The Best Timber for Log Cabins

All log cabins are not created equal, especially when it comes to the kind of materials used for their construction. Log home materials vary from one timber to another and most contractors or builders make sure that you have a say when it comes to timber selection. Bespoke log cabins are on the whole more expensive than factory-built ones. You can choose to customize your log home by choosing the material for the cabin’s construction.


The timber for your log cabin will determine its structural integrity and overall aesthetic once the construction is complete. The better-quality wood species influence the cost of your log home as well as its durability and strength in withstanding the elements, in particular during harsh weather conditions.

Factors to Consider in Choosing Timber for Log Cabins

Check out the different features that will help you determine which timber or wood species is the perfect one for your log cabin:


Choose the best timber with the appearance that suits your personal taste and style. Log appearance may vary with the application of sealants or preservatives or when they undergo weathering. Select the logs with good length and a straight look because these will give you less hassle during construction and the outcome is likewise beneficial.


One of the major factors that owners of log cabins consider is the overall cost of the timber. The species of wood determine how much the timber materials will be; thus, it is important that you compare different species before making a final decision. Slow-growing wood species are more expensive compared to more common types. Log cabins that are made from slow-growing white cedar are more expensive compared to units with less expensive timber materials such as yellow pine.



Some wood species are much better than others when it comes to resisting the possibilities of decaying over time. However, trees generally have natural properties that help them resist decaying through toxins that block the attack of fungi and insect infestation. Fast-growing wood species for log cabins actually have more sapwood but are typically less resistant to damage or decay. Older trees have higher toxin concentration, making them more impervious to decay. Nevertheless, you can actually make the timber more resilient to decay through wood preservatives. The likes of western red cedar, cypress, and redwood have a high resistance to decay on a natural basis, but they still need maintenance and treatment.


The availability of timber for log cabins is a vital factor to consider when making your wood selection. Conduct comprehensive research before you choose the timber and see if it is available in your local area. Timber species that are not available near you would require premium transportation costs, which could be quite impractical.


Choose a timber species that is stable regardless of the weather in the location of your log cabins. Logs are vulnerable to settling and shrinkage and they tend to warp, twist, and expand over time. However, there are quality timbers that could withstand or have less vulnerability to the changes of the wood.



The R-value of the timber for log cabins determines its insulation efficiency. Most woods are good insulators, keeping or maintaining the temperature inside the cabin. For instance, insulation efficiency differs in log species and could affect how cold or warm the temperature will be inside the structure. High-quality timber makes log cabins energy efficient through providing insulation that will help you skip higher utility bills from your HVAC system.

Best Types of Timber for Log Cabins

Check out the most common timber species that you can use for the construction of log cabins:


The other name for pine is redwood and its usage in the log home kits industry is widespread. Pine is a cheaper option for log cabins and it is also a widely used material for furniture, play equipment, fencing, and posts. Pine is less dense compared to spruce and requires pressure treatment in order to prevent rotting over time. Pine changes colour from light to a darker shade upon exposure to sunlight.


Spruce or white wood is quite popular with an aesthetically attractive appearance for log cabins, particularly in the interior. It does not discolour like pine and it is denser with much tighter knots. Since spruce has more structural strength, it tends to be more expensive than its pine counterpart. This soft wood type is lightweight and can be easily matched with staining treatment on top of its durable and stable properties that result in little shrinkage.



The appearance and aromatic properties of this timber type are two of the main features that make it a popular option. Cedar is soft wood which makes it easy to work with and guarantees a longer lifespan compared to other wood species. The timber is resistant to decay and insects, which is why it is one of the more expensive materials for garden log cabins today. Western red cedar, for instance, is a premium species with slow-growing features and tight-grained appearance. It can withstand extreme weather conditions and is quite accessible in the northern BC coasts. The sought-after wood is popular for export purposes, especially to Europe.

Douglas Fir

You should choose this species if you are looking for an energy efficient and cheaper material for log cabins. Just like pine, Douglas Fir is also attractive with its reddish-brown light shade. The timber is durable and strong with relatively higher resistance to decay and rot. It moderately accepts stain for treatment and maintenance purposes. This long-time favourite material is the strongest softwood that is perfect for traditional log cabins as well as timber frames.



Cypress comes in a wide variety with different appearances and features. The moisture content of cypress along with the moisture retention of the wood species are two of the main issues that you would need to deal with for this timber type. The application of a moisture meter and stains are necessary to avoid mould formation.

The best timber for log cabins depends on various factors that you consider more valuable and important to begin with. Different wood species have their own strengths and weaknesses that make them either the perfect choice or otherwise.

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