Log Cabins - All You Need To Know

Building an extension to your home is expensive and too much for many people's pockets. David Coton explains that this is one of several reasons why log cabins have grown in popularity over recent years and answers more of your frequently asked questions..

Created by Robert Hall on Tuesday, 28th of January, 2014.
Updated on Tuesday, 27th of March, 2018.


Log Cabin Frequently Asked Questions

Log cabins are extremely versatile, they are ideal for a wide variety of activities. If you need an office away from domestic interference, a hobby room, gym or even a sauna, then log cabins are the ideal choice.

One of our customers was going to run their small family business from their new log cabin and another customer wanted his cabin to put up visiting relations when they stayed over. But the one idea that appealed to me was a room for the teenagers in the family where they could invite their friends and play their music.

Starting from under £1000, there's an impressive range from the major manufacturers which include Palmako, Rowlinson, Forest and Lugarde.

What Do I Get When I Buy a Log Cabin?

Whatever your need is, you’ll find a size and specification that suits. From the single door, one window models through to substantial structures suitable for both personal and commercial use, and many in between. Most are manufactured from the highest quality Scandinavian softwood and sourced from managed forests.

Fixed or opening windows can range from perspex to toughened glass double glazing, the wall thickness can also vary considerably with some robust cabins boasting 68mm timber. Some have overhanging roofs so that a sheltered verandah is possible, others include a patio and extensive external areas for entertaining or relaxation.

Many cabins have enough internal floor space to accommodate two or three rooms so that using them as office space is very viable. There can be internal and external storage space for fairly large items and lofts can be used as a spare bedroom. There are also more specialist cabins that can act, for example, as changing rooms if you are lucky enough to have a swimming pool.

Are Log Cabins Easy To Construct?

Hammer and nail whilst building

Yes, they are, and this is why.

Each log cabin is designed and manufactured individually and the logs have slots, or cross halving joints, cut into them so they simply slot one on top of another and lock into place. The cross halving joints can only fit one way, realistically, and they bind together to create a very strong join. As the timbers become exposed to moisture in the air the wood will swell slightly and the joints will fuse together. Not only do the joints in the timbers become very rain retardant but they also keep out any draughts. This is why log cabins so are so well insulated against extremes of cold and heat too. Log cabins are associated with cold and snowy conditions, and this is why they are so effective. Using this construction method means the outside walls of a log cabin can be built up very quickly once the base is in place.

As with any building the floor, and base, are very important too. It is essential that your floor is level before you commence building up the sides and that it sits on a strong and level base. 

Small cabins could be a weekend project whilst larger buildings may take 4-7 days. Another pair of hands will be very helpful and reduce the construction time, and of course, there’s the alternative of employing a builder or checking whether the installation is offered as an optional extra. For smaller cabins (under 30sq metres) a level and firm paving slab base should be adequate, while larger cabins demand a concrete base.

The roof can be a little more testing, but again each log cabin will have specially manufactured metal joist hangers where the cross members simply slot in to. One the roof supports are in place the cladding fixes easily on the outside. Most log cabins will then have decorative felt roof tiles to go on the outside of the roof. These are not difficult to fit at all, but in truth, it can be a lengthy job as there can be quite a lot of them to fix into place.

Only a basic range of tools are required for construction, nothing more specialist than a hammer and saw, and only limited DIY knowledge is needed as the plans will be fully illustrated and customer friendly with helplines if there is any difficulty.

Do I Need To Treat The Logs in my Cabin?

Most cabins are supplied untreated except for the pressure impregnated foundation beams. This is Probably the best option because only one of the four sides of each log will ever be exposed to the weather, and you don't want to lose the natural colour of the inward facing planes of the log unless you chose to colour them yourself.

The cabins must be treated as soon as possible after construction. Many forms of treatment are available from all good DIY stores. Ensure that the product chosen is suitable for use on smooth planed previously untreated timber.

Do I Need Planning Permission for a Log Cabin?

Looking at design plansUnless the log cabins are for residential use, planning permission isn’t normally required for structures under 2.5 meters high within 2 metres of a boundary and less than 30 square metres. Having said that you should always check with the council either personally or use the local government online planning portal, as restrictions can apply in certain areas of the UK. Log cabins are not normally considered as permanent structures, but portable buildings, as they can be dismantled and moved elsewhere.

What Insulation Is Required in a Log Cabin?

This really depends on the use you have in mind for your log cabin but, as stated earlier, insulation can be very good, particularly with the larger timber log cabins so once you have a heat source, the temperature is easy to maintain by nature of the wooden timbers.

However, heating costs can be reduced by installing insulation for the walls and roofs. There are several materials and systems available providing different levels of heat retention and your comfort can be further enhanced by fitting underfloor heating. Most of this heating and insulation can be installed without the expense of employing tradesmen.

Carefully designed and manufactured, there is no reason why cabins can’t be a cosy, draught free environment. Quality materials, fixtures and fittings are the equal of traditional bricks and mortar, timber is aesthetically more attractive and can be incorporated into some very bold designs.

Quote: "I live in a Mobile Home - I've never had a house, except once; I rented a log cabin". Captain Beefheart (American musician and painter)
 

Can I Install Electricity Into a Log Cabin?

Yes is the simple answer, but there are some important caveats. We would normally suggest that the trunking enters the building from underneath and via the floor. This is a lot simpler than trying to drill the logs, and will not leave an unsightly hole in the side of the cabin exposed to the elements. But it must always be remembered that if you drill through into your cabin you will very probably nullify your guarantee. It also has to be made clear, that any electrics must be installed by a qualified electrician to the correct standards. The decision to install electrics is yours, and yours alone and is not a recommendation that we would make.

How Long Will I Have To Wait for a Log Cabin?

Couple enjoying a drink inside a cabin

Most log cabins are made to order, though some popular sizes are stockpiled, you shouldn't have to wait long for delivery, perhaps a month to six weeks. As stock and manufacturing capability fluctuates throughout the year it is always best to check if delivery time is critical.

How Are Log Cabins Delivered? 

You will need to check delivery details when ordering. Some manufacturers use specialist vehicles which offload the cabins as near as possible to where you want them within the constraints of the vehicle. Others deliver to your drive or the curbside and some may require two able-bodied people to assist with offloading. Most will come shrink wrapped on several pallets, which can be large pallets, so make sure you have room to accommodate the delivery. 

Can You Install a Log Cabin?

Some of our cabins are available with installation included, or an optional extra, the majority, however, are not. We can normally put you in touch with an independent installer who will be pleased to provide a quote. 

if you are interested in purchasing a Log Cabin call our specialist advisors on 0121 355 7701 or go to the Log Cabins section on GardenSite.  

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