Awesome Pro Tips for Incredible Charcoal BBQ Hut Grilling

Grilling is more than cooking; it’s an art form. It’s tons of fun too! Especially when cooking over direct heat. Cooking over burning embers is so primal it connects you with the ‘leader of the pack’ within you.  So below are some awesome pro tips that will make you the BBQ Hut leader that everyone wants to follow.

Cooking meat, chicken, sausages, veggies and even cheese in a charcoal grill is more than a meal; it’s a culinary experience. One you want to share with your friends and family as often as you can. The problem is, the weather is often a problem, especially in the UK where sunny days are everything but business as usual.

BBQ Hut Finman

The good news? You can get yourself a BBQ hut and grill your way through the meanest of storms. That’s taking barbecuing to the next level, and to further enhance your grilling game, here are some pro tips for perfect charcoal BBQ grilling.

1. Get The BBQ Charcoal Red Hot

Use a chimney coal starter to get those coals glowing. Successful barbecuing is all about steady temperatures, and for that, you must start with light-up coal. Get that charcoal red hot before setting up your grill, and you won’t have a problem giving your steaks that fantastic, charred crust. 

BBQ Hut Finman 2

2. Set Up Temperature Zones in the BBQ Hut Grill

Not all foods are meant to be grilled at the same temperature, not even meat. You want to set a hot and a cold zone in your grill — one to sear the meat and the other to let it achieve the correct inner temperature. Veggies prefer to be grilled on the cool side, too, while starchier, hard-to-cook foods like potatoes and yams will need the extra heat of the grill’s more intense side. 

3. Use a Meat Thermometer

We know there’s nothing like eyeballing your steaks, but even the most seasoned pros use a thermometer. Follow this chart for perfectly cooked steaks every time.

Medium Rare 54-57 °C

Medium 57-63 °C

Well 63-68 °C

Well Done 68-74 °C

4. Don’t Over-flip!

Don’t over-flip your meat, or any other food for that matter. Flipping a steak once should be more than enough. Actually, you might want to let that steak stick to the grill; it’s no biggie — it will unstick on its own when it’s ready to be flipped. 

5. Side Dishes Matter

No matter how good your charcoal-grilled meat ends up, it’s just half the story. Toss a green salad, grill some asparagus, make guacamole and serve some artisan bread loaves to complement your grilled extravaganza. A grilling party should be an authentic fest, and that means lots of sides and sauces. 

6. Get Creative with Those Marinades and Rubs

We all love the taste of perfectly charcoal-grilled meat; can you taste it in your mind? That doesn’t mean we can’t get creative. Marinating the meat, even if it’s for a few minutes, can make the difference. 

Combine olive oil, lemon juice, and your favorite herbs and spices to infuse the meat with the most exciting flavors. Dry rubs are fun too, massage the meat with anything from freshly cracked black pepper to exotic Cajun spices to give it a spicy personality. 

Become a BBQ Hut Grill Master

The tips above might help you level up your grilling game, but grilling is also about finding your own path to greatness. It doesn’t matter how you like to grill but get grillin’! And don’t let the rain stop you; make use of your garden and set up a BBQ hut. Don’t let the weather tell you if you can come out and play, that’s what pros do!

The 9 Cardinal Rules of Garden Building Positioning

There’s nothing like a gorgeous garden to add some curb appeal and general ambiance to your home. Adding a garden building can be a beautiful and utilitarian addition to any outdoor space. But it’s not always a straightforward project! There are quite a few different aspects of your garden to consider in terms of compatibility, especially if you’re adding in another structure. Without thinking through the details, you can easily wind up with a garden that causes problems for the building or a building that causes problems for the garden.

To combat these kinds of faux pas, we’ve compiled a list of 9 points to consider as you’re designing a garden with a building involved. Hopefully, the following tips will help you avoid any frustration down the line!

1. Corner Cabins Go Into A Corner.

This one might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised how many people assume a little cabin will look good anywhere in the garden. This is not the case and it’s a pain in the neck to realize after it’s already been moved! Corner cabins are designed to reside in the corner of a garden. They tend to look out of place if they aren’t along the boundary of your space.

Corner Garden Building Log Cabin

A good way to use a corner cabin in the design phase of your project is to look at it as the starting point of your garden. Place it in a corner and start designing out from there! You’ll have your starting point and ideal placement for your corner cabin built into the design from the start.

2. Remember, More Glass Facing The Sun Will Increase The Temperature Of The Inside of the Garden Building.

Many garden buildings feature glass and windows to capitalize on light and provide a greenhouse or conservatory effect. It’s important to consider the placement of that glass though because if it faces an area of your garden where you get the most sunlight, you may find that the inside of the building gets oppressive as the sun continues to shine through the glass. Some sunlight is ideal, but full sunlight every day will mean that any activities done inside will be done in stifling heat. Keep both the purpose of the building and the angle of the windows in mind as you decide how you’re going to place the garden building.

3. Build A Nice Path To The Garden Building.

You don’t want to have to trample your flowers to reach the door of your garden building! Make sure there’s a clear way to get in and out of the front door and maybe even use it as an opportunity to beautify your garden further using stone!

4. Have Patio Outside The Garden Building.

A garden building is a perfect opportunity for a patio! You can enjoy the convenience of the building as shelter from rain or a convenient area to prepare food and drinks (if that’s what you use it for!) while enjoying the garden as a whole. As you build a walkway to your garden building, consider a slight expansion that would create a patio. This will give you that much more of an opportunity to enjoy both your garden and the building you’ve installed there.

Log Cabin Garden Building Patio

5. Guttering Along Roof Edge Needs To Go To A Water Butt.

Rainwater can easily wreak havoc on your garden if it isn’t diverted properly. The last thing you’ll want happening in your garden once you’ve put in the building and designed the layout is realizing that your plants are getting drowned! Make sure that you place a water butt into the design to collect the rainwater from the garden building’s gutters to protect your plants and prevent flooding.

6. Strategic Rock Placement For Rainwater.

If there’s no guttering along the roof of your cabin, you can use stones to catch the drips from the building and reduce the splashback from the ground. This will effectively minimize the water damage to the building and flooding or pooling around the structure.

7. Consider the Tree Coverage And Placement.

Moss grows on the roof if there is a tree overhanging the garden building. You might also find that mold or rot sets in if the building is never effectively dried out from the sun. This can shorten the life of your cabin and cause damage to anything you might have inside it.

In addition, if there’s a large tree near the structure, roots might cause an issue, either by growing into the building or warping the floor as time goes on. If there’s a very large tree in the vicinity of your cabin, you may need to rethink the placement of your garden building or consider removing the tree before you embark on your project.

8. Plant The Right Flower/Plants Near The Garden Building.

The presence of a building is going to change the ecosystem of your garden including the lighting, the shaded areas, and the general layout. You’ll need to consider the adjusted layout and environment for your plants before you choose which ones to place near your structure.

9. Ask Yourself: When Sitting In The Building, What Do You Want To Look Out At?

This is one of the most basic questions you can ask yourself as you design your garden, but simultaneously, this is the question that should guide every decision that you make. When you decide which corner of the garden to place the cabin in, you should consider this. When you decide which flowers to plant, where the patio ought to go, which direction the windows face, and what type of structure works in your space, everything depends on what you want to look out at from the building. After every decision you make, consider whether or not you are achieving this goal. If not, you might need to adjust your design in some way.

The end goal of any garden building and garden design project is to leave you with a beautiful space, an outdoor oasis that allows you to enjoy your garden from every angle. A corner cabin adds a unique element to your garden, as well as the opportunity for additional storage and activities. By keeping these points in mind as you establish your garden design, you’ll be more likely to get the end result you’re looking for and avoid any future problems stemming from a detail that seemed minor at the time.

If you’re looking for more expertise on a garden design involving garden buildings, contact us here! We’d love to help you create the backyard sanctuary of your dreams!

The Benefits of BBQ Cooking

Or…it is a truth universally acknowledged, that a man in possession of a good BBQ, must be in want of NOTHING!

Do you know what time is it? It’s definitely BBQ time…but for us, BBQ season is year-round, not just for summer. Yes, even when it’s a chilly winter day there is a place for barbequing in the dinner or lunch menu. Anyone fancy a Christmas BBQ?

Are you a BBQ fan? You will be soon, read on!

Cooking is never more fun than when using a grill fire. What is your preference? Grilled wings, beef steaks, delicious ribs or smoked chicken, or flame roasted vegetables…. Each with a myriad of seasoning options. There is more inspiration online than you can shack a stick at, before you even get to a BBQ recipe book.

So, you have your food and seasoned it perfectly, what next…now the fun really begins. The communal time gathered round the BBQ. The time we spend chatting and laughing with our friends and family while cooking those steaks or vegan burgers. Just please don’t burn the sausages!

Gas vs Charcoal

The debate has long been going on…gas or a charcoal. Choosing the type of fuel for your BBQ is a tough decision, but a decision that affects the foods quality, taste, and flavour.

Really the decision is speed vs flavour. Does there need to be the instant flames of the gas BBQ or is the heavenly taste of a charcoal flame BBQ worth that extra time to wait for the heat.

Fantastic Mr BBQ

The Benefits of barbecuing…especially with charcoal

  • Cooking Heat

As charcoal grill produces more heat and there is no maximum temperature, that means you can crank it up to as hot as you need, within certain limits, of course. Sear that juice into the steak!

  • Versatile

A charcoal BBQ is versatile and multi-purpose. Charcoal produces both direct infrared and indirect heat. Depending on the grill style and design you are using, you can grill, smoke, and sear your food or however your heart desires.

  • Incredible Flavor

When using direct heat on a charcoal BBQ, the food drippings instantly vaporize into a wonderful smoky flavour.

  • Juicier Meats

Charcoal placed below food cooks it using infrared heat, which results in less moisture loss when compared with other types of heat transfer. Yes, juicy chicken, not dry chicken!

  • Lower fat consumption

Unlike kitchen cooking with pans, BBQ grilling dissolves excess fats from your food, maintaining a healthy cholesterol level.

  • Nutrient-Rich

The flavour of barbecued meat is undoubtedly the main reason we grill our meals in the summertime. But did you know…cooking meat on a BBQ grill can preserve essential vitamins. Yes there are health benefits to BBQ’s!

  • Outside Fun

Barbequing comes with the opportunity of outdoor fun with friends and family making us make the best of the day.

BBQ Huts…the reason and the answer!

BBQ is the best outdoor food activity. Nothing can interrupt your BBQ experience…unless it rains. Which is quite a high probability, in the UK. For protecting your BBQ fun, a BBQ Hut is available for you to keep enjoying your BBQ no matter what the weather. So, what are you waiting for then! Order a BBQ hut, clean that grill, lay some charcoal, and go, get that steak…other food stuffs are available.

Your Log Cabin has just been built. 28 days later…

EXPANSION AND CONTRACTION

Your timber building is made of a natural material which will move and contract. Changes can occur in the height of the individual logs depending on their moisture content, which may vary from season to season. These changes are completely normal and have been allowed for in the cabin design.

Inhibiting the natural movement of the cabin is when problems can occur. If fixtures are to be attached to the cabin walls, then it is essential to bear in mind that the timber building will move and these movements do not want to be prevented. Potential issues are listed below:

  • Splits in the logs—this will normally be caused by logs being held together
  • Gaps appearing where logs have been held—normally by an item being screwed to the logs
  • Moisture entering through gaps and splits

When attaching furniture or equipment to the cabin walls care must be taken to allow for natural movement. If this movement is ignored, and furniture or equipment is incorrectly fitted, gaps may appear in the wall or damage can be caused to the furniture or equipment.

If you wish to fit shelves or furniture to your cabin there is a correct way to accomplish this by fitting expansion slats and fixing the furniture to the expansion slat.

NOTE: In the first month or so after being erected your timber building will settle quite a bit, it is best to leave it for a few weeks before adding brackets and securing fixings. Within the first year the cabin will move the most as the wood needs to settle a little more. Year two will be a little less. Years three and onwards the movement is hugely reduced. Remember the most important thing with a timber building is to properly treat it. Proper treatment will greatly reduce the natural contraction and expansion and reduce it to a minimum.

EXPANSION SLAT FOR TIMBER BUILDINGS

The very simple principle here is that we have one fixed hole at the top and slots in the middle and end (depending on the length). The top hole is screwed tight and using a washer the slot fixings are not tightened fully so allowing the logs to move behind the bracket. (See Figure 1)

Figure 1

SHELF FIXING IN A TIMBER BUILDING

You will see from the diagram (Figure 2) that we are fixing the shelves to the expansion slot and not to the logs. For heavier duty uses you may want a thicker slat and you may want to bolt it fully through the timber building wall.

Figure 2

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

Say Merry Christmas With These Garden Building Gifts

Are you still struggling with what to buy that special person this Christmas? Let me help with some fantastic present suggestions.

Cooler Tables –From £149

This ultimate Entertaining Cooler Table and ice bucket that does more than just chill! Transform how you entertain with the all-in-one Cooler Table. A true design statement, stand it on your counter-top or patio table for easy access to cold drinks while looking great. If you enjoy barbecues, the chopping board top is made for outdoor food prep so you can spend more time with your guests and less time in the kitchen. Fill it with ice and your beers and wine, and keep your drinks chilled for 16+ hours.

Weathervanes

Large Shark Weathervane£288 or Large Stag Weathervane£274

Take great pride your garden building and compliment with beautiful crafted. Choose a symbol that speaks to you and create the garden of your dreams. Let our weathervanes lead you in the right direction.

A range of small, medium and large sized 3D themed copper and brass weathervanes suitable for small homes, outbuildings, log cabins, BBQ Huts, gazebos, garages, sheds and fence posts. They offer functionality and a statement of style and pride for your property.

The high quality craftsmanship ensures years of maintenance free enjoyment.

Kuksa Wooden Cup –£13

  • Natural eco-friendly wood coffee cups with an ergonomic designed handle and two finger holes.
  • This carved kuksa has a capacity of 250ml, & 150mm x 85mm, so the perfect hiking travel coffee mug.
  • Perfect office drinking water mugs, get back to nature with a bush craft inspired Finnish tea cup.
  • Great gift or even gifts for friends. Love the natural environment & share the perfect coffee cup.
  • Lightweight, durable – perfect survival equipment for everyday wild adventures. Backpack to work.

The Kuksa (or Guksi (Sámi), Kåsa (Swedish)) is a traditional wooden cup originally made by the indigenous people of Lapland, the Sámi. It is inextricably linked to the landscape of the Northern Nordic lands. When you happen across a hiker in the hills of Lapland, be it Sweden, Norway, Finland or Russia, chances are high that they will have a kuksa mug dangling from their pack. 

Needed in the bush in an emergency, or just to drink white wine around the camp fire…or mulled wine, or beer I won’t guide you. Just don’t try cooking an egg in the kitchen with it, that’s not it’s the best use. 

Traditionally, you should either craft & carve your own kuksa, ideally from birch gnarl, or receive it as a gift. So give the gift of the Kuksa to someone you love. Its the perfect tableware present for someone who likes coffee gifts.

The Pyromaniac Chef Cook Book –£20

The Pyromaniac Chef Cook Book is a call to arms for families to cast aside their notions of barbecues being for summer and embrace year-round al fresco cooking. You don’t need to be a pyromaniac to enjoy the amazing flavour that wood smoke brings to food, you simply need a sense of adventure.

Cooking over a fire doesn’t have to be difficult or complicated. You don’t need much in the way of equipment to get started and the results far exceed the effort required. With advice ranging from using tortilla chips to light fires and choosing the location of a fire based upon what will look prettiest and create the most fun, Kathryn Minchew takes a beautiful outdoorsy lifestyle and makes it realistic for families. With simple, pared back recipes this book is as much an ideas book as it is a cookbook. This book is not the answer to cooking over a fire, it is an invitation to join in the game.

Finman BBQ Hut Cushion Sets –From £295

You can relax in comfort with a set of cushions, manufactured to fit perfectly in your Finman BBQ Hut.

Which colour will you choose – Blue, Red, Brown or Grey? Accessorise your cabin with some luxury seating. The cushions are 80mm thick, giving comfort ample padding, so you can sit and enjoy your barbeque for hours.

10 stress busters from the NHS

If you’re stressed, whether by your job or something more personal, the first step to feeling better is to identify the cause.

The most unhelpful thing you can do is turn to something unhealthy to help you cope, such as smoking or drinking.

“In life, there’s always a solution to a problem,” says Professor Cary Cooper, an occupational health expert at the University of Lancaster.

“Not taking control of the situation and doing nothing will only make your problems worse.”

He says the keys to good stress management are building emotional strength, being in control of your situation, having a good social network, and adopting a positive outlook. 

Check out our selection of stress-busting apps in the NHS Apps Library.

What you can do to address stress

These are Professor Cooper’s top 10 stress-busting suggestions:

Be active

Exercise won’t make your stress disappear, but it will reduce some of the emotional intensity that you’re feeling, clearing your thoughts and letting you deal with your problems more calmly.

For more advice, read how being active helps mental wellbeing.

Get started with exercise

Take control

There’s a solution to any problem. “If you remain passive, thinking, ‘I can’t do anything about my problem’, your stress will get worse,” says Professor Cooper.

“That feeling of loss of control is one of the main causes of stress and lack of wellbeing.”

The act of taking control is in itself empowering, and it’s a crucial part of finding a solution that satisfies you and not someone else.

Get tips on how to manage your time

Connect with people

A good support network of colleagues, friends and family can ease your work troubles and help you see things in a different way.

“If you don’t connect with people, you won’t have support to turn to when you need help,” says Professor Cooper.

The activities we do with friends help us relax. We often have a good laugh with them, which is an excellent stress reliever.

“Talking things through with a friend will also help you find solutions to your problems,” says Professor Cooper.

Read about some other ways relationships help our wellbeing.

Have some ‘me time’

Here in the UK, we work the longest hours in Europe, meaning we often don’t spend enough time doing things we really enjoy.

“We all need to take some time for socialising, relaxation or exercise,” says Professor Cooper.

He recommends setting aside a couple of nights a week for some quality “me time” away from work.

“By earmarking those 2 days, it means you won’t be tempted to work overtime,” he says.

Challenge yourself

Setting yourself goals and challenges, whether at work or outside, such as learning a new language or a new sport, helps build confidence. This will help you deal with stress.

“By continuing to learn, you become more emotionally resilient as a person,” says Professor Cooper.

“It arms you with knowledge and makes you want to do things rather than be passive, such as watching TV all the time.”

Avoid unhealthy habits

Don’t rely on alcohol, smoking and caffeine as your ways of coping.

“Men more than women are likely to do this. We call this avoidance behaviour,” says Professor Cooper. “Women are better at seeking support from their social circle.”

In the long term, these crutches won’t solve your problems. They’ll just create new ones.

“It’s like putting your head in the sand,” says Professor Cooper. “It might provide temporary relief, but it won’t make the problems disappear. You need to tackle the cause of your stress.”

Help other people

Professor Cooper says evidence shows that people who help others, through activities such as volunteering or community work, become more resilient.

“Helping people who are often in situations worse than yours will help you put your problems into perspective,” says Professor Cooper. “The more you give, the more resilient and happy you feel.”

If you don’t have time to volunteer, try to do someone a favour every day. It can be something as small as helping someone cross the road or going on a coffee run for colleagues.

Find out more about giving for mental wellbeing

Work smarter, not harder

Working smarter means prioritising your work, concentrating on the tasks that’ll make a real difference.

“Leave the least important tasks to last,” says Cooper. “Accept that your in-tray will always be full. Don’t expect it to be empty at the end of the day.”

Get tips on how to manage your time better

Try to be positive

Look for the positives in life, and things for which you’re grateful.

“People don’t always appreciate what they have,” says Professor Cooper. “Try to be glass half full instead of glass half empty,” he says.

Try writing down 3 things that went well, or for which you’re grateful, at the end of every day.

Accept the things you can’t change

Changing a difficult situation isn’t always possible. Try to concentrate on the things you do have control over.

“If your company is going under and is making redundancies, for example, there’s nothing you can do about it,” says Professor Cooper.

“In a situation like that, you need to focus on the things that you can control, such as looking for a new job.”

Full article can be found at – https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/reduce-stress/