How to Protect Your Wooden Log Cabin against DecayDecember 5, 2012
Last modified: June 25, 2018If you have a log cabin, then this is probably the reason why you built one in the first place.
One of the main reasons why people decide to build log cabins is because they like the rustic style that comes attached. If you have a log cabin, then this is probably the reason why you built one in the first place. Alternatively, you may have erected it as a garden office, or as a play and party space. Regardless of the actual reason, it is important to always keep in mind that there are some specific steps you need to take in order to protect the wood.
The moisture associated with a humid climate is the main enemy of a log cabin. However, once you realise this, there is no reason to worry or be deterred from your choice. There are a few simple steps that you can follow to prolong the lifespan of your new building. Before you get started, it is important that you keep in mind the process used to assemble the cabin. Handcrafted buildings usually require chinking, and are more difficult to assemble.
On the other hand, milled log cabins often come as kits that you can purchase from specialized retailers. Wood pieces in these sets are usually cut in such a way that they fit together via a tongue-in-groove system. This enables much shorter build times, and provides a significant increase in protection against moisture. But weather in the United Kingdom can be a lot to handle at the best of times.
One of the first things you should do after finishing your log cabin is to install large roof overhangs as soon as possible. Purchased with only a minimal investment, or none at all, these elements drastically reduce the amount of water or snow that falls onto the sides of your building. Dampness is the main enemy of wooden structures, but excessive exposure can easily be avoided if you know how.
The second most important thing is selecting an excellent waterproofing option. This has to be done while keeping in mind the size of your log cabin, your estimated budget, and the weather conditions at the site where the structure is built. Essentially, you have to reach a balance between these three elements, while placing an emphasis on which is the most important to you. Experts recommend professional waterproofing options for obvious reasons, and you should definitely get those, if your budget allows for it.
The foundations of your cabin are also very vulnerable to the effects of moisture, especially during rains or blizzards. It is very important that you take steps to minimize the amount of exposure your building gets during these critical times. To achieve this, you can take any number of actions, from insulating the foundation using plastic bags to attaching tin on the sides of the house. Most importantly, you should have a solid concrete foundation, which water is unable to infiltrate.
Setting your log cabin directly on the ground will allow water and snow to attack it from all sides, and from underneath as well. The importance of having a well-insulated foundation cannot be overstated. The joints between the floor and the walls are equally-important. They simply must not let water pass through under any circumstances. If you don’t have access to professional materials, using tar can yield good results, at least temporarily.
You need to pay extra attention to your cabin if the building is located by the sea. Salt water is very corrosive and can destroy wood within a few years, but this is no reason to give up your plans for a new log cabin. Simply keep in mind to always replenish your supplies of corrosion inhibitors and lacquer. These chemicals are essential for safeguarding and strengthening wood. This is very important for buildings constructed by the sea or near mountaintops since they are more likely to be battered by raging storms.
Insulating the interior of the cabin is also very important. While the walls in the main room can be left barren, in tune with the rustic style of the buildings, the ones in the bathroom or shower need special treatment. While taking a batch, water and steam condense into tiny droplets, which can attack wood from the inside. Applying a thick layer of lacquer on these walls every year can help prevent this process.
The final enemy on this list is fire. A pervasive threat to all wooden structures, this element has caused more damage than water ever did. However, always remember that most accidents involving fire occur on account of poorly insulated electrical installation, or improper application of fire treatment guidelines. There is no reason to believe that your cabin will be damaged simply because it is made out of wood, considering the number of chemicals developed specifically to prevent this from happening.
Flame retardants are commercially available around the country, and most retailers treat their timber before selling it to consumers. You can inquire about this issue regardless of whether you buy the wood from a lumberjack, sawmill or supermarket. Based on what you learn, you can decide to apply an extra layer of protection, or use the wood as it is.
The costs associated with maintaining a wooden log cabin may seem high, but it mostly boils down to remembering to apply inhibitors and lacquer every year and paying a very small sum for the chemicals. These are available at dedicated stores, online, and even in supermarkets, and are very cheap. These small expenses cannot overtake the joy of having your very own wooden log cabin.
For more log cabin information, read our log cabin ultimate guide.