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