Log cabins are very popular nowadays, they can be relatively cheap alternatives to renting an office, building a brick house, or any other reason you might use it for. There are a number of companies which offer these cabins and it can be very difficult to figure out which company offers the best value for money! Below is a list of things you need to consider before buying your log cabin.
Planning issues. First and foremost you need to know what size your cabin is going to be and what purpose it will have; this will influence what sort of planning permission you might need. It is very difficult to say what specifications are required to obtain planning permission as every council has different regulations. Therefore, it is crucial that you choose someone who will supply you with detailed plans which you can take to the council!
Credibility of the seller. Obviously you want to buy from someone you can trust. Make sure to check reviews on websites. But a little trick is to contact the actual company and ask to view cabins of existing customers and obtain their opinions on the company! You can be sure to have unbiased feedback in such case.
Do not go for the cheapest options. Look out for deceptive prices! Some companies seem a lot cheaper than others, but do not trust the price that you initially see! First of all, find out what is included in the price (delivery, VAT, etc.). Then look for similar design/size cabins and calculate the price per m2, as some companies only advertise slightly smaller cabins at seemingly much cheaper prices, but when you actually calculate the price per m2 it works out pretty much the same, or even more expensive. Do not be fooled! Another rule is that you simply can’t make a high quality product at a low cost (it takes time and skills to make decent windows, doors and timber that works and looks right), so even if the cabin in two different supplier online shops look the same, but one is significantly cheaper, it does not mean they are the same quality.
Quality of the logs and timber. Make sure to ask about the timber type! Most suppliers offer buildings made of a very basic timber, whereas only a few make cabins using slow grow conifer timber (either spruce or pine), which has less knots, sap and is much more resistant to rot and mould, which ultimately improves the longevity of the structure itself.
Also, don’t forget to ask about the length of the logs for the particular cabin you are interested in, if the walls are built using multiple short logs, they will most likely be joined by the finger-joint method, which is really not what you want in your walls. Go for a solid log structure, because it is superior in this case and provides better stability, insulation, moisture resistance and longevity.
Windows and doors! They need to be good quality obviously. Most producers fail here by making very low quality windows. Go and see yourself - check the shape and function of the windows and doors in a closest showroom and make sure it’s made well. In some cases, you might even get windows which you have to glaze yourself, do not fall for this! Go with a company that delivers already glazed windows which only need to be installed. Save yourself some time, frustration, and leaks.
Roof and floor construction. Enquire about the roof joists and roof gables, these are very important in a log cabin; if they are not well made your roof will sag and possibly collapse, so make sure that the quality of the roof is up to standard! Some cabins do not come with floors so keep an eye out for that! While on the topic of floors, ask if the floor bearers are treated in any way (pressure treated is what you want).
Installation. It should not take a qualified engineer to assemble it, good log cabins are relatively simple to erect with little to no carpentry/woodwork experience. If the cabin is made badly, it will be a headache to erect it.
Bespoke cabin possibilities and price policy. Custom cabins are always a bit more expensive, but do your research, they should not charge you for making you floor plans, and it should not be too over the top for a custom-made cabin.
After sales service. This one is a bit harder to find out about but try asking around whether anyone you know has any experience with dealing with the company after the sale, you can try contacting existing customers too (point 2). This is important because you do not want to go with a company that will forget about you as soon as they sell something to you!
Helpful customer service is important. Trust your gut as well! If the customer service team is friendly, answers all your questions and helps you anyway they can, make note of that too! Because this normally means that they won’t leave you in the lurch if something goes wrong.
We hope this short list of things will go some way to helping you to decide whether the company you are ordering from is the right one for you or you should keep looking!