Ongoing Log Cabin Maintenance

Hello and welcome to what we hope will be a useful guide towards the ongoing maintenance of your log cabin,.. 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 completley 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.

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.

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
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 ontop to create the solid wooden surface to fix your roof covering to.

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?

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 ontop.. with the weight of the cabin ontop 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.

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 ontop 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.
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
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 qucikly, Unlike a shed where you would expect to see a row of bearers all running the same direction with a floor built directly ontop..

A normal Shed is built on top of a floor with joists underneath it
A typical shed with bearers running the same way

The Foundation Beams servce 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 ontop 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.
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 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, 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…

Or 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 cannot 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 ontop 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.

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 out 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 becuase 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 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
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 becuase their doors have warped and to find out after that they didn’t treat it fully or correctly..

An extremely warped 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 of 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 ontop 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.
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.

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.

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 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

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 becuase 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.
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 )

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 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.

The Roof

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
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 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

 

Log Cabin Install Video in Depth

We have a very handy video showing you the standard install of any log cabin, the same process takes place across the board. We host the video on YouTube and it was nicely ‘annotated’ with more information. For some reason this facility is now turned off so I thought I’d write an article explaining some of the finer points that we show you in the video and generally talk through it as you watch the film:

0:12 Laying Out

Layout the logs around your base

Unpack your pallet fully and lay out the logs around the perimeter of your base, try to keep them in the same lengths in stacks. Try also to make sure they are laid flat and supported. As you are setting them out you can easily identify the main wall logs. You will find other parts you might not recognise such as purlins and cutouts for above or below doors and windows. Make a note of these and place them to one side. At this stage also look out for half height logs, these will be your starter logs on two opposing walls, put these also to one side and remember where you put them.

0.22 Base and Plans

Check your base is level and check the plans

You should already have a level base but just quickly check it again, if it isn’t there are things you can do which other articles help with in the blog. Check the plans. You’re looking at each wall elevation and noting the size of the logs as well as familiarising yourself with the numbers and positions of the various logs. You will also have a general manual explaining the process. If it is not enough this article will help as well as the extended Log Cabin installation advice page and numerous further articles linked from it. If you get really stuck we’re always pleased to help and offer further guidance.

0:51 Setting out the first logs

Setting out the first wall logs

You will already have found the half logs I mentioned, these are logs that have been cut directly in half and will have a flat bottom. Remember the tongues face upwards throughout the build. The logs that interlock into the half ones are full size logs, there is nothing special about them. Once you have laid out the initial base logs you put the foundation beams under them. You will need to measure and cut these but it is much easier to do so once the first layer is established.

You will have already considered a damp proof membrane in your base, if you have not now is the time to add the damp proof course to the foundation beams. It is a good idea regardless to add a DPC under the foundations as the plastic can help to seal if the base is a little rough. More details on DPC and DPM can he found in our Log Cabin Base page.

It is a good idea to fix the half logs to the foundation beam, especially at the door way area to give it extra strength. It also helps to stabilise the lower logs as you square and build.

You can also fix the full logs if you would like to, it is best to go in at an angle into the foundation beam or directly through the top if you have long enough screws. Note: We do not supply screws for this purpose, it is though my preference to do this and you might like to, to help your install.

01:52 Build up the Layers

Build up the wall log layers

With the first logs in place the install will start to fly up as each layer is added. Use a white rubber mallet to tamp down the logs. Check that there is no swarf in any of the grooves and that each log is seating on top of the one below. When you have reached about 5 – 7 layers of logs then double check your square and adjust if necessary. Check every corner! As the layers build up do not worry if doorways / window holes start to splay or twist slightly. If your base is 100% level and you are square this will not be a problem.

03:37 Window and Doors

Add the doors and windows when about 4 logs high

Keep a close eye on the plans and the elevations, keep counting the number of logs as you work up the layers, check specifically for window apertures and the logs that surround them. Some cabins will have a cut out log below the window so keep checking! When you are about four logs in height either side of a window you can add the windows, you can also consider adding the doors on some buildings. This example has double doors flanked by windows so the fitters will fit that towards the end. However if you wish you can install windows after the main building has been completed by removing the fascia surrounds. It does depend on the fitters preference. Note: No fixings should be used to fix the sides or tops of the window or door frames into the logs. Continue to build up the wall logs. Keep checking that the logs are being tamped down periodically and checking for swarf in the grooves. Keep checking the elevation plans and keep adding the layers of wall logs.

6:01 Top logs

Work will slow up toward to roof

As you get higher you will need to use step ladders. On larger building scaffolding is advisable as is fall arrest equipment. Some of our thicker, much larger buildings have bolts that run in the corners, these can be put in at this point. If you find any logs that have slightly twisted after being left out for most of the day they can be eased by use of a carpenters clamp.

7:29 Apex Roof Sections

The apexes can be challenging

The apexes need very careful handling, when moving them is is very, very easy to break the points off. Watch out for this! It’s not a problem if they are but it is annoying. Apexes generally come in one piece for the larger buildings but if you feel they are too heavy or unwieldy then take them apart. The will take some manipulation to get in, often a front wall has splayed and these will need to pushed together and aligned. Take your time and work as a team. Be Aware of safe working at height. With the apexes in it is the most unstable point of the build. Be careful of gusts of wind. As mentioned you can take them apart and work gradually by putting in purlins and working you way up. The process is up to the fitter. Once all the roof purlins are in place there is more stability but it is still best to be wary and not lean on the apexes during the install at this point. Purlins can be very tight to get in, expect to have to hit them quite vigorously on occasions. The top most purlin is often the hardest to get in due to the working height, be careful! Although not necessary I find it a good idea to screw the purlins into the apex logs for extra security, this will also ensure they do not lift and are more thoroughly connected to the building especially in highly exposed areas. If the apexes are seperate it is a good idea to fix them at the corner with a small screw or nail for added stability as you build the apex up.

9:38 Roof Boards


Laying out and fixing the roof boards

Ideally set out your roof boards in stacks along the side walls with the tongue or groove facing one direction. Before you start laying its important to re-check your buildings square as this is the last chance to really correct it. Start laying from the side that is seen the most, generally this is the front of the building, set the groove in line with the end of the purlin. Use the nails supplied with two nails in each board across each junction. This will provide a great deal of strength and will stop the boards lifting if they expand. Consider the time of year you are fitting. In the winter months the boards will have expanded due to moisture in the air so make the joints tight. In the summer months consider leaving the boards a little looser so they have room to expand in the winter. Try to work as a team and periodically check the boards are running true. On thinner logs keep an eye on the angle you use when nailing into the top log.

Don’t be tempted to lean your ladders on the walls before the roof boards are all laid as this could throw out your buildings square, When you then nail the boards in it will be fixed out of true.. Always use self-supporting step ladders

10:30 Doors

Fitting the doors

Fitting the doors may require adjustment of the hinges. If you find this to be the case and it is not self explanatory this article will help: Adjusting Log Cabin Hinges. If your base is not 100% level it will be slightly harder to fit the doors and you may need to use packers under one corner of the frame to level the door set. Please note how the fitter is installing the door bolts and lock.

11:40 Finishing the Roof Boards

Finishing the roof boards

For larger buildings with longer spans it is a good idea to use a roof board fixed to the purlins in order to keep them straight as you work along, leaning your ladder on them.

This prevents them twisting. Work together with your partner, it is easier if one is at the apex and the other on the wall logs. It is best to fix about ten boards one side and then another ten the opposite side as this will help them all stay in line with each other. The last board at the rear will need trimming flush with the end of the purlin. It is a good idea to nail the boards along the apexes. Please note: It is often necessary to adjust the purlins using a plane for a perfect finish where it joins the top wall log. The purlins may also need adjusting by chiselling the notch slightly.

13:38 Roof Trimming

Roof trim

Depending on how you use the building and your personal aesthetics you might like to consider ways of trimming the roof. if you are adding side bargeboards it helps to add a block, this is also very useful when mounting guttering which helps greatly the longevity of the log cabin. You can also consider front and rear bargeboards and their aesthetics, many customer like to introduce scallops or other shapes for decorative purposes. Any timber from your local DIY store will suffice. Often there will be plenty of spares and left over timber which you can make use of.

14:11 Final Roof Material and Finishing

Adding the final roof material

Before adding the final roof material you might like to consider adding insulation which is covered in another article within my blog. Fitting felt is very straightforward and is done the same as any shed, more details can be found in the extended installation advice page. Fitting shingles is also very straightforward but can be time consuming and will often take as long as the actual build itself. This video shows the shingle installation very well, other articles referenced from the above page will also give more help. The instructions are also found on the shingle packaging. If you are installing in the colder months or you are in a very exposed location it is a very good idea to use shingle glue. Fitters will also have slightly different methods of finishing the apexes and some will fold the shingles and felt over, some will apply an underlay, this is up to you and your preferences. The gable ends are finished with a bargeboard and nailed or screwed to the purlins. You can also add a capping piece as these fitters are doing but make sure it is heavily treated underneath before fitting to guard against rot from water sitting under it.

Once the main Log Cabin has been completed you are now free to add your own personalisations as many people do such as shaped bargeboards, guttering, treatment, door stays, fascia fixings etc. In exposed areas it is also a good idea to fit storm kits.

Lots more details, hints and tips and ideas can be found on the main Log Cabin Installation advice page. Reading this will help you greatly in your install. This video and principles apply across all our log cabins no matter the shape, thickness and style.

How Long Does it Take to Fit a Log Cabin?

I was sent some interesting pictures from a kind customer and it reminded me of all the times I’m asked:  ‘how long does it take to fit a log cabin?’

This is a bit of a tough question really and I think it all comes down to trust, whether you trust Yourself, the Plans, the Product or the Company you are buying from and the advice and help you receive from them.

No trust at all

  • Yourself – If you are worried about yourself, your ability to read the plans and the confidence you can identify a log it will take longer.
  • If you second guess the plans or question what they are showing you too much it will take longer
  • If you don’t entirely trust the company or you are looking for faults in the product it is going to take longer as you will be worrying, you’ll be going over every small detail, counting every possible part over and over again, worrying you have one roof board too few or wondering what this piece of wood is, or where is that piece and where it’s going to go. This is going to take you a lot longer to build your cabin.
  • If you don’t trust the advice you’ve been given it’s going to take longer, you wouldn’t believe how many times I’ve had to argue with a customer (normally a builder or a carpenter) that there are expansion gaps for a reason and that you don’t fix the doors or window frames to the logs.

Without trust in all of the above or at least a few of them your build will take longer.

Trust

If you are going to buy from us or others I’d like you to have some trust at least in some of the above. This of course will depend on lots of factors. Can you Trust?

  • Yourself – Identify the parts as you unpack and make a mental note of them. Trust that you can read the plans. I’ll add some advice at the bottom of this post with some quick identification hints.
  • Plans – Follow the plans that came WITH the building, try not to second guess them or disbelieve them, follow them exactly.
  • Trust the advice you are given. I don’t know much about other companies support these days but we try to give you as much information as possible. Personally I spend a lot of time writing and updating these blogs with help and advice and also help out of hours when my and my colleagues family life permits. This advice is also transferable to any ‘Good Make’ of log cabin. Some of it won’t work with rubbish – watch out for cabins when you have to screw the logs together or a roof you can’t actually work on as the purlins are so small. Worse still if you don’t have wind and watertight connections then ignore all of my advice as you have bought rubbish and I can’t help you.

How long Does it Take to Fit a Log Cabin

The pictures Mr C sent to me are further down the page, what I loved is that they are date and time stamped which shows quite clearly how long the build took.

The building is a Wolfgang Log Cabin, a pretty daunting structure for most customers with two rooms and an odd shape. Before you look at the pictures from Mr C, honestly ask yourself how long you think this build would take you.

The Wolfgang log cabin which is 5.3 x 4.5 with an attached shed and porch. How long do you think this takes to install?

The Wolfgang log cabin which is 5.3 x 4.5 with an attached shed and porch. How long do you think this takes to install?

How long did you think? I bet some of you will be thinking four or five days, maybe more? Here’s Mr C’s pictures and notice the time stamps on them.

The build started from scratch at about 0800. The cabin was then unpacked, stacked in components sizes. Critical parts identified and put to one side. This picture is time stamped 0944 so we're about an hour and three quarters into the fit. Unpacking and moving takes a good hour.

The build started from scratch at about 08:00. The cabin was then unpacked, stacked in components sizes. Critical parts identified and put to one side. This picture is time stamped 0944 so we’re about an hour and three quarters into the fit. Unpacking and moving takes a good hour.

Now at 1025 and the doors and windows are in and they are almost at the eaves height.

Now at 10:25 and the doors and windows are in and they are almost at the eaves height.

1347 which is about six hours into the fit and the roof shingles are almost done.

13:47 which is about six hours into the fit and the roof shingles are almost done.

1907 and the fitters have left site, tidied up and even had time to fit the guttering during the install.

19:07 and the fitters have left site, tidied up and even had time to fit the guttering during the install.

So there you have it, fitted in a day, and this building is probably one of our most complicated ones. If you’re interested these are the plans they will have been following: Log Cabin Plans

But of course, these guys you will say ‘know what they are doing’. There are no real tricks honest, you will have the same time frames as them.

It’s not a matter of ‘they know all the parts’ All they are doing is trusting themselves, the plans and the product. The only edge they will have on someone doing it for the first time is they can identify parts in the plans and sort them as they are unpacking, i’ll come on to that a bit later.

Of course I’ll give a little leeway for inexperience and I would say this cabin should take you, being inexperienced, two – two and a half days. My rule of thumb is for an experienced fitter a 4 x 3m and less is generally one day, bigger is one and a half to two and a monster like the Edelweiss is three to four. For a first timer add one extra day.

This though is only if you have trust and the package is within 100m of the base as lugging it any distance can take a long time.

It’s taken forever – Richard you’re WRONG!

If you are considering one of our log cabins no doubt you will have a scan through some of our reviews. Have a look at the reviews for Asmund Corner Log Cabin, this is one of our best sellers.

You’ll see lots of varying time scales in the various reviews from 1 day all the way to 5 days

  • My wife & I constructed the cabin with virtually no assistance in 5 days which went well
  • The cabin itself took my brother and myself only a few days to completely assemble and finish
  • All in all 11 hours and the cabin was fully erected and roof tiles in place
  • It’s taken me about 5 working days to construct, single-handed
  • Quick construction – 3 days in total, four once I have finished the shingling.
  • It has taken three adults two days to complete the build.
  • I paid a local landscaping contractor to build mine, and it took 2 men with carpentry skills 2.5 days to assemble it
  • very easy to assemble
  • instructions for assembly are easy to follow to construct.
  • As occasional DIY’rs I couldn’t believe how quickly we built it
  • The cabin was quite straightforward to put together, taking about 4 days to build in total (Two people)
  • My husband and Son, put it up in no time at all, with no problems
  • It took 1.5 days to erect with 2 men.

So yes, you could well shout at me after you have found it’s taken longer but I still stand by my assessment is that it’s all down to Trust in yourself, the Product, Plans, Company and Advice.

It’s interesting that some customers get it banged up really quickly, yet the review left by a poor lady who hired a ‘landscaper with carpentry skills’ to build hers took 2.5 days and had a lot of problems, I remember well talking those ‘Fitters’ through it.

If you are employing fitters such as carpenters, joiners or builders gently point them to all our advice. A log cabin could be totally new to them even if they don’t admit it to you. Don’t rely on their trade giving them the information on the correct way to install a cabin.

As a quick example this was an installation by ‘Professional Carpenter and joiner of 20 years experience’

Very large gaps in the wall logs were appearing and the customer assured me it was installed by a carpenter of 20 years experience and she had used him for loads of work and his work was of an excellent standard so therefore it was our fault.

Very large gaps in the wall logs were appearing and the customer was in discussion with me after this happened six months later. She assured me it was installed by a carpenter of 20 years experience (I shudder when I hear this statement) and she had used him for loads of work and that his work was of an excellent standard so therefore the building was defective.

Gaps were showing in her building

Gaps were showing in her building

I explained to the customer exactly what was wrong with this log cabin several times but she would not take my advice and kept referring to how experienced the carpenter was that had installed it.

See there’s the Trust issue again!

The customer was very uncooperative and after discussions I agreed to visit her. If it was our fault I had agreed we would supply a complete new building and also cover all the costs for installation and painting. But, if it was not our fault she would pay for the inspection and rectification.

Our customer trusted her experienced carpenter and refused to trust me. I found this nail, one of many through the window and door frames into the logs. This will stop your building from moving and you will either have gaps or splits caused by this.

Our customer trusted her experienced carpenter and refused to trust me.

Nails in the fascia going through to the logs.

Nails in the fascia going through to the logs.

I found several nails going through the window and door fascias which went into the logs. Doing this will stop your building from moving and you will either have gaps or splits.

After I removed all of these the whole thing settled back down again to where it should be and all gaps closed straightaway. Remind any fitter, no matter what trade – WOOD MOVES and doors and windows have to be independent to the wall logs, I guarantee you a tradesperson will always overlook this if they have not installed a cabin before.

Removing all the fixings the logs closed up to where they should be

Removing all the fixings the logs closed up to where they should be

More problems with her cabin caused by a 'Professional Painter'

More problems with her cabin caused by a ‘Professional Painter’

In my inspection I also looked at the moisture content and depth of treatment for her. It got worse and her ‘professional painter’ had cocked up as well –  Moisture content and depth of treatment in log cabins

The lady was a bit miffed having to pay me for the visit and the ‘Experienced Carpenter’ who met me on site with her was incredibly embarrassed.

If you’re employing a trade, gently remind them to have a look at the various pieces of advice there is and they will fit quicker, be cheaper and you and I won’t be having a discussion in a few months time.

So what’s the secret?

The secret to a quick install is all in the identification of parts in the plans and not worrying about what you do not understand. I always tell people I talk to: ‘Take it one stage at a time’.

All will become clear as it goes up and do not focus on bits you do not understand until you reach that point. The biggest mistake with an installation is over thinking it. Fitting a log cabin is Easy!

We start our day fitting and note the package number we find on the packaging, just in case we have problems later and need to ask for parts, claims etc, if you buy from us we will always ask for this number so you may as well note it down just in case.

  • Take the tanalised lengths of timber off the package or the profiled foundation beams, put them straight onto your base and do not worry about them.
  • You will find a big bag of nails and roofing tacks, put these to one side. Yes we send lots, don’t worry about them.
  • Do not open the floor packs if you have these. These will be on top of the main package.  Put them away somewhere, you don’t need these until the cabin has been built.
  • Take the plastic off carefully and try to keep it in one piece, it might be handy to use this if it chucks down later or to cover the purlins / rafters / apexes to protect them from the sun.
  • The pack is not going to be in fitting order so don’t expect it to be.
  • Start unpacking and look at the various log sizes as you go, put each log size in it’s own area. Do not think about anything at this point, just unpack it and lay out the logs of the same size on top of each other. Make extra stacks next to them if needed you can go about ten logs high before the stack gets a bit unstable. Try to keep them supported, it helps if you have some timber to lay and support them on.
  • Anything you can’t identify – Don’t start looking at the plans for it and don’t worry about it, put it to one side and remember where you put it and roughly what it looked like.
  • Rafter and purlins are easy to spot. Put them to one side and away from the build, keep them straight, supported and covered from a hot sun to stop any warps.
  • When you come across a log that has been cut horizontally in half put it straight onto the base, this is a starter log and the beginning of the build. It may also be a top log but worry about it later.
  • Roof boards will all be together, put these to one side and do not worry about them.
  • As you unpack you will come to the plans and generic instructions. Put these to one side, don’t even look at them. You can also see far more detailed generic instructions and videos online that I have written to compliment those received with the log cabin if you fancy reading them: Installation Manual
  • Keep unpacking and for most buildings you will come to doors and windows, put these somewhere safe.

You should now have an area full of logs, bits and bobs. Don’t worry about any of it, and don’t panic at the site of it – ‘one section at a time’ and this is what all professional fitters will do.

Quick Identification of parts

So here’s a few heads up, look for these as you unpack the cabin and Do NOT worry about any of them, recognise them and put them to one side depending on your cabin.

Starter logs, these are logs cut horizontally in half

Starter logs, these are logs cut horizontally in half

Normal logs, nothing is different with these, they are all the same even when attached to a half starter log

Normal logs, nothing is different with these, they are all the same even when attached to a half starter log. If you have posts for canopies these may be longer than required. You can cut these down to fit as required.

You may find odd cut logs, put these to one side until you need then and do not worry about them

You may find odd cut logs, put these to one side until you need then and do not worry about them. When you come to that section in the plans then look at them. Do not over think a build – it’s Easy!

Some times with the corner log cabin look for a log with the tongues cut off. Put it to one side and worry about it when you need it.

Some times with the corner log cabin look for a log with the tongues cut off. Put it to one side and worry about it when you need it.

Please see this link for more help following on from this article : Installation tips for Tuin Log Cabins

As I always say:

If you have any questions at all regarding installation please always ask us, even out of hours as several of us often check emails for helps requests on our days / time off.

If you need help out of hours send an email to info@tuin.co.uk and entitle it Fitting Help and myself or other experienced fitters will get back to you. It helps if you send us a picture(s) of what you are seeing and a brief description of the problem.

For more hints and tips on log cabin installation please click here.

As a side to all of this, I must brag a little, I try to be impartial in my advice here but I did love these comments from Mr C:

I will be sending you pictures from start to finish. Superb initial  service and advice. Super-fast delivery and the truck driver was helpful and polite. Len and team brilliant in building the cabin. All in all the best service I have received and what a beautiful cabin. Many thanks

After I asked for permission to add his pictures to a blog Mr C wrote:

Please be my guest. When its painted and done up I will send you some more. I will go on the review page shortly. It is on my face book and friends from Scotland to Sweden have seen it. Whoever has come to do electrics and paint have been very impressed, by the standard of finish and the quality of wood. So By browsing the internet that Saturday you were the first one to reply promptly and with all the details I needed, I hit the jackpot!

Mr C’s Review of the Wolfgang was:

Superb initial service and advice. The office girls new exactly want I wanted.
Super-fast delivery and the truck driver was helpful and polite
Len and team brilliant in building the cabin
All in all the best service I have received and what a beautiful cabin. The quality of wood and finish is very good.Many thanks xxxxxxxxxxx