Living in a log cabin is a bit of a homeowner’s daydream. Cosy, quirky and often in beautiful rural settings, they are considered a dream home amongst many of us. Most people have holidayed in a log cabin, and they are popular for weekend breaks all year round. However, how many of us saying those things would actually move into one? When it comes down to it, humans are creatures of habit. Making such a drastic change from the usual bricks and mortar is a scary concept. There are so many things to consider: will I feel isolated? Will it be too cold? What if the whole thing falls apart? These kind of thoughts are only natural if you are considering a move to a log cabin. But, in an unusual turn of events, life under log could actually be a great option for you and your family.
Firstly, log cabins are quintessentially cosy and relaxing. There is something special about a roaring fire, plenty of blankets, warm lighting and a mug of tea, all whilst sat in a log cabin. With so many doppelganger homes on the market at the moment – the same pristine white apartments -it is nice for your home to have a little personality. It doesn’t come much more unique than a log cabin. Plus, they’re not just properties for winter. In the summertime they are light airy spaces, and having a veranda to relax on in the midday heat is just perfect.
The settings are often also a major selling point of log cabins. If you’ve been working hard in the big city all your life and need to spend some time in the country, log cabins can certainly offer you a rural lifestyle. Log walls are also a great insulator for both heat and sound, so you won’t be kept up all night with the sound of traffic in your ears. However, if you can’t make a complete move to the countryside, there are still ways you can experience the log cabin lifestyle. Consider building a mini one in your back garden – as a recreation room, a relaxing escape or even as your office. This way, you can have the best of both worlds; near to amenities, but still with that little rural escape when you need it.
Wooden cabins are also surprisingly sturdy. In fact, a lot of people argue that they are in fact stronger and safer than a traditional brick house. Log homes actually have a pretty good history when it comes to surviving extreme weather. Reports suggest they can stay standing in everything from high winds to natural disasters such as tornados. A log home in Carolina was the only home to remain standing following Hurricane Hugo, and a similar pattern has followed since. Many wooden homes in Florida survived the devastation of Hurricane Andrew in 1992. A log home also survived winds of 106mph during Hurricane Ike. The secret to wooden cabins surviving such extreme weather is all in the walls. In a traditional home, the walls are attached to the roof. The roof is usually the first part of the house to suffer impact from strong winds, therefore if the roof goes, so do the walls. In log cabins, the walls are instead standalone structures. Made out of huge logs, they support themselves without interlocking into other parts of the house. This is what makes them much more storm-resistant.
Insulation is also a major part of what tends to put people off living in a log home. It is widely assumed that come winter the property will be cold, when actually it couldn’t be further from the truth. Wood holds something inside it known as ‘thermal mass‘. This natural property allows logs to draw in heat energy and then radiate it back into the home. Under the correct circumstances, it is even possible for them to store heat energy during the day and then release it at night.
Clearly, there are a lot of pros to having a log cabin, whether you live in in all year round or just during certain seasons. If you are still thinking it may be the right decision for you, take a look at our list of things you definitely need to do before buying.
Decide whether you are going to buy or build
This is arguably the biggest decision you can make when embarking on your log cabin adventure, as it will determine the rest of the move. There are plenty of residential parks on which you can buy a pre-built log cabin (it may be pre-owned too). The advantage of these parks is that they are generally hassle free, much more so than building your own. They offer a wide range of cabins to suit everyone’s needs and usually have 24 hour security. Most people on the plot will have bought their properties for similar reasons to yourself. Therefore, you will be surrounded by like-minded people. However, if you would like a little more autonomy, park living may not be for you.
The beauty of building your log cabin is that it can be entirely where you want it to be (within reason). Securing planning permission for a wooden home is generally easier than it is for a traditional home. That being said, it is not without its difficulties. Once you have secured your plot, be wary of your next move. The Log Home Builders Association advises against buying a Log Home Cabin Kit from a salesman. Although cheap, these kits produce an ultimately weak home that will not be insulating or be able to survive windy weather. Speak to your architect and log home building specialists who will be able to advise you on the best method to use.
Surprisingly, there isn’t a ‘one size fits all’ option when it comes to building a wooden cabin. The type of timber you need can vary wildly depending on your location, the climate and what you intend to use the building for. The first thing to consider is supply and demand. Whereabouts you live can have a deciding factor on your ability to produce the ideal log cabin. Some types of wood will be readily available in your area, whereas you may need to import other types. For example, in the Eastern areas of the US and Canada, white and red pine are in abundance, whereas in Central America hardwoods are more common. Whatever timber you end up using, visit somewhere such as Weatherall to ensure your wood will stay put.
The stacked logs that make up your home should never touch the ground. If they do, they will be susceptible to a whole host of issues – your home could become damp and the wood could even start to rot away. It is recommended that your log cabin is elevated at least one and a half feet off the ground. This may seem excessive, but it will be worth it! If you need some extra protection, consider applying a water shield product to your lowest logs. This is especially recommended if you live in a state where it tends to rain a lot, and will give you peace of mind.
Keep you home insect free
For many people, part of the attraction with moving to a log cabin is the prospect of immersing themselves in nature. Unfortunately the reality of this can be quite different to the dream. No little fawns or rabbits at your door every morning – it’s more like hoards of creepy crawlies and bugs nesting in your wood! Aside from making your home more livable, there is also another reason why eradicating bugs from your cabin can be beneficial. Woodworm and other insects wear down your timber, meaning that they can actually reduce the longevity of your home. Thankfully, not all pest control techniques have to be hugely tasking or time consuming. If you are building your home yourself, make sure the logs are dried out once they have been cut. If any moisture is trapped inside, it is much easier for insects to breed in there. It is relatively easy to dry your logs out. Simply stack them so that they are sturdy, but so that air can still reach them. Place them in a dry area and allow them to air out. Don’t be tempted to cover them with a rug or tarpaulin as this will only hold in the moisture. If you are already living in a wooden home with an insect problem, there are steps you can take to getting rid of your uninvited guests. Spray treatments, pesticides and fumigation are all techniques used to rid wooden houses of bugs and insects. You can even buy injections to deposit into your wood which contains insect repellents. However, all of these techniques can be expensive and time consuming. If you have chance, ensure that your timber is dried and preserved before you start building, to stop the bugs getting into your home in the first place.