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 the first time. From tools required to how to erect the correct foundations.
IMPORTANT: Please ensure you do an inventory check of all goods and then lay out the cabin log timbers in piles as per the plans this will save you a lot of time when the build commences.
- Spirit Level to check base timbers are level
- Measuring Tap to square base and measure logs
- Hammer to nail roof boards, floorboards and to lock logs in place
- Drill – to fix timbers to concrete, screw logs to base timbers, screw gables, purlins, and fascias
- Step ladder – to fit purlins and roof boards
- Assembly Drawings
- Protective Gloves
A proper and sound foundation is a deciding factor for the 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.
Step by step on a non-insulated base
- Cut the 3×2 Treated Timbers to the perimeter of the cabin. Place around the slab with the 2inch side up.
- Staple/ tack DPC underneath of the 3×2 treated timbers allowing 3inches to overhang outside.
- Screw the timbers together, ensuring there level and square.
- Fix the 3×2 Treated timber to the concrete with express nails or concrete screws (these are not supplied) Space them at 4-600mm apart.
- Turn the DPC plastic up and over on the outside. NOTE: At this stage, we would recommend building the cabin as floor joists can be done when the unit is watertight.
- Roll out DPM plastic
- Decide which way you want your flooring to run, fix the battens in the opposite direction with concrete screws or express nails(these are not supplied).
- Nail down your T&G flooring and skirt around the edges.
Spend time on your base timber ensuring it’s level and square, if not it will cause a lot of problems with the build otherwise.
Seal the joint between the DPC concrete & DPC and first log. This can be also be done by using a kicker and timber underneath (this kicker is not supplied please see the insulation base sketch)
Flooring gets dirty very quickly use covers/cardboard until varnish/stained.
Step by step on an insulated base
- 3×2 Treated Timber on the edge around the perimeter of the unit with DPC underneath to form the base. Allow 105mm of the DPC to overhang the outside the base for now.
- Square and level the 3×2 Timber base then fix it down to the concrete using concrete fixers/screws (these are not included) space these roughly 4-600mm apart. NOTE: If the base is not correctly square and level it will have irreversible problems during build. TAKE YOUR TIME and have it right.
- Nail the 2×1 Treated Timbers on top of the 3×2 Treated Timbers.
- Roll out the DPM inside the base.
- Place the 2×1 Treated Timbers on the DPM plastic on right to left or back to front spaced 500mm apart. Make sure all 2 x 1 are 90mm back from 3×2 on the inside.
- Place the 3×2 Timbers into the base on the opposite direction of 2×1 treated timbers. These will be cut tight and fixed to your outside 3×2 with the 2×1 on top every 400mm .
- Once fixed down the DPC can be pulled up and over on the outside of the base. Drill out vent holes on the corners of the base , bigger cabins more vents on log sides. NOTE: At this stage it’s advisable to build the cabin as the following can be done after unit is watertight. It also means you can hide any wires required for sockets/switches.
- Insulation can be fitted in between the flooring joists.
- OSB can now be fitted.
- Finished flooring can now be fitted. If using timber click or PVC click underlay is to be used first.
OPTIONAL: kicker & 6×1 (not supplied)
The reason we say optional is because some people get creative at this stage. Basically what your trying to achieve is covering the joint between concrete and DPC and throwing/kicking the water from cabin wall away from base.
Use slate for packing base if low rather than timber.
Use a builders line to check for dips/humps in base.
Ensure concrete slab is higher than FGL so water can’t get underneath your DPM.
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.
Place all similar logs together either by size or numbered sticker.
Plans will be in pallets, once found use index to check order.
Ensure the concrete base is perfectly level and square. Check the measurements of the diagonals. These should be identical in order to be sure that everything is perfectly square at each corner.
Identify your baseboards (green /brown) take these and cut to size of the perimeter of the cabin if not already cut and staple/nail on DPC (black small roll )if obtained then fix the perimeter timbers with fixers into the concrete.
Roll out your DPM (plastic roll ) either in the flooring package or separate bundle you will have more green /brown timbers these are your floor joists which will be fixed to concrete if unit has internal walls there’s must be fitted now if open space you can leave this stage until the roof is watertight.
Using your plans identify your first logs and screw them to your green/brown timbers.
Now build away your walls. Depending on your unit you can fit the windows as you build this will help hold your logs together. You can also fit afterwards by screwing off outside timbers of windows.
Once you reach gables it’s a good idea to screw up along the ends of cut logs and then screw purlins into place.
Some units have treaded rods these can be fitted now in holes provided in corners.
Step by Step on Insulating your roof
- Cut the T&G roofing boards plumb and straight across the roof.
- Staple/nail breathable felt on roof.
- Cut the 3×2 Timbers rafters spaced at 600mm centres across the roof. NOTE: Cut all 4 gable rafters with plumb cut top and bottom. Keep a plumb cut on the bottom and square at top for the rest , this gives you a channel to run wires before insulation.
- Cut four of the 6×1 Timbers with plumb cuts across the top and the bottom to be the exact size of your 3×2 rafters . Nail/screw flush with top of your 3×2 rafters.
- Fit the 7×1 facia boards , up stand on the facia will be in line with the 2×1 + plywood to the outside corner of facia (see pic)
- Fit your insulation in between the rafters, keep the insulation 150mm back from facia and gable rafters. This void can now have vent holes drilled, (4 low and 4 high )
- Nail the 2×1 timbers tight to the back of facia board , from this space your lats are every 300mm running up the roof cutting them off flush with 6x1s on the gables. NOTE: If your roof is over 2.4 place the lats on the work centre of the joining sheets.
- Cover the roof with the plywood .
- Cover the roof with the mineral felt allowing it to overhang by 50mm.
- Shingle and ridge cap roof.
- After painting/treating barges fit down on top of shingles
*Cutting T&G , measure up 1.5 inches from the bottom of the T&G , chalk a line, tack a timber on the line and use as a runner for your circular saw.
*make a guide for your facia by cutting two of the 2x1s at 5inchs and one at 7inches hold all 3 flush at one end and screw together. Then simply hold on rafter and bring facia up to hit underneath of 7inches of the 2×1
*mineral felt , on the 4 corners of the roof measure up 950mm from the facia , chalk/pull line keep the top of your felt to the line .
*shingles , first row is a double row. Put the top edge of the shingle down in line with your felt , take this row across the roof . Come back to where you stated but this Time start with half a shingle with the hex edges following the line of the first shingle and felt. 4 x nails per shingle, blob of glue over each nail
*ridges are created from the flats (rectangular) shingles . Each rectangular shingle is cut into 3 ridges buy continuing factory made cut. Fold over ridge and lap 30mm over dotted line on shingle.
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 sidewall log to get them in line for the roof boards.
Roof and Fascia
Having checked all the walls are level, you can now start your T&G roof boards. Refer to the index of your plans to conform size and stack out along your beveled top wall log.
Using a step ladder nail the first T&G board flush with the end of purlins. It should also be halfway on your ridge ( highest purlin).
When working your way across the roof, try and ensure the bottoms for the board are flush as this will save having to cut them afterward.
When you reach the end of the roof you will need to cut your last T&G board flush with purlins.
Now refer to your plans again and identity your fascia board and backing board.
These will be both pre-cut and ready to nail/screw to the roof. Ensure backing timber is flush with the ends of your T&G and fitted underneath. Your fascia then covers the ends of the T&G and backing board. Ensure facia is flush with the top of the T&G board.
Now you are ready for your felt, simply mark a line 950 up from the fascia board. Holding your felt to this line work across the roof. For your second row ensure you have a 75-100mm cover. If shingles are been fitted follow the bottom of your felt this will be overhanging 50 mm from your fascia. The first shingle is turned top-down, the second shingle is half and sets on top of the first shingle. After finishing shingles you will have to cut flat shingle to form ridge cap (see diagram on the pack of shingles) once these are fitted refer to plans again, you will see the timber for barges (plumb cuts ) fit these to gables and that’s your roof and fascia finished.
Tongue and Groove Flooring and Skirting
The T&G is delivered in one of two ways:
1. It comes in your cabin pallet. Using your index in plans provided, you can identify your flooring T&G. You will also see floor joists (green/brown timbers ) and skirting . Refer to your plans, you will see a page with a diagram of the joists follows the spacings as per drawing. After fixing timbers to the concrete you can now start flooring. There will be nails provided to either nail from the top of T&G straight down to joist or secret nail from slightly above the tongue of board. This is a little harder and more time-consuming but you will have a far nicer finish to your flooring as you will not see nail head. Be mindful to keep 5mm gab all around your flooring. Once final board is cut into place you can then start skirting. Sometimes these timbers will be cut to length sometimes not, refer to plans index of unsure.
2. Separate packs
If you receive the T&G in separate packages, simply strip them the same as the cabin. Each pack will contain floor boards 4/5 , 2/3 green joist and a 2/3strips for skirting. On either the top or bottom of package you will have a long white sheet, this will tell you how to set out for your flooring to have minimal waste. Skirting is fitted once floor is finished.
It is important to remember that the T & G flooring comes to you natural, until flooring is varnished any footprints, mud, etc will have to be sanded off which can be difficult and time consuming . So to make life easy for yourself keep people out of your cabin until you have your flooring varnished/ sealed.
How to paint your log cabin – protect it first time to last a lifetime
Painting your log cabin is the single most important step to ensuring it stands the test of time.
‘Simple’, you may say and you’d be right – but only when you know how.
Painting a timber cabin is a different process to coating hard wall but when you stick carefully to the rules the results will ensure your cabin lasts a lifetime.
At Beaver Log Cabins we live by the motto: ‘Protect your cabin the first time and it’ll last a lifetime’.
From choosing the right paint for the job to sealing the cabin properly, adequately preparing the timber surfaces and applying base and top coats, it’s important to get it right from the very beginning.
We’ve put together a step by step guide to help you through the process.
The first thing we would advise you to do is to cover the cabin completely once built. The logs need to be fully dried out before any treatment/painting process can begin.
What paint to use for your log cabin?
Sikkens Rubbol Primer Plus Sikkens Satura Plus
The exterior paint you use on your log cabin is crucial to the protection and life-span of the timber. Never use a cheap paint and always ensure that the appropriate paint for the job is used.
For base coat we recommend only Sikkens Rubbol Primer Plus.
For top coat we recommend only Sikkens Satura Plus.
Never, ever thin the paint before application to your log cabin. Mixing the paint with other agents will contaminate the paint leaving your timber exposed to risk.
This is a rubberised paint with very high elasticity which allows for the natural expansion and contraction of timber. Using the recommended paint and applying it in the right way will provide vital protection for the log cabin. When it’s done with the wrong paint or even with the right paint applied with poor practice then the results can be disastrous for your timber.
We’ve seen log cabins with up to 50% moisture content in the timber due to poor paint application and contamination of paint with thinning agents. The damage caused by such high levels of moisture content in timber cabins can be impossible to reverse. We would advise the re-application of paint to your cabin every two years to ensure it lasts a lifetime. Protect your cabin the first time and it’ll last a lifetime.
Firstly, Prime the Unit evenly. Make sure all bare timber is covered.
Fill any noticeable cracks, screw holes, knots and T&G end grains with raw plug plastic wood filler.
Sand all fillers when dry. Sand wood joints make sure all sanding is complete before caulking. Sand any defects on logs such as pitting, shakes and roughly planned timber. Brush / dust down the full cabin.
Caulk every T&G joints on log. Caulk takes 2 hours to dry in good conditions. We recommended 24 hours in bad conditions.
Inspect cabin for any newly visible cracks, holes and imperfections and refill.
Seal all windows and doors.
Apply second primer. Drying times vary.
Apply Top coat. (24 hour drying)
Sand cabin lightly with fine sand paper. Recommend 180 grit sand paper
After ensuring all surfaces are smooth, clean and dry apply finish coat
We recommended your cabin has at least 4 coats of paint.
Where people make mistakes:
Watering down paint to make it easier to apply.
Applying paint too thin.
Applying paint too soon between coats.
Using internal calk and fillers outside.
Not sealing all windows +doors probably before painting.
Not painting into rubber seals on windows and doors.
Painting on damp/ wet surfaces.
Painting onto dusty surfaces.
Painting if under 5degrees.
Brush on all base coat to ensure no naked timber is shown.
For top and finish coat rolling can be used provided adequate paint is applied and that all end grains groves of log, and corners are cut in by brush firstly
Need more help?
If you need more assistance, phone our fitting team on 0877785852 or email Natasha@timberkitbuildings.ie