A log cabin is a beautiful, eco-friendly home that will look great in your garden, but just like anything, it will last longer if you take a few steps to look after it. Log cabin maintenance isn’t complex, and completing the necessary steps will pay dividends.
Once your cabin is built, you can start using it right away. Log cabin maintenance can be as simple as installing a door catcher to ensure your door is protected in high winds – but there are a few other things to look at.
Log Cabin Maintenance – Protecting the Timber
Our log cabins are built from the highest quality renewable Scandinavian, but timber is a natural product, and it can deteriorate if not looked after properly. You can protect the timber by starting with treating the knots.
Knots in wood need sealing. Without sealing, they provide a path for liquid to enter the wood, and from an aesthetic point of view, they can spoil the overall look of a painted cabin. Using a knot treatment (such as that manufactured by Rustins) will seal and disguise the knots naturally occurring in the wood.
Again, because timber is a natural product, there will be minor imperfections in the finish. Tiny cracks may have appeared, so it is worth filling these with some wood filler. You can also use wood filler to cover any other perfections and hide screws.
Wood filler is simple to apply, and a quick rub over with sandpaper ensures a smooth finish.
Painting or staining your log cabin building is the next step in log cabin maintenance.
Choosing the right paint or stain is essential, as you want to make sure that your cabin will be protected from the elements. When examined under magnification, you’ll soon discover that wood has a similar physical construction as that of a sponge, which means it is susceptible to problems caused by damp if it is left untreated.
Make sure you use a quality product specifically designed for outdoor wood. You don’t always need an undercoat or primer, but it is important to follow the instructions on the product you choose – not all paints or stains are the same.
Whatever you do, don’t use clear varnish on the outside of your log cabin – it’s not suitable for log cabin maintenance! You may find that multiple coats of your chosen product are necessary, and it’s worth taking your time. Ensure that every inch of your cabin is coated, as damp can get anywhere.
Always make sure that the wood is clean before painting to ensure the best adhesion, and try to avoid painting in strong sunlight. It can affect the final colour, and can speed up the drying process, which isn’t always best for certain types of paint.
Recommended paint brands:
- Tikkurila – most recommended.
As you are attempting to protect your cabin from the worst the weather can throw at it, paint with good UV protection is a must. It also needs to be breathable and be prepared to repaint every 3 or 4 years – paint doesn’t last forever, and repainting will give your log cabin the best protection.
Perhaps most importantly, use a paintbrush! A paint roller may cover more quickly, but it won’t get into all the corners and crevices, which leaves areas exposed to the elements. Take your time and get it right.
Don’t Worry About Gaps
With all that said, your log cabin will settle over the first couple of years. The weight of the timber and the effect that heat has on wood will cause the wood to contract or expand.
This can lead to small gaps appearing, but this is entirely normal and a natural process. The cabin will eventually settle and will look exactly as expected.
During this settling period, you may find that the doors or windows catch slightly. They can be adjusted, and when your cabin is built, the builder will give you instructions on what may need to be done – it’s relatively straightforward and nothing to worry about. Log cabin maintenance doesn’t have to be hard!
Heat and Air Flow
It’s wised to start heating your cabin as soon as it is built, especially if it is built during the winter. Leaving it unheated can lead to damp, which is certainly undesirable.
Damp can be caused by moisture in the air, which is why we recommend installing air grates or vents in each room. The windows in your log cabin may also have a venting feature – turn the handle to 45 degrees, and they will very slightly open, providing the ventilation needed to keep internal moisture at bay.
Keeping the temperature constant within your log cabin will help prevent issues with dampness, but this isn’t just related to the heating source. Drying clothes in your log cabin (especially over radiators or near heaters) can affect the air’s temperature and add excess moisture.
If you have a tumble dryer, it needs to be appropriately vented. If it’s a condensing dryer, make sure to empty the condensate regularly.
Even something as simple as putting furniture too close to the walls can cause problems. Leave space for air to flow.
Use a dehumidifier if you have one, and use extractor fans! Log cabin maintenance isn’t always about performing particular tasks; it’s sometimes about how you use the cabin.
Protect the Floor
Keeping your floor protected is simple. Varnishing provides a layer of protection, and you can install laminate flooring for further protection and easy maintenance. Laminate is perfect in kitchen and bathroom areas.
Keep Rain Away
We always advise that gutters should be installed on every cabin as this helps to channel the rain away from the main structure of the building. You can also install gravel or decorative stones around your cabin to help prevent rain from splashing up the walls.
This keeps the outside looking nice and clean and limits the opportunity for the rain to damage the timber.
Log Cabin Maintenance is Easy!
It’s essential to keep in mind that log cabin maintenance is not a complicated process, but it should be done regularly. By following these tips, you can ensure that your log cabin stays in excellent condition for years to come!