LOG CABIN TIPS
BUILD YOUR OWN GARDEN CABIN
To help the DIY enthusiast, we have put together some basic guidelines that will help you focus on getting it right first time. From tools required to how to erect the correct foundations.
- Spirit Level
- Measuring Tape
- Assembly Drawings
- Protective Gloves
A proper and sound foundation is a deciding factor for safety and longevity of your cabin. Only level, properly squared off foundations will be capable of taking the load of your cabin for a trouble free installation.
Faulty foundations will definitely result in out of shape walls. Doors and Windows will be difficult to open and close.
The perimeter of the foundation should be no less than the perimeter of the outside walls of the cabin and ideally, should extend at least 5cms around the perimeter of the base of the cabin.
Inspection of components
Open the packages and sort out all of the components according to the installation plans and instructions. Please ensure that you place the components on a clean dry surface. Group them together relevant to the process of the installation i.e. roof components together, doors and windows together etc.
Where you have a foundation frame, ensure that it is laid perfectly flat. Check the measurements of the diagonals. These should be identical in order to be sure that everything is perfectly square at each corner.
When fixing wall logs, please be sure that they are groove side down and tongue side up. Ensure that all tongue and groove are fitted properly in each row of wall logs. Any slight incorrect fixing will only be exaggerated as you build higher. Follow the wall drawings and use the correct components. Fix them to the frame and continue with the next row of logs up.
After having installed the first row of logs double check the measurements diagonally from corner to corner as before. Recheck that wall logs have been properly fitted until you are perfectly sure that everything is perfectly square and even.
When the walls are high enough to show two or three wall logs high, each side of the windows, it will be time to install the windows and doors.
Doors and Windows
Doors and windows come in ready for installation so that the units can slide into the door/window opening from the top. The Doors and Window packages come complete with all the relevant fixing components.
Doors always open from inside outwards.
Tilt and Turn windows always open inwards.
Standard single and double glazed windows always open outwards.
At this stage try to avoid fixing the door/window frames to the log walls.
If you do want some kind of fixture, just use a couple of screws in the lower part of the frame, as when the logs dry out and the cabin settles, firm fixtures at this stage could lead to some distortion.
Final adjustments of this nature to the doors and windows can be made a couple of weeks after the cabin is complete when it has fully adapted to the elements. . Doors and windows can then be re-adjusted and aligned and firmly fixed.
Depending on the design, Apexes can be in one piece or several parts. Such parts need to be screwed together with wood screws and the Roof Beams must be fixed to the Apexes. Apexes are usually notched to accommodate the Roof beams. Always continuously check everything as you progress with a spirit level, before fixing them to the Apex. The Apexes need to be screwed to the top of the wall logs at the ends.
Important, if you find that the upper log is not on the same level with the Apex, you need to double check the interlocked fixings of all logs below to ensure they have been properly fixed into the grooves. Lightly tap the logs until they reach the required position. If there is still a discrepancy you can plane the Apex and/or side wall log to get them in line for the roof boards.
Before you proceed with roof boards, check that all walls are completely level.
Start with roof cladding from the front edge of the roof, smooth side of board upwards. Tap the boards lightly and make sure you push the tongue into groove leaving about 3mm expansion gap, to allow for swelling of roof boards when absorbing moisture from the air.
Use a stable and secure ladder. Do not step on the roof as cabin structures are safe for even loads of roof shingles etc. but cannot be safe enough for single point loading. Roof boards must be even with roof beam ends and the last board must be trimmed with a saw. Having installed the Roof cladding, and/or the roof felt, proceed with the fascias and felt battens. Make sure that when using shingles that the side and front fascias are covered protecting them from moisture.
When the cabin is built and protected from the elements, now is the time to install the flooring. Place the floor boards on the joists and foundation frame, tap them lightly against one another and leave about 3mm expansion gap between them. Use so called secret nailing when fixing them to joists through the tongue at an angle. If necessary, cut the last boards to the suitable width, leaving about 5mm gap to the wall. Floor beadings will cover all expansion gaps between floor boards and wall. Beadings must be cut into the required lengths and fixed by small nails. Depending on the time of year and weather conditions, floorboards may swell or settle. Dry wood absorbs moisture from the atmosphere and the floor expands. Expansion gaps between floorboards are therefore of paramount importance.
Wood is a natural product and needs to be protected from moisture and Ultra Violet Light. It is therefore advisable to treat the exterior wood protection as soon as possible after the cabin has been installed. Doors and windows require special attention to avoid any later problems of twisting or sticking in frames. This is best carried out during fairly cool but dry weather.
Above is only a guideline to help you progress with your building that will definitely give you many years of pleasure. There are variations regarding installation depending upon design and these are made clear to you in the building instructions.