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Builder Eric: Water Ingress and Log Cabin Treatment

Water ingress is the entry of water to the inside of your building. This is a highly undesirable thing to happen as it can irreparably damage your space and cost a lot of money to repair or replace. It is easy to say that there can be different reasons for water ingress. However, the most likely with a wooden building is that either a poor-quality treatment has been used, or there has been no treatment at all. If a treatment has been used, perhaps this has been done in a slapdash way or water based treatment was used. The corners and end grains of timbers are particularly important to treat. If untreated, then water can move throughout the timber with its natural capillary action.

log cabin treatment

As this follows the course of logs across the building, we see water ingress where parts have not been treated. The water then moves around leaving unsightly water marks and mold building up. Even a small area left without effective oil-based treatment can bring major problems to a building. Wood timbers can absorb water, just like it does in nature. An oil-based treatment stops this from happening and protects the building. Apply a high-quality treatment to every area including tongue and groove boards and end grain. It is important to add ventilation for times when the cabin will not be used, such as during the winter too.

Once a cabin is built, it takes a year to settle. But following through a year with it, it is possible to see how the natural wood reacts to the full cycle of seasons. As every area of the world has different high and low temperatures, average rainfall, length of seasons etc it is impossible to know how the wood will react until it is there. However, with the application of a high-quality oil-based treatment to every part of the timber, especially the joints, many issues can be fully avoided.

It is best to apply your treatment during the drier, warmer months if possible. A good quality treatment has a little ‘give’ and stretches when wood expands a little. Cheaper and poorer quality treatments are far more likely to crack and cause fissures that let water into the building. Therefore, protection can be a year-round success.

Main purpose of a log cabin timber treatment

The most regular question we are asked, is how long our garden buildings will last. They are a wonderful investment, but if they are only set to last a year or two, this can feel like poor value. Well there is a simple answer. If you look after your garden building, it will last for a very long time. This starts with using a high-quality oil-based treatment on every part of the wood of your building. Use this every 2-3 years and with a little regular maintenance, a long lifespan can be achieved.

log cabin timber treatment

There are many benefits of treating your log cabin and one of the most important of these is weather proofing. Like any natural plant, a tree trunk sucks up water from its roots to feed the tree. It still tries to do this as timber. Therefore, covering all timber with a treatment is the only way to stop any water being absorbed. The aim is to keep the semi-dried timber at 14% moisture continuously. Without this your wood will swell and rot, even at just 6-7% more water content.

Of course, if your wood becomes drier than this, there can be other problems. If your building is untreated and exposed to hot sunlight over a period of time, the logs will dry out. The logs will split and crack. This needs to be protected against and comes hand in hand with protecting from the UV effects of the sun. Protecting your wood with a high-quality treatment seals in the appropriate level of moisture. Maintaining this high level of elasticity is vital.

Finally, protect your building from undesirables. This includes fungi spores which adore wet wood and love to infiltrate it. There are plenty of critters and creatures that love to eat or nestle in wood, and especially damp wood. Adding a treatment to your wood, is a deterrent from them. Protecting your wood is a wonderful way of making it last and last and the power is yours.

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

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