A log cabin is a good option for a home and has been around for over a hundred years. Log cabins originated from Scandinavia and before it was brought to America by one of them. A log cabin is a perfect option for those considering building environmentally friendly homes, which quite frankly is what is in vogue right now. Nowadays, there is a growing demand for sustainable homes, making the log cabin a good investment option if you are looking to invest in real estate. Logs used in the construction of a log cabin are made from natural and renewable, making it relatively easy to detect insect infestation and mold development.
Over the years, Log cabins have evolved in terms of style and techniques; initially, it can only be created with a few styles. In this modern-day, there are various ways to construct a log cabin using different plans and materials. Different designs are now available that you can pick from, especially if you are interested in building yourself.
How to Build a Log Cabin
Building a log cabin from scratch is not an easy task, but it can be if you know what to do. Constructing a log cabin is an exciting challenge if you are looking to build one yourself. It brings out your craftsmanship and oddly draws you closer to nature. Like earlier stated, building a log cabin does not require many skills, experience, or talent. But what you need to achieve this is good planning, materials, determination, and hard work. Before introducing intricate designs into your log cabin, you need to first understand the necessary steps needed to construct a simple cabin home. This article will give you an idea of what you need and how to build your log home.
Steps in Building a Log Cabin
There are five significant steps to follow when constructing a log cabin
- Plan your log cabin
- Picking and preparing the logs
- Building the foundation
- Laying the logs
- Log cabin exterior and maintenance
Plan Your Log Cabin
Not planning this project is a common mistake made by most people, especially beginners. Most times, people ignore planning and dive head straight into the project without any groundwork. This decision often leads to a disastrous situation. There is just so much to plan for: designs, materials, type of wood, and how long it will take to build a log home.
Planning a log cabin is more than the floor plan or designs; it entails picking a site, site clearance, foundation, and construction. It would help if you also had a clear picture of how and what the log cabin will look like, research how to achieve it, and draw out your budget. After you have done this, you can proceed to your floor plan and design, which is an avenue to express your creativity. Here you can design the house to fit your taste and dreams.
Picking and Preparing Logs (Foraging)
Foraging is the next step after planning; it involves hunting for your cabin’s most suitable logs. Selecting a suitable log for your cabin is vital and crucial for maintenance and longevity. Aside from this, useful logs improve the insulation property of your log home. Foraging involves: selecting, felling, hauling, debarking, and drying the right trees.
Now, what type of tree to look for can pose a significant challenge as there are over a thousand trees in North America alone, and you only need dozens of these species in constructing a log cabin. Some trees possess specific properties like strength, insulation properties, and ability to withstand weathering, making them most suitable for a cabin project. Here is a few specie to select from
- Cedar (western white)
- Hardwoods (walnut and Oak)
- Pine Trees (yellow, white or red)
You can also check available trees in your area that are suitable for building a log cabin. You also need to calculate the amount of log needed to construct your cabin before felling the tree. After felling, you can debark and dry it; then, it is ready for use.
Building The Foundation
Building the foundation requires careful planning as the foundation must carry the weight and loads of the cabin. It is a crucial step that must be given serious consideration. Three rules are guiding the construction of a log cabin. They are known as the 3-S rule;
Subsidence – Prevents sinking when soil moves away from the cabin
Strength – the foundation must be strong enough to carry the load from your cabin
Settlement – Prevents your cabin from sinking into the ground
Apart from these rules, some factors influence the type of foundation needed for your log cabin. These factors are; soil type, size of the cabin, local resources, and land contours.
Laying the Logs
After much planning and execution, it is time to start laying your logs. Laying of a log is influenced by the type of notching system used in the construction of the log cabin. Notching does not require skills and is scribed into logs to join the corners of the log cabin. These are some of the notching systems that can be used during the laying of logs;
- Corner post
- Full Scribed
- Half dovetail
- Butt and Pass
Once your foundation has been constructed and you have selected the type of notching system you want for construction, you can go ahead to start laying your logs.
Log Cabin Exterior and Maintenance
The next step after laying your log is waterproofing; moisture and dampness can easily damage logs as it reduces the logs’ longevity. There is three-step to maintaining your logs – stain, clean, and seal. Cleaning the log cabin involves washing it; this removes dust deposits, pollen, and other dirt it might have gathered during its processing and construction.
After washing, leave to dry for at least two days. Staining should be done during the felling of trees and is achieved by applying a borate solution on the logs. After construction, you can also stain your cabin to prevent it from UV rays. This will protect the original color of the logs. Sealing the cabin helps prevent air and moisture infiltration. While some notching techniques ( butt and pass) require sealing the cabin, others don’t require sealing.