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Builder Eric: Gaps in the log cabin

Log cabins can be installed at any time of the year. We are still busy in Autumn and Spring as well as Winter. Then it comes to the summer and the hottest months of the year like July and August. This is when we might see the occasional customer comes back to us about their cabin. Now our cabins are made from wood. We purposefully aim to choose timber from the heart of the length of tree. This is better quality and less prone to shrinkage and indeed it does not shrink much in length.  However, it can shrink in height from the installation to the summer.

You might ask where these gaps are coming from and why are there complaints coming from customers? Well it is an easy question to answer. What you do with your log cabin during installation can truly affect the way it performs later. You can easily restrict the natural movement of the logs. For example, there are small gaps intended to give room for expansion. If windows or doors are lifted to fill these gaps or timber strips added, the wood cannot act naturally. Perhaps the door frame or window fascia has been attached to the log. This can cause the same problems.

Anything that fixes the logs in a set place is an issue. Perhaps you want to add brackets or shelves. Take care on doing this as although it is easy to do, it can cause problems. Attach it to the same log in two places rather than two separate ones. This will allow the easy expansion and contraction of all the timber. You may want a blackboard or a wipe board or to add electrics or brackets. You can add all of these, but follow the golden rule above of not affixing things across two separate logs. Work with your natural building rather than against it by allowing the free movement of every log.

Every log cabin moves, whatever manufacturer it comes from. It does not matter whether it is thick or thin wood. This is all down to the capillaries in it that are like long straws in the wood. These suck up the moisture of the air when it is there, or they dry out when it is warm. This is the natural action of wood timber as a living product. The way to reduce this for optimum performance is to treat your cabin with a high-quality product. This balances the moisture level and keeps it locked away and protected from big shifts in moisture.

After a whole year of all the seasons, you will know what to expect of your log cabin. We never hear from customers again after a full year as they have either treated their cabin properly or already had problems. If you have problems with your cabin you might want to look and try to diagnose why, before contacting to complain. So, have you perhaps nailed into the logs or restricted them? Have you put something on the wall like a bracket or shelf? Have you filled in expansion gaps that should have been left open? Before you contact the supplier, look to see whether you should have done something differently.

Got a question? Get in touch with Eric: [email protected]

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