Log cabin or timber frame – what’s the difference? The main difference is the insulation levels. Current building regulations insist on huge levels of insulation, which drives up the overall cost of building significantly. Roof pitch, external finish and PVC windows are also different.
Log cabin or timber frame – how they differ
People often ask – Log cabin or timber frame – what are the main differences between them? There are three main areas:
- Insulation (Wall and roof – our timber frame buildings do not include foundation or finished floors – you will need your builder to install these)
- External rendering – our default design for timber frame buildings offers a cement board finish, as this is generally what the planners will look for. (We can change this to timber of that is what you want.)
- Roof Pitch Angle – again, due to the planner’s stipulations, generally you will need a steeper roof, so we include this in our default timber frame designs.
- PVC windows and Doors. We include PVC windows and doors in our default timber frame design, but again, thises can be changed if you so wish.
Log Cabin Building Regulations
Of the four categories listed above relating to the choice of log cabin or timber frame, the insulation changes are forced by building regulations – the other differences (external rendering, Roof pith and PVC) are offered since these are usually requested by the planners.
Do you need these much higher levels of insulation, if you want a warm, cosy and “easy to heat” residential log cabin? The quick answer is NO. We have been building log cabins in Ireland for over twenty years – more than two thousand log cabins built around the country – and we have never had a complaint that our log cabins are cold or hard to heat. Four inches of Metac insulation, along with a total of 75mm of the best Norway Spruce means our walls are insulated quite well, and certainly sufficiently well insulated for most people’s requirements.
The four inches (100 millimetres) of Kingspan (PIR) insulation in the roof is quite significant too. During the heatwave Summer of 2018 (remember that Summer!) it was very cool in the Log Cabin show house in Boyle, despite the 30-degree temperatures and the sun belting down on the black roof of our cabin. And in the same way that the heat is not allowed in during the Summer, in the Winter, heat will not easily get out through your roof.
Cost comparison – log cabin or timber frame
The increased insulation is the main culprit in driving up the cost of our timber frame buildings. But even with these increases, you will find our costs low compared with many other buildings. So, how can we build our buildings so affordably? It’s down to our building method.
In effect, our timber frame houses are log cabins with extra insulation. A timber frame wall is the same as a log cabin wall, but with the Metac insulation increased from four inches to six inches. Along with this, we include another four inches of external insulation and replace the internal timber with 52mm insulated board.
We can build so cheaply because of the speed with which we build. and we build so quickly because the bulk of the work in creating your cabin or timber frame home is done at the factory. Everything is accurately cut to size in a highly automated workplace, meaning your final product is accurate and produced to the highest standards.
And you can imagine the savings when building this way, compared to building a house block by block by block…
Log cabin v timber frame prices
We have timber frame versions of two of our log cabins.
- The Connaught Timber Frame House (€42,500) is equivalent to the Limerick 2 bed log cabin (€30,000) – same floor plan and area, but different spec.
- The Leinster Timber Frame House (€59,600) has the same floor plan as the Tullow 3 bed Log cabin (€40,000)
How Log Do Log Cabins Last in Ireland?
People worry that log cabins cannot endure the Irish climate, even though we have an extremely mild climate. We do have a damp climate in Winter, but we are also one of the windiest places on the planet! And wind is great at drying…
Anyway, the expert in this video tells us that timber buildings can at over 100 years, as long as they are treated properly…
Timber Frame Ireland
If you want us to help you decide between log cabin or timber frame, please feel free to contact us at Timber Living to make an appointment.