A Log Cabin is a great investment – very cost-effective, quick to build, easy to heat and environmentally friendly (what other building costruction type has a lower carbon footprint!). AND, at Timber Living we have such a wide range of cabins, from small one bedrooms to BIG three bedroom log cabins, so you can be sire you will get exactly what you’re looking for. And they look SO good once they’re built!
You may be considering the purchase of a log cabin but someone has put you off by highlighting some of the following myths. But don’t be put off – maintenance is a lot easier than you might think.
Beautiful, low maintenance Log Cabin Exterior
Log cabin maintenance often gets talked about as a potential drawback compared to building a house from other materials. You will be surprised to find however that on balance, a log home will cost you a lot less in the long run. Wood is a remarkable material, and once it is treated well, it will last a lifetime. (They build boats out of wood, after all, and have done so for millennia. As long as the wood is treated properly, it will last and last.) Most of the ill-informed myths you hear about log cabin maintenance stem from stories where cabins have been badly built, badly treated or poorly maintained. Any of the following myths are as much down to people not looking after their wood properly as to anything bad about building a timber house.
Myth 1. Prepare yourself for a lot of maintenance work
If you build your house and follow the recommendations of any of our staff at Timber Living Log cabins, then you can reduce any maintenance potential issues significantly. The exterior needs to be treated only every three to four years – just like any house!
Myth 2. Log homes attract mould
This myth is actually true in some cases. We have seen cabins with a lot of extensive mould, and you will definitely get mould in your log cabin, if it is incorrectly built. Your log cabin needs a cavity wall and some decent insulation. (We offer 100mm cavities, filled with insulation, as standard.)
Do not buy a single wall (75mm or 90mm thickness, as offered by some companies) cabin, unless you intend to insulate either the interior or exterior of the wall. The reason these single wall cabins get mould is due to the warm moist air inside the cabin coming in contact with the cold surface of the wall. The dampness settles on the wall and mould appears. Oftentimes, the mould only appears behind presses and other unseen spots, because the heating in the room warms the exposed walls, but the walls behind the presses remain cold, leading to mould forming.
Any house type can suffer from mould. The important thing is to keep your log home insulated and double glazed while allowing air to circulate. Wood also happens to be naturally good at allowing air to circulate.
How do you maintain a log cabin?
The main element of Log cabin Maintenanceis the exterior “painting”. We talk about painting a log cabin, but actually, you need to use a solvent-based stain rather than a paint on your log cabin. Paint is a sealant, and your log cabin timber needs to be able to breathe. Moisture is not good for wood, and painting a log cabin seals the surface and will trap any moisture inside your cabin. There are a number of different wood stain suppliers available.
Best exterior paint for log cabins
We highly recommend SIKKENS wood stains as the best exterior paint for log cabins. This is a Dutch product which is widely used and highly recommended. Their HLS Plus product is a solvent-based, highly translucent wood stain. Its low viscosity makes ideal for use on bare timber.
Dulux are the distributors, and you should be able to get it in your local hardware store. Normally, they have a basic range available in-store, so ask behind the counter for the colour charts. They will probably have to order directly from the suppliers. They also recommend two coats of standard preservative before any work is done, especially concentrating on any wood ends, where a lot of preservative will be soaked in.
The only problem with Sikkens is that they don’t offer cheap trial pots, so you will have to invest in a few of their smallest tins. But be sure that you do trials – the colour charts are not very accurate. Because the stain is translucent, the type/colour of your wood will affect the final colour of the building.
How often should I “paint” my log cabin?
First of all, you don’t paint your log cabin, you stain it. (See above). Depending on the location of the log cabin, and exposure to the elements (sunlight as well as harsher wind and rain) you will need to re-stain your log cabin every three or four years. Sikkens has a specific stain for UV protection, which can be used as one of the three coats required. You should apply this if your cabin is located in a sunny spot. Read their spec sheets carefully!
How Long will a Log cabin Last?
A good question! And the best answer we can give is that a log cabin will last a lifetime, as long as the wood is treated well. The picture below is of a 500 year old timber built house we saw in Brittany when on holidays over there.
We build our cabins so that they overhang the concrete base by 10mm all round. We also run a throat-ed rain sill all around the bottom of the cabin. In this way, water will never pool under the cabin. This is a crucial detail, and the most important one in ensuring the longevity of our log cabins.
Log Cabin Maintenance Checklist
What are the main things to check when maintaining your log cabin?
Stain the exterior every 3-4 years
Check that all walls are free from contact with soil/stones etc.
Ensure gutters are free from leaves/blockages and operating well.
Maintain mastic seals around windows.
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