If you think that constructing your log cabin home is going to be an easy task, please think twice. Better yet, think three times. While it’s true that log cabin living can be well worth the building, there are plenty of crucial things to know before lifting the first log. Here are a few myths and realities to understand prior to cabin construction:
Myths of log cabin living
People attracted to the log house lifestyle tend to be self-sufficient seekers of solitude. Environmentally aware and protective of the planet, flannel-wearing folks who love log house living enjoy “woodland aesthetic” decor with profoundly rustic features such as antique billiards tables and bear skin rugs, notes the HGTV network show, Log Cabin Living. If a deer should wander through the yard, even better.
Some say all log cabins look alike. What a myth this is! In reality, private cabins are exceptionally varied and infinitely customizable. Round long post construction can yield a stately mountain chateau with wide open vistas. Horizontal stacked log walls are another rustical albeit elegant alternative.
Realities of log cabin construction
Don’t think for a minute that you can chop a few trees and construct a cabin with dirty logs. Clean logs free of mildew and sawdust are imperative to successful cabin construction. Ideally, logs will be cleaned prior to staining. Perfecting your log walls takes time, to be sure, but the results are practically permanent and well worth the effort. Use a palm sander and 60 to 90 grit sandpaper to erase traces of hoisting straps and chains as well as any residual grime left behind.
The log cabin lifestyle can indeed be idyllic, but it isn’t always what it’s cracked up to be. Especially if your walls have cracks. There are numerous realities to consider before putting up a log house. Log cabin chinking is one of them.
The word ‘chinking’ can refer to the material used to fill voids between logs as well as the process of doing the same, explains the Dictionary of Construction. If you’re going to build a cabin, you might as well understand the lingo. If done correctly with the right materials under the right conditions, chinking can be a one-time job that requires minimal maintenance.
Ideally, chinking ought to be done when the outside temperature is between 45° and 75° F. Direct sunlight is not helpful to the chinking process, so working earlier or later in the day may be advisable. If chinking must be done in sub-freezing weather, it will cost more, but it can be done. Expect to shell out extra dollars for special warming equipment.
And then there’s stuff like cabin maintenance to consider
To keep a log cabin weather resistant and structurally sound, the exterior walls may need to be resealed, especially after logs shrink, shift and settle, notes Off the Grid News.
Bees, bugs and boring insects may cause problems in some cabins. To prevent electrical maintenance issues, hire a proper professional to install wiring in the cabin at the time of construction. Log walls can be tricky, so be sure to hire an electrician who has experience working with cabins.
The joys and benefits of log cabin living
If you can live in a cabin, you can live almost anywhere. Cabins can be constructed to fit oddly shaped parcels of land, so building on less than large patches of land is a possibility not easily afforded by traditional construction. Seclusion is easier to achieve, if “getting away from it all” and living off the grid is a consideration.
If the R-value of wood is right, and the home is well insulated, a log house can be very, very energy efficient. Cabins can be an economical investment that lasts for generations. There are good reasons why you see centuries-old log houses. Built to last and properly maintained, strong log cabins may be able to withstand inclement weather and the ravages of time more effectively than other house styles.
Termites and boring bees are rarely a problem in dry logs. As some experts explain, termites are not generally attracted to the massive logs used in cabin construction. If unseasoned green logs are used, boring bugs could conceivably survive under bark for some time. Once the wood is dry, they’ll probably go away.
If more people knew what to expect, the simpler easing into the log cabin lifestyle would be. Feel free to share these tips with anyone who’s thinking about building a log cabin.