Log Cabin Buying Guide
There’s so much to consider when investing in a log cabin — before and after you make a purchase. You’ll want to brush up on these key factors to understand what goes into making this outdoor structure. Only then can you make the most of your investment, adding highly valued, extra living space.
Our log cabin buying guide provides insights, helping you make informed choices. Keep reading!
Log cabins offer versatility to any outdoor space. On top of the extra space they provide for work and leisure, they also make a stylish garden feature. With careful planning, they can serve as a cost-effective alternative to home renovations.
If you plan to invest in one soon, consider the economical nature of a log cabin. It can provide a space to escape, work, host guests, or simply enjoy the beauty of your garden. Top tip: Log cabin makeover ideas are your key to unlocking the potential of your outdoor space.
When it comes to size, your available garden space and intended use will guide you on your log cabin size choice.
It may be limited; if that’s the case, choose a model that enhances your space without dominating it. Leave a 1-2 ft clearance around the structure for maintenance. Also, consider the space required to open the cabin’s doors and windows easily. If there are trees or other features that could affect your cabin in your garden, make sure there is safe separation between them.
A smaller log cabin may suffice if your goal is an outdoor retreat. It can be cheap and fits well in compact spaces, but it may limit your options for diverse uses.
If you have a larger garden space, that means an opportunity for a bigger log cabin. A larger unit can provide more room if you wish to use it as an office space or even as a place to run your own studio business. Understanding the intended use helps ensure your cabin complements the available lot.
Choosing the right size and style for your outdoor building matters. Always pre-measure your space outdoor space so you know what you can and can’t fit. The dimensions of your summerhouse should also align with your intended use, for example a gym space will require a large, open area for exercise.
Commonly available larger sizes (in feet):
The Different Types of Log Cabin
Due to their robust nature and flexibility, there are a diverse range of options when it comes to the use and style of cabins available. Choose the type that best suits your needs and enjoy the benefits it offers. These are four traditional variants:
Garden Offices: The ideal place to run your own business or work from home. Garden offices offer a space that are ideal for a professional setting, with assured privacy and the ability to add utilities.
Log Cabin Summer Houses: This combination provides a cosy and versatile space for relaxation and entertainment. It’s perfect for creating a functional retreat within your garden.
Log Cabin Sheds: Such structures combine the traditional charm of log cabins with practical storage and apex roofs. They offer ample space for garden tools, bicycles, or general storage.
Insulated Log Cabins: The added insulation promises year-round use and comfort in all seasons. This makes them well-suited for home offices, studios, or guest accommodation.
In a log cabin buying guide, choosing the right location is more important than you think. For one, it directly affects your overall satisfaction and the cabin’s longevity. Proper placement ensures it complements the landscape, maximises sunlight, and allows easy access. It also impacts structural stability, energy efficiency, and the need for maintenance.
Depending on the brand and model you choose, you can expect a variety of features tailored to your needs, such as:
- Porches: Some log cabins come with a porch, offering a delightful outdoor space to relax. These are perfect for enjoying the fresh air while still having shelter.
- Storerooms: Many garden cabins include storage areas, which are great for keeping items. They help keep your outdoor space tidy and organised.
- Number of rooms: Log cabins come in various configurations. Depending on your intended use, you can opt for a single-room layout or multiple rooms.
Cladding Types and Thickness
Cladding thickness varies, typically from 12mm to 44mm or more. Thicker cladding offers improved insulation and structural stability. This makes it more suitable for year-round or multi-purpose use. Consider your style, climate, and intended use to ensure long-lasting satisfaction. For winter use, we recommend a log cabin with 42mm thickness or more.
Various cladding types and thicknesses available are:
Tongue and Groove (T&G):
T&G cladding features interlocking boards that create a smooth, attractive surface. It provides excellent insulation and weather resistance, perfect for use throughout the year.
Overlap cladding consists of boards that overlap, creating a rustic look. While cost-effective, it may require additional insulation for year-round comfort.
This cladding replicates the appearance of traditional log cabins. It offers a cosy, rustic feel but may need more maintenance and insulation.
Shiplap boards fit snugly together, offering a modern, clean look. They provide good insulation and durability, suitable for extended seasonal use.
Windows and Doors
Think about how much natural light you want, as more glazing means more light inside. Opening windows are important for ventilation, especially in warmer months. So, when planning, note the opening distance. Look for tilt-and-turn windows for versatile opening options at the sides or bottom.
As for the doors, you can never go wrong with bifold ones. They offer abundant natural light, and they fold open completely. The design creates a seamless indoor-outdoor experience.
When it comes to glazing, you can go for alternatives like styrene or polycarbonate. These materials won’t shatter, making them ideal if you have children or play near the cabin. They’re also UV-protected to prevent yellowing.
For traditional options, garden log cabins UK uses real glasses. Popular choices are horticultural glass, standard single glazing, or double glazing. Double glazing offers the best insulation, both for temperature and sound.
Note: Some manufacturers offer models, mostly cabin sheds, with windowless options.
This classic style features a peaked roof resembling an ‘A’ shape. Discover Apex Log Cabins.
A single-sloped roof that slopes from front to back. Discover Pent Log Cabins.
Reverse Apex Roof
An apex roof that is switched on its side. Discover Reverse Apex Log Cabins.
Log Cabin Bases
To ensure a stable log cabin, place it on a flat, clean surface. Uneven ground can cause shifting, misaligned doors and windows, and damage.
The surface should be level and clear of obstructions like stones and tree roots. If you have a grassy area, you’ll need to add a base. In every log cabin buying guide, common bases include:
Concrete base for log cabin provides a durable and low-maintenance base. The level surface ensures even weight distribution, preventing shifting and structural damage.
2. Paving slabs
A flat, sturdy, and often rectangular piece of concrete, stone, or other materials. Placed on a level surface, these slabs create a stable platform for the shed, offering support. Among the popular choices due to their durability and ease of installation.
Plastic grids or panels create a stable, eco-friendly, and permeable foundation. They’re easy to install, and their flexibility accommodates uneven ground.
4. Damp membranes
Damp membranes are placed beneath plastic bases to prevent ground moisture. They enhance the longevity and robustness of the base and the log cabin itself.
If your surface is already flat, like concrete or slabs, you won’t need an extra base. Please note that base installation is not part of the log cabin installation service.
Maintenance and the right treatment plan will keep your log cabin in prime condition. Here are the best options to make sure your investment stands the test of time:
- Wood preservatives: Guarantees protection against rot, insects, and weather damage. These treatments come in various shades to enhance the cabin’s appearance.
- Stains and paints: Adds colour and further protects the wood. Stains penetrate the wood, showcasing its natural grain. Meanwhile, paints provide an array of colour choices.
- Sealers and oils: Help maintain the wood’s natural look and prevent moisture damage. They need reapplication over time.
- Pressure-treated log cabins: Treated log cabins offer enhanced durability and reduced maintenance requirements. The wood is treated with preservatives during the manufacturing process.
Your Questions Answered
How to prepare your garden for a log cabin?
To prep your outdoor space, begin by clearing the area of debris. Make sure it’s free from obstructions like stones and tree roots. You’ll want good drainage to prevent moisture-related damage to the cabin.
What’s the best cabin base?
The ideal base for your log cabin will depend on your budget and garden’s characteristics. Concrete slabs can offer durability and are low maintenance. Plastic bases are eco-friendly and flexible for uneven ground. Damp membranes beneath plastic bases prevent moisture issues.
How long do log cabins last?
Their longevity varies depending on factors like wood quality, maintenance, and local climate. Well-maintained log cabins for gardens can last for decades - some reaching well over 20 years. Proper care and quality materials are key to extending their lifespan.
Are log cabins easy to install?
The complexity depends on the cabin’s size and design. But, with careful planning, the process can be straightforward and manageable. For precise and efficient build, we recommend to have a professional installer.
Do I need planning permission?
Log cabin regulations vary by location. Typically, smaller cabins for personal use in residential gardens don’t require one. Even so, we recommend checking your local regulations. Larger or commercial structures may require approval.
Are log cabins a good investment?
Yes, they can be a valuable investment, adding functional living space. One can also potentially increase your property value. But the return on investment depends on the quality of the cabin, the use, and the local real estate market.
How do you prepare your ground for a log cabin?
For a stable log cabin, prepare the ground by levelling it and clearing debris like stones or tree roots. Adequate drainage is vital. Options for bases include concrete, plastic grids, or even paving slabs.
How much space do you need around a log cabin?
Leave a 1-2 ft. clearance around the cabin for maintenance and easy access to open doors and windows. Proper spacing also ensures functionality and harmonises with your garden’s layout.