Are Log Cabins Eco-Friendly or High Maintenance?
Log cabins in the UK are built to different standards using a variety of materials. It is, therefore, necessary for homeowners to look at the fine print about a cabin for sale to determine what materials are used for each model sold.
In this article, we address whether log cabins use eco-friendly materials and if they’re high maintenance, or not.
Eco-friendly materials are often used in log cabins that are carefully produced using natural timber. For instance, sometimes, timber from Nordic countries is used. It’s tougher because the forests must withstand the cold winters.
Other times, inexpensive log cabins in the UK are produced using a combination of timber with OSB board and chipboard as cheaper substitutes. Both chipboard and OSB board are made mostly for indoor use and are neither durable for the outdoors with moisture to contend with or ecologically friendly either.
The log cabins from 1st Choice Leisure Buildings do not use the cheaper substitutes because they have a brand reputation to protect. Genuine customer reviews are posted right on the product pages of their website. So, before new customers make a purchase, they can see what previous buyers have thought of the product, its durability, and their on-site log cabin erection service too.
Renewable timber sources come down to how the forestry is managed and whether the owners are ecologically aware. With renewable timber, for every mature tree harvested for timber used for structures like log cabins in the UK, a new tree one is planted. This ensures that the forest continues to have a renewable supply of trees and timber.
Trees clean the air around them. Harvesting through a ‘slash and burn’ process that doesn’t focus on replanting damages the enriched ground and impacts air pollution too. This is why forestry owners that intend to own timberland for decades come to focus on timber nurseries and replanting to avoid depleting the forest.
Most tree species grow 4-7 per cent per annum. This also means that as long as the harvest is limited to a few per cent of the forest’s overall size, the amount of standing timber remains roughly the same (the remaining trees have grown over the previous year).
A quality cabin producer only uses reputable sources of timber. Preferably renewable ones. By all means, check with a cabin manufacturer to verify what timber they use with their different log cabin models and how it’s sourced.
Log Cabin Ownership and the Need for Maintenance
A certain amount of maintenance is to be expected when owning a British log cabin. However, they’re not high maintenance items.
Certainly, there are things that are good to deal with every few months or annually. However, as the wood ages, the need for inspections, along with repairs and maintenance becomes more apparent. That’s just par for the course. But the good news is that it’s not that difficult or time-consuming and makes your cabin last considerably longer before it needs replacing.
Log Cabin Maintenance: Damage from Rain, Snow or Ice
Periodically, look both inside and at the exterior of the cabin for damage caused due by rainfall and in the wintertime, snow, and ice. Notably, should any ice form on the cabin, it’s best to carefully chip away at it to remove it, which avoids the timber becoming soaked through. Be sure not to impact the wood beneath, so go slowly when removing ice.
Remove any dirt and debris that has built up on the exterior of the cabin too. Even sprays of dirt can contain other elements that might eat into the wood if left there. For this reason, always brush the dirt away to clean the area and see what’s beneath it. Perhaps a stain or a damp area if the dirt was wet from rainfall too. By removing the dirt, the dampness gets a chance to dry out instead of remaining wet for days or even longer.
Log Cabin Maintenance: Water Leakage and Prevention
Looking out for damage from leaks due to water or general moisture is important. If left unchecked, this could potentially create a damper environment than necessary. With too much moisture, bacteria might develop. If you have an indoor storage heater, then using this to warm up the cabin is a good idea, so the wet area dries off faster.
How to Seal Gaps and Troublesome Areas
Sealing or re-sealing the cabin helps avoid water leaks in the future. Any good UK DIY superstore stocks several sealants for this exact purpose. They’re sold usually in a tube containing silicone, which acts as the waterproofing material.
The areas to pay special attention to other than the spot that’s developed a leak already, are corners where the wooden slats interlock, just below the roofing area, and any developed gaps either between wood or with joins. Also, examine the doors and windows because the door jam and window frames along with the joints holding them in position might be a source of water leakage too.
How to Spot Damp Places
To find damp spots inside or outside, just look for a discoloured area of wood. Otherwise, put a hand on the area to check for how it feels.
Also, don’t be afraid to use silicon sealant as a preventative measure in the spots mentioned in the previous paragraph. This goes for whether there is a current leak or not. Prevention now is better than dealing with a water or damp issue later.
Long-Term Log Cabin Protection
The wood must maintain its protective wood staining to shield it from the outdoor elements. Given the amount of rainfall and unexpected weather conditions in the UK, the wood needs to hold up for years. This is achieved with coats of wood staining, which repels water and avoids infestation.
Pre-Stained Wood or Not?
Talk to the cabin company about whether they use pre-stained wood or if several coats of protection must be added post-installation. If they have pre-treated the timber, verify what product they used, how many coats were applied, and how long the protection is expected to last. You can also check that product yourself to verify whether they did everything correctly.
Staining Wood: Where to Start?
Applying or reapplying the wood stain should be based on the information collected about the product used. Following the instructions on how often to apply fresh coats. When you do, first cover over the windows and joints around the cabin that are not being painted. Use masking tape where appropriate and combine it with plastic sheeting over the windows to avoid marking them.
Staining Wood: Best Approach and What Months to Avoid?
Wood staining is typically applied from the top. Complete a single side wall before moving onto the next. It’s necessary to wait for the coat to dry completely before returning to apply a second coat. Once completed, the plastic sheeting and masking tape can be removed.
Also, please note that the wood must be totally dry before applying a wood stain protector. Therefore, it’s best to complete this in the afternoon. Avoid doing this work during the late autumn or winter months.
Ultimately, log cabins are not high maintenance options for expanding your living space. Whether they’re built from eco-friendly materials largely depends on the cabin producer. Therefore, homeowners must look at the materials shown in the product brochure or approved within their order to make that determination for themselves.