On the face of it, choosing a log cabin is straightforward, right? You see a cabin you like the look of and buy it – wrong! There are many pitfalls and this brief summary guides you through the process of buying a log cabin.
Log cabins are generally made by large timber companies who select, mill and process timber to manufacture a range of timber cabin designs. The manufacturers rarely sell direct to the public. Instead they contract third party sellers in various countries and territories to market and sell their products. You, the consumer, will likely order a log cabin via a third party retailer, quite possibly after seeing a picture and specification online, or else at a physical showroom. All the online retailer does is process the order and take their percentage; the cabin is manufactured, shipped and delivered by the manufacturer.
The moral here is that third party sellers may have little or no real interest in the final suitability and look of your new cabin – so long as they get their percentage of the deal they move on to the next customer in what is, after all for them a numbers game.
You may well decide here that what you would prefer to locate is a company that actually deals first hand with the timber, knows their products intimately and does care about the final result of the log cabin in your garden. Log cabin advice is not hard to find, but really worthwhile cabin advice is rare as hen’s teeth in what is basically an unregulated ‘gold rush’ of an industry. Look for companies that source only sustainable slow-grown timber themselves, that manufacture the logs and cabin components themselves, that have physical stock and that sell direct to the public backed up by, for example, ten year guarantees against wood rot.
Having located a reputable log cabin manufacturer, only consider models that have the option of complete factory tanalisation (wood preserver applied under pressure) to every part of the cabin, including windows, doors, roof and floor packs. You will pay more for this but for peace of mind and ease the extra expense is worth it. Also consider cabins that are pre-painted in the factory. If you do buy an untreated cabin it will take a lot of work to hand apply wood preserver (minimum two coats) to every part of the cabin.
Consider appropriate log thickness. Cheaper 18mm or 28mm logs may be okay for a store room or summer house but are no good for a garden home office log cabin. Go for at least 44mm thick logs for better insulation and overall solidity and durability of the cabin. Similarly, if you want to use the cabin in all seasons specify double glazing to windows and doors. Cheap single glazing or worse styrene will only disappoint when winter comes around.
Wherever and whenever possible once you have decided upon the right manufacturer and ordered the log cabin kit, you should definitely assemble the cabin yourself or else employ only a trusted local builder to do it. There are many so-called professional cabin installers whose sole objective is to erect the log cabin as quick as possible. We all know that a quick job is not at all the same thing as a good job. A very good quality cabin can be destroyed in one morning by poor assembly. The final finish is very important as it’s what you see and what will help protect the cabin from the elements. Blast it together with a nail gun and the end result will be a splintered mess susceptible to wood rot.
It really is worth the time and effort to carefully select a reputable, quality log cabin manufacturer, buy direct from them with confidence, and to assemble the cabin yourself with care and pride in the final result.