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 [email protected] 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

 

Tuin Roof Shingles Complaint

This is a tongue in cheek post …….

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

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

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

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

Roof Shingles Installation

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

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

Log Cabin Window Stays

I thought it was quite a simple thing asking one of our young lads to finish a cabin by putting on the locks, window stays etc. He hasn’t been with us for very long and is  learning how to fit to eventually be a member of the service team.

We were fitting an Emma Log Cabin as a learning building and everything had gone as expected and I was leaving him to finish off while I chipped off to do something really important somewhere else. After a short while he came to find me and asked ‘How do you do this’? while holding a stay.

I thought it was quite straightforward and hadn’t really thought it was a tricky thing to do but this was my instruction to him which may also help others finishing their log cabin:

Fitting a Window Stay in Log Cabins

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The end of the window stay is normally hinged so it can be placed either left or right

left-window-stay

right-window-stay

Using the hinge we can either place the window stay to the left or right. It’s a choice of aesthetic and in the case of a corner log cabin such as the Emma log cabin it’s nice to have them either facing towards or away from the door.

If you're working on your own, use a piece of timber to hold the window shut

If you’re working on your own, use a piece of timber to hold the window shut

Centrally locate the window stay and place it on the two pins.

Centrally locate the window stay and place it on the two pins.

I like to use a slither of wood to raise the stay up from the securing pins slightly, it seems to work better and looks nicer at the end.

Fix the stay to the opening window first making sure it is level and centrally placed for aesthetics.

Fix the stay to the opening window first making sure it is level and centrally placed for aesthetics.

Open out the stay to fix the second screw.

Open out the stay to fix the second screw.

Lay the stay on the pins in its final position. Gently hold the pin in place with your finger as you lift it up again to fix the pin

Lay the stay on the pins in its final position. Gently hold the pin in place with your finger as you lift it up again to fix the pin

Be careful not to move the pin too much as you lift up the stay.

Be careful not to move the pin too much as you lift up the stay.

Screw one side of the pin and check it works.

Screw one side of the pin and check it works.

Some adjustment maybe needed to make the stay apply the appropriate pressure to the window making sure it seals.

Some adjustment may be needed to make the stay apply the appropriate pressure to the window making sure it seals.

When we have finished we need to make sure there is some pressure on the stay and pins to ensure the log cabin window is sealing tight against the frame. If necessary after checking move one side of the pin out as in the above picture.

ff

Fix the next screw after it has been rotated out slightly and then fix the next one, this will ensure there is some pressure on the window and is a handy technique when fitting these on your own.

window-pin-3

Window stay will now be at an angle to the window so when the final pin is fitted there will be constant pressure on the window making sure it is permanently sealed to the frame

The window stay will now be at an angle to the window so when the final pin is fitted there will be constant pressure on the window making sure it is permanently sealed to the frame

Some pressure is now needed to place the final pin, mark it and fix it into position.

Some pressure is now needed to place the final pin, mark it and fix it into position.

Fixing the final window stay pin

Fixing the final window stay pin

Log Cabin window stay in it's final position.

Log Cabin window stay in it’s final position.

Ideally when the stay is fitted it will be:

  • Centrally located
  • Facing towards or away from the door as is aesthetically pleasing with other window complimenting it
  • It should exert some pressure on the window to keep it sealed against the window frame

Please Note: The furniture fitted may not be identical to that received with your building as this was a training building but the process and style will be similar.

Log Cabin Glass Removal

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.
This concludes our Log Cabin glass removal guide- For any other questions and concerns please email in.

Fitting Log Cabin Doors

When fitting 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.

There are different types of hinges on the different models, on some we send hinges that require an alan key to make adjustments.

Alan Key Adjustments

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 warping parts

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 piece 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.

Log Cabin Contraction

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

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

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

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

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

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

Logs have shrunk in the heat.

Logs are coming apart.

Gaps appearing

Gaps appearing in the log cabin walls

Gaps and twists starting in the wall logs

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

Gaps starting to show in a wall of a log cabin

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

Log Cabin shrinking

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

Gaps starting to appear

Gaps starting to appear

Contraction of Log Cabins

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

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

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

My online Log Cabin Advice Manual also talks about this.

Log Cabin Logs

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

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

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

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

Contraction example:

Contraction exampe

Contraction example

Another contraction example

Another contraction example with untreated wood showing

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

Expansion example, notice the original paint line

Expansion example, notice the original paint line

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

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

Installation Problem

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

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

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

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

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

Fixed Fascias

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

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

Gaps appearing

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

Fascia being fixed to the logs restricting their movement

Fascia being fixed to the logs restricting their movement

Door fixed to the wall logs

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

Timber infills

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

Timber used to fill the expansion gaps.

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

Extra timber placed above the door frame

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

Timber insert placed in the expansion gap

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

DIY storm Kits, Brackets, Shelves, Curtains etc

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

Strapping to act as a storm kit and bracing

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

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

Electricity in Log Cabins

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

Here’s how to do it:

Flexible expansion to allow for the cabin to move.

Flexible expansion to allow for the cabin to move.

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

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

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

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

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

Summary of contraction in a Log Cabin

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Check for:

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

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

Electrics in Log Cabins

When we buy a Log Cabin there are a lot of considerations, not only what it looks like but the size, style, the quality of the log cabin and price.  We also have to consider whether it is permitted development or whether it needs planning permission.  If we want to have electrics in our log cabins we also have to consider Building Regulations.

As well as being a reasonable fitter I do have experience of electrics in log cabins as I’m also a qualified electrician.

Important

If you are intending to install an electrics in your log cabin and are aware of building regs then please skip most of this but please do read at least the last section in this post which talks about the quirks of installing electrics in log cabins and things you should inform your electrician about.

Competent ….ish

I’m a member of a ‘Competent Person Scheme’ and on the TrustMark Government Register.  Not all electricians are, nor are they required to be.  This is what I’m currently approved to work on:

Napit-competant-person-log-cabin-electrician

 
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Electricians

There are three types of people who can install electrics in your log cabin.

  • An Electrician who is registered with a ‘scheme provider’.
  • An Electrician who is not registered.
  • You or a friend.

Any of these people can install the electrical system in your log cabin.

BUT there is a big difference in the way it is executed and completed due to the Building Regulations currently in force.(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Building_regulations_in_the_United_Kingdom)

Part P of the Building Regulations

In January of 2005 the Part P of the building regulations came into effect.  Part P is the last part of Schedule One to the Building Regulations.  It concerns Electrical Safety.

The approved document identifies a legal requirement for all work on fixed electrical installations in dwellings and associated buildings to comply with the relevant standards.  The relevant standards are known as the 17th Edition IEE Wiring Regulations:BS7671 and any amendments current.

It also places a legal obligation that any electrical work outside is notified to the Local Building Control. Your log cabin electrical system MUST be notified.

For a concise view on Part P and the frequently asked questions that surround it please see this document:  Part P FAQ

Electrical Installation Certificate

A certificate is vitally important for any electrical works carried out since 2005.

When you come to sell your home you will be asked for a certificate for any work carried out after this date, without it you may well have a problem to overcome before the sale.  Also, should you have a fire, this is one of the first things asked for by your insurance company, without a valid certificate your claim may be void.

This is an example of a certificate that should be issued with your Log Cabin electrical installation.  You will notice it has one page for the main house consumer unit and another for the log cabin consumer unit.

Registered ‘Competent Person’

With the suitable qualifications and experience an electrician can join a Competent Person Scheme (CPS):   There are several of these schemes that cover not just electrical installations but also Heating, Roofing etc.  Here’s a few of them:

competant-schemes-electricians

If an electrician is a member of this scheme it means that he is able to self certify his or her own work.  It also means that they are assessed yearly, their work is monitored, qualifications are up to date and that their test equipment is properly calibrated.  Also, very importantly, that they are fully insured and their work is guaranteed.

They are assessed yearly that they can correctly test and issue an Electrical Installation Certificate.  They can then register the installation with your local building control and as they can self certify they are exempt from informing Local Building Control before an install and only do so following the installation and testing.

By employing a registered electrician you are ensuring that the installation fully complies with all the regulations as best you can.

I recommend you always use an electrician who is registered with a Scheme provider as it takes away all the responsibilities from you.  I would also recommend that if they state that they are registered that you check their credentials here: http://www.competentperson.co.uk/ or with their registered body.

You or an un-registered Electrician

If you want to use an unregistered electrician or indeed if you want to carry out the electrical installation in your log cabin you’re perfectly allowed to.

However, you MUST inform your Local Building Control BEFORE you do anything. They will generally ask for a description of the installation, diagrams and details of the level of experience and knowledge of the installer.  They will want to visit and check on the stages of work before and during the various stages.  When the work is completed and BEFORE it is energised they will visit your log cabin.  They will inspect the installation which will include ensuring it meets the wiring regulations and they will test and certificate it for you.  There may be a  charge for this service.

electrics-in-log-cabin-notify-work-flow

Electrical Safety

Electricity is not something to muck about with as we all know, it’s dangerous stuff.

There are fines of up to £5000 for non compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations.

If you do not have sufficient knowledge to Design, Install and Test an installation to the current wiring standards do not even consider attempting it as it could be a very costly mistake.

Electrical Installation in your log cabin.

With the law and regulation bits out of the way and who to use lets now look at the installation itself.

Before you can do anything you need to plan out exactly what you want to power in there.  Our log cabins are very often used as a garden office so lets look at that scenario as an example.

You obviously need lights in your cabin, maybe a couple inside and one outside light on a PIR.  You’re going to be running a couple of computers, perhaps a music player, a printer, charger, you’ll probably want a cup of tea so make allowance for a kettle.  You may also like an outdoor socket for your electric mower or a spot of DIY.

Keep  a note of all these items, and also any that you might be likely to use in the future.

This will give your electrician an idea of the amount of power you will be requiring and they will then design the system to account for that maximum power useage, if they’re anything like me they will also allow for future proofing and design their system higher than your basic requirement.

When you ask an electrician to quote for your work you can expect him to use one of two ways to install the electrical system in your log cabin.   Which method is used will depend greatly on your power requirement.

The first method is to take a power directly from your main consumer unit.  This is the preferred method.  If you do not have any spare ways he will introduce a smaller consumer unit from the main supply to supply your log cabin.  In any case this supply will be RCD protected.

electric-in-log-cabinsThe second method is only used with a low power requirement and is taken from your existing house socket circuit and only if that circuit is suitable and capable of additional load:

electric-in-log-cabins-2

It is unlikely this method is used for anything other than a single light and a single socket and only if the log cabin is very close to your house.

In both cases an electrician will use armoured cable to supply the log cabin.  This cable can either be fixed in clear site of immovable objects such as walls and possibly fences or buried in the ground.  As a rule of thumb it will be buried to a depth of one and a half spade depths which is about 500mm.  It should be buried deeper across flower beds or vegetable gardens.  You can often save money by creating a trench for the cable yourself before your electrician arrives.

When your electrician designs your electrical system he is going to base it on your power requirements, the distance away from the main incoming supply and the condition and rating of your supply.   There are of course other factors but this is all he needs to know from you as the customer to be able to quote for you.

Information to Gather for an Electrician to Quote:

  • Number of lights and sockets in your log cabin.
  • Power requirement:  You can either add up the watts or amps of each electrical item or tell the electrician what you intend to use and he will make the calculations.
  • Distance from the main supply or consumer unit.
  • Condition of your consumer unit and whether there are any spare ways within it.
  • Route of the supply cable to your log cabin and whether you will be digging the trench yourself.
  • Exit route from your consumer unit in the house to the outside.

When you ask for a quotation of your system here’s a handy form you can use:  Electrical Quotation Form

The Quirks of Log Cabins when installing Electrical Systems.

If your electrician is not experienced with installing a system in a Log Cabin you need to make him / her aware that it is a bit quirky and that they’ve got some extra considerations to make when installing it.  If they’re not experienced or you don’t tell them I guarantee you’ll be calling them back!

trunkingAll electricians, or at least the good ones want to do the best job they can.  We’re also sticklers for neatness, we like our wires to be straight, no twists, our terminals to be tight and well trimmed and above all we love everything to look lovely and professional.  To give the perfect finish within your log cabin we will want to use trunking.  It’s this trunking that causes the problems.  So, before they carry out the work tell them that the log cabin MOVES!

It can move a lot as well, some of the big 58mm log cabins and thicker can move up to 70mm over the course of a year, this is an inherent property of timber and entirely normal, it will expand and contract according to humidity, weather and other factors.  This movement is what will cause you to call your electrician back as all his lovely neat trunking will fall off the walls, or at worst create splits and cracks in your logs where the trunking is screwed without an expansion gap and will in effect hold two logs together and prevent them expanding naturally.  This will create splits in the logs!

Please make your electrician aware of this and suggest the following:

  • Keep trunking low down on the first log with ‘T’ pieces going up to sockets
  • Create an oval in the trunking and do not screw it fully tight allowing the logs to move underneath it.
  • Allow enough slack in the cables for the expansion
  • NEVER fix logs together, this is very important when mounting the consumer unit as it is often more than one log high.  If expansion is not allowed for the logs will SPLIT.
  • Consider using round conduit pipe outside the building entirely.  The saddles that attach it will allow expansion and it will look alot nicer inside.  This is my preferred method and I tend to hide it around the foundation beam and ‘T’ up from it, the corner crosses of a log cabin are also very good for hiding conduit.
  • If you are insulating the roof of your log cabin consider lighting circuit cables on top of the roof.

Further information on Electrical Installations

These publications are handy to read regarding electrics in and around your home:

If you require further information on the best way to install electrics into log cabins please let me know and I’ll help where I can.