Log cabins are a great way to have an outdoor retreat. They are also much cheaper to buy and easier to maintain than a conventional home.
However, there are some myths about them that can deter people from making the right purchase. We aim to clear these up and help you find the right log cabin for your needs.
As well as the obvious concern about rot, tanalised log cabins require a certain level of protection against the elements. A wood preservative is essential for keeping the timber protected from moisture and UV radiation, which in turn reduces the chance of log rot or fungi.
There are many types of wood preservatives available. Some rely on chemicals to control decay-causing organisms such as termites and mold, while others use natural substances such as borate salts. Some contain a combination of biocides to help protect against insects, fungi and mould as well as water repellents to keep moisture out.
Most wood preservatives will soak into the timber to give thorough protection, yet they also leave a certain amount of ‘give’ so that the timber can expand, contract and settle naturally over time. With long lasting UV protection, strong water repellents and powerful fungicides these wood preservatives will help you protect your log home for years to come.
The first step in the preservation of a tanalised log cabin is to ensure that all of the timber has reached an equilibrium moisture content of between 10 – 18%. The logs should not be dried out too much, because if they do, they will become hard and brittle. It is also important that the logs have been sourced from the right trees, as this will reduce the risk of wood rot and mould forming.
Once the timber has reached an equilibrium moisture content, it can be processed with a wood preservative to protect against rot. Some preservatives are designed for bare timber and can be applied directly to the logs, while others require a wood finish to be added after.
A tanalised log cabin should be treated with a wood preservative as soon as it is built. This will ensure that it is protected against rot, and will prevent the build up of fungi, mildew and wood boring insects.
When the tanalised log cabin is constructed, it needs to be treated with a water-soluble borate wood preservative such as Armor-Guard before it can be painted or stained. This will help to stop the growth of fungi, mold and mildew which can cause wood rot, as well as stopping the spread of wood-boring insect infestations such as powder post beetles.
Whether you are looking to stain the outside of a new log cabin or simply to protect the wood that is already there, choosing the right stain can make all the difference between a beautiful log home and one that is ruined by exposure to the elements. Here are some tips on how to choose the best log cabin stain for your project:
Before you apply a stain to your new tanalised log cabin, you will need to prepare the surface of the wood. This can include removing the old Penta preservative or other coatings. This is important because it removes the outer layer of the wood that can prevent a good stain from being able to penetrate the surface and effectively waterproof the logs.
In addition, you will want to use a pressure washer with a minimum of 3,000 psi to clean the logs thoroughly. This is to remove any dirt and debris that may have built up on the wood over the years. Then you can sand the logs down to a clean surface that can accept the stain.
Another tip to remember is that different types of wood soak up stain differently. This means that a stain on power-washed logs will look completely different than the same stain on hand-sanded logs or media blasted logs.
For the best results, you should also test the stain on a small area of the home to see what it will look like. This way you can make sure that the color looks good on the rest of the home as well.
When you have chosen your stain, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. This will ensure that you get a good and even coverage of the stain, resulting in an attractive finish.
Once you have completed the first coat of stain, you will need to leave it to dry for a few days before applying the second and third coats. This is especially true for oil-based stains. If you have chosen a water-based stain, then it is recommended that you wait at least 24 hours before applying the second and third coats.
Despite their rustic appearance, log cabins have to be weatherproofed if they are to last the test of time. Without the correct care and treatment, they can quickly become a maintenance nightmare.
Luckily, there are several simple steps that you can take to weatherproof your tanalised log cabin and prolong its life. These will help to avoid costly restoration work and protect your home from moisture damage that can lead to rotting.
The first step is to make sure your cabin is positioned correctly so that it is away from trees and other sources of water. This will reduce the amount of rain that hits the timber. Wide eaves can also help to prevent rain or snow from coming into contact with the cabin walls.
Another way to ensure your cabin is weatherproofed is by staining it as soon as it is erected with the weather permitting – ideally within the first week. This will help to settle any warping and shrinkage caused by the weathering process and allow for a better seal to be created.
Once a good seal has been achieved it is important to apply an appropriate wood preservative to ensure that the cabin will remain protected from moisture and rot for as long as possible. The wood preserver must be applied liberally both inside and outside of the cabin to ensure it penetrates the wood thoroughly.
This will protect the cabin against fungi, mildew and rot that can attack it. Once the preservative has been applied you can then start to apply a good quality stain to your logs.
Having a stained log home will also help to keep dampness at bay and reduce the likelihood of condensation in rooms such as bathrooms where people are showering or running hot water. Staining will also help to stop the growth of moss and algae which can be particularly harmful for logs.
It is also essential to have the proper ventilation in your log cabin. This will allow the cabin to dry out naturally and help to mitigate any problems with jamb rot which can be caused by lack of headspace above doors and windows.
Log cabins are very durable if they’re treated properly and can last for decades or even hundreds of years. However, they still need regular maintenance to maintain their longevity and appearance.
Keeping up the maintenance of your log home requires a proactive approach as it can be easy to miss out on small areas that are susceptible to damage due to weather conditions. Taking a walk around the perimeter of your home in spring and fall will give you the opportunity to assess any maintenance work that needs to be completed.
Inspecting your log cabin for cracks, checking for mold or mildew, identifying issues with popped knots, and inspecting the exterior for faded stain is all important parts of this process. Pay particular attention to the joints in and around doors and windows, gaps between roof sections and the foundations.
It is also a good idea to check that all gutters are clear and water run-off is directed away from the cabin. Overflowing or blocked gutters can cause problems with water seeping into the logs. It is recommended to have gutters that are up two inches from the base of the building.
Cleaning the exterior of your cabin is essential to keep it looking and feeling great year after year. You should clean it at least twice a year to remove any build-up of dirt, grime, and mildew from the surface. Use a 50/50 bleach and water solution with a scrub brush to remove any stains, then rinse the cabin with a garden hose to remove any residue.
If you’re in a very wet area, consider using a log sealant to ensure that water won’t soak into the cabin. This will stop it from rotting or causing mould and mildew.
There are many different types of stains available to suit the style and type of finish desired, and depending on the location where your cabin is situated will affect which product would be best for you. There are water-based stains, oil-based stains and acrylic stains.
A wood stain is a protective coating that protects the surface of timber and helps to maintain its original colour, and is applied regularly to help with weather protection. The type of stain you choose depends on the climate and humidity where your cabin is located. Typically, the oil-based stains are thicker and can hold more pigment than their water-based counterparts.