Chloe Log Cabin Review

One of our lovely customers, who I will refer to as Mrs A has sent us a review of their experience of building their Chloe Log Cabin which would be used for a garden gym! As well as their service that they had received from our team here at Tuin.


Mrs A writes as follows:

At the bottom of my garden sat an 8x9ft Summer House, not a very old one around 18 months old which I purchased on-line the quality sadly reflected the price I paid from the on-line supplier. It was purchased for use as a gym by for my son, but it was soggy and damp and not fit for purpose as the walls were so thin and badly manufactured. We took it down and sadly it was so damp to the tip it went as I don’t think we would have been able to burn and sing around it as it went up in flames cursing the on-line supplier who’s rating on Trustpilot seems to have more red stars than I have ever seen.

We decided it was time to spend our savings on something bigger and much better quality that we could divide and use half as his gym and the other half as a nice relaxing space. I started the search, so many places to buy but as I had made such a bad purchase the first time around I didn’t want to make the same mistake again. My friend at work had been talking about a large summer house her friend had brought from a company called Tuin which she helped to build and couldn’t fault the company or the quality. So off to the Tuin website I went and started to look, the range of products was fantastic so many choices of all sizes, my imagination went wild and before I could stop myself was looking at the biggest ones I could get and imagining what I could put in side! However reality hit me that evening when I got home and measured the space I could use and although I was going to build a giant palace the biggest I could purchase was a 4x3m. I then found Chloe, she was the right size and looked perfect and even better in budget.

I contacted Tuin and after fantastic service from Richard, who I say goes over and beyond for customer satisfaction I placed the order in late February. As we had yet to build the base I picked the furthest delivery slot I could to allow us to build a concrete base where Chloe was going to take residence. Building the base seemed to take forever due to bad weather and finally it was done. Left it for a couple of weeks to dry off and then Chloe arrived and we were ready to build – have to say I enjoy DIY work but both me and my husband were really looking forward to the build it’s like giant Lego for adults and you get to use big mallets!

Now, onto the process of building Chloe…

When we ordered we selected a required delivery week and the Sunday before I received an email for payment, once this was complete I received a call from a very nice lady from the delivery company to arrange a delivery date.

We knew from looking on the Tuin website how the cabin would be packaged and the size of the packaging. I would recommend you take a look at the site so you have an idea how large your delivery will be so you can work out where you want it to be put. We knew that it would be a couple of weeks before we would be able to start the build so by having it placed in the garden next to the driveway would mean that we didn’t have to worry about not being able to use the driveway for the next couple of weeks.

She arrived on the advised date as promised, no sitting around for a delivery that doesn’t turn up when advised and we have all done that. I received call from driver that morning advising us roughly what time he would arrive, my husband was at home and was watching for the lorry, then down the road came a forklift with the cabin. The driver had had to park up the road and drive the forklift into our close as once he had the lorry in he would not have been able to get back out again. My husband asked if he could drop it other side of the drive which he did with no problems. A couple of my concrete edging blocks were slightly damaged and the driver was very apologetic but it’s wasn’t a problem, he had nearly a ton of cabin plus whatever his forklift weights driving over them which we asked him to do you cannot make an omelette without breaking a few eggs. He was unable to stop for a well-deserved cuppa as his very large lorry was parked up the road and didn’t want to upset anyone so he had to move it quickly. Chloe then sat in the front garden for a couple of weeks until we were ready to start the build.

The Chloe Log Cabin Unpackages

The unpackaged components to the Chloe Log Cabin

Picture taken after we had started to move the parts into the back garden (sorry I forgot to take a picture of the wrapped package). If you don’t start your build straight away don’t worry the cabin is so well wrapped it will be fine, and will wait until you are ready.

As you move parts sort them as you go putting all the parts into piles according to size, you can then use the checklist provided to check you have all the parts. I did expect parts to be numbered which would make it easier but none of them were, however as you start to check off the larger parts then it does become easier.
When we finished checking parts I noticed that one of the parts had a large crack, we wanted to start build over the weekend so I emailed Tuin out of hours service to see if we were able to use the part or needed a replacement (it was 9pm on a Friday night) and I received a response within 15 mins. I sent over pictures of the damage and was advised it was fine to use or if I wasn’t happy they could send a replacement. We opted to use it but receiving a response on a Friday night was great service. Really I wanted peace of mind it was ok to use, last thing we wanted to do was use it only to find out we should have waited for a replacement.

Day 1, the build started at… 10am…

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I am helping, but someone has to take pictures ☺ however to get to this stage has taken 30 mins and most of that time it was checking that everything was square. The whole cabin is slotting together very nicely.

By the last image we were ready to put in the doorframe, a quick email to Tuin as from the instructions we were not 100% sure on orientation of the frame. Saturday morning and quick response received from Tuin clarifying our question and we are good to go again. Tuin’s contact team can go back to watching Saturday morning Kitchen ☺

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To be honest, the build is so much quicker than we expected!

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It’s now around 5pm and the cabin is built! We are calling it a day as it seems the neighbours have had enough of us banging in the garden all day. Despite me not being in any of the pictures it has taken just 2 of us to build this in one day. The build went very well, only one slight problem with the door not shutting correctly, this was a job for the next day.

Day 2, time to put on the roof tiles… Not so many pictures of this as we were both on the roof. One slight problem nothing to do with the cabin but the ladder being on very uneven ground meant that it slipped when we were up on the roof and neither of us could get down. The cabin might not look very high from the ground but it is high when you want to get down. After a few min’s of us laughing about how we were going to get down and me trying to step onto damaged shed roof our neighbour noticed and asked if we wanted her to come round and hold the ladder. We arrived on the ground safely which was a bit of a relief as after too many cups of tea before starting on a cold day nature was calling.

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The shingles do take a long time to put on, most of the day to be honest but once you get the hang of putting them on it is very easy. Yes it would be quicker and easier with felt but once you take a step back and look at the result well I think it says it all!

So Chloe is now completed and looking great. The base around Chloe does look a bit of a mess but that job is for next weekend.

The finished image of the Chloe Log Cabin

The following weekend; decking, steps and raised platform fitted.

Chloe is finished!

The quality of the product is excellent, the cabin is well designed and slots together so well, we are very pleased and Chloe is now the pride of our garden.

The whole Tuin team are a pleasure to deal with, they are all very knowledgeable they know the product inside out and I would have no problem in recommending them.

You may be wondering why none of the pictures show the inside of the cabin, well I intend to write another review once the floor is down, as we blew our budget on the cabin we have been saving for the floor, also at the moment a few bits of furniture and a weight bench sitting on a concrete floor does not really show her off. We intended to put down a plywood base sitting on some 2×2 with laminate floor on top, but after sitting inside and looking at the walls and roof this would not do her justice. The floor would look so much better with ‘real’ wood so we have just placed an order for the wooden floor pack which we feel will look so much better. Once this is down then I will take some more pictures of the inside.

Well think I have just about covered it, thank you Tuin!

 


Thank you to Mrs A for your article, reading how our customer service helped ease your confusion on building was great to hear. Your Chloe log cabin looks stunning! We’ll be looking forward to see images on how you modify the inside of your log cabin to make your gym/relaxation area!

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

Gazebo Installation Advice

I love our gazebos, I think you are hard pressed to find a comparable product for the money and in the materials that are offered. They are now in pressure treated, tanalised timber or the cracking Larch timber. This page shows our full range of gazebos.

Price of course is always a consideration when looking at products but I highly recommend you look at Larch, yes it’s more expensive but the benefits may just outway the extra outlay. I wrote an article a little while ago on larch timber, please see this page: European Larch Timber.

The gazebo I am featuring in this article is the Samos Larch Rectangular Gazebo.

This post is about my advice about the installation of Gazebos, please note it is ONLY my personal view, other people fitting these gazebos may have a better way of doing it.

Gazebo Plans

Plans are supplied with every Gazebo such as this, the picture links to the plans, as an example these are of the very popular Grande Gazebo. The Grande Gazebo is the pressure treated pine version of the one I’m featuring here.

Gazebo plans

Gazebo plans example of what it sent with your gazebo order.

Personally I have never had a problem with these plans, the same as I haven’t with our log cabins plans, this is from day one of my first ever install. But a few customers have had some problems and need a little extra help. I wrote a post on installation advice for log cabins.

This post will be similar for customers that need a different point of view and may need help with some questions while installing.

My perspective on the installation of a Gazebo

The plans are good, they show you exactly where the parts go. They then leave you to your own skills and interpretation according to your base, requirements and final finished product. The Gazebos are a full on building and need to be treated as such. It is impossible to give every possible instruction on how to install these, some common sense, DIY skill and understanding needs to be applied. That’s the bit I enjoy when installing all our buildings – The ability to change and adapt to what I require and what my customer wants.

So, with that said, lets deviate from the plans that come with the gazebo, this is my personal way of doing things and NOT the way I am instructed to do it by the plans (other than ensuring the correct parts are in the correct position) Here’s some information and tips from my experience. Of course you can follow the plans, follow my advice or devise your own method, this is a building and it’s up to you how you want to accomplish the install.

How does the Gazebo Arrive ?

The gazebo will arrive exactly like our log cabins, on a really big lorry with a really handy forklift attached to it. Please see this page for more details: Delivery of Large Tuin Buildings.

This is the pallet that will be delivered.

Gazebo pallet

Gazebo pallet, on top of this will be the final roof covering you have chosen be it felt or IKO roof shingles (sometimes we offer these FREE)

Please note a tanalised, pressure treated gazebo will be similar to the above.

There is a difference though, the Larch gazebo pallet is packed slightly different and each layer is kept apart by slats to allow the wood to dry more and to be kept straight and separate from each other. This is not found in the pressure treated gazebo version and nor does it need to be.

Slats

Slats are present in every layer in the Larch Gazebo. They are stapled on and staples may need to be removed by means of a set of pliers, I find fine point nose pliers the best to remove them.

Removing the slats which separate the layers of timber in the larch gazebo.

Removing the slats which separate the layers of timber in the larch gazebo.

Unpacking the Gazebo.

Nope, it’s not labelled and why would it need to be? It’s very simple to see what are the roof boards and what is the structure simply by the size and shape of the timbers.  As I’m unpacking I will sort out the various parts as I come across them in the pallet. Please note sometimes the pallets can be wet if it has rained during loading or brief storing. We tend to keep the tanalised gazebos outside but protected with weed matting to act as shade to prevent discolouration. If you find your gazebo is wet as you unpack please do not let this be of concern as of course it is designed to be outside in all weathers for the next 20 years.

As I come across the roof boards in the pack I will put them in the sections of roof I’m expecting: for square roofs each side will be the same, for a rectangular roof I am expecting two triangle roofs and two extended triangles. It is far easier to do this as you unpack.

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Two sets of end roof boards laid on top of each other. For a square building you would of course have four sets. This is the end roof triangles of the Samos rectangular Larch Gazebo

Extended triangle paid out, two sets for both sides.

Extended triangle roof boards laid out, two sets for both sides in the case of a rectangular gazebo.

As well as laying out the roof boards in order I’m also identifying the other parts as I go, the posts and ring beam are very easy to spot.

Layout the ring beam as you go. Putting it into it's rough position.

Layout the ring beam as you go. Putting it into it’s rough final position.

It's easy to spot the posts. On a rectangular gazebo there will be two types. Four for the corners and two for the long edge

It’s easy to spot the posts. On a rectangular gazebo there will be two types. Four for the corners and two for the long edge

Roof rafters are easy to spot as well. Please note there will be some difference in sizes depending on their location in the roof.

Corner braces are easy to spot as well.

King pin blocks which are used where the rafters connect at the points. A rectangular pyramid roof will have two.

King pin blocks which are used where the rafters connect at the points. A rectangular pyramid roof will have two.

The corner rafters can be easily spotted by their length and also by the notch which will sit over the corner of the ring beam.

The corner rafters can be easily identified by their length and also by the birdsmouth notch which will sit over the corner of the ring beam. Note the rafters that form the sides are not notched.

The Gazebo fitting kit. It's pretty simple, the long nails are for the thickest bits of wood, shorter ones for the thinner and the very short ones will be used for the lateral bracing slats of which there are two in a rectangular roof gazebo. Nails are supplied for the roof boards. Felt tacks are for your final roof covering.

The Gazebo fitting kit. It’s pretty simple, the long nails are for the thickest bits of wood – the rafters. The medium ones for the ring beam, legs and corner supports and the very short ones will be used for the lateral bracing slats of which there are two in a rectangular roof gazebo. Nails are supplied for the roof boards. Felt tacks are for your final roof covering. I differ from the advice in the plans of number and placement of screws, you will see from the following pictures. For instance with the rafters I will only use one screw but use double screws elsewhere. It is of course up to you. You may also want to add additional fixings as you see fit.

Advice on fitting the Gazebo

From this point I only use the plans to check that I am using the right parts in the right place. I am not following the construction method or the particular location of screws, this is the way I have found it to be easiest over the years. With this method:

  • You only need two people to carry out the install.
  • It is easier to find the EXACT location of where post holders should be fitted while accounting for timber not being an exact product to work with.
  • It is safer, stronger and quicker.
  • No strain is placed on any joints, some plans will show building the gazebo on its side and then lifting into position, I have found this method very hard to do and can put strain on the joints.

Tools required for fitting the Gazebo

You only really need basic tools for fitting the gazebo. Two battery powered drills helps save time and clamps are essential really to make a good job, we use them a lot in fitting both gazebos and also log cabins. A very useful tool!

Tools include: Two Step Ladders, Two drills,

Tools include: Two Step Ladders, Two drills, hammers, pliers, long spirit level, marker pen, tape measure and the all important clamps. You will also need a saw for trimming roof boards.

Ring Beam of the Gazebo

I had already laid the main ring beam parts in the location that it will be installed in, now I will carefully check the measurements against the plans. Please note that with square roofs there will be two shorter parts and two longer parts so it can form a square.

Measure the beams carefully against the plans and check they are in the right position.

Measure the beams carefully against the plans and check they are in the right position.

Regardless of what I am installing I will always use pilot holes every time a screw is used. This is particularly important when working with Larch. ALWAYS pilot hole!

Always piot hole

Always pilot hole every location that a screw is going to be used, it creates a far tighter joint and generally stops a screw head being buried for a better finish and easier to take apart. It’s also a lot easier!

Screw the ring beam together, I use the medium size screws, two in each joint.

Screw the ring beam together, I use the medium size screws, two in each joint. For square roofs all of them will be joined. For the rectangular roof this is not possible until the center post is installed.

Using clamps we will temporarily fix the center joint together. Using a tape measure we check they are the same distance apart using the end beam as a reference. We then make sure the ring beam is 100% square. (If you are not sure how to square please see the relevant section our log cabin installation advice page).

Measuring and squaring the ring beam. The center joint is temporarily held with clamps.

Measuring and squaring the ring beam. The center joint is temporarily held with clamps.

Ensuring the ring beam is square and in the final install position.

Ensuring the ring beam is square and in the final install position. Note we are using a block in the middle to stop sag of the tape for a more accurate measurement.

Posts and Post Holders

With the ring beam of the gazebo square and in the final position of where it will be we can now mark exactly where the legs will be. This saves a lot of measuring and takes into account the fact that timber is not always millimeter perfect.

Putting the post in upside down in their finished location we can then mark around the post to get the exact position of the posts in relation to the ring beam.

Marking the location of the corner post.

Marking the location of the corner post.

In the case of rectangle gazebos you will also mark the location of the middle post.

In the case of rectangle gazebos you will also mark the location of the middle post.

With marks in place you can then exactly position your post holders.

Post holder location can be marked for exact location according to the position of the main ring beam

Post holder location can be marked for exact location according to the position of the main ring beam

 

Post holder location

Post holder location marked and can then be secured knowing it is 100% accurate.

We have several types of post anchors available for use in soft / hard ground. It is very important to secure the posts and the holders do help with this. Without securing the posts if they are knocked during its lifetime you could well have some problems.

Of course there are also other methods which you may wish to use or devise yourself. Like any of our buildings it is essential the gazebo is held square and 100% straight in both plains.

Post holders are handy if the area is not 100% level as we have with this install, we added packers inside the holder to get the post level as it was not possible in our install to break ground

We hid packers inside the post holders to help level the gazebo as breaking the ground was not possible.

We hide packers inside the post holders to help level the gazebo as breaking the ground was not possible.

Here’s another example of using the ring beam to locate the post holders accurately

Using the ring beam to find the exact location of the post holders when concreting them in.

Using the ring beam to find the exact location of the post holders when concreting them in.

If you don’t like the look of the post holders you can always box them in as was done here.

Boxing in the post holders to hide them.

Boxing in the post holders to hide them.

Using our clamps again we will fit two posts into the corner of one section of the ring beam.

Clamping the post into one end of the ring beam.

Clamping the post into one end of the ring beam.

Using the clamp to hold the post

Using the clamp to hold the post

Screws into the posts through the ring beam.

Screws into the posts through the ring beam. We’re still using the medium size screws.

Post screwed into position. I am using more screws than the plans may show for strength.

Post screwed into position. I am using more screws than the plans may show for strength.

Next we clamp the center post to hold it in position. It is easier at this point to take the second part of the ring beam apart again clamping and fitting each section as you go.

Center post which supports the join of the two parts making up the ring beam.

Center post which supports the joint of the two parts making up the ring beam in a rectangular gazebo.

Clamping and fitting each post as you go.

Clamping and fitting each post as you go.

Fixing the center post. i am still sing the medium size screws.

Fixing the center post. I am still using the medium size screws.

Post and ring beam sections using the clamp, pilot holes and finally screws.

Post and ring beam sections using the clamp, pilot holes and finally screws.

Clamps are VERY useful in the installation of a gazebo.

Clamps are VERY useful in the installation of a gazebo.

Gazebo Corner Braces

With the posts and ring beam fitted we can now add the corner support bracing. I deviate from the plans here as well. I prefer to set the bracing inside the ring beam. This is what it should look like, you will see as per the plans it is under the ring beam and against the post.

Corner brace on the underside of the ring beam.

Corner brace on the underside of the ring beam.

I will do it slightly different and set mine inside. I do this because:

  • I feel it makes for a stronger joint and more stable.
  • I can make minute adjustments easier to make sure the post is at a perfect right angle and 100% upright.
  • If there is any slight deviation in the cut angle I can allow for this and still have a lovely tight joint on the leg for aesthetic reasons.
  • It gives greater head room at the corners and less chance of bashing your head.

It is of course up to you and what you prefer when fitting the corner braces, this is only my personal preferred method.

Corner brace, my preferred method is to set them inside the ring beam.

Corner brace, my preferred method is to set them inside the ring beam.

Preparation always makes it quicker so consider pre-drilling the braces before installing them all together.

Pre-drilling the corner braces

Pre-drilling the corner braces, doing them all together helps to speed up the install process.

It's a good idea to brace the center section until the roof is being fitted and while you are fitting the corner braces.

It’s a good idea to brace the center section until the roof is being fitted and while you are fitting the corner braces as it keeps everything nice and straight.

Ring Beam and Post Complete on the Gazebo

You may see from the plans depending on your particular gazebo that they show it being built and then lifted on to the three posts. As I have shown my method is an alternative that you may wish to consider. I find it easier and you only need two people. It is of course up to you though how you think it is best to do. This method is of course also highly relevant for the flat roof gazebos.

With the ring beam, braces and posts fitted we can now move on to the roof install.

With the ring beam, braces and posts fitted we can now move on to the roof install.

Gazebo Roof Installation.

I’ve decided to do the roof install in a separate post as much of it is also very relevant to our log cabins so there will be combined advice.

Please see the Pyramid roof installation advice post.

Installation advice for pyramid roofs.

Installation advice for pyramid roofs.

The flat roof installation is a doddle once the main structure is up and doesn’t need any further explanation.

Flat roof modern gazebo installation is very straightforward.

Flat roof modern gazebo installation is very straightforward.

Pyramid Roof Installation Advice

This post follows on from the Gazebo Installation Advice post. It will feature mainly pictures of the gazebo roof but the method is highly relevant to the install of a pyramid roof on a log cabin.

Storage of the roof parts

Wood is a bugger and you really need to think about this when you are unpacking. The roof is always the last part to be installed and while you are mucking about with the walls of your log cabin or the posts of the gazebo the roof parts will be lying around doing all sorts of things behind your back. We failed to follow our own advice during the install and had a bit of a problem.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked.

Rafters were perfect when we unpacked!

When we unpacked the pallet everything was perfect. Come the afternoon when it was time to install the roof we found the rafters had bowed all out of shape. If we had stored them flat, out of the sun etc they would have remained straight. One was a cracking banana shape!

If you find the same thing don’t panic. You have two options when faced with this:

  • Call us and shout down the phone that it’s really bad and all our fault demanding replacements whilst holding up your install for several days. Or ……
  • Carry on using it knowing that you were a bit daft not to keep them safe. You will of course be able to sort this out and is not a problem at all. You don’t need to demand replacements at all, it’s easily resolved.

Please note that this does happen with wood, it cannot be helped when it is unsupported. This will happen in a matter of half an hour so please watch out for it and follow our advice like we didn’t!

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

We left them all leaning against another building so as the day wore on we had some bends and warps to contend with. Always lay parts flat, supported and shaded from the sun. If these are being left for over a few hours you can consider adding weights to the top to keep everything flat.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

This could have been avoided with the correct storage.

Here’s an example from a log cabin roof, these could still be used with some adjustment as I’ll show later in this post, or, look after them properly so it doesn’t happen at all.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

Bowed rafter for a log cabin roof. If looked after properly after removal from the pack this will not happen.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

These could be used within the build, replacements are not necessary if you know what you are doing.

Base and support

It’s always important to have a 100% level base and to make sure the building is 100%. With normal apex roofs you can get away with it a little if it’s not but with a pyramid roof it is REALLY important. If you are not 100% level and square you will pay for it when installing the roof so please check this. Please see this page for more advice on bases.

Pyramid Roof Construction

Other people will do it differently but this is the way I prefer to make a pyramid roof. The secret with a roof like this is:

  • 100% square and level.
  • Be methodical and have a system.
  • Preparation – batch piloting holes
  • Don’t worry about it. Sometimes things don’t look right but it will all come together, you can spend a lot of time worrying about it.
  • Realise that wood is wood, it cannot be precise by it’s nature but it can be worked with.
  • Keep an eye on your safety as you will be working from stepladders. You may also want to consider using a scaffold tower.
  • Make sure you identify all the parts correctly using a tape measure and the plans.

Before you start it’s a good idea to run a tape measure over the various parts and compare the parts to the plans. Some log cabins, mainly when there is a dividing wall or a gazebo to the side, will have a few subtle different sizes of rafters, identify all the parts first and be sure of their positioning from the plans.

King pin and corner rafters

In this example the rectangular gazebo has a king pin that joins the end rafters to the ridge. ALWAYS use pilot holes before screwing. It’s a good idea to pilot everything that will be screwed into the top of the roof first as a batch. DO NOT pilot the bottom ones yet.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Always use pilot holes before using screws.

Preparation is key to this, I also like to find the center point of the ridge beam, if it’s a longer roof there maybe more marking needed, it’s easier to do it on the ground rather than a head of a ladder.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

Find and mark the ridge beam according to how many rafters that will be against it.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

In this gazebo my center rafter will be here.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

For bigger roofs you can also mark the ridge beam for the exact positioning of the side rafters.

Fix the corner rafters to the king pin if applicable to your build. Some will be larger than others but the principle is the same when a pin is supplied.

Screwing the corner rafters together.

Screwing the corner rafters together. he rafters will normally sit to the top of the pin. If there is a chamfer on the pin it can go either way but looks nice facing down.

Use a prop of whatever material you like to get the rough roof height, this helps greatly in your build. I tend to tack the corners of the rafters into the ring beam until I am certain they are in the correct position.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Corner rafters lightly fixed with the kingpin being supported with a prop.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder.

Another example of using a prop. A customers ingenuity with his step ladder and a fishing rod?

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install.

Another example of a prop being used, it really does help your install and in bigger roofs such as this it keeps things level.

Now go to the other end of the building and again using a prop fit the corner rafters.

The opposite end of the gazebo fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop.

The opposite end of the gazebo and fitting the second set of corner rafters. Again we are using a prop lightly screwed into the side of the pin.

Both sets completed and stable.

Both sets completed and stable. note the bracing we are using across the middle to make sure we keep everything inline.

Fix the ridge beam which you will have piloted beforehand.

Fix the ridge beam to the king pin which you will have piloted beforehand.

Props removed

Props removed and all four corners in place the ridge beam fixed.

Don’t worry at this point that it isn’t level or straight. If the measurements of the parts were correct according to the plan and you are sure you have used the correct parts then this will come good when you add the remaining rafters, at this point you can spend a lot of time worrying, please don’t.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don't worry about this at the moment.

Log cabin corner rafters in place. It can often look wrong and not level but don’t worry about this at the moment.

Wood and roofs can play tricks with you!

You’ll notice that we’re using the wonky banana parts we accidentally made at the beginning by not following our own advice. We’re still not worried about them either as it will all work out – we had considered calling ourselves to make a complaint and ask for replacements but decided we wouldn’t get too far!

 Side Rafters

Now you can start to add the side rafters into the king pin if applicable. I only fix the top ones first, don’t fix them to the walls or ring beam yet. You may want to check the fixings in the corner rafters at this point and fully send the screw home as we know they were in the right position as the ridge beam was reached and has been fixed.

Fix the corner rafter as we are happy with its position

Fixing the corner rafters as we are happy with its position, it’s roughly level and has been spanned without a problem. Note, regarding the gazebo we are installing here we are using the longest screws through the rafter into the ring beam. For log cabins I also recommend screwing all rafters into the ring beam. It is strictly not necessary but I prefer to do it for extra strength.

Log cabins will have notches created by the ring beam of the cabin and there is only one way to locate it. Technically you don’t need to screw through the rafter into the ring beam but I ALWAYS do this, weighing just short of 16 stone I like to make sure the roof is as strong as possible when I get on it to shingle.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don't have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

Log cabins will have notches in the main ring beam so location is easier. You don’t have to but I recommend you source some longer screws and fix all the rafters into the top log.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it.

The side rafters screw to the king pin, level with the top of it. Don’t let the fact that the ridge beam is slightly higher, it will all work.

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

Fitting the side rafters into the kingpin

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don't have to try measuring from the ladder.

The following side rafters can now be added. We have already marked the location of them on the ridge beam so we don’t have to try measuring from the ladder. When rafters go to the ridge beam they will be flush with the top of the beam.

Fixing the lower edge rafters

We now start to make a few adjustments and there is a little bit of mucking about at this point, it’s best to be methodical and work with the building getting the ridge straight. It can take some adjustment, it may also be necessary to release the corner rafters again to get everything perfect. Take a slow and steady, thoughtful approach to this.

Remember these pictures are of a gazebo, a log cabin generally has notches in the main ring beam for locating the rafters. Some pushing and pulling maybe necessary to locate them. See my advice above regarding screwing the rafters into the top log.

Back to the gazebo install:- As we are confident the corner rafters are well positioned we measure the overhang either side of the center rafter taking our cue from the corner rafter overhang.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Measure the center rafter. We want them to be the same either side.

Also check that nothing has gone wrong with the top wall or ring beam, a quick eye to check it is still straight. Bracing normally keeps things nice and straight. Log cabins will be easier as you will have numerous logs keeping it straight but please still check for straightness.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Check by eye that the ring beam or top wall is nice and straight before fixing the lower rafters.

Methodically work around the rafters getting the alignment just right or as near as damn it. Remember our banana rafters will be throwing things out slightly. If you need to push a rafter in slightly the clamp is very handy.

We're using the clamp to put some pressure on the refter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out.

We’re using the clamp to put some pressure on a rafter to push it in further. There was a slight bow in the ridge beam so with a little push we can take the bow out. Don’t forget to use pilot holes before screwing!

Sometimes it goes really smoothly, other times it can take some playing with. Please expect this as part of the building process with any pyramid roof on a log cabin or gazebo.

This particular gazebo has some additional bracing.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we're using the smallest ones.

Additional bracing being fitted in the rectangular gazebo. Of the three size of screws we had in the fitting kit we’re using the smallest ones here.

With that, the roof structure is complete, time to put on the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Roof structure completed ready to accept the roof boards.

Ready for the roof boards.

A log cabin roof complete and ready for the roof boards.

Roof boards and Banana Rafters

We’ve still got a problem with the bowed wood we created. We did decide to ring the office and make a serious complaint, we even demanded someone comes and rectifies it for us.  Unfortunately we were met with laughter by the sales team so we’ll crack on.

Does this look like a real problem though to you, some fitters may worry over this?

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner.

This is the worst bowed rafter on one corner. It’s a cracking example of a problem you can encounter with timber which can be easily overcome.

We don’t want to start with this yet until we have the building stabilised, pushing on this to straighten it without strength elsewhere would not work so we’ll come back to worrying about this a little later.

We’ve already sorted out our roofs into the triangle sections, this makes it so much easier and quicker and you can easily see how they are going to go together without confusion. Please note with the gazebos you will also have spare straight end cut boards should you need them, don’t let them confuse you and put them to one side in case you need a spare due to a split or knot you don’t like.

Roof section already laid out. This is the two ends of a rectangular pyramid roof

Roof section already laid out. This is the two shorter ends of a rectangular pyramid roof.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both sides.

Extended triangle laid out, two sets for both of the longest sides. Note due to the length the lower edge of the roof is made up of two pieces of board. For log cabins you may have a center roof section instead with two outer triangles. Regardless it helps the install to lay out the roof section so you can see it before you install it.

We had some discussions on the best way to do the roof boards and the best way to advise you. Both Wayne and I differed on how we did it and you may have a different idea as well, there really is no right or wrong way of doing this.

I like to test a triangle section first so I will tack the first board and then lay in all the others. Tacking every few boards. This then tells me if the triangle is going to fit and whether I need to cut any boards, as I’ve only tacked it I can remove the boards and adjust easily.

To minimise trimming I can raise or lower the triangle and perhaps only trim the leading edge board at the bottom. Once I’m sure it will work I then fix fully and use this as a template for the rest of the boards.

This isn’t the way we have done it on this building example though. The is Wayne’s (Tuin UK Service Manager) method and seems to work very well, he’s fitted a few more buildings than me so I’m bowing to his experience on this one. You may well have a better method.

Regardless though expect to have to trim roof boards for a perfect fit! Wood is wood and we are only human, it is very rare that you will get the perfect situation intended by the factories design computer for a perfect fit without adjustment, a few millimeters out here and there will affect the fit of the boards, it’s impossible to get the roof structure 100% perfect. If you have to trim a few you have made a near perfect roof. If you have to trim a lot you are quite a bit out somewhere but as long as it looks good at the end it is all that matters

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tacking a roof board, all around on the first layer flush with the bottom of the rafter.

Tack your first roof board and carry on around the whole building first, this will tell you the alignment is correct, it should be sitting roughly to the center of the rafter. Don’t worry if they don’t meet together perfectly, if you’re happy with the alignment then nail home fully.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

One roof board all the way around on the leading edge flush with the bottom of the rafter.

After again assessing the building and our self created bananas we decide to start at the place that is the best, this is the furthest away from the really bad bow. There’s other smaller ones  we created by our dodgy storage the we want to remove as well. Using a plank and our trusty clamps we remove the bows as we go around the building.

using clamps we can brace of other rafters and push or pull bows out.

Using clamps we can brace off other rafters and push or pull the bows out as we fit the roof boards.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don't be tempted to use a nail gun.

We then add five more boards and fix them with the nails provided. Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun.

Don’t be tempted to use a nail gun when you’re doing the roof, please use the nails we provide. Two nails in each board across every rafter. Note the gazebo roof boards are flat edged, all the log cabin roof boards are interlocking Tongue and Groove.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

Steadily work around the building, if you have to you can remove slight bows as we are doing with a clamp and plank.

We now come to the worst bowed rafter we looked at earlier. As we have now boarded all the other sections of roof we have stabilised the building more and given it a lot more strength to brace against taking the bow out is now no problem at all.

Badly bowed rafter

Badly bowed rafter which will not look very nice from inside. This is easily removed as below.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out.

A little bracing is all that is needed to bend the bow out when the roof boards are nailed on. This bow will be removed and will disappear, adhering to the shape we’ve asked it to maintain.

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

With the roof boards nailed on the clamp can be removed and what looked like a huge problem has magically gone

What bowed rafters? There’s no bananas here!

This is what I love about wood. By working with it and thinking about it most things can be overcome. Wood is very flexible and can be moved, pushed and cajoled into working with us.

We can carry on laying the rest of the boards on this gazebo, do not worry if it’s not particularly neat where it joins. As long as you can nail it on the rafter it is fine as all will be covered by the roof covering.

Don't worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

Don’t worry too much about the join at the corners or other rafters, all this will be covered.

When you come to the small triangle pieces at the top of the roof it’s a good idea to pilot hole them or you will break them guaranteed.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

Always pilot hole the small pieces at the top of the roof to stop them splitting.

As I said there is always adjustment and cutting to do with any roof and this was where we needed to trim on this particular roof.

The last two final boards needed trimming

The last two final boards needed trimming to fit. As expected and normally you would have to do more. Not bad considering we had big bows as well.

Completed Roof and Notes

With the roof structures and boards on the final roof covering can now be added. You have the choice of Roofing Felt or Roof Felt Shingles. The latter looks for nicer and lasts forever. If you are fitting roof shingles please see the advice and videos on the shingle page linked to a couple of lines above.

For flat roofs you have a choice of either EPDM or Easy Roof Membrane. You could also use the ERM on apex roofs as an alternative to felt.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Gazebo roof structure complete ready for the final roof covering.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Roof structure and roof boards complete on a log cabin ready for the final roof covering to be applied.

Notes.

The square, pyramid roof construction of a log cabin is pretty much the same as the rectangular roof described above. For the square roof gazebos it is a little different and uses a truss system making it easy to do and a lot less complicated. This looks good in a gazebo but I wouldn’t want this system in a log cabin.

Square roof truss system used in making a roof on a square gazebo.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Square gazebo roof construction using truss type beams.

Some buildings will have additional corner rafters as the above and below pictures show (the ones in the corner). I will fit these after I have put on some of the roof boards as you can then push it up into the roof boards for a perfect fit. For a log cabin you will need to put them in the notch before the roof boards go on.

Corder bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

Corner bracing coming from the corner rafters could be fitted after a few roof boards have been put on, you can then push the rafter up to them for a 100% perfect fit.

There are different ways of doing things, you could also start from the top of the roof as this install was done, there really is no right or wrong method and all fitters will chose their own. This page is only my advice and you may have a better idea to accomplish your install quickly and easily.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with.

You could also start from the top of the roof. There is no real right or wrong way of doing it, just personal preferences and what works for you and what you feel comfortable with. Note the smaller kingpin in this roof.

I have come across one or two buildings where the roof boards are not pre-angled. I actually prefer this as you simply nail them in, mark with a chalk line and cut down the line, to a certain extent it saves a lot of mucking about getting the perfect fit.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

I prefer roof boards like this, they can just be nailed on and cut down to get a perfect joint on site.

Finally please only use nails in your roof boards, a great deal of the overall strength of any building comes from the roof. Two nails in every board across every rafter. And please, NEVER use staples in the roof like this customer did.

Staples sued in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn't fare will in a huge storm!

Staples used in the roof construction made a VERY weak building and it didn’t fare will in a huge storm with the roof boards lifting in places.

Using a Builder or Carpenter for your Log Cabin?

Log Cabins are pretty easy to install as long as you know the basic fundamentals.

The problems come if you don’t understand the build and sometimes worse still; if you employ a ‘professional’ to do the build for you who does not understand the process.

Sometimes beware of the professional as they may lack the understanding fully of what is involved despite their credentials of a professional builder, carpenter or joiner.

Please note most professional Tradesmen are absolutely fine and competent, this post is aimed at some that you employ that maybe too confident in their own abilities and may not understand the build, or, in some cases will not find out the complexities believing it to be a simple shed.

Professional Trades People

I’ve said it before, anyone who is a qualified builder / carpenter / joiner or ‘time served’ or ‘experienced’ or ‘trusted’ does not necessarily know about how to install a log cabin.

I think sometimes it is down to their professionalism and that they believe they should know it all but there are some key points that should be understood. Sometimes though this may not be fully realised by your chosen, (non log cabin experienced) installer

In a previous post (Here) I recounted the story of a customer who was recommended as follows:

“A friend of mine who has been a ‘time served chippy’ for 40 years told me that all I had to do was nail a board over the gap.”

Just because your chosen installer is a ‘professional’ it does not mean they know what they are doing with a log cabin install so please thoroughly check with them and make sure you ask them to read and understand our advice: Log Cabin Installation Advice.  

We also list a great deal more advice here: https://www.tuin.co.uk/Tuin-Useful-Information.html this advice may also be pertinant to other reputable suppliers, regardless whether you buy from us or not. All these things are useful to know if you are considering a Log Cabin from most reputable retailers.

Please remember though; “installing a log cabin is easy” – I say this all the time: Log Cabin Fitting Tips. BUT to make it easy you need to understand some basic things about the install and have a proper understanding of the building.

Below are examples of some very silly mistakes made by tradesmen who didn’t understand a log cabin install. All of these customers came to us rather fraught and we had to guide them or the installer on how to do it correctly, in some cases we had to visit site and correct the build, in the extreme it needed a complete new building.

Log Cabin Floor

A log cabin floor should go inside the cabin, not the cabin on top of the floor!

Crazy

The floor needs to be a floating floor as you would in your house.

Our log cabins have a floating floor inside the cabin and it is installed after the cabin has been built.

Our log cabins have a floating floor inside the cabin and it is installed after the cabin has been built.

Never allow your installer to lay the floor first and then the cabin, this will cause you lot of problems in the future. The floor should be a floating floor and your builder should be aware of this. Some ‘professionals’ treat a log cabin as a shed, a log cabin is a completely different beast to simple sheds.

Log Cabin Base

We explain the importance of a base for your log cabin and this must be passed on and understood by your chosen builder.

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This base is hugely out of level and the installer is trying to make good by blocking it up

He ignored the foundation beams supplied and installed the first log directly onto the base .... why?

As well as trying to block in he hasn’t used the foundation beams and the bottom log is in constant contact with the base. This is really not good!

If you are going to chock up the mistake in the base then at least use a treated timber to do this. These pieces will rot over the next 12 months and then everything will drop badly with huge problems to the building.

For smaller gradients you can use timber shims to take up a small gradient but do not use untreated wood as these will rot very quickly and the building will drop

This builder is using unstable blocks to chock the base level and is also using untreated timber.

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As well as unsuitable blocks the builder has also laid the floor first and the cabin on top.

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Unsuitable blocking of a timber frame base

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Untreated timber being used as shims will very quickly rot.

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A block directly on to grass with untreated wood is not acceptable.

Please also watch the base your builder puts down when using concrete, a wriggly and unlevel base is not a good thing for a log cabin.

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This is a very bad base for a log cabin, rough concrete is never very good. Notice also how unlevel it is and one side needed to be chocked. This poor lady had a few problems with water ingress and very unlevel doors

This was a terrible install by a professional builder. The base was hugely out and to compensate for the building lean he cut the lower logs to match and then added some sort of filler! In the end this complete building had to be replaced.

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This base was terrible so the builder cut the logs to make the windows level in the hope the customer would not notice.

A very bad base causing the whole building to lean. This builder then cut the logs to make the windows straight!

A very bad base causing the whole building to lean. This builder then cut the logs to make the windows straight!

Log Cabin Walls

I will warn you as I have done in other posts, professional builders, joiners and carpenters may do this if they do not understand the intricacies of a log cabin …. they fix the doors or windows to the wall logs. For some reason they may forget the idea that wood expands and contracts especially when unsupported by a frame.

Gap appearing in a log cabin wall

Gap appearing in a log cabin wall

You may have seen this picture in other posts of mine and this is one that sticks with me, I use this example over and again as it was so costly for the customer. She was a Doctor and I knew exactly what the problem was when she sent me a series of pictures. The fitter had attached the window and door frame to the logs.

There then followed a dialogue about how experienced they were, she had used her personal carpenter of twenty years and her stone mason to install, she also had a professional painter to treat the building.

We agreed that if it was our fault we would replace or repair, if it was the builders then they would pay for our time. Our service guy was onsite for two minutes and fixed it by removing screws and the whole log cabin dropped happily.

Unfortunately it did cost her. The professional carpenter of twenty years standing who had been watching very quickly went away when everything settled into place.

This is THE biggest mistake made by a ‘professional’ who does not understand a log cabin or timber expansion or contraction. I find this with builders, as they are used to fixing frames in houses they will do it to a log cabin – please check for this.

Log Cabin Roof Shingles

Sometimes I will look at customers pictures of a complaint or a help request and I really can’t believe them. This was a ‘professional experienced builders’ roofing install:

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Look at it closely, ALL the shingles are upside down!

Every tile, unfortunately, is installed upside down.

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Another experienced roofer cocks it up – notice how the ridge times are done!

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This is another favourite ‘experienced roofer / builder / Carpenter / Joiner mistake. No correct spacing and each shape should form a true hexagonal, these were all dropped down too much and massively effects the design intent and aesthetics, not to mention you run out.

Watch out for the above, if someone does not know what they are doing or does not follow the instructions, spacing of the tiles will start to go horribly wrong and you will run out of shingles.

We have some good videos that show how best to install shingles, instructions are also on each pack of shingles.

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Another example of a ‘professional’ install. Please show inexperienced fitters the instructions and videos before hand. Not all builders or Carpenters understand what to do.

Upside Down Log Cabin

This builder was just not at all on the ball and made a very silly mistake. He asked me why the top log would not go on. I replied ….. ‘because you have built it upside down’!

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Upside down log cabin, please look at the instruction advice and check the plans, the tongues always go up. You do not want to have your builder make it upside down and then have to take it down and install the correct way up.

 Botching a Log Cabin

I see this a few times each year, something has gone horribly wrong with a build and then it’s bodged to hide up the mistake. This was a particularly bad one and one I did not enjoy helping to solve as it was so far gone.

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This one wasn’t very fair. The builder had not read the plans or parts properly.

The installer did not read the plans and measure all the parts, he added them as he thought fit and then realised it was not going together. Instead of taking the roof apart and correcting before nailing on the roof boards he carried on with the build.  This produced all sorts of problems.  He then had to hide up silly mistakes with bits of wood in various gaps with pieces of trims and blocks. It was quite a mess at the end and not a lot we could do for the poor customer.

This was a bad building recently. The customer was lovely and they had chosen a Bergren Carport and Garage. A great building but one that does takes some knowledge to install, a bit of skill and time. It’s one of our hardest to install though and should not be taken on lightly.

Sadly the builder made a bit of a mess of it rushing through the install and not really considering what he was doing or taking into account the basic fundamentals of timber, a log cabin base or the effect of the environment around it.

He later admitted he was not prepared for it.

Unfortunately the install went very badly and we were asked to correct it for them. This meant a total disassemble and reassemble correctly on a level base and joints correctly aligned and made.

This is the finished building:

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Berggren log cabin carport and garage.

These pictures are some examples of where it had gone horribly wrong, the builder had not made any joint correct and then started filling the bodges. He should have stopped and analysed the build before going any further.

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As the bottom logs were so out of true this transposed to huge problems at the top. The builder then used filler to try to hide the ever increasing problems the higher the cabin went.

joint-bodge-log-cabin

out-of-level-log-cabin

no-joint

bodged-log-cabin-1

Every single part of this install was bad and so much went wrong. Most of it stemmed from a poor base and incorrect fitting at the start of the install. The builder should have stopped and done some basic checks:

  • Base level across the whole build.
  • Logs made correctly.
  • Joints made correctly and tightly.
  • Levels correct.
  • Completely square.
  • Measurements correct.
  • Check for errors in manufacture or errors in fitting low down.

At the end though all was correct and the customer was very happy after we corrected the install. We did though have to replace several logs that had been damaged by the builder.

It should not though happened if the builder had taken some simple advice from us, stopped and looked at what he was doing and checked the above.

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The completed log cabin and a happy customer.

A Professional Builder Summary

Like any tradesman you can get some good and bad people but I always advise customers to make sure they pass on our online advice here:  Log Cabin Instructional Advice and to make sure the chosen installer has read it regardless of their skills and profession, there might be some things in there that they hadn’t considered and it will make the install quicker and cheaper and less likely to be a problem in time to come. It maybe an idea to ask them to confirm they have read our advice before starting the build.

I also highly recommend that if you are using a builder, carpenter or joiner who may not be fully experienced or you may not be sure of with a log cabin install to familiarise yourself with the advice. If anything is going wrong you will very quickly realise it and can stop the build before it goes too far.

Please though, at any point if you or your installer have any questions please let us know and we’ll be pleased to help before things go wrong. Send us a picture or what you are seeing via email, a quick description and we can advise, even out of normal working hours.

Derby Log Cabin Tuin Review

It’s lovely when customers pass on their findings with their experience with their log cabin, as it helps other customers so much in understanding what they are letting themselves in for!

It also gives them ideas and thoughts on how best to complete their project and with what product. It’s also good for us to know if there have been any niggles or problems and to try address them for future customers.

Mr M was kind enough to send us a factual presentation of his building in a PowerPoint presentation, I have copied it below, it is for his new Derby 58mm Double Glazed Log Cabin


The Site

The following pages show the construction of our log cabin. The whole process took about 6 weeks, although it could all have been done much more quickly if I hadn’t been limited to weekends and holidays. The foundations took a week; putting up the walls (with windows and doors) took a day; the wooden roof (with insulation covered by shingles) took a couple of days; then lots of evenings painting, sanding, waxing, etc…

The log cabin was to stand in the corner of the garden, on sloping ground. The ground slopes away towards the fence at the back and there’s a height difference of about 18” from front to back. I first marked out the footprint of the cabin and cleared the turf.

Timber Frame

Foundations

I built a timber frame for the cabin to sit on.

The perimeter consists of 2”x6” timber (laminated together to form a base 4” wide to support the log cabin walls).  The floor joists (2”x4” are at 30cm centres and the whole thing sits on 4” posts concreted into the ground. (This took ages – I hadn’t finished them all when this photo was taken – the joists aren’t fixed here…)

The foundations for the log cabin

The foundations for the log cabin

This photo shows the height difference between the front and back of the cabin. Getting the posts level and square was a difficult (but important!) part of the build.

The joists are supported on joist hangers at the perimeter and on lengths
of 2”x4” that run across the foundations (attached to wooden posts). Two of these are visible in the picture – I put in another one before fixing the joists.

 

Timber frame base for the log cabin

Timber frame base for the log cabin

The Flat Pack Arrives!

The cabin arrived and was unloaded from the lorry with a forklift.

It’s a pretty impressive flat-pack!

I unpacked all the parts and separated them by length/type. This is best done by two people – most parts can be lifted by one person but the doors/windows and some of the longest logs need two people.

The log cabin arrives

The log cabin arrives

Walls Going Up

The walls went up very quickly. Once the first few layers are in place (and square), it’s an easy job.

The windows and doors are a little trickier. With the doors, I made one mistake – I didn’t put the door sill in-between the two side panels. I managed to fix this later. (The door sill wasn’t shown on the instructions but it’s obvious where it goes once you know what it is!)

Log cabin walls going up

Log cabin walls going up

Nearly There

Up to this point took perhaps 6 hours.

Nearly there in the build

Nearly there in the build

Doors

Getting the doors to meet in the middle was a bit of a challenge – not helped by the fact that I hadn’t noticed the door sill (see the silvery thing in the picture below!)

It probably took a couple of hours to get the doors hung properly – lots of adjustment of the hinges, which wasn’t difficult to do.

The door handle and lock were easy to fit.

Log cabin doors

Log cabin doors

Silvery thing - The door threshold

Silvery thing – The door threshold

Roof

The roof is made of more than 120 wooden slats, nailed to the purlins and the walls. Because we want to use the cabin in winter, I added 70mm thick insulation on top of the slats, with shingles nailed to the wood through the insulation. You can see the insulation in the picture below.

I had never used shingles before – they are great! They overlap to create a double layer and they look an awful lot better than shed felt.

Log cabin roof

Log cabin roof

Floor

Once the roof was finished, I put in the wooden floor, nailed to the joists. There’s a layer of 100mm insulation under the floor, fitted snugly between the floor joists.

After this photo was taken, I used a nail punch to make sure the nails all sat a few millimetres below the surface; I then sanded the floor. Then applied a sealing oil and finishing wax.

Log cabin floor

Log cabin floor

Fireplace

We wanted to put a wood burning stove in the cabin so I built a constructional hearth from concrete blocks. (I left a space 90cm x 90cm in the floor for this, i.e. the hearth foundations are on the ground, not on the timber frame).

Behind the stove, I fixed a layer of fire-proof board to the walls using batons. The photo shows the channels for the screws, which should allow the wall logs to expand and contract.

Allowance for expansion

Allowance for expansion

The hearth is finished with 2 slate slabs.

Behind the stove, the fire-proof board is tiled with stone tiles and the mantelpiece and wooden surround are made from off-cuts of fence posts! They are held together with Velcro(!) and the wood can be removed easily to allow access to the screws that fix the batons to the wall.

The stove was fitted by a HETAS approved engineer. The twin-skin flue goes straight up through the wooden roof.

Different stoves have different clearances to combustible materials – this one sits safely about 30cm in front of the wall.

Woodburning stove in a log cabin

Woodburning stove in a log cabin

Chimney flue

Chimney flue

Light

I installed a solar-powered light.

This was very fiddly! A solar panel on the roof charges a battery (which is stored in a ventilated box in the corner). There is a light switch by the door (not visible in the photo).

The light is great in the evenings – the single bulb is perfectly adequate for a cabin this size (roughly 4m square internally).

solar light

solar light

Finally

The outside of the cabin was painted with three layers of Sadolin.

I built a wooden deck in front of the doors.

The stove flue protrudes almost two metres above the roof to make sure there is sufficient up-draught.

Derby Log Cabin

Derby Log Cabin

Now that the cabin is built, we’re using it as an outdoor playroom.

Playroom log cabin

Playroom log cabin

There’s loads of room for furniture and it’s a lovely place to play or just to sit – especially in the Summer sun!

We’re looking forward to getting the stove going so that we can have a warm outdoor retreat in winter.

Review

Mr M was also kind enough to leave a review on the Derby 58mm log cabin, he wrote:

We bought a 58mm Derby Log Cabin (4m x 4m internally) a few weeks ago.

The quality of the cabin is excellent – the logs are cut very accurately and it’s very easy to put together (like Lego for grown-ups!). The whole thing is very solid. The instructions are minimal but it’s not difficult to work out what goes where if you take the time to sort ALL of the pieces in the pack first. The only problem I encountered was that the parts of the door frame weren’t on the plans and I ended up building the door frame and then having to re-assemble it when I realised I’d missed a bit! The shingles for the roof seem really sturdy and the finished cabin looks exactly like it does on the website. Excellent service too – thoroughly recommended.

Thank you Mr M

Thank you for taking the time to write this, it is very much appreciated and I hope you are pleased with the thank you present we sent you.

You may like to see what other customer experiences, build and ideas are here: Pictorial Tuin Reviews

EPDM on Log Cabins Roofs

For flat or sloping roofs on our Log Cabins we normally supply roofing felt but as an option we do have the far more superior roofing material of EPDM.

What is EPDM?

EPDM is a highly durable synthetic rubber roof membrane, it’s posh name is Ethylene Propylene Diene terpolyMer. It’s two main ingredients are Ethylene and Propylene which come from oil and natural gas. It’s been used on flat roofs for over 40 years. The main technical features of EPDM are:

  • Cyclical membrane fatigue resistance
  • Proven hail resistance
  • High resistance to ozone, weathering and abrasion
  • Flexibility in low temperatures
  • Superior resistance to extreme heat and fire
  • Thermal shock durability
  • Ultraviolet radiation resistance
  • High Wind Resistance

Why Use EPDM on your Log Cabin?

Roofing felt is an ideal solution for a flat or gently sloping roof but it’s life expectancy is not that high. About 5 years is a very good life span for ordinary felt. EPDM though has been known to last for thirty years without concern. For a long term economic prospect it is good value for money.

The benefits of EPDM on your log cabin roof are:

  • Cut to size for your building so no joints (except modular buildings)
  • Inert and UV stable
  • Will not crack or Perish
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Applied cold
  • Virtually maintenance free
  • Long Life Expectancy
  • Economical when compared to re-felting every few years

Installation of EPDM

There are three ways EPDM can be fitted and this includes Ballast, Mechanically Attached and Adhered.

The Adhered system is the one we will use and is the one used by many roofing companies. Basically it is glueing the membrane to the roof and is pretty easy to do.

Log Cabin Roof Variations

Before reading too much further all this article is going to do is tell you the basics on how to fit EPDM to your log cabin roof and simply put the membrane is:

  • Rolled out
  • Allowed to settle
  • Glued down
  • Trim as you wish

The trim as you wish is the bit that’s left up to you as there is no hard and fast rules for this. You can either finish as you would with roofing felt and tuck it behind your barge boards, you may want to trim it flush with the roof boards or you may want to do a little more. This is all up to your preference, requirements and skill set.

Also, bear in mind this is my own personal recommendation on how I do it, I’m sure other fitters, roofers, builders etc will have their own take on it. Some may even say I’m wrong which wouldn’t be the first time.

Roll out the EPDM on your Log Cabin Roof

Take the roll up on to the roof and undo the ends, you should find some glue inside in the form of spray cans.

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Normally hidden inside is enough cans to glue your roof down. It’s very unlikely you won’t have enough but any contact adhesive also works if you run out and need it quickly.

Three cans

Three cans were found in the depths of the roll. The EPDM is cut for your building, this membrane is 3.9m x 5.4m. Three cans was more than enough.

This is where I may differ from all the advice you see from the roofing people, they always say to unroll it, layout flat on the roof and then allow it to settle as it is.

I have done it this way and it works on a hot day but I still prefer my technically named sausage method.

Roll the full length out across the roof

Roll the full length out across the roof

fold out

Start to fold it out flat across the whole roof.

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Then start to roll it up again length ways, try to do this reasonably tightly, it does help if there is two of you and try to keep it as level as possible.

Keep rolling

Keep rolling together with your partner, keep it level and quite tight!

Saua

At the end you’ll end up with a sausage.

Allowed to settle on the Log Cabin Roof

When complete you’ll end up with a sausage sat at the start of your roof, I will always start at the highest point and work backwards.

I mentioned trimming earlier and you’ll notice where we have set the barge boards, this is just my preference, there is no right or wrong way. I wanted to give a little extra clearance for headroom below. It does not matter though how you do these.

It does help though to only start with the front ones on and add the side and rear if applicable later.

Once you’ve made your sausage, leave it for a little while on the roof and as it’s rolled so tightly a lot of the creases from storage will start to come out. The sun will also make it a little more pliable.

I’ve mentioned it already but it really helps if the sausage as been rolled level as you will use it’s edges later on to check you are rolling it out on the log cabin straight and true.

if

If you end up with a wonky sausage unroll it and start again. Nothing worse than a wonky sausage!

 Glue the EPDM Down

This part of the install on your log cabin is exactly what it says, we are just glueing it down on to the roof. How you want to trim it is up to you, I may have mentioned this.

The principle is how I’m glueing it.

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This is something I do, you do not have to do this unless you want to.

As you will see from this picture I have used a bit of timber to create a slope against the barge board. You do not have to do this, you can finish it as you want, tuck it behind the board, glue it directly to it, however you wish.

I’ve done this though as I think it looks nicer, it also stops water going behind the barge board. Due to the height I raised the boards I was able to use a floor board to create the slope, if I had less of a height I might use a trim from skirting or roof boards or even a packing piece laying around. There is no hard and fast rules on this other than it needs to be glued down.

KK

I now shuffle my sausage forward and align the edge to where I finally want it to finish.

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Give the cans a good shake, I think they advise two or three minutes of vigorous shaking, I can’t remember but give them a good shake for a while.

Start to glue

Once everything is aligned and the cans have had a good shake then roll the sausage back slightly

With the sausage rolled back a little you can take the front and uncover the area to be glued. Spray the glue evenly at a length of about 50cm all the way along the roof, it does start to go off pretty quickly. You don’t need to apply it really thickly, too thick and you fight against the glue itself.

Don’t spray right to the ends or right to the front at the moment.

Glue all the way along the roof

Glue all the way along the roof at about a depth of 50cm so the glue does not go off too quickly.

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Now fold the membrane forward and start to smooth out.

I’ve seen videos and instructions and professionals and all sorts of recommendations on how to smooth out the EPDM, they’re probably really good and certainly give them ago and let me know how you get on but I still prefer to use my hands and push out the bubbles of air, smoothing the membrane as I go.

Note though I haven’t glued the edges yet as I may want to still much about with this. This is particularly the case at the sides as the barge boards are still not on.

Once the first part is done, now knell on it and roll out the rest, glueing every 50cm as you go, smoothing out as much air bubbles as you can.

Once the first part is done, now knell on it and roll out the rest, glueing every 50cm as you go, smoothing out as much air bubbles as you can.

Glueing ever 50cm and then rolling out

Glueing every 50cm and then rolling out

Smooth as you go

Smooth out any air bubbles as you go, I use my hands but you may have a better idea or system or received better advice

Another 50cm and the roof is glued down and that’s as far as this advise goes on how to fit your EPDM. It’s really quite straightforward, we’re unrolling it, then glueing down, and smoothing it out.

When the main body of the roof is down you can then work on the edges and fit the barge boards and trims as you require and completing the final glueing stage in these areas.

The rest is up to you.

Trim your Log Cabin EPDM Roof as you wish

I’m often asked what is supplied as regards trims with EPDM. I answer there is nothing extra and nor does their need to be you can use this exactly as you would felt. You can though utilise offcuts and produce slopes to ensure all the water is taken away and make a really professional job of it.

You can also use capping pieces on top to make it look nice or battens to secure it fully so as not to rely wholly on the glue at that point.

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I have the slope at the front you have already seen but I also did the same at the sides and added a capping piece to make it look nice. To the side I have added a batten to sandwich the EPDM so as not to rely completely on the glue at that point (in this picture I am yet to cut the batten flush with the barge board)

dffh

Not a bad finish, most of the air bubbles came out and pretty smooth. Shame about my boot marks but they will wash off and the creases will disappear.

sfsd

This is another fitters roof on a Yorick Log Cabin, he finished everything flush and that is his preference and still works the same in producing a secure roof for many years with water draining to the rear and following the slope. Upstands are always better though and prevents any rot to trims.

sf

Another fitter has added a small up stand and uses a batten to fix the EPDM at the top.

dgsds

Someone else has gone to town making top trim pieces. We also sell aluminium strips that can do this for the front of the cabin.

dr

Or … just fold it over the top of the barge boards. This is the Yorick Log Cabin and a customer chose to do this. Nothing wrong with is at all other than perhaps aesthetics.

Summary on Fitting EPDM to your Log Cabin

In summary all we are trying to do is glue down the membrane with as little bubbles in it as we can.

We also want the roof to drain well and if you wish, it’s nice to create slight slopes all around to encourage the water to flow. This is something the flat roof boys do on your house so we may as well do it on our log cabin. You don’t need anything special apart from a few off cuts of wood which you will have when you have finished your cabin.

Some customers worry about installing EPDM  on their log cabin but it is far the quickest roofing method, it doesn’t rip, it’s quite forgiving and easy to work with unlike felt which can be a real pain especially in very hot weather. Plus in the past 17 years now I have never had to re-meet a customer to re-do his EPDM, I’ve met a few to re-felt though!

Trimming is easy but have a ponder on how you would like it to finish before you start and make sure water drains away if the roof is totally flat on your log cabin.

For our modular buildings there will be a join as each part of the building is a separate section, all you do is glue over the seam as you would the roof and as long as you are flat this is not a problem, professional flat roofers do exactly the same.

As always, if you have any questions, please let me know.

Log Cabin Roof Strength

Sometimes we find our selves at a bit of a disadvantage selling log cabins in the UK, the main reason being standards, we have them but don’t really need them here!

UK Standards in Log Cabins

In the UK there are no building regulations for garden buildings, there’s not even guidance. The UK can make anything they want and shed manufacturers do. Same with summerhouses greenhouses and of course the same with log cabins – especially when they are ‘Made in England’ or for the UK market and designed for it’s crazy planning regulations.

Basically a manufacturer can produce anything they want to, and they do.

Europe Standards for Log Cabins

The trouble we have when competing in the UK is Tuindeco sell across Europe.

To do this they have to meet certain standards and not just make ‘anything’ they feel like to a price point.

For instance:

  • Germany, it is required by law, that there has to be a snow loading capability of 120 kg/m.sq,
  • Austria and Switzerland it has to be 90 kg/m.sq.
  • Spain and Greece are substantially lower of course but there are still standards and a lot more so now the Euro-Codes are being adopted more and more.

Costs of a good Log Cabin Roof

Trouble is, when selling in the UK we then have the costs of this strength when compared to UK companies manufacturing whatever they fancy with no regulations or standards to follow. This can sometimes see our prices being slightly higher on some buildings. It can also raise a complaint such as this which I saw mentioned in one of our reviews on our site:

“I would happily foregone the extra 9 cm in height that would have reduced the cabin apex 2.5m height and therefore ‘legal’ as regards planning aspects especially within boundaries to borders of less than two metres.”

And this is part of the problem we have, you’ll look at the price, the height, but have you thought of the strength you are getting? Will it last over the years without a sag developing?

A sagging roof can develop over time due to a miscalculation of loadings or cheap manufacture.

Weight applied to a Log Cabin Roof

Lets, for a moment, pretend we do have standards to meet in the UK. Lets look at a building and what we are designing to:

Forces acting on a roof of a log cabin

Forces acting on a roof of a log cabin are the same as any other structure – Dead Loads and Live Loads.

The input loads will be made up of the following:

  • Dead Loads – This is the loading of the weight of the roof itself, the roof boards, purlins / rafters and what the roof is designed for as the final roof covering such as felt or shingles, tiles, sedums etc.
  • Live Loads – This is the weight applied to the roof from external factors such as snow, rain, wind loading and of course maintenance – such as people working on the roof to install it and maintain it.

The Output of these loads needs to be transferred to the supporting rafters and purlins, the wall logs and ultimately to the load bearing element which of course is your base and then finally to the earth it is sitting on. We have to make sure the structure is capable of carrying and transferring these forces safely and securely. Of course we also have to make sure that the building will carry on doing this for years and years.

The roof needs to be designed correctly for the loads placed upon it. This will be reflected in the ridge height, strength and number of purlins and thickness of the roof boards.

The roof needs to be designed correctly for the loads placed upon it. This will be reflected in the ridge height, strength and number of purlins and thickness of the roof boards.

Snow Loadings in Log Cabins

This was an interesting picture from 2010 when the whole bloomin’ country was covered in the stuff!

Snow in the Uk, the whole of the country was covered at one point

Snow in the UK, the whole of the country was covered at one point

It might well have been this that made Scotland adopt the Structural Euro Codes in 2010 and that England is following suit now along with the rest of Europe and several other countries such as Russia, Algeria, China etc.

When we design a roof we’re looking at the strength of the timber used, in our case Northern Spruce. We then look at the angles and compare that with the intended roof covering which is always shingles. Lower than 10 degrees WILL result in failure at some point of the shingles, you may not find it for a year or two but they WILL fail, really watch out for low pitch roofs with shingles, you will need to use under-roof membranes and a lot of glue to make sure they seal. They will not be doing any good on their own.

Angles play a huge part, for instance for every 10cm we can go higher in the roof pitch we can get an extra 5 kg in supportive weight. This makes a massive difference when calculating the strength of a roof on a log cabin.

When we have a ridge height of 2.59cm in the example above there is a reason for it. To reduce the height lower it then would not be strong enough for the snow loading calculations we work to or enough of a pitch for roof shingles to be effective.

Weight of snow

In the past in the UK we haven’t really been worried about the stuff but it does seem to be getting worse in the UK. Here’s an interesting map:

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

A map showing the snow loading requirements in the UK

This map is showing the required snow loading calculations that should be met for a residential property in the UK. You’ll notice the maximum is 80 kg/m.sq and thank goodness Tuindeco cabins far exceed these and I don’t have to worry about a complaint in a few years time!

December 2010 was exceptional in the UK’s snowfall, at one point 60cm fell over night and on a lot of roofs 50cm was sat on top.

Fresh fluffy snow is about one tenth of the density of liquid water. One litre is 1000th of a cubic meter. One litre weighs 1kg. This means that 10mm of snow is equal to 1mm of water.

Therefore if we look at our 50cm on the roof the loading is 1m.sq x 500mm deep / 10 = 50kg

So, overnight you have 50kg sat on top of each 1m.sq of your roof.

As snow settles it will change form several times depending on temperature and time so the weight of the snow on the roof can become heavier due to compacting ice crystals.

You can see from this why the UK has a snow loading requirement of 60 kg/m.sq and higher in some parts.

As I’ve mentioned, for garden buildings in the UK there are no standards at all, we can make what we want, out of whatever we want and it’s great for you if it’s to a price point. It may be a bit of a problem down the line though if we carry on having heavy snow falls.

Also it’s worth asking your insurance company if a garden building is covered for structural damage caused by snow loading. I bet it isn’t!

A Log Cabin Roof Costs

Lets go backwards, let’s pretend you’ve found our buildings or even another supplier but the price just doesn’t match up to the REALLY competitive price. Then let’s pretend we do not have standards to meet and we’ve got to match it, here’s some figures for you to consider:

  • Every 10cm / m.sq higher cost us at the factory £7.50 (ex VAT)
  • OSB is 80% cheaper than Tongue and groove Spruce.
  • Pine is cheaper than Spruce
  • 16mm – 12mm is cheaper than 18mm
  • Cutting a purlin in half is 50% cheaper.

If Tuindeco were not constrained by standards in Europe but made solely for the UK everything could be so much cheaper. There’s a lot of cheap cabins out there, trouble is they’re not as cheap for the consumer as they should be bearing in mind where the costs are cut.

Log Cabin Roof Strength Calculations

All the good manufacturers list a calculation for the strength of the roof, Bertsch, Lugarde, Scan Holz, Tuindeco. They do this for a reason and it’s an important one that you may not have considered when you are buying a log cabin.

I would recommend, regardless who you are buying from that you ask them what specification they build to. The UK standards for building construction asks for a minimum of 60 kg/m.sq and 80 kg/m.sq in some parts of the UK. Your log cabin should at least comply to this.

Tuindeco design cabins with a snow loading of 110 to 140 kg/m.sq and this makes for a very strong roof indeed. This calculation is reflected in the ridge heights, strength and number or purlins and the thickness of the roof boards that are used.

Your log cabin should be designed to at least the UK snow load building requirements. Ask your supplier what the snow loading specification is and ask for a reassurance that your roof will not sag  – Ever and regardless of ‘Extreme’ weather conditions!

‘Extreme weather conditions’ is the excuse that will be given when sags start to develop as is ‘Out of Warranty’. This should not be the case in your log cabin or indeed any garden building if it was designed correctly in the first place.

Henning log cabin with a substantial roof to withstand snow loading.

Henning log cabin with a substantial roof to withstand snow loading.

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

Extreme snow loading perhaps but it is something to consider!

 Installation of a Log Cabin

As well as the loading calculations you’ve also got to be able to get on the roof and install the building, you’ll also need to do maintenance on it over time. All log cabin roofs should be designed for this. Specifically ask your supplier if this is part of the design intent for your log cabin.

There are a lot of cabin roofs out there that you really wouldn’t dare to get on and I’ve known fitters refuse to shingle roofs because of it.

Make sure there is a design intent that allows you to walk on the roof for installation and maintenance

Make sure there is a design intent that allows you to walk on the roof for installation and maintenance