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What timber should a log cabin be built with?

When you buy a log cabin, you’re buying something that you want to last a life time, something that feels strong and secure, something that retains the heat and does not feel draughty. And you will get none of these if the main building material – the timber – is not of the highest quality.

Outside of a log cabin


Two Bedroom Log Cabins

What wood is best for log cabins?

Strength, durability and weather resistance – that’s what you’re looking for in the walls (internal and external), floor and roof of your log house or timber home. And we are very proud of the quality of the timber in all of the log cabins we build.

The timber we use is sourced in Russian forests and is of such high quality that it is in high demand among manufacturers of a huge amount of different items, including dimensional lumber, engineered wood, wood products, cellulose and paper products. There is a huge demand in the construction industry worldwide for Russian timber, because of its high quality, strength and durability. Russia holds twenty per cent of the World’s forestry. The industry is managed on a sustainable basis and has been managed so for over a century. When you consider that it can take a tree one hundred and fifty years to reach maturity, you can appreciate the wisdom and foresight of the producers back in the nineteenth century.

You can read more about the Russian Timber Industry here.

If you look around you right now, you’ll see that you are surrounded by timber products. Doors, skirting boards, architraves and furniture. But don’t forget the wall studding behind the plasterboard walls in your home, the floorboards, roof beams, purloins and all of the elements that make up the roof of your house. Examples of everyday items you might come across that may be made of Russian timber include tables and chairs, beds, furniture, decking, garden furniture, exterm=nal cladding for buildings, and of course, log cabins!

Is Irish Timber Good Enough for Log Cabins?

Irish timber is not good enough for your log cabin. It does not have the reliability, strength or durability required from a structural point of view, and it is not dependable enough to make your cabin last a lifetime.

The climate in Ireland is excellent for fast-growing timber – it takes 40 years to grow a full-size Norway Spruce in Ireland because of the warm, wet climate. That growth rate is excellent if you want to produce raw materials for some markets, such as for energy, or where the timber does not need to be very accurate, such as for fencing, posts or poles.

But in a log cabin, you need a timber that will not warp, twist, bend or crack over time, especially when exposed to the variations of internal warmth and external cold, or the expansion and contraction due to the big variations in relative humidity which will be experienced regularly, both Summer and Winter, in Ireland.

But the Norway Spruce we use in our log cabins grows near the Arctic Circle, and takes 150 years to grow to the same size as an Irish tree would reach in a quarter of that time! While the slow growth rate is not a boon for the Russian forestry owner, it is great when you’re looking for timber with an extremely tight grain. The slow growth rate means that as the tree grows, it grain remains extremely tight. This tight grain can be easily seen in the cut ends of any of the wall timbers in our TimbeLiving showhouse walls. Come visit us in Tullow, Boyle or Carrigaline and you’ll see straight away what I am talking about :-)

inside of a log cabin


What are the benefits of slow-growing logs?

The planks used to fabricate our log cabins are long, load bearing and precision engineered. So we need excellent, hard reliable timber that can be depended on, firstly in the manufacturing environment, so that it won’t splinter or chip, and more importantly, in the lifetime of the log house or log cabin, so that it won’t twist, bend, split or warp.

The timber we use is so good that, when we build, we can afford to leave the cabin for up to a week between our first build, when we put up the exterior walls, the floor and the ceiling boards, and the second week, when we erect the interior walls and doors, the floor, all of the insulation and the roof cover.

During the intervening week, our ceiling boards are exposed to all elements. But we are quite happy to leave these nineteen millimetre boards exposed to the rain, even for a very wet week. We can do this because we are happy with the quality of the timber. These ceiling boards will be fine once the roof cover is applied. We have never had a problem with this method of construction, in over twenty years of building log cabins in Ireland.

How to tell the quality of the wood in a log cabin.

Take a look at the end-cut of any wal lin the log cabin you’re viewing- the wood rings need to be very tight, as in the picture below. As you will know, each ring represents a year of growth. Tight rings mean that the tree grew slowly. ( In faster growing timber, the fibres are looser, and the wood is just not up to scratch.)

timber used in log cabins


Slow growth in a tree means strength, as the fibres in the wood are very, very compact, which gives the strength, hardness, structural reliability and durability required for a quality log cabin or timber home.

If you want to see high-quality timber in a log cabin, come and visit our showhouses in Tullow, Boyle or Carrigaline. Contact us for details.

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