Log cabin contracting – everything you need to know

Posted Apr 27, 2020, Category: Advice

One of the most common complaints of log cabin owners is the log cabin contracting. While it doesn’t happen fast, during the course of several years, you may loose space in your log cabin home. While this is a natural process and wood will contract regardless, there are a few things to avoid. Mainly they have to do with the construction phase of the project. Regular care of the timber beams can help, but won’t have nearly the same effect.

So in this post, we at Eurodita decided to share the most common reasons why log cabins begin contracting and how to avoid it. We will look over some red flags to look for in your log cabin manufacturers so you wouldn’t end up with a cabin smaller than you originally purchased.

First things first, keep in mind that a cabin made of natural wood will contract and expand regardless of your efforts. This is a natural process that happens due to the weather conditions and changes in temperature. You can’t change that. What you can do is adapt to this natural process and build the log house that fits it.

Wood treatment 

This is the most important question to ask your log cabin supplier – do they treat the wood they’re using for production. It’s important to treat the logs before starting the assembly. If your supplier chooses to treat the planks during the construction process, keep in mind that the whole project is going to take longer. Also, there’s always a risk that the planks will not be treated correctly while already on site. It’s important to let each individual plank dry out completely before it’s transported to the construction location. Make sure that your log home suppliers treat the timber before construction and promote the treatment themselves. That’s how you will know they’re serious about log construction.

Gaps in the log house

Another common thing that happens due to contraction are gaps. They usually appear around window frames, joints and walls. These gaps are a result of contraction and expansion of the wood during seasons. The way to fix it is to fill up the gaps as they appear. And the best way to fix them is to let professional log home suppliers do it with tools and materials fit for this purpose. There are a lot of stories about log home owners, who have decided to take matters into their own hands and fill the appearing gaps themselves. Straw, industrial wool, more wood – all these and more have been used, only to result into more gaps later down the line. Gaps are not inevitable and can be eliminated, if your log house supplier is willing to put in the work. When choosing the supplier, make sure they know what to do when and if gaps appear. Again, if the timber planks are dried out properly, it should significantly reduce their movement.

Logs of the log cabin

A small but important note must be made about the logs that are used to build the log cabin. Usually, even if they are turned into planks, the logs are taken from deep within the tree. As close to the heart as possible. Not only will this bring out the true colour of the wood, but it will also ensure the strength of the plank and reduce movement. When discussing the type of tree with your log cabin supplier, ask them how they treat the wood and before that, which part of the tree they’re using.

Installation problems

Just like with everything, building a contemporary residential log cabin has its own challenges. In this field, it’s the installation and gap closure that are the main issues. It’s important to remember that logs and timber planks will always move, even if just a little. It’s the natural property of the wood. And just like we advised not attempting to close gaps yourself, we also advise to consult your log cabin supplier. There are many aspects to consider NOT doing when building a log home: not fixing the door frame to the wall, refraining from lifting the doors and windows up to cover the gaps, not fixing the logs in different manners and so on. Gaps create installation problems, but not all of them need to be resolved.

Electricity installation

Due to the constant, seasonal movement, the electrical installations should also expand with the log cabin. Each cable should have an allowance for trunking, to avoid putting your entire electrical grid under strain and hence put you in danger of electrical fire. Also, no consumer units should be installed between two logs, as that is a recipe for trouble during seasonal contraction and expansion. Talk to your electrician before he or she arrives on site. Explain that you have a fully wooden private label home and that they will need to adjust the electrical installation to your needs.

While there are a few challenges when living in custom log homes, no challenge is without a solution. Talk to your log cabin manufacturers, discuss every detail with other specialists that will come afterwards. Ask all the questions even with a risk of being picky. It’s your dream glulam timber frame house. You will want it in the best shape possible so you can enjoy it to the fullest.