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Building a Log Cabin: When is the Perfect Time to Prepare the Foundation?

A log cabin foundation is vital in the overall quality of the wooden structure. Foundations safely transfer the load and weight of the log house through the ground, consequently making the wooden house more durable and strong. One of the most important things to consider when preparing a log cabin foundation is the time when to set the foundation in the first place.

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The Best Time to Prepare a Log Cabin Foundation

You can choose when to start with the constructions of your log cabin, but you need to make sure that it is during the off season when there is low demand for log house materials from timber to other hardware materials. The lower the demand for log cabin materials, the lower or cheaper they would cost since most suppliers would rather sell off their stocks or supplies rather than having no sales at all. Moreover, check out the time when most of these construction suppliers would need to discard all their inventories or supplies in order to make way for new ones because discounts and markdown prices often happen during these times.

Check the Weather in your Locale

The log cabin foundation requires good and dry weather when preparing this important structural component because any changes in the weather, specifically heavy rain could alter and destroy the foundation. Foundations for your log cabin are quite different compared to shed foundations and they need consistently dry weather and no exposure to rain or flooding in order to become stable and with a high-quality result. Thus, before buying the materials and preparing the foundation, make sure that you are dealing with sunny and dry weather, or else rain and flood would damage and destroy your work, wasting all your money in the process.

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Good Foundation and Quality Log Cabins

Get to know the best time when to lay your foundation and you will surely have a stable and strong one for your log cabin. The ideal time to prepare your foundation is when there are no disruptions from nature, such as strong wind, rain, and flooding. Schedule your project during those months when you’ll have a steadily dry and sunny environment but make sure that the weather is not extremely hot and humid, which could also affect your materials.

Good foundations for your log cabin protect the wooden structure from 2 major issues that could compromise the overall integrity and quality of your property:

   1.  Settlement – The log cabin’s load and weight forces the soil to basically move away over time and this may cause the cabin to gradually sink into the ground. A good foundation could prevent this from happening, avoiding settlement of your log cabin especially early in its life.

   2.  Subsidence – The soil under the log cabin eventually moves away from the structure over time and could remove the surrounding foundation. Stable and strong foundations prevent subsidence which usually occurs over a specific period or length of time, however, it could be easily determined especially when you notice that your log cabin is lopsided.

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Things to Consider for Foundation Preparation

Several factors could make or break the quality, strength, and stability of your log cabin, in particular the soil and rock types in the location. Check if the area is composed of chalk, rock, gravel, peat, sand or clay as these compositions will greatly influence the foundation and how it should be prepped. The rock and soil type in the site will also tell you the perfect time of the year when you should prepare and lay down your log cabin foundation.

Other important factors to consider for your cabin foundation include rock and gravel contours, water tables, construction budget, topography or the site ground, and the drainage design. On top of the best time when you should prepare the foundation, take note that it is important not to over-engineer the log house foundation from start to completion of the construction’s design phase.

Types of Log Cabin Foundation

After establishing the basics of preparing your log home foundation, it is time to consider what type of foundation to invest in. Here are the most common types of log cabin foundation:

Concrete or Raft Foundation

Raft foundation is one of the simplest foundation techniques where you lay a raft of concrete under the entirety of the log cabin. The entire base of the load of the log house is spread all over the floor area of the site. It is a much cheaper and quicker alternative compared to other types such as a strip foundation since less excavation and raw materials are required.

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Strip Foundation Base

The most common technique in log cabin foundation is the strip foundation which is also most popularly used for the construction of mortar and brick traditional houses. Underneath the load bearing timber of the cabin is a continuous strip of concrete serving as the base or foundation of the wooden structure. The strip is also the level standing that serves as a basis where the logs will be laid on. This type of log house foundation is ideal when you are dealing with clay on site and should only work for log houses that are located on dry sites without any standing water. This is a shallow foundation, thus it is only good for a single storey cabin unless you make a deeper foundation.

Pad Foundation/Concrete Piers

This type of foundation is only for single-point load cabins and is typically characterized by the 4 corners of the log cabin that rest on the entire concrete pad. Each concrete pad is underneath every corner of the log cabin. A typical pad foundation is square and usually made from reinforced rebar or steel members.

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Stability and strength are the main features of a good foundation that will protect the log cabin from various damaging factors.  The best log cabin foundation is prepped and laid at the ideal time of the year when you can safely and properly work on the project without any delays.

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