Why choose a Log Cabin

You’ve decided you need a building for your garden, it maybe for a number of uses and what you intend to use it for will be based on what type of building you opt for. The building options you have other than a purpose built brick construction are:

There are four basic types of Garden Building that you will consider:

  1. Traditional Shed – Timber frame with cladding on top.
  2. Traditional Summerhouse – Timber frame with cladding on top.
  3. Metal or Plastic Shed
  4. Substantial Timber Frame
  5. Log Cabin

Lets look at the types involved and I’ll try to offer a little advise on how they are built, what they are ideally suited for and as my passion is Log Cabins I’ll suggest why you could consider them for your needs. For the sake of my research and advise I’m going to base it on a requirement for a 10′ x 10′ – 3.0m x 3.0m building.

Timber Frame Buildings:

Traditional Sheds and Summerhouses are all made on a timber frame with cladding on top and these can vary hugely. I was involved with making sheds /  with a previous company and we would use 50mm x 50mm framing with 12mm or 21mm cladding. Looking around on the internet this evening I am see wildly different sizes:

I took these figures from the three biggest suppliers on the internet of sheds / summerhouses and I am basing this article of a 10′ x 10′ (3.0m x 3.0m) size building.

  • Shed 1 Frame: 28mm x 28mm – Cladding 7mm
  • Shed 2 Frame: 38mm x 50mm – Cladding 12mm
  • Shed 3 Frame: 45mm x 27mm – Cladding 12mm nominal (means before it is planed)

There seems to be quite a scope out there for shed and certainly the thickness’s are coming down for the frame that the cladding is fixed to. The strength of course will also drastically reduce the larger the building gets. I’m also seeing that most sheds are getting quite low these days:

  • Shed 1 Eaves Height: 1549mm – Ridge Height: 2209mm – Door Height: 1730mm
  • Shed 2 Eaves Height: 1680mm – Ridge Height: 2280mm – Door Height: 1765mm
  • Shed 3 Eaves Height: 1840mm – Ridge Height: 2550mm – Door Height: 1770mm

Sheds and Summerhouses seem to be all the same cladding and frame thickness’s depending on which company you are looking at. There seems to be quite difference in price and sizes.

My advise if you are opting for a shed is always to check these heights, the frame thickness and especially what the thickness of the cladding is. The minimum finished size should be at least 12mm. This is the same for timber frame summerhouses.

If you require a large building, certainly above 3.0m x 3.0m you will need to look closely at what strength the building is offering you and compare it to your needs and requirements as well as any adaptations you may want to make to it. For instance with a summerhouse it may be good to use it all year around, in which case you will want to consider insulating it. But, is the frame depth deep enough to actually do this?

Having been involved in this industry it is a shame to see every standard dropping. It looks as if the various manufacturers are dropping cladding and frame sizes, possibly quality as well, everything is based on price. I guess if all you want is a small and cheap storage solution then these are a good idea. I’m not sure though of the quality and strength.

The sheds from Tuindeco are closer to what sheds used to be in the UK about 10 years ago. We have a range of small sheds that isn’t that successful on sales really. Our sheds have a framing of 50mm x 50mm with 16mm cladding and fully tanalised.

They cannot though really compete on price against a shed with framing of 28mm x 28mm with 7mm cladding and I think anyone looking for a shed is looking at price alone and forgetting what actually matters. ‘The devil is in the detail’ as they say!

Looking at price and detail though is important and lets just say you were looking at the details and costs, as well as the quality, thickness of timber, strength and longevity. Lets just say you were looking for best value for money.

Metal and Plastic Sheds:

This type of shed is a good maintenance free solution but the smaller cheaper ones should not ever be considered a security shed just because it is made of metal. They can be good for quick and easy storage but the larger ones, if you want Quality can be very, very expensive. We have a small selection of metal sheds designed for cheap and easy storage. For a cheap, maintenance free solution I would recommend a plastic or metal shed but only for small storage needs, never for a large or secure building. Even at 10′ x 10′ I don’t think a metal shed is really suitable for anything other than storage. If you paid a tone more cash is would be secure. But, it’s never going to be pretty and you could never use it as a workshop or a garden office. Metal and Plastic sheds are very limited in what they can do, simple storage is about it.

Substantial Timber Frame Building:

I’m only going to touch on these briefly as these are not even close to the same league as a log cabin or a timber framed traditional Shed or Summerhouse.  These are a different animal completely, we offer a range of Larch Timber Frame Buildings which are comparable to the gorgeous Oak frame building you may have coveted. Prices are not at all comparable to a shed but nor are the specifications. The posts on these buildings are 145mm x 145mm with framing of 45mm x 145mm, cladding starts at about 20mm in lots of styles: Timber Cladding.

This type of building is generally only available from very specialist builders and is quite rare to find, especially in kit form and at our prices.

I cannot recommend these buildings enough, they are ‘proper buildings’ and prices are a lot higher than a normal shed. It depends on what you are looking for and these maybe out of the scope of this article so lets stick to the subject of a basic timber building for your garden – For instance, hypothetically

You require a garden building of about 10′ x 10′ – 3.0m x 3.0m

So lets look at this building you have space for and what your needs are for it, what do you want it for? Possibly these ideas:

  • Simple storage of tools
  • A workshop
  • Storage of precious items – books, paperwork
  • Somewhere to sit and enjoy a cup of tea
  • A building that is pretty to look at and not ‘sheddy’ – a Summerhouse.
  • Extra accommodation
  • A Garden studio or work place


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About Richard

This blog is my personal platform which I do enjoy. It is my own viewpoint and my own ideas. I may not be right and other installers / experts may offer a different view point or a alternative way to do something. I welcome contributions from anybody experienced to do so.

All my blog writing is MY OWN personal opinion ONLY and is NOT always the opinion of TUIN | TUINDECO as a company.

Log Cabins and Garden timber have a myriad of intricacies , I love to give away the secrets, there are a lot!

I enjoy using this blog to expose them so you know what you are buying. I love to know I am causing a few problems in the industry as it can be on occasions less than honest.

I actively encourage everyone to install their own buildings. So many times I would fit and the company I was working for would charge loads for my time, only then to be faced with the embarrassment when the customer says 'I could have done that' and YES you can without paying hundreds of Pounds!

I have over 19 years experience within the garden timber industry. I have particular expertise in garden buildings including the manufacture, design and installation from sheds to log cabins and all the way up to timber framed houses.

In my time I have been involved with virtually every manufacturer and supplier of garden buildings. I have also installed pretty much every make of Garden Building there is from ALL suppliers and manufacturers.

Prior to my career change I was a Watch Commander in the Fire Service with particular expertise in chemical incidents, training, technical design / technology / IT /Procedures / ISO Systems and road traffic accidents. I retired due to a nasty injury after 20 years service.

During my time in the Fire Service, on my days off, I was a self employed fitter for any type of garden building, I worked with most of the well known companies as a subcontractor.

I now work with Tuin | Tuindeco in the UK, supporting and advising on the vast range of products. I keep an eye out for help requests when we a supposed to be closed and can usually get back to you out of hours via email only (wife and children permitting on my days off).

In my private life I consult as an independent expert assessor for companies or private individuals when a dispute is present over their structure which results in producing an impartial report and assessment for whoever requires it. This is often higher valued than a structural engineers report born from my credentials, experience and widely recognised as an 'Expert' in the field.

I am a freelance writer for numerous companies, publications and blogs as well as an independent expert and fault finder for parts of the Industry and consumers with a particular emphasis on timber structures, both framed and of an interlocking design such as log cabins.

I produce numerous articles about timber in general, information on general timber products and specific guides when needed. I hope you enjoy and find my writing useful.

Please contribute and comment to my posts as you would like and I will try to respond as best I can.

Thank you


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