Log cabin – a temporary dwelling or a lifetime homestead?

Posted Oct 21, 2020, Category: Cabin production

A lot of times, buyers of log homes questions whether log cabin homes are a smart long-term investment. And it’s no surprise such questions arise with the purchase. Wood is known for its tendency to rot away and for it being flammable. Being one of the oldest known building materials known to us, we are familiar with its benefits, but we are also very much aware of its shortcomings.

So, what do we say to customers that worry about the longevity of their contemporary log cabin homes? We tend to lay those worries to rest with experience and knowledge about the wood as material. It’s in fact a very reliable building option and with proper care, a wooden frame house can last well over a century.

Main issues with timber

Historically, when building a log house or standard log cabins, the wood was not treated in any special way and still survived for many generations of owners. With this in mind we can conclude that the key element to the longevity of any house is the correct usage of wooden materials. The wood has a defining property of constantly absorbing and releasing moisture.

The common issue with wood is fungus. Once it gets into the structural walls, it’s very hard to remove it. It usually occurs when there’s too much moisture and that tends to happen due to a fault in construction, causing higher moisture levels than can be aired out. Another mistake during construction is to allow wood to come in contact with rainwater or snow. This will dampen the wood and cause the fungus to grow even faster. If the moisture level of the wood can be maintained below 20%, most fungus cultures will not be able to grow there.

Proper materials and techniques

All these issues can be solved with proper materials and building techniques. First, let’s tackle the issue of damp wood cultivating fungus. While that is true with the traditional timber building materials – like planks, logs, etc. – this is much less true with glue laminated timber. The process itself dried timber well bellow 10% moisture levels. Not to mention the specific production process that includes laminating the planks, which then will have to go through rigorous drying process. No moisture-loving fungus can survive those drying and production conditions.

Now let’s tackle the building techniques. While it’s never advisable to build any house during the cold season for all the reasons mentioned above and more, our log home kits are superior here too. Produced by us on the production floor and flat packed neatly into the delivery truck, it won’t have a chance to come in contact with any unwanted moisture. And while we still don’t recommend putting the log house together while it rains or snows, the chances of it catching fungus are much lower, as our house kits are put together much faster than building a classic log house.

Proper maintenance helps 

While the longevity of the house is mostly determined by the way it was built and on materials that were used, it’s also important to maintain the house. Even glue laminated timber is alive and will go through an ageing process, albeit much slower. Tt is important to use solutions that protect the wood from UV rays – they are the main cause of wood ageing. Owners of these glulam log homes should always keep in mind that no amount of maintenance will ensure that in 5 years the building will look just as fresh as it did when it was first treated. Ageing is part of timber’s charm and we always recommend accepting it. In Europe, especially France, worn log cabins and huts are a popular attraction and are welcomed by customers that are looking to purchase property.

Final thoughts

Us in the log home construction industry always say that the fastest and irreparable decay of any house happens when it’s abandoned. As long as people live in any glulam log cabins or log homes, they will continue to stay strong and serve their owners. While glue lamination process surely protects the timber from moulding and in-house production keeps the difficulties of construction at bay, it’s the dwellers of these homes that keep them alive and standing for centuries to come.