Log Cabin General Build Instructions

PRE‐BUILD

STORAGE

If you are unable to start building immediately after delivery it is important to stack the material horizontally and cover it to protect it from the weather. Indoors is ideal.

TIMBER

Wood is a natural product and it will vary with climate changes. However, with proper care, you will be able to enjoy your log cabin for many years. During very hot dry weather small cracks may appear in the wood. These will disappear when the weather changes. Small cracks in no way affect the integrity of the cabin!

TOOLS LIST

Essential Items

  • Power Drill
  • TORX bits – Size TX20 & TX25 (sometimes called T20 or T25)
  • Hand Saw – You will likely need to cut the last floorboard & roof board
  • Rubber Mallet – white rubber headed mallet (black rubber mallets will mark the timber)
  • 19mm Clot Nails
  • Hammer
  • Stanley knife standard blade
  • Ladder

Non‐essential Items

  • Air compressed brad gun – Useful and very quick for putting the floor down
  • Jigsaw

This list does not include the standard tools required for any joinery tasks.

BASE

It is very important the base is firm and level. Although the base may appear level, it is vital that attention is taken to ensure that the base is level. If it is not, problems will occur. The walls may come together okay but the roof boards will not line up and it will cause big problems. Most problems can be avoided by checking and rechecking that the base is level. We recommend the cabin be built on a solid concrete base but other forms of base such as wooden decking, or concrete slabs can also be used.

DO NOT START BUILDING YOUR CABIN IF YOUR BASE IS NOT LEVEL
BASE

There are a number of options of base for putting your building on. When building a base for a log cabin, it is best that the base be the exact size of the base frame of the cabin. This allows water to run off the roof and drain away rather than water sitting against the base frame or bouncing up against the walls of the cabin. However, this is not essential as long as there is good drainage.

Below are a number of guides for different types of bases.

UNPACKING & ORGANISATION

When opening up the pack of timber, it is important that care is taken in order not to lose any pieces. Most pieces are for use while others may just be for packing. Remove all the small items first and store somewhere dry. Next, take the doors and windows off. They are heavy.

To save a lot of time later, we suggest you take a little time now to lay out the wood in groups according to size. If you do this it is an easy matter to find the right pieces. Please note: some groups may differ in size by as little as 10mm.

As you unpack, you will notice there are a number of treated (green) timbers in the pack. Set them aside, you will need them first.

When taking the large plastic sheeting off, don’t throw it out as it could be useful for covering parts from the weather should you have to carry your project over to another day.

BUILD

First, the base frame should be screwed together. For the walls, place the first logs on top of the base frame, starting with the half logs. These half logs should be secured to the base frame with a screw at each end. Make sure that the two logs adjacent to these logs fit correctly and square before securing to the base. See (Fig: 1).

The building should be checked if it is square after reaching 3 or 4 wall sections high. To check use a measuring tape and measure the distance from diagonal corners. Knock the logs tightly together using a mallet. See (Fig: 2).

FITTING THE DOOR(S)
After you have laid the third row of logs you should start installing the door. The higher you build the walls it becomes more difficult the put the door in place. Take the door and frame, place it over the logs and slide it down pushing it tightly into place against the log. Next, attach the door handles so you can open the door! Keep building up the wall until you have reached the height of the window. See (Fig: 3).

FITTING THE WINDOW(S)
After you have laid the seventh or eighth long log (check your Build Plan) and two of the shorter logs, you should fit the window. Slide the window into place, making sure it is tightly into place along its length onto the wall beam. Do not fix the door frame to the logs before the cabin is complete. It is enough to fix the bottom rail of the door with one or two screws, to prevent movement during build. See (Fig 4).

FINISHING THE WALLS
Once the door(s) and window(s) are in place, build the walls up to the purlins as indicated in your build plan.
Since the logs of the front and rear apex sections are not connected to the logs of the side walls, you should secure them by screwing this section to the lower logs at one end. Take care not to go too close to the edge which may split the logs.

THE PURLINS
The purlins should be attached as illustrated in your build plan. Check to make sure the joints of the ridge, upper wall logs and purlins form a flat horizontal surface. Use a spirit level to check the sides, front and back walls are vertical. Screw each end of the purlin to the apex.

INSTALLATION OF ROOF BOARDING
Start by assembling the roof boarding. Knock the separate boards lightly together. Fix roof board to each purling with 2 galvanized nails and finally nail the roof board to the wallboard. Fit the roof edge reinforcement pieces along the edge of the roof. When you get to the last boards on the end, you may need to rip down the length to finish flush with the end of the purlins.

FLOORBOARDS
Place the floorboards on the bearers and secure with the nails provided. Knock the separate boards lightly together and fix to each floor bearer with galvanized nails. Do not push the floorboards length ways tight to the walls. There will be a gap to be left that will be covered by a skirting board.

HOW TO CORRECTLY APPLY SHINGLES TO YOUR LOG CABIN

Roof Preparation

The shingles should be applied once you have all the roof boards fixed down and the roof edge reinforcement and roof side boards attached to the eaves sides.

DO NOT attach the fascias, felt fillets or diamonds until after you have shingled the roof.


Black shingles are a single colour. Some non-black shingles feature a black shadow, this SHOULD NOT be covered when fitting the shingles. See Figure 0.

Figure 0
  • Fit one side of the roof at a time.
  • Start at the front of the cabin.
  • Start at the eaves edge.
  • Shingles and ridge should be fixed down using felt tacks/clout nails in a suitable length.
  • Shingles may have a self adhesive strip on the back. You need to remove the film from before fitting, see (3) in Figure 2. You still need to nail the shingles down.
  • Felt rolls may have a film on the back but this should not be removed.
  • Keep any excess you cut off because you will need to reuse it later.


You can run a transluscent waterproof silicone under the shingles at the front, rear, eaves and apex of the log cabin for added protection but it is not compulsory.


Chalk lines provide visual guides that help align the shingles, horizontal lines can be snapped every 4 to 5 courses.
All chalk lines are to be considered as guiding lines not application lines.

SHINGLE APPLICATION

Proper fastening is essential for a good roof. Drive the nails straight so that the nail heads are flush with, but not cutting into the shingle surface, see Figure 1a. Always nail 2.5 cm above the cut-out and 2.5 cm from each edge. For correct positioning and nail quantities per type of shingle see Figure 1b and Figure 1c.

Figure 1a
Figure 1b
Figure 1c

STARTER STRIP

You will need to create a starter strip along the eaves edge of the roof. The application process of this starter strip will depend on what you have been sold, see below.

Felt Roll
The starter strip should be approximately 33cm in width by the length of the roof, you may need to cut your full roll into strips for this process. It should fit flush to the front of the log cabin roof but overlap the eaves edge by approx 1cm. Fix down, see (3) in Figure 2.

Square shingles
Take a length of shingle, cut one of the squares off using a Stanley knife. Lay the shingle on the roof (front eaves edge). It should fit flush to the front of the log cabin roof but overlap the eaves edge by approx 1cm. Fix down, see (3) in Figure 2.
Next take a full length of shingle and lay it next to the previous one. Continue doing this until you reach the rear of the cabin. Cut off any excess shingle overhanging the rear with a Stanley knife.

Hex shingles
You will need to make rectangular lengths to work with so using a Stanley knife and ruler cut the hex bottoms off the shingle lengths to leave a rectangle.
Once you have rectangles to work with complete the starter strip the same as for square shingles above.

Figure 2

APPLICATION PROCEDURE (Using Figure 2)

FIRST ROW(4):
Start with a complete shingle applied flush with the starter strip. Nail as shown in Figure 6 and continue across roof with full shingles. Cut off any excess to reuse it later on.

SECOND ROW (5):
Take a full length of shingle and position it above the 1st row so that the centre of a 2nd row square fits up to the end of a 1st row square. You should have covered the nails but do not overlap the shingles too much or you will run out.
You will have some shingle excess overhanging the front and back of the log cabin, cut this off with a Stanley knife to reuse it later on.

THIRD AND SUCCEEDING ROWS (2):
Start the third row with a shingle from which a full tab has been cut. Cut off an additional half tab for each succeeding course.

FINAL ROW (Figure 3b)
Adjust the last few rows of shingles so that the ridge capping will adequately cover the top rows of shingles equally on both sides of the ridge.

RIDGE APPLICATION

You will need to create a ridge strip. The application process of this ridge strip will depend on what you have been sold, see below.

USING SHINGLES
Separate the straight or hex shingles into individual pieces by dividing the shingle at the cut- outs (1). ((A) is visual part, (B) is covered part). (Figure 3a). Depending on the type of shingle, you may be separating it into thirds or quarters. In cold weather warm the shingle before bending.
3. Start application from the end of the ridge opposite the direction of the prevailing winds. (Figure 3b). Bend a piece over the apex and nail down on both sides. Overlap the next piece on the back end of the 1st one and fix down. Nail the capping 16 cm from the tab edge (2) and 2.5 cm from each side (3). Continue until you reach the back. Do not overlap the pieces too much or you will run out.

Figure 3a
Figure 3b

USING A FELT ROLL
The ridge strip should be approximately 33cm in width by the length of the roof, you may need to cut your full roll into strips for this process. Starting at the front bend the roll over the apex and nail down on both sides. Run the roll to the rear of the log cabin, nail down at the back and then cut off any excess. Go back and nail down the roll along both sides at regular intervals.

Logspan is…Making a Better World

How?

We at Logspan want to help make this world better for our children than we found it. Here are five ways that we and our products help make the world a better place…as well as being fantastic quality and value of course.

  1. Using natural products where possible
  2. Being A Carbon Neutral Company
  3. Only using timber from managed forests
  4. Moving to a paperless office
  5. Using a product that has natural insulation build in

1. Using Natural Products

All our buildings are timber based which is one of the few natural building materials. Generally, timber is non-toxic, does not leak chemical vapour into the building and is safe to handle and touch. It also means that as timber ages, it does so naturally.

Timber is a highly durable material. Some well-made wooden structures last for centuries. It is also easy and cheap to maintain compared to other materials, especially if you don’t mind it changing colour over time.

2. A Carbon Neutral Company

Logspan is a carbon neutral company on two fronts.

First as already stated we construct using timber and timber is made from carbon drawn from the atmosphere. This carbon would otherwise be adding to the greenhouse effect. Using timber in buildings stores the carbon for as long as the building stands or the timber is used.

Secondly, have a “One Cabin, One Tree” Promise. For every cabin or BBQ Hut we sell we donate one tree through Trees for Life to offset the carbon produced in transporting the building to the final customer.

We support Trees for Life and their mission to rewild the Scottish Highlands by enabling the restoration of the globally unique Caledonian Forest which once covered much of Scotland.

3. Managed forests

People have been building with timber for thousands of years. Timber is ecological and sustainable and a truly renewable building material.
All our timber comes from managed forests and is sustainably grown, so the timber companies we use have long-standing policies to re-grow more timber than is felled. Sustainable forests are the result of a common-sense policy to replace trees that are felled so that forests continue to exist providing natural materials for us all.

This is a carefully and skilfully managed system. The forest is a working environment, producing wood products such as wood pulp for the paper / card industry and wood based materials for furniture manufacture and the construction industry. Great care is taken to ensure the safety of wildlife and to preserve the natural environment.

4. Moving to a paperless office

We are working towards a paperless office in order to reduce paper waste. As such each time we send a document electronically, instead of printing and using paper, we are doing our bit to be more environmentally sustainable.

5. Natural Insulation

Timber is a natural insulator and can help reduce energy needs when it is used in windows, doors and floors. Wood itself also has naturally thermally insulating properties. Of course, a better insulated home requires less energy to heat and cool, which typically means less fossil fuel use.

Wood also has better insulating properties than steel. Wood’s structure contains minute air pockets, which limit its ability to conduct heat and help to minimise the energy needed for heating and cooling our eco timber houses providing very energy efficient homes.

Wood helps to minimise energy consumption in several ways. Life cycle of a product studies show that timber buildings significantly outperform steel and concrete.

Get Your Log Cabin Ready this Spring

With the snow melting and temperatures rising, it’s time to get your log cabin ready for the coming year. What will your Log Cabin be wearing this season?

Spring is a time of conflicting emotions. On the one hand, the weather is getting warmer, yeah! On the other hand, it’s probably time to take a good, long look at your cabin and decide what spring maintenance is needed, humph!

Fortunately, there are steps you can take to ease the pain of spring maintenance each year. The secret is to spot any problems early, and take the proper steps to repair them.

1. First visually inspect the exterior

The quality and durability of a log cabin’s finish can take a big hit over the winter as well. Fortunately it’s easy to test. Splash some water on the wood in several different areas. If it beads up and runs off, you still have waterproofing in place. If it just sits there or soaks in, you are definitely ready to reapply the stain or paint. Also any wood that looks worn or grey is a sign that it’s time to clean and re-waterproof the wood.

2. Clean the exterior

If a cabin is finished properly, the finish should last you a few years. Still, we recommend cleaning wood annually. “After the trees have bloomed in your area, it’s a good time to give your cabin a ‘bath,'” Austin says. “Any dirt, mould, mildew and pollen that have accumulated over the past year should be cleaned off the wood to help maintain the life of the exterior finish.”

Typically, the process may only involve spraying the wood with a cleaning solution and rinsing with water. Pressure washing is not needed unless the waterproofing finish has broken down and you are ready to re-stain or paint. Using the right cleaner is critical. Never use chlorine bleach, because of its high alkaline content. All stains are formulated to work on wood, which is naturally slightly acidic. Bleach (and its residue) will remain in the wood, causing it to be hostile toward the stain. Instead, use an oxygenated cleaner with a low alkaline content to clean the wood, and even that needs to be rinsed very well to keep the pH low.

3. Apply the correct long-lasting stain or paint

If a stain or paint is needed, it’s important to clean the wood properly in preparation, then apply correctly to ensure a finish that will last for years. “I suggest that a quality timber paint or stain is used…if starting from bare timber use something with high concentrations of fungicides and UV blockers,” says Austin. “don’t just use a shed quality paint that will not give the protection your Log Cabin needs.”

4. Check your outdoor living spaces

Decks, patios and other outdoor living spaces are other areas that may need a touch of care in the spring. You might find mould or mildew on stone surfaces or paving slabs. Pressure-washing can do the trick.

Decks are often a problem area in the spring. “Decks are the hardest areas to maintain because water and snow just lay on top of them with no slope to create runoff, and they are also exposed to both sun and foot traffic,” says Austin. “A deck specific product is needed, the deck requires a deck finish that is very glossy to keep it sealed against water.” He recommends a darker deck stain, which has greater UV protection and lasts longer than lighter colours.

5. Manage vegetation

It’s good practice to keep trees, shrubs and other vegetation away from the cabin’s walls, roof and other wood surfaces. Any contact or overshadowing can promote decay and rot. Plus, the cold winds of winter may cause large tree limbs to sway and even come crashing down, leading to damage. So spring is a good time to assess your garden’s vegetation and trim things up as needed.

Checklist:

  1. Inspect the exterior &
  2. Test the durability of the finish
  3. Clean the exterior
  4. Apply long-lasting stains or paints
  5. Check your outdoor living spaces
  6. Manage vegetation
  7. Finally…get professional help, if needed