and also one of the whole install to that point. We will also ask for the building number, below is an example of where to find it.

You are of course welcome to call us but we will ask for the above as well so we can understand the issue you are having and offer the best solution and advice. Email is a far quicker way of solving your problem especially if it is out of normal working hours which is 0900 – 1700 Monday to Friday. PLEASE EMAIL: outofhours@tuin.co.uk this is manned by experienced staff on their days off but are happy to help.

If you believe you have a damaged / missing part please also report this via email with the building number, pictures and the part referenced from the plans that came with your building.

With email we can react extremely quickly to solve your issue – PLEASE EMAIL: outofhours@tuin.co.uk this is manned by experienced staff on their days off but are happy to help.

Log cabin package number is required to be able to help you quickly.

Log cabin package number is required to be able to help you quickly.

Have Fun with your Log Cabin Install

When you first see the package and open it, seeing all the wood can be rather daunting. But once you have the first few layers down you will understand it a lot more and it will not seem so bad and you’ll enjoy getting to the roof level so quickly. But, if you have any questions at any point please let us know.

You will enjoy this .... a log cabin is very enjoyable to install. A great sense of achievement is felt.

You may have some leftover parts, packing and of course the pallet itself. You could consider making furniture, planter and even a bar from them.

This has got to be my favourite, a bar made from a spare log, pallet and flooring.

This has got to be my favourite, a bar made from a spare log, pallet and flooring. brilliant! This picture also links to other ideas that may interest you.

Ongoing Log Cabin Maintenance

Hello and welcome to what we hope will be a useful guide towards the ongoing Log Cabin maintenance.. yes it may come as a surprise to some but just like a lot things in this world, log cabins do need to be given some attention every now and then to ensure they operate as intended.

As much as we would love to provide you with a completely self contained product that requires zero maintenance it simply isn’t possible with this sort of building.

Please expect to have to perform the odd bit of aftercare.

Firstly lets just have a brief recap on how our log cabins are made so we can all get in the right frame of mind, by now you may have already installed your log cabin which means you will of already read our comprehensive online Installation manual, Or perhaps you’re still in the planning phase.. Either way we would suggest viewing the above to gain more clarity and perspective on the whole project.

Before I started working here, When I thought about “log cabins” I would immediately cast my mind to the wooden buildings seen in films made from round tree logs sitting in a snowy forest somewhere nice and peaceful.

Snowy Log Cabin

Yes Please

Who wouldn’t want to buy one of these right!.. although you may need to make some life adjustments or sell a kidney to stump up the funds for this sort of project.

Our Log cabins are made a little differently and we like to think more financially and garden friedly, they consist of flat solid wall logs in a range of different thicknesses, stacked ontop of one another which then interlock in the corners with Wind and Weather Proof Connections.

TUIN Log Thicknesses

28mm – 70mm Log cabin logs

These wall logs will in most cases rest on what we call Foundation Beams to bring them up and off your base, These foundation beams as a minimum will be pressure treated for longevity.

Standard foundation beam being used in a build

Basic Foundation Beams

Our basic foundation beams being used, protecting the first layer of wall logs

After the walls are up you then turn your attention to the roof, These come in different styles and sizes of course but the principle around them is the same. You start with the purlins/rafters then the roof boards are fitted on top to create the solid wooden surface to fix your roof covering to.

Lauren log Cabin being built

The roof being assembled on our Lauren 70mm Log cabin

Then low and behold!.. you have yourself a whole new building ready to be used for whatever you can imagine. looking for Inspiration?

Completed Lauren log cabin

A completed Lauren Log cabin

Easy Right… for some more information about fitting out buildings please also visit our Fitting Tips page.

So there we have it, thats the building up and ready to use but how do you keep it looking and performing as it should and what other considerations should you be thinking about to keep it a fully functional, problem free living space.

Perhaps the best way to go through some of the key points will be to break the cabin down into six areas .

  • The Base for the cabin
  • The Foundation beams
  • The Walls of the cabin
  • The Doors and windows
  • The Roof
  • Additional hardware and extras

Bases

The base is the first thing that gets laid and is critical for both the longevity of your building and its actual construction, i’m not here to talk about what base you should or shouldn’t use as all these details can be found with in our Base Support page already and in reality theres very little you should ever need to do to maintain it which is lucky as it becomes very inaccessible with a lump of a log cabin sitting on top.

However something to look out for would be subsidence, Let’s say you have a concrete slab, or a compact base with slabs on top.. with the weight of the cabin on top has it sunk it some places?.. hopefully not but its worth keeping that in mind to check if you find yourself with a misbehaving building.

Or perhaps you have built the cabin ontop of a raised Timber Platform and under the weight of the building one or more of the corners have sunk throwing out the top level like this unlucky customers did.

A sinking timber base

See the gap?.. Customers timber base had sunk in the middle

Luckily for this customer the timber base was fairly accessible from underneath so he was able to add additional support to bring it back level

Another important aspect of a base is damp proofing, using a Damp Proof Course ( DPC for short ) or a Damp Proof Membrane ( DPM ).

A DPC is generally used underneath your foundation beams, its purpose is to protect the underside of your foundations from rising moisture seeping up through your base as well as providing protection against ingress from the outside.

There are other ways to achieve the same level of protection, My favorite is to use a TAR product, painted on both the underside of the foundation beams and on top of the base that they sit on.. applying this thickly will also service in sealing the perimeter helping prevent ingress.

A DPM is used underneath the concrete slab or ontop of it, This will again protect the underside of the cabin/floor from moisture that tries to rise up from and through your base into the building.

Advice on using a Damp proof course in your base.

Advice on damp proofing

Ideas for Damp proofing

Preventing this moisture from rising up within the building is very important, it can cause unwanted growth with in the building as well as other Unwanted Issues.

garden-furniture-mold

Mold with in a cabin

Nasty right!

Ventilation does play a big part in preventing this as well which we will cover in a moment but if you notice that a once dry and mold free cabin starts to experience these types of problems then a review of your damp proofing may just be in order.

Foundation Beams

Now these are also very important and often in truth the cause of great confusion at first with our more traditional shed building customers.

So just quickly, Unlike a shed where you would expect to see a row of bearers all running the same direction with a floor built directly on top..

A normal Shed is built on top of a floor with joists underneath it

Typical shed base

A typical shed with bearers running the same way

The Foundation Beams service a different purpose for this type of building. they only span under the perimeter of the cabin (as well as any internal walls that might be featured).. What they DO NOT do is span in the middle where the floor goes later on.

Their purpose is to raise the first logs off and away from the base which in turn protects them and provides added room in the middle for a floating floor

We have different types of foundation beams to offer but they all serve the same purpose and will generally sit on top of your base with a DPC in between. This will generally be enough to keep unwanted ingress from entering your cabin but where two foundations beams butt join together you should think about enhancing these connections with a decent sealant/sealer.

Walls Of the cabin

Treatment

Well here we go, We are starting to get into this now as once the walls are up you can finally start to get a good feel for your log cabin, as we mentioned before the walls are made from individual logs stacked ontop of one another to from a very solid wall, They interlock in the corners with fancy Wind and Weather Proof Connections which go along way to ensure that your cabin remains water tight… But as we also explain this isn’t where the story ends and you cannot just leave the logs as as they are and expect the building to be watertight which leads us swiftly onto a very important part of maintaining your log cabin which is TREATMENT

So let’s start by asking a question.. What is Wood?

Wood is basically a Sponge and this is how you must treat each individual part of your cabin, if you zoom right into the endgrain you will see that it’s made from straws all joined together which was once used to draw water and nutrients to the parts of the poor tree that once needed it.

Wood is a sponge and is made up of straws all drawing water for the tree.

Close up of timber

Wood is a sponge and is made up of straws all drawing water for the tree

You can easily see from these pictures that when we look closely, wood is full of holes and it’s these little buggers that will be causing a problem as they all fill with water or, drain of water as seeing as we killed the poor thing there is no tension of water to rely on.

For an untreated piece of wood especially this is happening constantly, it’s trying to reach the same moisture content as the surrounding air. This is known a Relative Humidity and is a measurement of the amount of moisture in the air around us.

In the summer the wood will expel moisture and shrink, In the winter they will absorb moisture and swell which will loosen and tighten the joints where the logs interlock.

Prevention

A lot of customers will fairly just assume that “treatment” is only applied to safeguard the wood, stop it from rotting ect but in truth this is just one of its benefits. Treatment is also there to try and limit this natural movement as much as possible , We want to limit the amount those sponges can absorb and expel moisture by clogging up the straws contained with in.. we do this by reaching the recommended depth of microns.

A decent treatment should provide the following benefits

  • Protect the surface from weathering (including UV damage)
  • Seal wood on wood joints with in the cabins construction
  • Reach the required micon depth ( 80-120 microns ) which helps limit natural movement
  • Provide the desired finish for appearance

More information on Timber Treatment specifically can be found within the other support articles we offer

I hope the above all makes sense as it then leads on to the ongoing maintenance of your cabins walls. They must be treated and they must be treated well, please do not expect to only have to treat your building once throughout its life time and Please Please Please use a decent treatment in the first place.. To many times have we had angry customers over the phone shouting, screaming at how dreadful it all is and how disappointed they have become….to only find that they hadn’t applied enough coats, hadn’t kept up with the re-treatments or instead used a lets say “less expensive” brand in the first place.

We recommend our own Tuin Treatments or specific ones found locally such as Sikkens, Sadolins and Kingfisher which we know work well at achieving the desired depth of penetration.

You will not cut the movement out entirely which is fine because the building is designed to handle a certain amount without any fuss.

So as the logs of the cabin move ( which they will ) you may then need to re-treat certain areas of your walls, Paying particular attention to the end grain and interlocking notches where they join another wall, these are the most vulnerable parts. You will also need to make note and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines in terms of reapplying dates.

Overgrowth around the cabin.

This part is mainly aimed towards landscaping and storage rather than the cabin itself.

I’ll start by repeating one of our bold statements that we confidently make about the properties of timber, .. Wood will never Rot … we promise… Well, we also go onto say that so long as it is always ventilated, . so if it gets wet and is then allowed to dry it will be fine.

but what if it can’t dry?, What if air can never reach some parts of your cabin due to overgrowth, shrubbery, stacked rocks, Muck ect…

What if you decide to store things right up against the side of the cabins wall such as logs for a burner and leave them there for a few years while they season..

All of a sudden the wood will not be able to breath, vent and dry, Water could then sit there all winter which will eventually cause you all sorts of grief

Please be mindful of your walls, Make sure they are free from direct contact with anything which could cause a water trap, keep on top of your gardening in those hard to reach areas as if you allow overgrowth to take over it can really ruin your day… you may even decide to call us.. complaining about the timber quality in the first place… “sorry but its wood” we will tell you.. “it only rots if its not allowed to vent” we will try and explain… you won’t like that.

Daisy log cabin

A Daisy log cabin free on all sides allowing decent circulation

Movement In log cabins

As we know by now the walls of the cabin move as the logs Expand and Contract throughout the seasons, the design allows for that just fine.

But what if you want to fix something to the wall like a mounted TV bracket or some shelving to store those garden tools.. I always tell people they can do whatever they like to these types of buildings so long as they follow the golden rule which is.. “You must always allow for vertical movement with in the logs” further explained with in our Dealing with Expansion and Contraction page

Another consideration for some, if your cabin happens to feature vertical posts that supports a canopy or large overhang you will need to periodically check that the adjustable post anchor that we supplied is set at the right height to match the rest of the cabin.

So let’s say you happen to own a building like our Kennet log Cabin

Kennet Log cabin

Our 28mm Kennet Log cabin

Remembering that the wall logs expand and contract, that front post will need to be adjusted from time to time as the seasons change because it will not move to the same extent, This is achieved by simply adjusting the nut that sits beneath the smaller plate on the anchor.

Post anchor being adjusted

Post support being adjusted

Doors and windows

I think the best way to approach this section will be to start by gently reminding you that just like the walls, The doors and windows are predominantly made from wood, you remember all of those straws?.. Sponges.. yup this wood is no different

Sure,..the doors and windows tend to be made from timbers which are laminated together which does improve their strength and reduces the possibility of movement but its still wood and it still has those straws.

Treatment

The correct treatment of the wall logs is very important.. but I would personally say that the correct treatment of the doors and windows is even more so and here’s why

Unlike the logs, The doors and windows do not have the same luxury of being fully and always supported.. The wall logs are locked in place and would do well to move in any unexpected sense.. but the same cannot be said for the swinging doors and windows… they are only connected to the cabin via hinges which means if the level of treatment isn’t correct or sufficient you may eventually encounter unwanted warps or twists to occur making them much harder to operate.

When first delivered the doors and windows normally arrive deep with in the pallet, This is on purpose as it provides needed support and compression while in an untreated state to prevent warps and twists… but at the very least the pallets are always banded tightly.

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

How our doors and windows come packed

Doors packaged with in the log cabin package to provide compression, preventing movement

You then unpack the doors and windows, Please store them flat and again under compression until ready for installation and treatment. While in situ you need to be very attentive with your treatment and often customers will not give them the attention they sorely require. Treatment should be applied both sides evenly and heavily.. To many times we have had customers upset because their doors have warped and to find out after that they didn’t treat it fully or correctly..

An extremely warped door.

A twisted/bowed door

A very twisted door, Do we think this was stored correctly prior to installation?

Hardware

Luckily, even the most twisted door can be corrected with the simple application of a Turn Button or Key,.. you would have already seen these in action in gardens throughout your life time i’m sure as we explain within our other Support Page so don’t panic too much but like most things prevention is better than a cure.

Please keep on top of your door and window treatment.

Let’s move onto those hinges that we mentioned earlier, The doors and windows will come with their own style of hinges so you can operate and use them.. A lot of the time they are cup hinges that look similar to this

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

Hinges commonly found on our buildings

Typical Cup Hinges

Now remembering what we discussed before, while treatment will limit the amount those pesky straws can absorb and expel moisture.. it will not cut it out entirely. You will at some point need to adjust the hinges of your doors and windows so please expect to do so, We go into more detail about this with in our other Support Page

A lot of the windows we send are top hung which operate from the inside via a simple Window Stay, we have all seen them and they do the job nicely

Its always easier to pre-treat the windows and doors before they are fitted so you can be sure of full coverage but sometimes this isn’t always possible. or perhaps it’s just time to recoat them following the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Top Hung Window

Common type of top hung window on our Emma Log cabin

If you find yourself having to unhang this type of window from the cabin please be aware of an important Safety point before you proceed. The hinges are only designed to keep the window in place with in the constraints of the supplied window stay which means if you lift it up further, the hanging part which contains the glass could slide off. Be ready to take the weight and seek help from another if needed.

Window Stay Limitations

Be careful when lifting the window beyond the stay limitations

While on the subject of door/window furniture, let’s also talk briefly about the actual locking parts, The cylinder, mechanism, latches ect

These are pretty much self contained but some considerations should be made such as occasionally adding some lubricant with in the metal workings so everything operates as it should.. you don’t want the metal parts seizing up.. also consider oiling the exposed elements to keep rust and corrosion at bay.

Also think about fitting a traditional hook and eye’s for your doors so that during use you can keep them securely open, what we don’t want is the wind catching your new doors and smashing them against the walls… thats how things break which nobody wants.

Hook and Eyes

Hook and Eyes being used on our Chloe log cabin

Glass

That’s about it for the actual hardware, but what about the glass that lets in that sought after natural lighting.. what do we possibly need to consider in terms of maintenance.

The panes of glass are dry fitted into a rebate contained with in the door or window, this is all done prior to delivery as it’s much safer to transport while in place.

The panes of glass can always be accessed if ever needed, they’re only held in by wooden beading which can be Removed With ease as we show with in our Glass Support Article

How the glass is held in place

Glass held in place with removable wooden beading

There’s a few things that we need to think about and one of them which is often not really considered is the seal between the glass and that wooden beading.. is it sufficient?

Going back to treatment by this point you will have fully treated both sides of your window or door right up to the glass.. This alone will typically be enough to prevent water from encroaching between the two surfaces and finding a way into the cabin.

You may also ask yourself, Surely they will come pre-sealed in some way right.. why wouldn’t they be…..?!

Well actually no, they do not. The glass is just dry fitted inside the rebate of frame… thats not because we couldn’t be bothered or we’re just trying to save a few pennies on some silicone here in the office to keep the accountants off our backs. It is dry fitted for good reasons!

Firstly, While the packing team do their best to pack the pallets in the safest way possible, we are talking about several tons of a log cabin being moved around and transported over huge distances by several hauliers so things can happen and your glass could arrive damaged ( rare but possible ) .. its glass.. it can break!

For those of you that have used silicone before you will know that it can act abit like glue at times.. so in the unlikely event that you receive your cabin and some of the glass is broken its then an absolute nightmare and down right dangerous to go around and dislodge the broken shards from the inner frame and in the past when units were delivered pre-sealed we received right ear falls from angry customers and rightly so.

Hopefully you agree and can see why we do not send them out pre-sealed, So once you have treated the frames in full and you then go on to notice ingress, all you need to do is either run some sealant along where the glass meets the exterior beading… or if you want you can remove the beading and silicone where the glass directly fits into the inner rebate instead.

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.

Sealant being used

Silicone being added with in the rebate

Movement in log cabins

Moving on slightly, Let’s think about how the frames actually fit into the walls of the cabin for a moment

Back to Movement again ( sorry ) The door and window frames are made with dry, fixing free U-channels which slot over the wall logs which means they will not constrict anything as it moves.

The U-channels are formed by what we call fascia boards… some call them architraves.. they’re basically just planks of wood screwed to the frame to create the U shape. These cover up the all important expansion and contraction gaps which are left above and to the sides of the frames ( please do not in-fill these gaps with anything )

Log cabin doors and window installation

Fascia boards fixed to the perimeter of the frame to create a U-Channel

 

So a few things we need to consider in terms of ongoing log cabin maintenance,

Have the inner sides of the fascias been treated correctly, fully? ..Well they should be as they also play a good part of sealing the outer perimeter of the frames.

Have you accidently sent fixings through these fascias which then also penetrate the moving wall logs underneath?.. if so please remove them as you will be preventing those logs from moving with the rest and you will most likely end up with gaps in between those logs.

Or, Perhaps you have noticed gaps around the door frame but are pretty adamant that there are no fouling fixings.. Try loosening the fascias and then re-tightening them.. if that doesn’t work then send us some pictures so we can have a look with you.

Maybe you have treated the underside of these fascias but you have noticed some signs of ingress? In this situation we may just need to enhance the seal between the two wooden surfaces.. Removing the fascias and adding silicone or draft excluders will normally cut that right out .. Just let us know and we are happy to send you some FOC.

Log cabin Extras

We can provide an array of Log Cabin Extras to complement your log cabin and their requirement depends mostly on the circumstance

Before we touched upon the importance of Ventilation which helps prevent moisture from building up within the sealed cabin, If you are not constantly in and out of your building should consider adding Air Vents to allow a continuous flow of air in and out of the building.

Also think about what you store within the cabin, White goods especially kick out a lot of moisture so be sure to install vents to combat that.

We also offer Storm kits as an extra, These are spring loaded metal rods which are used to ensure that the roof of the cabin remains tied down to the rest underneath, most applicable to those in very exposed areas or for those cabins with large exposed canopy/overhangs… please consider the application of a Storm kit

Shingle Glue is an option to consider, Very handy again for customers in exposed areas but generally if you are installing in the winter it is suggested to safeguard the shingles until you summer next rolls around.

We highly recommend Guttering for your log cabin, Not only will this help filter roof water to the desired location it will also serves in protecting the walls and perimeter further down from unwanted ingress and splash around the base.

We also sell a product which is very useful for coating the inside of the walls, Its called Impregnation Fluid on the website and is a very powerful Anti-rot, insecticidal treatment which you could consider, Please note that in inside of your doors and windows will need more than just this product alone.

Log Cabin Roof Maintenance

The roofs on these cabins should really be pretty self contained, so long as the roofing material was installed correctly there isn’t really that much you should ever need to think about.

Just keep an eye on any unwanted growth ontop, Moss can sometimes start to build up which should be removed as and when you can. Overgrowth can prevent the surface from ever drying out fully… also if you happen to install the cabin in the winter and moss manages to build up before the summer comes back around it could limit the amount of heat that gets to the tiles which is needed to bound all the those bitumen strips together.

An old log cabin shingled roof

Build up of moss

Serious overgrowth, Overdue a clear out we think

It will also be a good idea to periodically check underneath the roofs fascias for any nests which long term could start damaging the wood.

before those fascias are even applied they should be pre-treated as they are hard to reach once installed, Just like the other parts of the cabin you will need to revisit the treatment after a set timeframe and these higher parts are easily forgotten about and missed.

We hope this helps and we are happy to answer any unanswered queries that may come to mind, Please also revisit our installation manual for much much more.

Summary

  • Keep half a mind for your Log Cabin Base, Check the levels if you start to notice anything strange happening with the cabin on top
  • If you start to experience high levels of condensation within the building consider checking your damp proofing and joints between the foundation beams.
  • Remember that wood is a sponge, Keep on top of your treatment and please use something decent., Recoat those vulnerable areas and meet the guidelines set out on the tin.
  • Treat the doors and windows well and frequently
  • Fit hook and eyes to your doors to prevent unwanted wind damage
  • Keep your green fingers busy, Stop overgrowth from taking over and allow air to fully circulate around the cabin.
  • Do not create water traps around the walls of the cabin
  • Be mindful when fixing anything to the walls, Remembering your cabin likes to move
  • If you find water ingressing around the glass, they need sealing further
  • Guttering should always be fitted to better protect your cabin
  • Add Air Vents to prevent the build up of moisture
  • Consider the need for other log cabin extras
  • keep half an eye on your roof, remove overgrowth frequently

 

Use of a Log Cabin

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

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

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

Aiste log cabin bar

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Gustav log cabin being used as a garden office.

The Gustav log cabin being used as a garden office.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another bar theme, it seems this is rather popular. This is in the Leipzig log cabin, at 5m x 4m there is plenty of room.

The same bar in the Leipzig but now decorated better.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is the Lukas being used for sensory play.

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

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

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

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

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

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

An amazing Olson Log Cabin

An amazing Olson Log Cabin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Log Cabin in the Woods

Or maybe you could use an Edelweiss  log cabin for your very own woodland retreat.

Laula Pub Modifications

You shouldn’t miss a thing if you’re watching intense matches on a projection like this! Using the Laula Log Cabin.

Onyx Craft Hideaway

Maybe you could also use the Onyx Log Cabin for when the spare bedroom just isn’t big enough to keep your projects in AND keep it organised.

Aiste Log Cabin Salon

This customer used the Aiste Log Cabin as a quirky base for their hairdressing salon.

Rosenheim Hot Tub House

This customer used their Rosenheim Log Cabin for the ideal place to put their hot tub!

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Nottingham Log Cabin Bar

A Customer’s Nottingham Log Cabin Being Used For A Garden Bar

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The video below shows a walkthrough of a customer’s Meaghan Log Cabin – Installed on a high, but level base to add onto the stylish office this cabin has been turned into. Fitted with enough storage to neatly organise all of their resources needed for interior design.

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This Ben Clockhouse Log Cabin has definitely proved that a cabin can serve multiple uses- Which has turned into the ultimate social location, with a hot tub placed under the canopy and the enclosed cabin being used for a garden pub:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Log Cabin Use

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

Log Cabin Roof Strength

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

UK Standards in Log Cabins

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

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

Europe Standards for Log Cabins

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

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

For instance:

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

Costs of a good Log Cabin Roof

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

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

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

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

Weight applied to a Log Cabin Roof

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

Forces acting on a roof of a log cabin

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

The input loads will be made up of the following:

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

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

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

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

Snow Loadings in Log Cabins

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weight of snow

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

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Log Cabin Roof Costs

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

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

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

Log Cabin Roof Strength Calculations

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

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

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

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

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

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

 Installation of a Log Cabin

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

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

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

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

Log Cabin Foundation Beams

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

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

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

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

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

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

Profiled beams are available in the following:

STANDARD FOUNDATION BEAMS

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

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

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

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

PROFILED FOUNDATION  BEAMS

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

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

28mm profiled foundation beams

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 34mm

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 45mm

Profiled-foundation-base-advice 58mm

EXAMPLES OF FOUNDATION BEAMS in USE

Standard foundation beam being used in a build

Standard foundation beam being used in a build

Hardwood foundation beams in use

Hardwood foundation beams in use

Composite foundation beams in a log cabin build

Composite foundation beams in a log cabin build

Base requirements for Log Cabins

Log cabins are not built like a shed,  at least the good ones aren’t.

What I mean by this is;

Sheds:  When a shed is installed the floor is placed down first, the walls go on top of it and the build is continued.

Log Cabins:  With the majority of log cabins, the cabin is first built and the floor goes in afterwards and sits within the cabin and is not an integral part of it.  The floor system is known as a ‘floating floor’ and should not actually touch the cabin walls although the floor joists may be and more often than not are attached to the log cabin foundation beams.

A normal Shed is built on top of a floor with joists underneath it

A log cabin is built around a perimeter foundation beam, the floor joist and floor will go in after the cabin has been built.

Foundation Beam.

All our cabins are built around the perimeter of a base and it is prefered that it is built on a foundation beam.

As standard we supply 70mm x 44mm tanalised beams.  These are supplied to go around the perimeter of the building and to sit between the first log and the base.

Using these gives your first layer of logs protection from sitting directly in any water.  If you would like something a little better we also have, as an option, profiled foundation beams.

These are supplied with all our cabins and go between the base and the first log around the perimeter of the cabin
Tanlised foundation beams.  These are supplied with all our cabins and go in between the base and the first log around the perimeter of the cabin.
These beams are profiled to allow any water to be flushed away from the first log. Available in tanalised and hardwood
These beams are profiled to allow any water to be flushed away from the first log. Available in tanalised and hardwood
The same as the ones above but these ones are made of a composite material and will never, ever rot
The same as the ones above but these ones are made of a composite material and will never, ever rot
The foundation beam runs around the perimeter and underneath the first log and acts as sacrificial timber and ensures the first log is kept away from any wet

Perimeter

Understanding the above you will realise that all of the weight is on the perimeter of the cabin.

When constructing a base consideration should be given to this.  Sadly I’ve been to several fits where the centre of the base is great but the edges are all chipped and drooping where the shuttering has been removed as all the concentration had been placed on the majority of the base with an eye to shed building.

The greatest strength for a log cabin base should be within the perimeter as this is where all the weight is.

Level

Our Log Cabins are extremely precise things, the best machinery is used to mill the timber and as such there is little tolerance. They are designed for each log to sit directly on top of one another and are interlocked in the corners via corner connection and the tongue and groove connection along the log.  They are designed to withstand vertical forces, they are not however designed to withstand any lateral forces.

It is quite often tempting for a landscaping / building company, as they are used to doing with patios, to add a slight incline to the base to help with drainage.  They tend to do this as a matter of course without consultation and are really chuffed to tell you that you have a 2 degree incline!

This is really not very helpful as in effect you’ll be building your cabin on a slope and subjecting it to the lateral forces simply from gravity.  A cabin is really not up to handling gravity and the subsequent sideways force it puts upon it when on any sort of slope.

The end result will be a buckling and warping building and most certainly it will feature split and strained logs over time and of course the inevitable tears as you see your lovely building disintegrate over time.

The biggest thing though about an unlevel base is that it makes it bloomin’ hard to put the thing together, fully expect all sorts of problems with a wonky base:

  • The logs won’t seat properly.
  • The windows or doors will be on the huh.
  • The apex will not sit flush with the upper wall leaving a gap which you will then have to trim to look anything, either with a planer or bits of wood stuck on it.
  • The roof boards will not go on straight and there will be an incline in them which looks terrible and you will always notice it.
  • Long term problems with warping, twisting, straining, cracking and splitting.
  • You’ll be on the phone to me immediately during installation as it’s not going together  or in about 3 months time when it’s falling apart.  I’ll pop out and look at your base and tut a lot, we’ll end up arguing and you won’t even offer me a cup of tea!

What if the base isn’t level?

Sometimes we have to use what we’re given or that which is already laid and there’s not often a great deal we can do about it.  Trying to add a screed to a concrete base to get it level rarely works and will simply fall away as pressure is put on it.

If the base is out we have to do something about it before the cabin can be built, either it’s demolished and started again or another solution needs to be found.

When I fit, which isn’t often these days I carry a box of ‘slithers’ of pressure treated timber in my van of various lengths and depths. Using these I could often overcome any deviation by adding them to the foundation beam and ‘chocking’ where necessary.

However, if you are going to chock a cabin up for goodness sake make sure it is supporting the whole length and not just a corner.

Here’s an example:

poor-log-cabin-support

This was a log cabin ‘gone bad’ I recently visited to help sort the poor thing out.  Its a bit of a long story but the customer had some particularly shoddy builders in to build it for them who neither cared nor had a clue what they were doing and this was a substantial and very expensive log cabin.

The above image shows their version of chocking up the corner to make up the deficit in the unlevel base.  This piece of plywood doubled up was supporting the corner of a huge 70mm log cabin.  Not only had all the logs sagged across a 1m stretch the corner joints were also badly damaged and did not fit as it was still badly out of level.  The apex was also ripped apart and don’t even get me started on the purlins.  But if it had worked –  the plywood would have rot within a year and the whole thing would drop and destroy the cabin anyway!

Here’s how it’s best done:

good-support-logs

I took the building down for the customer and reassembled it correctly and this is how I chocked the fault in the base, notice I am using tanalised timber and that it is being supported along it’s length and kept properly level.

So, with a trusty box of slithers of tanalised timber most unlevel areas can be overcome just make sure you have several depths available to you.

Please though, use timber that isn’t going to rot in five minutes and make sure the foundation beam is supported throughout its length and, importantly, make sure the building is completely level in both planes regardless what you do.

Footprint

All Tuindeco log cabin measurement are taken from one end of the log to the other, so a 3.0m wide log cabin is exactly that, from the outer edge of the log to the outer edge is exactly 3.0m.  The base doesn’t specifically need to be to this measurement as all the logs have a crossover connection, this is generally 100mm or less depending on the size of the cabin (please ask us for your particular building).

So, for instance the base actually needed for a 3.00m wide log cabin is:

  • Length of log – 3000mm or 3.00m
  • Crossover – 100mm

Log – (crossover x2) = 2800mm or 2.80m

In this example we could make our base at exactly 2.80m wide and the log cabin will fit on it exactly.  Be careful though, there maybe a wiggle in the shuttering or somebody is not as exact as they could be, there’s no room for error when doing it exactly to the footprint so it might be wise to add a centimeter or two either side just in case.

If it can be done though I think it looks far nicer, it also has the advantage that when it rains water does not hit the base and fly up and make your lower wall of your smart, new log cabin all dirty and mucky.

Water and mud splashing up on the logs because the base is bigger than than the footprint

Another good idea when making the base to the size of the footprint is to then add a French Drain, this looks really nice and also absorbs the water, stopping it splashing up and also removes the need for guttering.  The other advantage is the loose stones can then cover any of the concrete you don’t want to see.  Apologies this isn’t a log cabin but I’m sure you get the gist:

French Drains are very useful around a log cabin base

Log Cabin Base Requirement Summary

A base can be pretty much made out of anything and we’ll get onto that in a moment but any base provided for any log cabin has to follow this criteria:

  • Consideration should be given to the majority of the weight being placed on the perimeter of the cabin.
  • Consideration should be given to the weight of the cabin, a 19mm is obviously considerably different to a 70mm.
  • It should be 100% level in every direction.
  • Ideally it should be square.
  • Ideally to just over the footprint size of the cabin.

Type of Bases

I hope with the above waffle I’ve given you a little idea what we’re ideally looking for in a base for your new and sparkly log cabin.  I’m not going to go into how to build a base as I’m not a builder or landscaper, nor would I want to be as it looks like jolly hard work.  I will however give you a few examples of what can be done and used.

Concrete

A base of concrete can be done in a number of ways.  Generally it can be done with simple timber shuttering.  The average base will be about 80 – 100mm deep.

Simple concrete base with timber shuttering
Simple concrete base with timber shuttering

Concrete Blockwork

We can also get a little more complicated with a block work supporting wall and then filling with concrete, perhaps reserved for the bigger buildings that needs a little more weight supporting structure around the perimeter.

If you’ve got a large building your landscaper or builder may advise steel reinforcing within the base itself, remember though not to forget the perimeter.

Steel reinforcing within the concrete base
Steel reinforcing within the concrete base

For advice on mix ratios, strength of concrete etc I’m afraid I’m not the one to ask, there’s lots of advice across the net and it’s probably best you sought that information elsewhere.

However! If i’m pressed to offer my very basic advice from experience use a mix of one bucket of portland cement to five buckets of ‘all in 20mm’ ballast gravel and add the water slowly, don’t make it too wet though, it needs to be a workable fluid, keep mixing until it’s uniform in colour.

As a rule of thumb calculate the volume you require (LxDxB) and add one third.

Creating the base is pretty straight forward, use timber board as shuttering to guide the edges, mark out the area and use a tape or string corner to corner to ensure it is straight.

Level the shuttering with a spirit level and pour your concrete.   Keep working it across the surface with a board until it is level with the top of the shuttering boards.  Allow it to set for three or four days and et voila your base is formed.

Alternatively; ask someone who know’s what they’re doing.  The above concrete method sounds good in principle but I’ve never managed to get it right and still had a few undulations in it, depressions are fine, hills aren’t so good!

Slabs

This probably doesn’t even need an explanation as it’s very cost effective and pretty simple to lay.  Again like concrete follow the base criteria I mentioned.  Normally a 70mm layer of dry sand and cement is sufficient, tamped down until level with the slabs then levelled on top of it.  A quick method and probably the cheapest and can work for most of the cabins we sell.

This I can get right and is pretty straightforward, just make sure it’s all level.

I have in the past tried the various other ‘eco’ slab bases but I could never really get on with them, they were more expensive than a simple concrete slab and still required the same amount of levelling, I still remain to be convinced of their real benefit and hope to be one day.

Timber Frame

This is by far my favourite method of laying a base, of course it’s not the best way I just enjoy doing it as there are so many permutations and challenges.

It’s using a timber frame supported by stilts, or pads or simply paving slabs positioned at intervals.  I find it a good environmentally friendly solution and great for areas where concrete is just not possible or when there are steep inclines to overcome.

There’s no hard or fast ways of doing it so I’ll simply give you a few examples for ideas:

A Stilt base, great for air circulation and to be flash you can say you are adopting the principles of Walter Segal

Example-frame-base-for-log-cabins

Timber frame on a bed of shingles

Timber Frames

The perfect way of building a timber frame base. The first foundation logs have been added.

The perfect way of building a timber frame base. The first foundation logs have been added.

Timber Frame Base

Square and level is the key!

What I love about a timber frame base is that:

  • It can be moved.
  • It’s truly a temporary structure which is great in certain circumstances.
  • It allows air flow and therefore the timber will never rot even if it’s not treated.
  • It’s a cheap solution in inaccessible areas for concrete.
  • Cheap overall.
  • If subsidence occurs you can simply jack up the area concerned and re-pin.
  • A good system when flooding occurs naturally and does not affect it’s environment.

To make leveling the base we do have a nice product. It’s not a bad price either and you can level between 30mm and 140mm using a combination of two units:

Very useful pads for easily supporting and leveling a timber frame base for your log cabin

Very useful pads for easily supporting and leveling a timber frame base for your log cabin

Please also see a recent post about a customer’s building for more examples of a timber frame base for log cabins:

Log Cabin Base Construction Summary

I’ve missed out loads of other ways, one of them being a brick or block plinth such as this:

Block Plinth base

There’s also systems on the market such as this:

Jackpad system of supporting a timber base frame

Pad supporting timber frame on a log cabin

There is truly a myriad of systems out there to form a base for your log cabin, much of it is down simply to cost and then personal preference and of course convenience, more than likely I’ve confused you more but no matter which method you pick:

If you want to be able to install your log cabin easily and then have it last for year and years then the base must be to the following criteria;

  • Give consideration that the majority of the weight is being placed on the perimeter of the cabin.
  • Give consideration to the weight of the cabin, a 50mm base is not going to cut it for a a huge 70mm beast of a building.
  • It should be 100% level in every direction and this is THE most important factor
  • Ideally it should be square.
  • Ideally to just over the footprint size of the cabin.

Just one last thing for you to consider and a bit of advice, if you’re opting for a concrete or paving slab base think about adding a damp proof membrane either within it or on top of it, this will then stop any damp coming up and impacting on your log cabin during the winter months.

I hope this has helped, feel free to comment or contact me if i can help further especially with the timber frame bases as I really enjoy these and love seeing them used in tricky situations.  For advice on the slabs and concrete bases it might be better to ask a builder!

UPDATE: Here’s various diagrams I have since added to other posts that may also benefit the reader of this post:

Advice on using a Damp proof course in your base.

Advice on using a Damp proof course in your base.

The base configuration when using our profiled foundation beams.

The base configuration when using our profiled foundation beams.

Insulation in the floor

Insulation in the floor and foundation beams.