Pent Installation Roof Advice

A little insight to how you can format the parts of our Modern log cabins

So you have built up your new log cabin up to roof height and you will come across a sight like the one below, the skeleton of a roof ready to be finished off.

Up to roof height with purlins added

I have made a quick guide which I hope proves useful, there are different methods in doing this roof style that you may prefer to use.

Firstly lets identify all the roof components that we will eventually call upon, in this case we have the two-tiered eaves boards for all four sides, squared battens and a mixture of mounting slats and blocks, sometimes the eaves boards for the longer cabins arrive in half lengths which when offered up to one another span the full required length. 

Identifying Roof Components

A good opportunity is often missed at this stage which is treatment and plenty of it as a lot of these parts become very inaccessible once you get further along, for more guidance on what treatments to use you may be interested in the following; https://www.tuin.co.uk/blog/log-cabin-treatment-again/

To begin with let us install the mounting blocks on the front and back of this particular log cabin, these provide more support for the eaves boards when you fit them, sometimes these blocks can be fitted to the sides instead, depending on the model, to fix these I am going to use a two of the 60mm screws at each point.

Starting to install the mounting blocks

Please do not think too long and hard where the mounting blocks need to be placed, as if the plans in front of you do not show a specific precise location, as the eaves boards may have arrived disassembled as shown in the second image above, just place them in a realistic fashion and copy the same for the back.

Mounting blocks also fitted to the back wall

The mounting blocks have all been fitted, so now it is time to think about making up the eaves boards, in this case we have been supplied with a narrow and a wider board, these two together make up the full eaves height, you may have seen that the plans are telling me to use the wider boards on the top, so let us do just that.

Eaves boards ready to be assembled

To join the two boards together we need to use the mounting slats supplied in the kit and identified earlier, anything can be used including spare pallet timber.
Please pilot drill these before securing them, by doing this with any wood you can be more sure that the wood will not split or crack, make sure their locations are correct, use the roof as a guide lining up the slats with the blocks already in place or take measurements.

Offering Eaves boards up to the fitted block locations to aid positioning

Screw the mounting slats all onto one side of the boards, I used 30mm screws which worked nicely.

Screws sent though the mounting slats into the eaves boards

Mounting slats lining up with mounting blocks and overhanging the wall logs/purlins.

Mounting slats lining up with mounting blocks

Now we have all the eaves boards made up as well as all mounting blocks and slats fitted, we then need to think about how we want the chosen roof material to be formatted.Roofing Felt, Easy Roofing or EPDM

Felt, Easy roofing and EPDM Roofing for our pent roofed log cabins

Fitting roofing felt, Our aim is to fold this under the roof edge on all four sides of the roof securing it into place using the supplied battens or sourced trims.

Fitting Easy Roofing ( ERM ) this is an easier solution to roofing felt and requires no nails as its all self adhesive, A heat gun in the colder months of the year is suggested to enhance the overlaps

Fitting EPDM now we save the best until last! The Epdm rubber roof, supplied with a spray adhesive and laid straight onto a “clean dust free roof”, like with the easy roof you would dish this up on the inside faces of the eaves boards on all four sides or just the front three

FELT ROOFING FIRST

We do have a video showing how felt in general is laid which for the basic principle is important as well as our very detailed online installation manual for pretty much everything you would need to know about getting the cabin constructed from the ground up; https://www.tuin.co.uk/blog/tuin-tuindeco-log-cabins-instruction-manual/

but more specifically here for a pent roofs which we hope helps further.

Assuming it is felt that we are fitting today we need to get the roof boards on before anything else, However what we like to suggest at this stage is to temporally tac your front eaves on first as this then gives you a line to offer them all up against knowing they will be correct.

Eaves boards fixed to the blocks ready for the roof boards

You may find that the mounting slats obstruct some of the roof boards from sitting flush so I am trimming them down, or I could have trimmed the relevant roof boards instead to slot around them.

Cutting the mounting slats so the roof boards fit flush, The roof boards could be trimmed instead where required

With the slats trimmed the roof boards sit flush against the inside face

When you go to fit the last roof board you nearly always need to rip it down to allow it to sit flush with the ends of the purlin(s)

Remember to use two nails or screws per board at every junction as the roof boards are key to strengthening the whole building, in the summer leave a 2mm gap
in-between each board whereas in the winter you close them up as tight as possible.

After that you can then remove the front eaves board as its time to fit the felt.

As mentioned, we really want to get the felt wrapped round the ends of the roof boards and under, most cabins come with battens to attach the felt under the boards, in this instance I have been supplied with the two long lengths as shown in a previous picture, I will use these and any other spare pallet timber to secure the felt if needed.

An example of how to finish the roofing felt around the ends of the roof boards

Another example showing how to overcome obstructions

You will at points have to work your way around the mounting blocks, purlins or wall logs, you could remove the blocks temporally while the felt is fitted. you can also leave the felt simply wrapped round the sides of the roof boards to avoid the obstacles but just be sure they are secured down in some way either using Felt Glue or clout nails, Ideally both.

After the felt is fully installed you can then fit all your eaves boards around all sides, the natural gap at the back is there to allow the water to drain off the roof

Expect a gap at the back of the roof, This is for drainage

EPDM or ERM Rubber Roofing

For more specific guidance on the actual installation of the rubber itself, Please visit the following for support and advice

https://www.tuin.co.uk/Easy-Roofing-Membrane.html

EPDM on LOG CABINS roofs.

For this cabin we opted for the Easy roofing as it is the best with no overlaps, the same fitting aid also applies for the Easy roofing, for these rubber options I am going to dish the roofing up on the front three sides then wrap it around the back to allow the run off.

After the initial stage of fixing all mounting blocks onto the cabin I am going to go ahead and fix all four completed eaves boards onto the sides of the roof.

A close up of a corner, Mounting slats cut and uncut as preferred

An extra pair of hands is useful for this part, but you could use clamps if you have some large enough. I screwed through the outside fascia of the eaves boards through the mounting slat into the mounting block with two 70mm screws at each point.

Eaves boards fitted at the back, Note they sit higher than those at the front due to the roof pitch

All eaves boards in place and ready for roof boards followed by the EPDM roofing

With them all fitted to the perimeter of the roof I’m ready to fit the roof boards following the same process as we did for the felt part of the guide.

Dishing of the rubber roofing can be formatted in different ways, As an example you can just have the rubber coming upwards against the inside face and apply a hidden trim to cap it off, however it is best to actually wrap the rubber around the top of the eaves board and down the other side as it helps prevent any possible ingress under it, you can then cap this off as you wish.

You may like to cut the mounting slats down on the front three sides like we did for the felt approach early as this makes offering the Epdm rubber roof easier to lay on the inside face of the boards.

Roof boards start getting laid, Remember two nails per board at every junction

Examples of how the rubber roofing can be dished up

Then for the back where the natural drainage gap is we are going to wrap it around the side of the roof boards, Some fitters at this point will actually make cuts into the tops of the blocks so they can get the EPDM wrapped further around, But you can just glue and tac the roofing to the sides

Some fitters will be very clever at this stage and actually cut a channel into the tops of the mounting blocks, eventually fitting a guttering length directing the water into a downpipe, you may need to increase the wood size of the block used depending on the gutter size, you can then glue the EPDM into the inner face of the gutter instead.

With a channel cut on the back overhangs you can fit a guttering length rigged up to a downpipe

I will mention once again that the methods above do not have to be strictly followed, “like anything in this world there are always room for enhancements!. “So fill your boots ladies and gents” and have a go. Any questions please feel free to contact us for advice

Lennart Log Cabin Show Site Build

Hello everyone,

So as you may or may not know, I (Megan), haven’t been a member of Tuin for very long- which means that my knowledge of Log Cabins and installing them are limited to the posts I’ve read made by Richard.

He often mentions about how easy it is to install a log cabin but honestly, I thought it was mostly him talking from experience so when I was asked to capture the new show site buildings being installed- I decided to take this opportunity to learn as much as I could to improve my blogs and hopefully show you how I have evolved from a DIY newbie to a little less of a newbie. I’m considering of making this a series of all the new show site buildings that will be installed in the upcoming months, maybe we should call it ‘Megan learns some things’ or ‘From DIY newbie to not so newbie’. Obviously those titles are very bad, maybe you could leave a comment for your ideas below.

And also I must disclose, I am not a physical/manual labour type of girl. So my report on this will be through watching the installs, not partaking in them.

So, to get things started… 

The first new Log Cabin on the Show Site will be an updated Lennart Log Cabin to replace the previous one, we’ve even managed to persuade one of our apprentice sales assistants Andrew to join in with the installation, as this will be a great learning experience for him too.

Now, Andrew and I are very similar.. Both at the age of 18 with little DIY experience and always on a keyboard, we were definitely are out of our comfort zone.. Wish us luck!

Lennart Installation Plans

Now Andrew started off confident with this project, with the help of our two experienced servicemen we were confident that the Lennart will be installed by the end of the day! With the base already been made from the previous Lennart, it started off smoothly with Andrew going around in a square to fit in the wall logs.

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With only minor mistakes (such as almost putting in one of the incorrect logs at the front of the building till he soon figured afterwards why I was giggling on the sideline) he was doing well! Maybe he would of been better and avoided this by frequently referring to the Log Cabin plans. Though unfortunately our experienced men found this progress rather slow, so they soon started to help and the walls were quickly heightening.

Incorrect Log Example

If you looked at the log and looked at the plans.. That wouldn’t of happened..

As they reached seven logs (I believe) high, they installed the ‘half log’ for the window. Which turned out to be as simple as sliding the window into the grooves of the half log, when doing this I recommend to add a few of the smaller logs on either side of the designated gap to ensure that the window slid in straight, see below:

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Around about this time, Andrew began to structure the doorframe. Please note: That this actually was done the wrong way round (again, might of been avoided with the assistance of the Cabin plans..). Hopefully what I captured should explain what happened and how we resolved it, also take note of the captions of the images for more detail:

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With the doorframe in and a coffee consumed, it didn’t take long at all for the three guys to finish installing the walls of the Log Cabin, then straight onto the Apex. Now, admittedly I thought apex referred to a different material type, but it seems to be the triangular shape (in this case) that connects and supports the wall logs to the roof logs/purlins. Also, I have just been informed that I was likely getting it mixed up with perspex!

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As you can see above, the ‘slanted slots’ (as I call them) are cut out for the purlins on both sides, so all you will have to do is simply slide the purlins into both ended slots. We prefer to screw down the purlins into the apex for more security, it’s not strictly required.

Now… This is where things got repetitive (and slightly boring to watch). The guys then took the first roof board (for the overhang), ensured it was level and used the clout nails to secure the roof board at the top, middle and bottom of the board. Lining up to be nailed on the center purling, the middle/support purling and the cabin wall.

Lennart Overhang Roof Boards

Our roof boards are also made with interlocking timer, so its a fairly simple process to side the next roofboard in place, make sure its align with the previous one and nail it down. The interlocking process kind of reminds me of how you would install laminate flooring. Then you go onto the next one.. Than the next one.. Etc.

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For the last roof board there was a slight overhang, so to make it look neater we marked where the roof boards should finish and cut it to size using a circular saw.

Last Roof Board Adjustments

Then, you guessed it, you repeat with the other side! Admittedly, I left to continue to work in my warm office by the time this was happening. When I returned all of the roof boards were laid down and nailed- hurrah! We also added an edge/trim to the Lennart ready for the guttering to be installed fully leveled, this will happen after the cabin is treated.

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To finish off the body of the Log Cabin, Philip showed me how you would install doors for your Log Cabin. It seems to be a simple process of aligning the middle circular hinge in between the two already on the doorframe and pushing the provided pin in place. During this we had also noted that the door hinges appeared to look rusty, we apologise if this has happened to you. If you notice this on your Log Cabin Doors then please email us with pictures for reference, and our service team will send some new hinges for you to replace.

Double Door Installation

Then, came the monotonous part.. The one everyone tends to get bored of doing.. Fitting roof shingles. The shingles we used for the Lennart Log Cabin was our Red Hexagonal Shingles.  The process was long and I honestly spent most of it in the office, by the time I came downstairs to take this picture below, all enthusiasm and motivation from Andrew’s eyes were fading. He was tired, legs hurt (maybe after a few more show cabins he’ll be used to manual labour..) and was tired of lining up shingles. But it was all worth it in my opinion, by the end of the office day the Lennart was installed! And it looks stunning, amazing job guys!

Red Hexagonal Shingles

Over the next few days the Lennart Log Cabin will be coated with our Clear Carefree Protectant Treatment.

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I hope you enjoyed my view from this article on our new Lennart Log Cabin show building, and a big round of applause for Andrew who helped Wayne and Philip install this beautiful cabin. Let us know if you enjoyed this and wish to see more with our other future show site installs!

After watching this process, it really does seem that Richard wasnt oversimplifying the process- If you read and keep looking at the plans provided and read all of our pages for Fitting Log Cabins, it seems rather easy! Though it may get more complicated as the larger show buildings start to be installed.. And maybe if you yourself are carrying the logs and installing them.. I’ll keep you guys updated!

Again, I believe the process will be easier once you have read our Fitting Advice Pages.

You will also find more specific articles that may help when you look at the ‘Important Information’ tab on our Log Cabin pages.

There are also a few more showsite installation posts, like another one of mine with the Kennet Log Cabin as well as one written by our sales assistant in training, Becky helping with the Daisy Log Cabin and 28mm Storage Annexe!

If you enjoyed this post, you may like our other installation reviews sent in from our customers at: Pictorial Customer Reviews.

Larch Garden Building Installation

Due to the way the Larch Garden Building kits are sent out, we tend to advise that experienced DIYers or carpenters/builders should tackle the challenge. These are a ‘proper building’ as we describe them. They are a timber structure which can be adjusted and modified to suit your requirements, various modules in larch timber can be added to them such as extensions, walls, framing etc.

A recent customer sent in this picture set of the Larch Pent Garden Building Seven, this is the basic structure and to this walls, doors, windows etc can be added in a variety of materials to create open barns, carport, summerhouses, offices, in fact any structure your require. The Larch Building Structures are a VERY economical alternative to the traditional oak garden building.

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It is recommended, as with all timber that you pilot drill your screw holes with a durable, trustworthy power drill.

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Once your main frame/body is installed, the next step would be installing and securing the roof purlins, again ensuring that everything beforehand has remained to the required level for the desired pent roof.

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If the purlins are nice and level then installing the roof boards should be simple, given that their tongue and groove design allows you to simply slide them together and nail them to secure them. Please note that the use of steel nails is not really recommended for larch as in oak.

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In this case, the customer installed a downpipe at the lower end of the pent roof to which a drain pipe will be attached, cutting the required section through the roof board and securing it from above:

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Then to finish off the building the customer used EPDM roofing material to cover the roof boards. EPDM is ideal for flat or low pitched roofs due to its durable rubberised material which lasts for years and years. The EPDM is finished off with a metal roof edging trim.

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And here is the completed building:

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Thank you to the customer who sent these in! They are truly stunning and we hope that you’ll enjoy the Larch Pent Building Seven for many years to come!

Shepherd Hut Review

One of our customers, James from East Sussex, has been very generous in sending us his review of the Shepherd Hut Gypsy styled caravan and his process of installing them from start to finish- with plenty of pictures!


James writes as follows: 

I ordered two Shepherd’s Huts before Christmas to take advantage of the generous discount. They were delivered in the first week in January. The delivery driver was superb and, though it was difficult and time-consuming, he managed to get both into one of our barns.

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We debated where to undertake construction and in the end decided that it would be best right by the house, which involved some nice exercise to stroll up and down the drive when stuff was needed.

The kits were extremely well packed and there was no need to use additional tarpaulin or covering. They have sat there in the barn until today when I opened the first one. I used my car to haul the heavy metal chassis and wheels, nuts, bolts and other hardware up to the build area. There is one thing we did: I read a review about the axle being tube which broke when the hut was moved a short distance. We decided to get a blacksmith to beef up that component, just in case, so the tube was cut off and solid steel bar was welded in its place for each axle.

Axle Tube Modifications

Since all the metal work was on top of the kit, I kind of thought that the contents of the delivery would be packed in the order you need them. But that isn’t the case and it’s not a problem. So, after looking at the drawings and instructions and much head scratching, we opened up the delivery and had another round of head scratching.

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Day 1:

Our aim for today – I am building this with my friend who is a great deal more handy and adept than I am – was to get the base done. We started at 10.00am and, unusually for me, we carefully studied the manual/building plans and decided we would just go at it a page at a time. So, first order of business was to build the chassis. The metal bit was easy and that was the starting point and first job to do. All we had to do was lay out the metal work roughly where we wanted to build the hut.

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It was at this point that we realised we would need various lengths of timber from the kit and, when I opened it, I noticed that a lot of them were right down the bottom of the pallet! So, we would have to take everything off the pallet and stack it in vertical piles. That took a little while as we looked at various components and discussed them and where they would fit into the overall thing. I was very surprised to see that the panels that had windows actually had the glass in! OK, if you want to double glaze your hut you need to change that but it says something for the quality of the packaging and the way things are shipped that all the glass is in first class condition – not a scratch or crack anywhere on it.

Looking at the build instructions, and the separate parts list, the various lengths of timber, some of which look the same length, I had hoped would be numbered to correspond with their number in the parts list. They aren’t. It’s not a problem – but you just need to be careful to make sure you use a tape measure to check the sizes to correctly identify the various components.

For instance, you might just be able to make out below that to join the two chassis units, you need to make up a joist which uses one 2, one 2a and a 2b. 2a and 2b are not dissimilar in size but if you make that mistake – we did – you end up with a joist that is either too short by a few inches or too long by the same amount.

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The first task that involves wood is to make two items that bolt onto the metal work. We did these on the ground and then fitted them.

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A point on the metal chassis. We did a bit of head scratching because what we had in front of us didn’t match the drawing. It was obvious that this assembly had been beefed up with two additional bolts but that isn’t reflected in the drawing. Sill, you would want to be fairly uptight to worry about it and I am certain that the additional metal and bolts are an improvement.

Metal Chassis Closeup

Getting on with the frame, we built the first two long joists (the 2 + 2a + 2b) that bolt to the metal frames on the ground. Then it was just a case of positioning them accurately, drilling holes and bolting to the metal. This fixes the length of the unit – and it’s big!

From here, you need to assemble the rest of the joists – another five. As mentioned, each one is made of three pieces of different length timber. There was a whole lot of head scratching trying to get the right ones together. Basically, we put all the possible pieces on the part-built base, which is a great work bench, and then worked out what went with what. You just need to take your time and things click into place.

Underlining the point that the Shepherd Hut base is a very handy workbench at exactly the right height, in the image you can see James making up one of the three-component joists.

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The Tuin hut is a quality item and as we were working we were having some thoughts about making sure it lasts. The base we are working on, the underside won’t show, unless someone crawls underneath. The wood is untreated and, as it goes through its life, while rain can’t get under there, dew and damp, over time, could. So we decided that we would not fix any of the joists for the moment. That’s because I am going out tomorrow to get some really good wood preservative for everything we have made so far before it is fixed – it’s a lot easier brushing on preservative when I can turn the joist over to get all sides, rather than crawling around under the base. Also, I am going to apply a coat of preservative to the underside of the floorboards – the ones that will be open to mist and moisture from beneath. So this is as far as we got on Day 1 – all the joists are ready to be screwed down but they will get a coat of preservative before that happens.

In terms of time, what you see above is not a day’s work – it took four hours work for two guys from start to finish, and that included a fair bit of time at the beginning getting familiar with the kit, instructions, components and how to read the drawings and specs, looking at parts and figuring things out. Most of all, we want to enjoy this build so we are not rushed. Tomorrow is preserving day. At this stage we are delighted with everything and though we have had the offer of whatever support and advice from Richard at Tuin, we haven’t felt the need to avail ourselves of it.

Day 2: 

Day 2 is a misnomer. On Day 2, as mentioned above, I treated everything with a preservative/sealant against moisture and that included the floor joists and all the underside of all the floorboards. I stacked the made-up joists on the axles and used the hut base to paint on the preservative to the floorboards and then I left them there and covered the lot with the tarpaulin.

We cleared the deck and positioned the five joists. It was at this stage that we discovered a length discrepancy in two of them – one was a bit short while the other was a few inches too long. Clearly we had made a mistake and we figured out we had used the wrong three components, as indeed we had. It didn’t take long to figure out where we made the mistake and we switched over components. However, it underlines that you need to take your time and make sure you identify all the components and put a pencil mark on them so that in the heat of constructing things, you don’t mistake similar sized and shaped lengths.

Things are still a bit slow at this stage, as compared with later but you need to just take your time. The joists have to be positioned accurately and we did that and clamped them in position while we screwed on the metal brackets. There’s 20 of them so, even with two of us, it still took time. I guess, from unwrapping things, getting the joists positioned and putting the brackets in – with a stop for a bacon sarnie and a tea – it took us nearly three hours to get everything ready. After that, things began to speed up in terms of seeing real change and progress. I think it only took us about half an hour or so to screw the floorboards to the joists and suddenly we had a platform and we could look at putting up the wall panels.

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We decided to offset the side windows, looking over the timestamps of the images I was able to work out that it took just a few minutes over one hour to get from the first image… To the last one.

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It is definitely a two-man job but not a difficult one. Up goes a panel and while one holds it in place and pushed tight against the base and its neighbour panel, the other then screws it bottom and sides to the next panel.

The next task, attaching the curved roof timbers, was a slower job because they are attached at each side with small metal brackets using fiddly little screws plus being up a ladder. But from start to finish, and in all of this construction work we were not in a hurry or rushing things, it took over an hour to fit all of the curved roof timbers and the two end sections.

So below is where we got to by 4.00pm when we decided to call it a day. Tomorrow we need to complete the roof pieces to cover the porch area, and then apply the tongue and groove roof boards.

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After James headed off and I did a few chores, I decided it would be pleasant and relaxing to do at least one side with the primer undercoat I had bought from Screwfix that comes very highly recommended. It’s a job that needs doing, so why not get a bit of it done. And, in the way of these things, a couple of hours later and I had done the whole lot.

And so, construction Day 3 looms and the forecast is for it to be very hot and sunny all day.

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Day 3: 

Today’s forecast was for the hottest day of the year so far and they didn’t get it wrong. It was in the 70s with not a cloud in the sky. I was up early and while having my first coffee of the day, I tried a patch of the blue I have selected for the exterior to check the colour. It will need another coat but I like the light blue.

Paint Test

I was probably jumping the gun last night by priming/undercoating the build so far because we added on the porch today which will need to be primed. But what I have done certainly wasn’t a waste of time. We started work before 9.00am and we used the van to move up all of the tongue and groove roofing boards – there are three sizes that make up a length. As we looked at things, we discovered a slight error in that one of the roof beams was not in the right place – we were about 5cms out, so we did a bit of remedial work to get that set up perfectly. Then we built the porch which went together well. We had some head scratching because we hadn’t noticed that we needed a little batten up top on the outside of the porch upright at each side, but once we realised that, it didn’t take long to find the two bits of board and get everything properly lined up ready to start work on the roof boards.

A word of caution on those curved roof beams. They are held in place by a little bracket which you can see in the photo below. It stands slightly proud – and we couldn’t see a way of avoiding that – which causes some fun and games when you try to put a roof board on top of it. We worked out a way – bash down the metal edge that is protruding and leave the board above loose while you fit the final board, then nail them both down. But it would be good if a nick could be taken off that bracket in manufacture – or maybe we should have positioned it further inward so it didn’t stand proud, but that doesn’t look right as you can see from the second shot.

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From the time stamp on the photo, I can see that we started work on boarding the roof at 12.00. It was really hot so it was sweltering doing the work but we got it all done by 3.25pm, which included about 40 mins for lunch.

By the time we had roofed the entire hut, we were tired and decided to call it a day. We haven’t quite made up our minds about the roof – use the felt supplied or go for a corrugated roof with insulation beneath. So we will have to leave things for a few days while we earn a crust so we decided to cover the roof with a tarpaulin. It is not big enough but I have a bigger one that will go on before the rain arrives tomorrow afternoon.

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After my friend James left, I was still in the mood to just potter about and do a little more. So I fitted the doors and the door frame and that was a fairly easy process. I just needed my wife to hold the components steady while I screwed them and we got the doors hung after a bit of messing about trying to put them on backwards!

Then I decided to fit the little gates things at the end of the porch. I was hot and tired and not at my brightest so there was an awful lot of head scratching and trying to figure out these strange hinges. I have never seen anything like them in my life before. On the left, that’s just one hinge – I know they are special and let the little gate thing swing either way and open back out of the way. I couldn’t figure out how to fit them, so I left that for another day when I am less tired and hot and bothered…

I contemplated getting out the primer and doing the new pieces we had fitted – mainly the porch – and also the underside of the interior roof but it was still very hot and I decided instead to make up the steps which was a fairly easy task.

Shepherd Hut Completed.

So that’s it. There is more work to do – the roof in whatever material we decide to do it, but other than that we’re pretty much there. There’s the fitting out to do – prime and paint the rest of it; add the exterior trim, run some electric cables inside for lights and power; insulate inside and then panel the walls; lay an oak laminate floor; general painting and decorating and “dressing” the hut, etc. etc. I’ve bought a sofa bed from Ikea specially for it and I have been collecting a few period things that will look the part. But that is an on-going fun element which we will do over the next couple of weeks because we are in no hurry.

As I was reading customer comments on building one of these, it was suggested you can build one in a weekend. Of course the devil is in the detail – at what stage do you determine it is built? If you look at our timings and what you see in the photo above, then certainly, two averagely handy guys, working at a steady, unrushed pace, got this far in a long weekend. If we were building the other one, I think it would be quicker because we did an awful lot of head scratching and that’s understandable. There are no written instructions in terms of describing that you need to do this, then that, etc. etc. and how you do it. The manual is made up of about 18 pages of drawings – very well annotated drawings – that show you what is needed, and where and how it is placed. It shows you what screws to use and where necessary, there are little exploded drawings for key details. It is easy to miss something or confuse two pieces of the jigsaw so double check everything. That is not to criticise the instructions – but what we realised is that we weren’t familiar with following this kind of instruction booklet and at times things didn’t make sense. And then the penny would drop and you would see what was required and it was easy.

I think, most of all, I’m happy with the attitude we approached the build with: this is going to be fun. Let’s enjoy this. We certainly did despite the head scratching as we turned another page onto another stage of the build until it sank in what we were looking at and what we needed to do.


Thank you to James for your article. We appreciate the amount of detail and passion you show in both your writing and your images! I send my best wishes for when you build the other one and modify it. We would love to see images of the interior design when you’re finished!

Other customer experiences, build articled and ideas can be found here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews.

Dealing with Expansion / Contraction in Log Cabins

We know that Log Cabins move and certainly within the first year of life they can move quite a bit. I explain this in an article about moisture content in log cabins which greatly effects the expansion and contraction of the wall logs.

The trouble is this movement can be a bit of a problem if we want to put things on the wall, or perhaps adding some shelves or fixing machinery. You may even want to partition a portion of your cabin for several reasons, perhaps you want a shower or a toilet or just a separate storage area. You might also want a thinner log building due to your budget but you would like to insulate the walls to use it as a garden office.

All of this can be done easily but to do so we need to keep fully in the front of our minds that the bloomin’ thing will move and we don’t want to stop it.  If we do inhibit this natural movement we can end up with all sorts of horrible things happening such as:

  • Splits in the logs – This will normally be caused by logs being held together
  • Gaps appearing where logs have been held – normally by a window frame being screwed to the logs
  • Moisture entering through gaps and splits

To avoid all these problems, if we want to fix anything to a log cabin wall this is the simplest and best thing to use:

Expansion Slat for Log Cabins

Expansion slat for use in a log cabin to still allow movement of the logs.

Expansion slat for use in a log cabin to still allow movement of the logs.

This is a handy bit of wood and you can make it out of left over floorboards or roof boards. Any timber will suffice though and you will pick the thickness depending on the job you want it to do.

I often advise customers to make these for use as storm braces when they are in exposed locations, off cuts from the roof or floor boards is fine to use and you then position them behind the corner interlocks so they’re not really seen. This slat will then be fixed to the top most log and the bottom of the slat to a lower log, this then ties the whole cabin together.

The very simple principle here is that we have one fixed hole at the top and slots in the middle and end (depending on the length). The top hole is screwed tight and using a washer the slot fixings are not tightened fully so we can still allow the logs to move behind the bracket.

Shelf Fixing in a Log Cabin

Using this system you can put up shelves, cupboards and fix tools to the walls:

Expansion slats for fixing things to the walls.

Expansion slats for fixing things to the walls. Using this slat will allow the logs to still expand and contract.

You will see from my diagram that we are fixing the shelves to the expansion slat and not to the logs. For heavier duty uses you may want a thicker slat and you may want to bolt it fully through the log cabin wall.

This is also needed for securing cupboards to the walls and especially useful for electricians when securing a consumer unit.

NOTE: in the first month or so a log cabin will settle quite a bit from first being erected so it’s best to leave it for a few weeks before adding brackets and securing fittings. Within the first year the cabin will move the most as the wood needs to ‘die’ a little more. Year two will be a little less. Years three, four and onwards the movement is hugely reduced. Also remember the most important thing with a log cabin is to properly treat it. Proper treatment with a good depth of treatment will greatly inhibit the natural contraction and expansion and reduce it to a minimum. More details on Treating a log cabin

Partition Walls in Log Cabins

The same as you do in your home you may wish to put a partition wall into your log cabin for any number of reasons. You can do so as long as you remember the log cabin is always moving!

Using the simple principle of the ‘expansion slat’ explained above we can create slots in framing and make a wall as any stud wall would be made remember though the slot fixing should not be fully tight and always allow the logs to still move in both contraction and expansion.

Partition wall framing in a log cabin

Partition wall framing in a log cabin

You would make a partition wall as you would any stud wall and probably with noggins for extra strength. Your final surface covering could be anything you would like including plasterboard. However, if the floor has already been laid do not fix it to the floor as like the wall logs the floor will be expanding and contracting as well.

Twin-Skin Log Cabins

You may have seen twin skin log cabins in the market. I’ve put a couple of these up and they really are a challenge and I don’t like them for a number of reasons. Mainly the design intent is all wrong but I will not expand further here. If you require my personal thoughts please feel free to ask me.

Instead of a twin skin design I prefer making an inner wall and one that is independent to the main log cabin wall. This is particularly useful if you are constrained by your budget and want an insulated log cabin but don’t want to opt for thicker logs.

Also, if you are obtaining building control approval because you intend living in the cabin then it will need to be insulated to building standards. Thicker logs certainly help with insulation but sometimes a control officer will want more. I’ve been involved with several projects and a building officer will often ask for 50 – 100mm thick insulation in the walls (depending on the log thickness) and 100mm in the roof with 70mm in the floor. The roof and floor is easier as I make mention here: Insulating the floor and roof of a Log Cabin.

It’s completely fine to add an inner wall to your cabin and fill the cavity with insulation as long as you constantly bear in mind that the logs of the log cabin itself are always moving as previously explained.

NOTE: Also though consider what you are going to do where the logs join the roof, we cannot restrict the contraction and if the cabin is dropping over the summer if you have not allowed enough room the roof could end up sitting on your internal frame causing a gap to be formed.

Allow for the contraction as well as expansion!

This explains how you can create an internal wall to allow insulation inside the log cabin:

Creating a twin wall log cabin

Creating a twin wall log cabin using the same expansion slat principle

Using the same principle with the expansion slat we can create framing internally against the wall. The frame will of course depend on the depth of insulation required but employ the same methods and remember the logs need to move independently.

Building control will ask for a breathable membrane, followed by a small air gap, and then the insulation in between the frame. On top of the frame you will place your surface covering. Timber logs of 28mm looks good or use a thinner cladding for economy or perhaps plasterboard for a smooth sleek, modern finish.

I normally like to insulate the roof on the outside and this can still be done if you are lining the walls on. The reasons I like it on top of the roof is:

  • It’s generally easier and quicker
  • It’s less expensive
  • No cavity is formed to collect condensation

If you are cladding the inside in timber and putting insulation on top of the roof you will still maintain the look and feel of a log cabin and benefit from the space the vaulted roof provides.

This is an example of insulation on top of the roof:

Insulation added on top of the roof with inner wall insulation

Insulation added on top of the roof with inner wall insulation

Make sure you allow enough room for contraction. With this example you can see I am keeping the inner framing below the roof boards as with contraction there is a chance the boards could sit on top of the frame making the wall logs  separate.

I’ve used a fascia suspended from the ceiling that will sit in front of the inner wall but is not connected to it allowing it move up and down as the log cabin expands and contracts. Fill any cavity created with fibreglass insulation wool so it can also move.

In a previous article on roof insulation I was recommending 40mm – 50mm thick insulation.  If you are going to use thicker which you may want to, you would need to ‘cell’ the roof and board on top of the insulation:

Using timber framing to cell the roof and infill with insulation boards

Using timber framing to cell the roof and infill with insulation boards

Some building control officers will ask for 100mm in the roof. To do this you will need to create a tray on the roof, then cell the tray and put in the insulation board with a final board on top and then the final roofing material. You may also wish to consider adding a breathable membrane.

If you wish to insulate under the cabin roof you could so within the purlins and then clad underneath them:

Using insulation in between the roof purlins

Using insulation in between the roof purlins

Another method you could consider is as follows:

Creating a ceiling within a log cabin

Creating a ceiling within a log cabin

Again like the methods above we are making sure there is enough room for expansion and contraction of the outer wall logs.

Please remember, if you create any voids to really consider venting them as a buildup of condensation can cause huge problems.

Summary of Dealing with Expansion in Log Cabins

Log cabins are an extremely versatile building and are very inexpensive and they can be used for any number of uses from a humble garden shed all the way up to full blown family accommodation.  They will all behave the same and will all move all the time. So long as you remember and allow for this you can do anything you want to them. Including partition walls and internal insulating walls as I have shown.

Please Note: These are ideas for you to take away and use how you will, these are not detailed plans with measurements and the drawings are NOT to scale. If you go on to carry out any of these ideas please let me know how you get on but this is not a simple DIY task and you will need some knowledge and understanding of the processes and materials involved.

One last thing; the windows and doors are also part of the outside wall so don’t join any of your internal framing to the doors or windows in anyway, treat them exactly the same as the logs.

Please ask me any questions you have on this or if you do use my ideas, please let us all know how you got on. Like the timber frame bases for log cabins none of this has a hard and fast rule except: Log cabins;  Move!

Log Cabin Glass Removal

You may have a need to remove the glass from your doors or windows for maintenance or to paint behind. Most log cabins will have removable beading on the frame and it’s pretty straightforward to remove.

Below is how I remove the glass without causing any damage which may help you should you wish to take yours out for whatever reason, it’s straightforward to do and takes a few minutes to accomplish.

If the beading has already been painted then firstly score down the beading with a sharp knife to penetrate the treatment.

If the beading has already been painted then firstly score down the beading with a sharp knife to penetrate the treatment.

Using a small flat blade screw driver or similar this can be pushed down the side of the bead, work along and the pins holding the bead will become loose.

Using a small flat blade screwdriver or similar this can be pushed down the side of the bead, work along and the pins holding the bead will become loose.

Gently lever out the bead.

Gently lever out the bead.

Continue around the other beads, first score the bead to break the treatment seal as before.

Continue around the other beads, first score the bead to break the treatment seal as before.

The bead once loosened can be easily removed.

The bead once loosened can be easily removed.

Lever off the other beads using a small flat blade screwdriver.

Lever off the other beads using a small flat blade screwdriver. I prefer to put the beads in order of how you took them out. Doors are windows are hand made so there may be some minor variations in each bead.

With the beads removed the glass can be taken out to allow you to replace it or treat behind for aesthetics and longevity.

With the beads removed the glass can be taken out to allow you to replace it or treat behind for aesthetics and longevity. Please note it maybe necessary to use a sharp blade behind the glass and frame to break the seal of any sealant used.

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.

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.

Using a hammer tap the pins through the beads so the bead can be easily fitted.

Using a hammer tap the pins through the beads so the bead can be easily fitted.

Place the glass back into the frame and start to refit the beads.

Place the glass back into the frame and start to refit the beads.

Refitting the beads.

Refitting the beads.

Tap the pins into the frame, Depending on the type of bead it is often easier to slide your hammer head along the glass.

Tap the pins into the frame, Depending on the type of bead it is often easier to slide your hammer head along the glass.

With the glass replaced you can wipe off any finger marks or stray sealant if you decided to use any.

With the glass replaced you can wipe off any finger marks or stray sealant if you decided to use any.

To finish, retreat the beads if you have already painted the log cabin.

To finish, retreat the beads if you have already painted the log cabin.

Please Note:

As with any DIY project you need to give full consideration to your safety and those around you. Therefore I recommend wearing safety equipment such as goggles and gloves while removing the glass and taking all care and consideration whilst doing so.

Log Cabin Doors

No matter how good a fitter you are, with the most perfect eye you will always need to adjust the door frame during the install, especially if it is a double set of doors. This will need to be done to have a 100% perfect fit.

It may also need to be done over the life of a log cabin due to seasonal variations in moisture content, direct sun, direct weather, all of which will affect the cabin. Of course as I talk about in previous posts, treatment makes a huge difference to this and how susceptible the doors or windows are to these changes.

Door Frame Adjustment

Several factors need to be considered for a perfect door set up, these are:

  • Square of door frame.
  • Tightness of door frame.
  • Level of door frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to frame.
  • Door leaf adjustment to center.
  • Door leaf bow or warp.

The square of the frame is of obvious importance and this can be done in a number of ways. Personally I always make up my frame on the ground first and use a square in all the corners. I will always screw my frame and sometimes I may also consider glueing and screwing for a stronger fit over the lifetime of the building (check the frame is correct before glueing).

I have known some installers that do not screw or nail the frame at all, I do not recommend this!

With a double door the level of the frame will make a big difference to how the doors work together and if this is out slightly, it will be very evident when looking at the top of the doors where they meet in the middle.

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

A good example of a door frame with a slightly unlevel base

Look at the above picture and you will see the two leafs do not match each other at the top and the bottom. This is because the base rail that is supporting the frame is a few mm out of 100% level. You may think the base is perfectly level but the doors will always show an error.

This is easily resolved in this case by putting a 2 – 3mm shim under the left hand side of the door threshold between the foundation beam and threshold, the two leafs will then be level.

If you are certain the door frame is fitted tightly and is 100% square (glue or screws or both, or even nail although I prefer to screw every time). If you are also certain the door threshold is 100% level and adjustment is still necessary then this can be done on the hinges.

Log Cabin Hinges

Several types of hinges are used in log cabins, all of which will allow you to make adjustment to the door.

surface mounted hinge - generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Surface mounted hinge – generally used on thinner log, log cabins. These can be adjusted on both planes.

Some people have asked me about security with these hinges, they perceive the screws on the outside to be a security risk. When I have installed these and a customer has asked, I simply use a large metal drill and take out the slots of the screws rendering them impossible to remove. You can of course use security screws available from most DIY shops.

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

Two piece hinge forming a cup and spigot. These can adjust the door in both planes and like the hinge above are found on lighter doors.

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted

Three piece hinge. Two parts are screwed into the frame with one part into the door, they are connected together by means of a pin. Both planes can be adjusted. These are used on heavier doors for more strength.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane - up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Butt hinge, these can adjust the doors in one plane – up and down and will mainly be used with smooth door connection frames as moving the door leaves closer can be accomplished from the frame itself. An adjustment screw can be found in the top cap of the hinge and is adjusted with an allen key.

Other hinges also exist but they will all feature a similar mechanism of adjustment, the three part hinge tends to be the most popular.

Log Cabin Hinge Adjustment

The three part hinge for some reason confuses some fitters and is also the most commonly used, please see some examples of it’s use and adjustment below:

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

Three part hinges are held together with a pin.

This hinge can move the door leafs closer or further away from the door frame. It can also move the door leafs themselves closer and further away from each other at the door center.

The pin can be removed using a drift, or, in our case a small philips screwdriver. There is always some resistance and a hammer will generally be needed to tap the pin out.

The hinges themselves can then be turned in and out, to either move the door leafs closer / further away from each other (door leaf part), of course the doors can be moved closer / further away from the door frame adjusting the two parts on the door frames.

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver

The hinge part can be adjusted using a thin screwdriver, this is the door leaf part the moves the door leaves closer or further apart at the center.

Personally I like to firstly ascertain which direction I need the door to go in and then only turn the hinge parts a maximum of three turns either in or out, I will then do the same with the other hinges. Using only three turns keeps it simple and consistent.

Don’t be tempted to carry out adjustments in both planes at the same time as it can get confusing.

The pins can be loosely put back in to test your adjustments before knocking them back in fully.

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment of the hinges

The hinge pins can be left loose while you carry out the adjustment and check of the hinges as you progress through making the doors perfect.

Adjusting the frame hinge parts on the door frame.

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Frame hinge parts being adjusted using a small screwdriver

Once all adjustments have been made and you are happy, then knock the pins back in fully.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

When you are satisfied with the adjustment then knock the hinges fully back in.

Using the above hinges adjustments, the threshold 100% level and the frame square all door issues are easily resolved in regard to fitting perfectly.

BUT

Very rarely you may have another problem to deal with which is almost 99.9% caused by storage. A warp or bow in the door!

A warp or bow is Never a problem and it is easy to overcome or avoid.

Warp in a Log Cabin door

As well as normal adjustments to the hinges when installing, and over the life of the building you may also have to contend with a warp in the door itself. This is unusual but can happen and it’s normally caused by storage or the weather and a rather undesirable feature of wood itself – it moves when allowed to.

Doors and windows in a log cabin are probably the most expensive and complicated part of the whole building and the supplier will go to great lengths to protect these parts. Unless the building is very large or complicated the doors and windows will come within the main log cabin package and normally buried under logs.

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

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

Doors and windows are often protected within the package to avoid damage to the glass, but mainly to prevent warping and bowing. All timber when  supported will maintain its shape. As soon as it is unsupported it can be susceptible to movement. As well as support a supplier will also build safeguards into the door itself such as the choice of direction of timber grain and more recently laminating timber to reduce warps.

I’ve said before in other posts how an installer can greatly influence the build on how they store the parts once they are unpacked. We can cause all sorts of problems with the storage of logs and purlins, in my log cabin installation advice post I talk about storing logs flat and top of each other.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Never store logs like this in your build as you will create many warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Only store logs on top of each other and flat to avoid the creation of warps and bows.

Like other timber products, how we store the timber will make a huge difference to the install. I show more examples of bad storage in one of my gazebo installation advice posts.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

An example of how not to store parts of your log cabin. NEVER lean them up against a wall and always keep them flat.

This is what happens to parts when leant against a wall or not on a flat and level surface. Imagine the same thing happening to your door or windows.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

Very bowed and warped timber caused by the incorrect storage whilst building the structure.

This is an extreme example of what happens to a door when left up against a wall for several days before being installed:

An extremely warped door.

An extremely warped door. This has happened due to storage and care. Easily fixable but very avoidable with the correct storage.

A warp or bow is never a problem though and can easily be fixed but it is better not to have the issue in the first place so consider:

  • Keeping the doors and windows supported as they were in the pallet.
  • Store them 100% flat and on top of each other.
  • Never lean them against a wall while building your log cabin.

In a previous life I used to make sheds and summerhouses. After every door was made we would stack them on top of each other with spacers in between and finally we would put bricks on top of them to stop them from warping, until they were put into a building, when they were then supported by hinges, frame, locks and of course gravity, being supported level, upright and square. You should also consider the doors and windows when waiting to install them.

It’s not a problem though if you have this problem or created this!

If I’ve cocked up and made a warp in my install or even if the door moves over the install which it may do on rare occasions.

The heat from the sun can play havoc with a log cabin door or window. I talk about moisture content, cracks and warps in another post which you may be interested in and also explains what you are seeing and why: Cracks and Splits in Timber I also talk about moisture content in log cabins.

The solution is easy though, one of these ……

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb button

An ideal solution to a warp or bow in your door, I call them turn buttons but they are also referred as a thumb turn button.

These are handy little things and available from all DIY shops, we’ll send you one or two free if you need them and these clever things will always remove a warp or bow over a month or two of application. As I’ve said above with careful consideration and handling you rarely need them, but they are a solution when you need to overcome a warp.

I’m asked occasionally how you fit them, here’s an example, I’ve oversized the pictures for demonstration purposes but you will get the gist.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

Warp in the log cabin door is identified and needs correcting.

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piec e of timber

If you have a double door and have fitted a door stop trim then use a similar size piece of timber that matches it. Parts from the pallet or off cut roof or floor boards is generally ideal for this.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

As when working with all wood and screws we will always send through a pilot hole before sending through a screw to stop splits happening in the timber we are working on.

We've oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

We’ve oversized here to show you but we are fixing an equivalent sized plate to the door on the opposite side and fixing to the opposite leaf.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the plate fitted the turn button is then fixed. This can then be turned to secure the door. This works on a double and single door. The turn button is made for precisely this task.

With the turnbutton in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

With the turn button in place the warped door is supported and the warp will eventually go in a month or two and the button can eventually be removed.

From my picture bank I sadly like to keep, this was my worst warped door from an install I did:

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

A bad warp created by me but very easily solved.

With a turn button this was fixed very quickly and I never heard from my customer again.

Should you have a similar problem with one of your Tuin Log Cabins please do not keep it to yourself, we can help you to solve this easily and will send you out one of these buttons to help you.

Please be aware though that timber is a bugger, and can also do this over the life time, a huge amount comes down to the level and quality of treatment you use on the doors and windows. Without good treatment you can expect this to happen with any building, no matter the supplier. Please see this post for more details on treatments: Log Cabin Treatment.