Buying a log cabin is a very big purchase and there are some very important factors to consider when choosing the correct one.

Log Thickness

On the surface log cabins may all look similar but when you look into the different options like log thickness, doors, windows, internal wood finishes etc. they can be very different. What you get for your money will vary significantly depending on where you purchase. The Irish log cabin market is mostly made up from imported suppliers and foreign sales offices, selling third party buildings to which they have no control over the quality and consistency. Log structures are designed from the very simple basis of weight bearing down on weight, in other words the width, height and length of the log plays a very large roll in whether your log cabin will do its job over time or not. Then there is the max length of the log for its size, in simple terms, if the log is too long, not heavy enough and too thin it will crack, warp and twist leaving you with a structure that is not fit for purpose. Here is a handy guide to getting the correct balance of both from our prospective.


This guide is based on our buildings and limits not to be exceeded for quality and longevity of products produced at our factory.

28mm, 34mm, 40mm LogsNot to exceed 3m width or lengthSummer houses, garden sheds
45mm LogsNot to exceed 6m width or lengthGarden rooms, part yearly use
50mm, 60mm LogsNot to exceed 7.5m width or lengthGarden rooms, All year use
70mm, 92mm logResidential Above 7.5m width and lengthLarge structures and residential cabins.

Upgrading your cabin to 70mm log will be the best move you have ever made.




Perma-Seal

Perma-Seal log air and wind barrier was developed here in house and is used between each layer of log on all residential and large 70mm log cabins. Perma-Seal is unique to our cabins and works in the following way. Logs swell in winter and shrink in summer this is natural for all wood. The Perma-Seal system was designed with this in mind and pushes itself down tight between the logs in winter keeping them sealed tight from the elements. In summer when the logs shrink it expands and again seals the gaps between the logs. It is made up of a foam substance that works and has been used all over America and Canada on cabin structures for years.


Perma-Seal the one and only Log Cabin Seal System




Doors & windows

The windows and doors that come with your log cabin are also the at the very heart of how long your cabin is likely to last. 95% of standard imported log cabins will come with a living type or standard sets that are produced in mass quantities and often not properly sealed or glued correctly. As a result they tend to leak within a few years which in turn leads to the logs being damaged and rot setting in much faster than it really should. If your log cabin comes from Europe it may often be the case that all the components were not produced from the same factory. Alot of this type of imported cabin are made at several different factories to meet demand. It's a wise choice to choose a very high quality door and window system as these are the functioning parts you will interact with every day and the only defence your cabin has from leaks and early rot issues.


Choose premium windows and doors and you're set for life.




Insulation Packages

Getting the balance right here is the key to having a long lasting easy and inexpensive way to heat your building. Once you’ve decided on what you intend using your log cabin for, there are several different types of insulation and as many rogues to go with those types. Rock wool or earth wool seems to be largely used by most log cabin suppliers because it is cheap but very profitable for them to fit, which is good for their pocket afterward, not yours. The simple fact is that these products actually have only approx one third of the u-value per mm of thickness if you compare them to rigid foiled poly Iso sheets like ballytherm or kingspan etc. Lots of companies will use rock wool also in conjunction with 44mm log walls and 4x2 studding in large buildings which makes them not fit for purpose. This is done to achieve a thicker wall and conceal the fact that in time they will leak because the walls are not thick enough and the logs are too long. Clever it may be and what you don’t see won’t harm you right? WRONG... Choose the right log wall and only use foiled sheet insulation. A good mix in small cabins would be 25mm in the floor and roof and larger ones 50mm. Walls can be done also if required to achieve certain u-values. The premise is simple, spend a little more here and save lots later on heating.


Pay peanuts get monkeys. Choose only foiled Poly Iso sheeting.




Roofing

When deciding on what type of roof to get there are few things worth noting. The visual aspect, the noise inside from rain outside and whether it’s flat roofed or apex design. Metal tile roofing with poly layer finish is a very good choice for apex roofs and looks good all year round too. It will however be noisier than shingle roofing in winter if your roof is not properly insulated. Shingle tile roofs are very common in garden rooms with apex roofs and look like sand finished tiles when done. Flat or pent roofs with a fall one way are best done with either metal cladding or EPDM rubber roofing (do not use shingles as the roof pitch must be above 13 degrees for these to work properly). This applies to all roofs so it may be worth asking about the roof degree on apex buildings. If your roof is being insulated its also good practice to ask what membrane is being used and ply lining thickness where applicable. Do not use OSB strand board if it gets damp it swells up and you end up with a disaster on your hands.


Example..
Roof TypeMembraneInsulationRoof Deck Finish
Metal TileYesFoiled sheetNoPoly coated
ShinglesYesFoiled sheet15 or 18mm WBPSand effect
EPDMYesFoiled sheet15 or 18mm WBPSmooth (F/Roof)




Foundations

Much like ourselves if the foundation is right then what’s above works well. There are several types of base ideas for log Cabins and many suppliers offering block bases or pads. Contrary to their experience this is not enough for a log cabin, largely due to how they are made. A concrete base or floating raft like slab is by far the best and the only option we use for the fitting of log cabins. The structure is held at every point with this type base and all of its weight evenly distributed. Where pads are used you are only inviting settlement and twists in the building that can effect door openings windows being misaligned etc. A 4” slab of concrete with 8” of whacked hardcore will suffice under most buildings. This however changes the larger the building gets. We will happily advise you on the best foundation when ordering a cabin.


If your shoes are right you will walk all night.




Finishing Touches

The trim kit as we call it makes all the difference astethically both inside and outside of your log cabin. This is made up of fascias, skirtings, log end capping and window/door trims etc. Our in-house milling process has adopted to using moulded skirts angle facias and a range of aesthetically pleasing curved edge boards to give your cabin a look that is unrivalled by any imported building. Each cabin leaves the factory with a full set of these moulded trims to make sure your new product has that distinct look that sets it apart from anything out there on the market today.


When it looks finished, it is finished.




Conclusion

The above guide has been written using our design and build experience acquired from over 20 years in the industry. Our experience has seen our business and two other family businesses grow to produce over 450 log cabins and 5000 garden sheds to Irish customers per annum. With a background of building houses, cabins and timber frame homes around the world and 10 years building in North America, we feel suitably qualified to pass on that experience and expertise to you.


Be vigilant when shopping for a cabin and feel confident when you make that purchase.