Creating an environment that aids moisture control is one of the most important aspects of log cabin maintenance. This can be broken down into four key areas: the roof, surrounding drainage, keeping the cabin warm and how it settles.
Log cabin roof
Your log cabin is going to get wet when it rains, but positioning it so that wet trees will not drip onto the roof can make all the difference. Regardless of the position, it is vital that the roof of your cabin has wide eaves to prevent rain or snow from coming into unrestricted contact with the exterior cabin walls. During periods of heavy snowfall, you should brush off any snow that accumulates on the roof, as well as making sure to clear any snow from the surrounding area.
Log cabin drainage
Ideally, to aid drainage, your log cabin should be placed at the highest point of your garden, or at least with the base of the cabin elevated two inches from the foundations and the surrounding grass or dirt, to reduce rain splashing back onto the logs. Use a gutter to direct water well away from your log cabin, ensuring that it’s kept clean, so the flow of water isn’t disrupted.
Keeping your log cabin warm in the winter can be tricky. Even if yours has thick walls, a thinner roof and floor can result in lots of heat being lost. Insulating your roof and floor is the best solution for heat retention; as is opting for an under floor heating system. Opening the windows on dry days, or when they are steamed up, can also help prevent the damp caused by condensation.
Timber is a natural product that will contract and expand according to the weather; you need to ensure that the wood has enough space to do so without warping.
Once the log cabin is constructed, there will be a period of ‘settling’ as the wood reacts and adjusts to the surrounding climate. The wood will shrink and settle which can lead to splits and cracks forming in the wood over time. This shouldn’t, however, compromise the structure of your building. You can fill in such splits with a matching flexible sealant.
Most log cabins come with storm braces – wooden battens fixed to the cabin with coach bolts. It may be necessary to release the tension from the top coach bolt to allow the storm brace to move freely. This should be checked regularly throughout the life of your cabin, to prevent gaps forming between the logs.