Tuin Roof Shingles Complaint

This is a tongue in cheek post …….

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

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

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

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

Roof Shingles Installation

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

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

Measurements of Log Cabins

Log Cabins – The Seven Dimensions

I have known some potential customers to have some confusion over the sizes when referring to log cabins and this post will help to make it clearer, also, if you are looking at other suppliers generally they will use the same ones so this may help when looking at other options as well.

Please note though I have found a couple of UK companies measure from the roof overhang so it is worth clarifying this point if you are buying elsewhere.

There are Seven measurements you will be interested in and these dimensions are referred to as:

  • Log
  • Interlock
  • Foot print
  • Roof
  • Canopy
  • Log Thickness
  • Internal

I am going to use the example of a 4m x 4m log cabin.`

Log Dimensions

Our dimensions refer to the fullest extent of the wall logs, for instance this will be the configuration of a listed 4m x 4m log cabin such as the Jari 4x4m Log Cabin

4m x 4m log cabin. The log dimensions are to the furthest extent of the logs that form the main building excluding canopies or roof overhangs. This will include a veranda.

The log dimension does not include any roof overhangs or canopy dimensions. This is the measurement of the base log that forms part of the ground plan of the building, this will not include the canopy but will include the veranda if one is featured.

Corner Interlock

Due to the construction of a log cabin we must have a corner interlocking joint. This has to be set away from the end of the log and sufficiently far enough to maintain strength and aesthetics. On most occasions this is 100mm but some cabins we do make it very slightly smaller, generally with the 19mm buildings and some corner building to keep internal space to a maximum. Check the product pages for this.

For this post and to enable understanding, and as 98% of our buildings are 100mm, we will stick with this example. This is the interlock dimension:

Interlock

Interlock dimension – This is the measurement from the outside of the log to the outside face of the base log which forms the footprint.

Footprint of a log cabin

This is quite important especially when you are looking at your base. This refers to the very minimum your base can be and is the measurement required to support your wall logs properly. A base can be bigger than this but never smaller. The footprint is calculated by:

Main Base Log (4000mm) – (Interlock (100mm) x 2) = Footprint

This is the footprint dimension:

Footprint dimension

Footprint dimension – this is very important as it is the minimum dimension required for your base.

Log Cabin Roof Dimensions

This is the dimension of the roof and normally when we refer to it when asked, we state the ‘roof overhang’. This is generally 200mm – 300mm to the rear and sides on most log cabins.

If this is critical to you due to close proximity of a boundary you can happily cut this down to the full og dimensions. The roof overhang is there to protect the side walls, windows and doors from ingress of the weather. This measurement should be taken into consideration when calculating insulation or roofing material needed. Do not cut this down further than the log dimension.

Please Note: One or two suppliers list this as the cabin dimension. If you do not check you may end up with a log cabin smaller than you had expected.

Log cabin roof 'overhang' dimensions.

Log cabin roof ‘overhang’ dimensions. This is the amount that the roof boards overhang at the sides and to the rear of the main log cabin wall logs.

Canopy of a Log Cabin Dimensions

The canopy is always listed with us as an extra dimension, for instance our Stian 58mm 4m x 4m log cabin is listed as 4m x 4m but does have a 1.40m canopy. This is in addition to the mentioned 4m x 4m log dimension.

The canopy measurement is an additional measurement to the main log.

The canopy measurement is an additional measurement to the main log dimension.

Log Thickness

Log cabins that we, and others offer come in a variety of thicknesses. Please see our main categories which list these thicknesses: Tuin Log Cabins A log thickness you decide upon represents its intended use, for instance in my opinion the thicknesses can be classified as:

19mm log cabins are a storage solution to replace a shed far more economically and with a higher strength and longevity than a panelled shed.

28mm log cabins are a leisure building for use as a summerhouse or to enjoy the warmer months, it is not really for all year around use without adaptation.

34mm – 45mm log cabins are more as a studio and benefits from additional strength and heavy duty usage, these can also be added to with insulation and may work out very economical with some adaptation.

58mm cabins are for offices and accommodation and start to become a serious building for all year around uses with the addition of insulation in the roof and floor

The 70mm log cabins and above are for multiple rooms, strength and insulation properties.

Log cabin wall thickness dimension

Log cabin wall thickness dimension – this is dependant on you and your requirements from you log cabin

Internal Log Cabin Dimensions

This, against the footprint dimension, is probably the most important dimension you are interested in. This represents the amount of room you have within your log cabin and is made up of the following equation in this 4m x 4m example:

Footprint = Main Base Log (4000mm) – Interlock (100mm)

Internal Dimension = Footprint – (Log thickness x 2)

OR

Internal Dimensions = (Log – Interlock) – Thickness

This is a log cabins internal dimension:

A log cabins internal dimension

So, if we look at the following examples the internal dimensions are:

Summary

As I have mentioned above, these are our dimension listings, others will do the same but it is a good idea to check with your supplier if you are not buying one of our log cabins

 

 

 

Sap Removal

Very occasionally you may be faced with a sap pocket in one of the logs within a log cabin. This is unavoidable unfortunately and this does sometimes happen with timber.

Sap is very sticky and can leave quite a mess. To remove it you can either leave it to dry and then cut off with a sharp knife, your can also wipe it off with white spirit.

For a larger pocket such as the one below you can follow these simple steps.

Large sap pocket we found while installing a new show building

A large sap pocket we found while installing a new show building

Using a heat gun or hair dryer you can liquify the sap pocket. As heat is applied it will start to flow out of the pocket

Using a heat gun or a hair dryer you can liquify the sap pocket. As heat is applied it will start to flow out of the pocket

Use a rag to collect the flow

Use a rag to collect the flow. Be careful not to heat the wood too much (as we have done here) otherwise you will scorch it slightly. Wipe of the sap flow with spirits on a cloth.

Sap has all bubbled out and cleaned off with white spirit. As we scorched the wood we will need to give the log a light sanding.

Sap has all bubbled out and cleaned off with white spirit. As we scorched the wood we will need to give the log a light sanding.

Sanded and cleaned.

Sanded and cleaned.

Sap pocket disappeared and blended into the rest of the log cabin and now imperceptible.

Sap pocket disappeared and blended into the rest of the log cabin and now imperceptible.

Log Cabin Contraction

At certain times of the year I will get the odd complaint about our Log Cabins from buildings that have been installed in the Autumn and Winter, Early Spring. The height of the complaints will come in around July and August.

Some customers will be nice and ask for advise, others will launch into a big complaint and are not very pleasant to deal with on occasions.

I then have to gently walk through the problem with them until it can be resolved and 100% of the time it is the customer’s own making.

The pleasant guy asking for advice will locate the problem and it’s solved.

The unpleasant guy will demand we go on site and then find the problem for them and all of the time it’s when they paid a ‘Qualified Carpenter’ or a ‘Qualified Joiner’ to install the building as it cannot be their fault.  Unpleasant guy then gets very upset when we charge for our attendance.

To solve this I thought I would write a quick post about this seasonal complaint and here’s a few examples:

Logs have shrunk in the heat.

Logs are coming apart.

Gaps appearing

Gaps appearing in the log cabin walls

Gaps and twists starting in the wall logs

Gaps and twists starting in the wall logs, this one is showing at the top of the wall

Gaps starting to show in a wall of a log cabin

Gaps starting to show in a wall of a log cabin, these gaps are spaced all the way up the wall.

Log Cabin shrinking

Log Cabin shrinking with gaps to the side of the door.

Gaps starting to appear

Gaps starting to appear

Contraction of Log Cabins

This quick piece is talking about the problems we have with contraction. No doubt, about six months from now, I will write one with the opposite problems, that of expansion, both are a powerful force in timber.

Throughout the articles in this blog I talk about expansion and contraction a lot and it cannot be overstressed the importance and the power of this. If you are going to own a log cabin you’ve got to believe me.

Here are some previous articles where I talk about this feature of timber in depth:

My online Log Cabin Advice Manual also talks about this.

Log Cabin Logs

A log cabin log is obviously made from the length of a tree and we try to pick the best bit close to the heart. It not going to grow or shrink much in its length but it can change quite a bit in its height when part of an install.

I’ve had a customer tell me ‘I realise wood moves but this is excessive’ It is not excessive, it is what wood does and it cannot be controlled or helped.

In the moisture content article above I reference some figures that will show a cabin has a potential to move a LOT!

Here’s a good example of a log cabin in contraction, followed by an expansion example. In either case you will see the untreated wood start to show. This is why I advise in other posts to remove the fascia and paint behind them so you do not see this happen either in contraction or expansion:

Contraction example:

Contraction exampe

Contraction example

Another contraction example

Another contraction example with untreated wood showing

Here’s the opposite, an expansion example, notice the original paint lines

Expansion example, notice the original paint line

Expansion example, notice the original paint line

Another example of contraction, please make sure you paint behind door and window fascia to avoid this.

Another example of contraction, please make sure you paint behind door and window fascia to avoid this.

Installation Problem

Of course none of this is helped if the installer is not aware of this or understands this and please believe me, anyone with ‘Qualified’ followed by ‘carpenter’, ‘joiner’ or ‘builder’ will make the same mistake as someone who has never built one before. The difference being of course your average customer will read the information before installing.

So why are we seeing these gaps and why am I having a complaint against our lovely log cabins?

Quite simply, the installer is trying to interfere with the movement of the logs and is restricting them moving. This will be things like:

  • Adding extra timber into gaps meant for expansion
  • Fixing door and window fascia to the logs
  • Fixing door and window frames to the logs
  • Installing shelves, electrics, brackets, 
  • Lifting door and windows up to fill expansion gaps
  • Fixing the logs in many other ways
  • Fascia in corner buildings above the door allowing the cabin to sit on the door frame

Here are some examples of the cause of all the above with pictures:

Fixed Fascias

This door fascia has been screwed to the logs. There was quite a few of these in the install

This door fascia has been screwed to the logs. There was quite a few of these in the install

Gaps appearing

Gaps appearing in a corner building. This is where the fascia above the door has been fixed and no allowance made for contraction allowing the door frame to slide behind it.

Fascia being fixed to the logs restricting their movement

Fascia being fixed to the logs restricting their movement

Door fixed to the wall logs

Door fixed to the wall logs – luckily I caught this one as the picture was for a door query but you can see nails through to the logs and this is a potential complaint in either expansion or contraction. Thankfully the customer removed these before any problems was caused in about 6 months time.

Timber infills

During the winter the wood is likely to be at its biggest and sometimes customers will worry about a large gap they find above a door frame or a window frame. Without realising what it is for ‘Qualified’ …. carpenters, joiners, builders … will be tempted to fill the gaps;

Timber used to fill the expansion gaps.

Timber used to fill the expansion gaps. In this example you can see there is a timber block above and to the side of the window frame. So with this Winter lead solution we come to summer and gaps are appearing all over the cabin and I get the complaint!

Extra timber placed above the door frame

Extra timber placed above the door frame. This wood block has removed all expansion and the whole log cabin will now be sitting directly on to the door frame.

Timber insert placed in the expansion gap

Timber insert placed in the expansion gap and also as an extra problem the fascia is also nailed into the logs.

DIY storm Kits, Brackets, Shelves, Curtains etc

I Haven’t really got pictures of these sort of things that I can show you as it may identify the customer’s cabin but this was an unusual one:

Strapping to act as a storm kit and bracing

Strapping and bracing. The customer had some sort of shelving system attached the sides of the cabin and I remember he was also concerned about bracing for storms as he was very exposed in the highlands. The ingenuity was very good but this was holding the cabin very rigid and when the summer got here gaps started appearing.

If you want to install shelves, black boards, bars, brackets etc you can do so really easily but please consider the expansion and contraction. The articles referenced earlier explains how to do this so you do not have any problems in the long run.

Electricity in Log Cabins

I wrote an article about Electrical installation in Log cabins ages ago and although I have let my personal accreditation lapse it still hold true and we reference this quite liberally, electricians must be made aware of the expansion in log cabins.

Here’s how to do it:

Flexible expansion to allow for the cabin to move.

Flexible expansion to allow for the cabin to move.

This is what can happen if you do not tell your electrician that a log cabin is made of wood and expands and contracts:

Log cabin has contracted and no allowance has been made for the trunking. This is a potentially dangerous situation as all the wire and terminations will be under strain.

Log cabin has contracted and no allowance has been made for the trunking. This is a potentially dangerous situation as all the wire and terminations will be under strain.

Consumer unit is fixed across two logs, this will cause problems in both contraction and expansion and may cause numerous problems least of all it compromising the installation itself.

Consumer unit is fixed across two logs, this will cause problems in both contraction and expansion and may cause numerous problems least of all compromising the electrical installation itself.

Summary of contraction in a Log Cabin

Log cabins move, whether it’s one of ours, someone else’s, regardless of thickness, all wood moves, it can’t be helped. It’s full of straws and these straws will suck in and expel moisture:

Layer upon layer of straws all drawing water for the tree. Many now support the Cohesion method theory where a tree draws its water using the tension of water.

Layer upon layer of straws all drawing water for the tree. These straws stay open and need to be treated to block them up.

You can see from the structure of the wood that these straws need to be blocked up, amongst other things this is the purpose of a good quality treatment and sufficient coats, these articles explain more:

I’ve said it several times, please don’t use anything cheap on any log cabin, we’re trying to inhibit the movement. A cheap treatment will not do this and you will have quite a bit of movement over the first year.

We do find though that after a year and the full season cycle we will never hear from a log cabin customer again. If you are going to have a problem with expansion or contraction it will be within the first six months of ownership as you will have either treated it well or the straws will start to collapse and die more.

If you have a log cabin that is showing these signs, before you complain to us or the person you bought it from whether it is our product or not please check the following:

Check for:

  • Fascia screwed / nailed to the logs
  • Any restriction to the logs at all
  • Shelves, curtains, brackets, fixings on the wall
  • Expansion Gaps above and to the side.
  • Finishes above Corner building doors.

This is all applicable to any log cabin, I hope it helps if you are seeing these problems whether you bought from us or another manufacturers building.

Care of Garden Furniture

Like any outdoor product, garden furniture needs to be looked after and maintained if you want it to last for years, regardless of the material used: softwood, hardwood, wicker or metal it still needs regular treatment and regular care.

Weather

The weather of course affects garden furniture, the Autumn and Winter can have some very damaging effects. Likewise the heat of the sun in the hottest months can bleach and dry out wood in any furniture this can result in loose fittings, bolts, screws etc, which in return results in loose joints and these should be regularly checked. The weather and moisture levels in the air will also affect the timber and you can see splits and cracks appear if not treated correctly.

The weather conditions should be borne in mind and your maintenance adjusted accordingly to the time of year. It’s also a good idea to consider covering furniture during the winter months or moved indoors. Cushions should always be taken undercover when not in use, rarely are garden furniture cushions waterproof.

In the case of wicker furniture during the winter it will become very stiff, likewise in the heat of the sun it will be a little more elastic. Too much moisture can also cause a problem and mildew will build up over time which may cause sagging.

For both hardwood and softwood furniture on going maintenance must be carried out which includes painting and treating softwood and oiling hardwood.

Maintenance Routine

A regular routine should be set up to ensure the Garden Furniture will last for years. This should consist of:

  • Cleaning
  • Checking Fixtures, Fittings and tightness of joints
  • Treatment

Cleaning Garden Furniture

Regular cleaning of your furniture is necessary to prevent mold, fungus or insect attack. General warm soapy water is enough if done regularly. For slightly more dirty furniture such as a picnic table you could also use a solution of bleach. You can also mix up your own cleaner with one cup of household ammonia, half a cup of vinegar and four litres of warm water.

Wicker generally needs a wash quite regularly and a soft brush or a vacuum cleaner will also help to remove dirt and dust caught in the complex weave. Check the weave regularly and move any strands back into position if you have noticed they have moved. Do not use foam cleaners on wicker as it will get lodged in-between the weave and will ultimately cause damage. It is a good idea not to use wicker furniture that is damp as it may cause sag.

In extreme cases a pressure washer is also very effective in removing damp spores and fungus especially when emerging from the winter and furniture has been left out.

Using a pressure washer to clean your garden furniture

Using a pressure washer to clean your garden furniture

Regular cleaning will stop mold, algae build up and insect attack. These can be particularly dangerous to garden furniture if allowed to build up around and within joints.

Insect attack in a piece of hardwood furniture. This needs immediate and proper cleaning to prevent damage

Insect attack in a piece of hardwood furniture. This needs immediate and proper cleaning to prevent damage

It is completely normal for mildew, algae, fungus and spore to build up on furniture if it is not cared for.

Mold and Algae forming on a garden bench

Mold and Algae forming on a garden bench

Checking Fixtures and Fittings

With regular use of your furniture it is important to check the fitting and fixtures that make it up. Check these are still tight and keeping joints together. This is particularly important after a few weeks following initial installation. Also make sure you check all bolts in the Spring as the wood tends to dry out and all bolts will become loose possibly creating loose joints.

Like all wood your furniture will expand and contract according to the moisture content in the air and the level of treatment you have applied. In extreme cases without regular treatment and in direct sun all of the time, cracks can appear due to the inherent nature of timber reacting with its environment.

Crack is appearing near this bolt. This is due to no treatment at all and direct sunlight. This bolt needs to be checked for tightness and treatment applied.

Crack is appearing near this bolt. This is due to no treatment at all and direct sunlight. This bolt needs to be checked for tightness and treatment applied.

This article explains more about cracks and splits in timber

As well as tightness of all fittings and joints, make sure that all fittings are still in place, regular use by a busy family can see loose fittings develop and could see them fall out and become lost.

Check your furniture regularly for lost fittings due to becoming loose over time

Check your furniture regularly for lost fittings due to becoming loose over time

Loose or missing bolts and fittings will cause the furniture to become unstable and stress the joints which could easily cause breakages or failure of the joints in any furniture.

Treatment of your Furniture

Wicker and metal furniture only needs regular cleaning and checking. For timber garden furniture it is very important that it is regularly treated this will give it protection from:

  • Weather conditions
  • Humidity
  • Wood Rot
  • Excessive contraction and expansion
  • Fungal and insect attack.

Softwood Garden Furniture Treatment

Most outdoor furniture made from softwood such as pine will be pressure treated, this is a rot proof treatment and will guard against the timber rotting, more details on this process can be found here: Pressure Treatment of Timber

Regardless of pressure treatment it is a very good idea to regularly treat the timber as you would a shed or log cabin. Proper treatment will help to stop the wood develop cracks or joints becoming loose, it will inhibit it’s natural tendency to warp. It will also greatly increase the longevity and enjoyment of the Garden Furniture

Pressure treated picnic table surface. This would benefit from a good timber treatment.

Pressure treated picnic table surface. This would benefit from a good timber treatment to inhibit the formation of cracks and splits over the seasons as well as warps forming.

Pressure treated tree seat, although pressure treated against rot a further timber treatment is required to make sure it last for years

Pressure treated tree seat, although pressure treated against rot a further timber treatment is required to make sure it last for years, to stop splits and cracks and to prevent warping.

Hardwood Garden Furniture Treatment

Hardwood is a good choice for furniture as it contains natural oils that resist rot. However, it does still need caring for as it shares the same properties as all other types of wood and is susceptible to cracking, splitting, shrinkage and expansion which will all affect the longevity of your furniture.

If left hardwood weathers to a silvery grey, depending on the location and the amount of exposure to the sun this can be as short as one month up to a year.

Please see this example, this is a friend of mine’s hardwood love seat. The first picture is the as new finish.

Hardwood love seat as new

Hardwood love seat as new

This seat is now about two years old:

Hardwood love seat two years old, no treatment has ever been applied

Hardwood love seat two years old, no treatment has ever been applied

Notice how much it has weathered and most of it is starting to turn a silvery colour, notice also some mildew / mold / spores on the rear slats forming, this is completely normal in an un-cared for piece of hardwood garden furniture.

Weathered to a silvery colour

Weathered to a silvery colour – another example of an uncared for piece of hardwood furniture. The deep rich colour has weathered to a silvery grey. Notice though large deposits of ingrained dirt or spores.

There are many treatments for hardwood on the market, most of them will be hardwood sealants or oils. In order to look after your furniture it is a good idea to start oiling it within 2 weeks of assembling it and then to keep up the routine every month or so, this will then help to keep the deep rich colour. It will also of course nourish the hardwood thereby extending its life.

Oil is normally applied with a brush in the direction of the grain, aerosols are also available. We have a selection of hardwood treatments in our timber treatment category

Restoring Hardwood Garden Furniture

Restoring a neglected piece of furniture is a straightforward process and start with cleaning, sanding, and re-oiling. I will write a piece on this shortly using the love seat above as an example as I restore it to its former glory.

Here’s an impressive example of restoration:

Restoration of a hardwood table

Restoration of a hardwood table and chairs

Summary on caring for your Garden Furniture

Garden furniture can be very expensive and to ensure it lasts for years please take time to regularly look after it with treatment, care and regular inspections

Care of garden furniture is very important to increase its longevity

Care of garden furniture is very important to increase its longevity. This is a very neglected swing bench and you cannot expect the same life from it as you would if cared for correctly.

Timber Frame Base for Log Cabins

I’ve been pondering this post and am slightly reluctant to write it as I am NOT a structural engineer. I have lots of experience with timber but I am not at all qualified to give technical advice and specifications, so please read this post in the spirit it is meant.

You have no come back on me personally if anything goes wrong, the design of this is completely down to you but I will give some advice and ideas based on my experience.

Since I highlighted this type of base in my log cabin base requirements  page we get lots of questions on my very favourite base:

The timber frame base for log cabins.

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 very easy to create a level base in very unlevel areas.
  • 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.

No doubt you’ve done some research on all the types of bases you can use. You’ll have perhaps come across various types of pads, plastic grills, jack type things, easy bases, there’s all sorts of gadgetry out there. If concrete or paving slabs is not a solution for you you can’t beat good ol’ wood over all the gadgets and alternatives there are.

Stick to Wood

My advice is to stick with wood and don’t waste your money on the gadgets, you know where you are with a good lump of wood:

  • It’s relatively cheap when compared to other ‘gadgets’
  • If treated and looked after it lasts forever (ish)
  • If anything needs replacing you can do so easily.
  • If you need more it’s readily available.

A timber frame used as a base for a log cabin does not need fancy timber, rough sawn from your local builder merchant is perfectly adequate but it would ideally be pressure treated (tanalised – More information on tanalised timber)

What size timber to use?

I’m often asked what size timber to use, as I mentioned, I’m not a qualified engineer, don’t necessarily go by my advice but I like big, chunky and manly bits of wood. Something like 150mm x 50mm and then laminated and used under every log forming 150mm x 100mm, sometimes for bigger buildings even bigger. I don’t have structural calculations, this is all touch and feel. I think anyone with any slight experience can look at a piece of timber and decide if it’s strong enough.

Here’s a base I was involved in:

This is the start of a timber frame base for a log cabin. Notice the size of the timber we are using, this has been laminated together to form the frame.

This is the start of a timber frame base for a log cabin. Notice the size of the timber we are using, this has been laminated together to form the frame.

This base went on to support one of our biggest standard log cabins: The Edelweiss 70mm log cabin You can see here how we have joined wood together to form the main frame. Sometimes you can do it in two sections, two rectangles and then join them together. Notice also the posts we are using, I like big and these are nice big lumps of timber. Alternatively though you can also laminate your timber to make these. I prefer to see the support posts directly under a join as you know it is always going to be supported if screws or bolts fail.

This was another one I was involved in, this example was not actually for a log cabin but the same principle applies:

Posts are longer so we introduced some lateral bracing

Posts are longer so we introduced some lateral bracing

Notice how the post supports are under the joins in the corner and middle. This one was made in two rectangles and joined together in the center. As your support legs get longer lateral bracing is a good thing to consider.

Supporting your timber frame base

I’ve tried a few things in the past and looked at a few more. I’ve had a go with the plastic grids you can get but I still don’t really see the point of them apart from they’re a bit lighter but I worry about the longevity of them. Great in a greenhouse but I still think you can’t beat a nice solid slab on a bed of sand, or sand and cement. Make sure though of the stability of the ground underneath as you don’t really want subsidence in years to come.

A suggestion on a good timber framed base

This is just a suggestion on how I would build a timber frame base for your log cabin, it’s not gospel, it may be wrong, remember I’m not a structural engineer or a qualified landscaper so you need to design your own way of doing it. My ideas might help though.

Timber frame base example of the way I might do it depending of course on the size of building

Timber frame base example of the way I might do it depending of course on the size of building

This is just an example and my personal thoughts (you may have your own) on how to make a good timber frame base for your log cabin. The main points in my personal design are:

  • I’m using a standard size timber, all of the same size, maybe 150mm x 50mm (6″ x 2″)
  • Laminated around the perimeter of the cabin walls for strength – Basically I am screwing / bolting with coach bolts the timber together every 1m or so. For bigger buildings I might use thicker timber. Every wall will have this support under it.
  • I’m using chunky support posts under the joints. Either use big 12cm timber posts like we supply or consider laminating.
  • You may want to consider, depending on the size of your building, using noggins to stop lateral movements of the joists
  • Incorporate your floor joists within the timber frame base. Our floor packs for log cabins are designed only for a flat and level base such as concrete or paving slabs. Joist in your house are normally spaced at about 300mm apart, it’s a good idea to use this measurement in your log cabin floor. If you are using the cabin for heavier items, treadmills, heavy machinery etc, you may want to consider them closer.
  • You will NOT need to use foundation beams under the first log. The sole purpose of them is to keep the first log away from ground contact, you are already accomplishing this with a timber frame base for your log cabin. With joists incorporated in the frame this will also give a better finish and everything will be at the same level.
  • The outside of the timber frame should be identical to the footprint listed with every log cabin to properly support the log, bear in mind the log thickness of your building though as it’s good to have a lip on the inside of at least 25mm for the floor to sit on.
  • If you feel like being clever bring the frame in by 2 – 5mm from the footprint and this will then set the frame in slightly giving a drip for the logs and you can be sure water will never sit against the first log
  • Consider using joist hangers for the floor joists as these will be easier and quicker.
  • If your post supports are above 300mm I would start to consider lateral supports to stop any movement.
  • Consider your spacing of posts support. I like to support every 1.50m depending on the building and thickness of timber.
  • Consider using Weed Control Matting under the base – nettles grow anywhere!

That’s pretty much it as far as I’m going to help you.

Hopefully you now have some ideas of your own. The principle is quite simple. Make a frame for your log cabin to sit on, make sure it does not subside, make sure the wall logs are supported. Above all make sure it is properly, 100% level! Oh and jump on your frame before installation – this is my technical test to check whether it will work 🙂

 Some examples of timber frame bases for Log Cabins

Here’s some examples of what others have done, all of them work. It’s up to you what information or ideas you take from this post ……

This is at the shallow end

This is at the shallow end of a build, notice the use of noggins to stabilise lateral movement of the floor joists.

The higher end

The higher end of the project. A timber frame helps you level out a very unlevel piece of ground and often cheaper. Notice the supports are smaller but a lot more of them. I have experimented in the past with simple stakes in the ground – lots of them but it worked well. This is what is happening here.

Perfect

Perfect! I love this base, massive telegraph poles as supports, good chunky timber and floor joists on hangers.

Smallr

Smaller timbers are used here, this customer has used a different support system and is screwed in from the side, it’s working and nothing wrong with it. It can also be adjusted easily.

same

This is the same customer as above, he created the frame, built the cabin and is now going to put in the joists. A good idea to do it afterwards as it does not hamper your build of the main log cabin.

Floor joists

Floor joists are now being added. I would have liked them closer together but of course it does depend on the thickness of your floor / decking boards you are going to use. There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to a timber framed base.

floor

Floor going in on top of the floor joists.

post

Here you can see some chunky posts which I like, they’re also using large rough sawn timber with joist hangers for ease. After the build you would then clad this to make it look pretty. This is our Torsten Log cabin

osb

You can see here the floor joists used on joist hangers supporting an OSB floor used because they are going to put a final floor covering down so they do not need our posh Spruce timber floor.

detail

Noggins being used to stop the lateral movement of the floor joists. See also how thick the timber is in the frame

post

Again see the size of timber being used. Timber frames do get you out of a levelling problem and save quite a bit of money, it’s worth considering.

intersting

Not a timber frame but an interesting consideration, this customer is using up stand slabs and then using joist hangers to support the floor joist.

floor

A joist system has been created with a timber floor on top before the cabin is put on top – interesting and clever!

Joists

The base I was involved in being extended with noggins, joist hangers and supports and following a system we had put in place to extend further.

pretty

I love a timber framed base, so much can be accomplished. This does look good!

This post is not official advice, it’s nothing to do with Tuin or Tuindeco, all mine and I often get things wrong (so my wife says) take from it what you can but a timber frame base for your log cabin can get you out of a lot of problems and expense.

I hope you have some ideas? If you do please share them.

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 click on the picture for more details:

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

More examples:

Log Cabin Treatment – Again

I had an interesting question today – “Why don’t you treat a log cabin before delivery as standard like they do with a shed?”

I’ve answered most questions I think in this blog. So far we’ve had:

  1. Depth of Treatment and moisture content in log cabins.
  2. When to treat your log cabin.
  3. Basic terms and what to use for treatment on your log cabin advice.
  4. Cracks and splits in timber we use outside.

But, yes I haven’t yet answered this one, and the simple answer is ‘cos they’re tricky blighters and are not a shed.

A shed is easy, first we make a frame on a bench, pop some cladding on it 12mm thick, nail it on with a nail gun to create a panel. With all the nails in it it’s not going to go anywhere. We can then chuck it in a dip tank for a few minutes or if we’re a posh factory a spray booth and we’ve got a treated shed. Easy! We know as well that nothing is going to happen to it as it’s all really well held together.

A log cabin is slightly more tricky. It doesn’t have a frame, every single log interlocks into each other and we want those connections to be tight and remain tight over the years (Corner connections in log cabins). To do this we kiln dry the timber to a moisture content level commensurate with the country the cabin will be in, generally to around 14% for the UK. We then mill the logs in highly accurate computer controlled machines and out pops a log cabin.

If we then start mucking about with it the logs can all absorb moisture at different levels, this then affects the milling and subsequently the installation as it has been made so precisely. Plus, you spend a lot of money on us providing you beautiful Spruce (Types of timber in log cabins) do you really want someone else to muck about with this? Isn’t it better to treat it how you want to?

We do though offer some treatment options:

You will notice how long the lead time is, this is because we want to make sure everything is properly dried and remains stable for an easy install.

Please also see another post: Log Cabin Treatment Gone Wrong