How To Build A Single Skin Log Cabin

Twin skin cabin builders can also gain from this guideline

As well as providing high-quality affordable log cabins (see the homepage for our great offers), we also like to help our customers construct their log cabins.

This guide on how to build a single skin log cabin shows and tells you how to make your building look perfect.

Below is the log cabin we are going to build in this guide.  It is a single skin cabin.  As you can see we have built this log cabin indoors, but you should construct your log cabin in it's intended position.  You wont be able to move it once it is constructed.

The completed log cabin

Before you get started...

Before you start to construct your beautiful new building here are a few things that will help.

  1. You need a level base on which to build your log cabin.  We recommend a level concrete base.  See  below for more details.
  2. Please familiarise yourself with the planning permission laws, and gain planning permission if necessary.
  3. You need to treat your log cabin as soon as it is constructed to protect it from the elements. We recommend using  a good quality exterior wood treatment such as Jotun DemiDekk or Butinox. These are available from reputable paint suppliers.
  4. It really helps to have someone else help you put the building together.

Tools

Certain tools are required to put the building together.  If you are a keen DIY'er you should already have these.  If you are not chat with a friend or family member who is, and see if you can borrow the tools and the person to help you construct the building.

We recommend the following tools

Tools required:

Spirit Level

Screwdriver

Measuring tape

Hammer

Saw

Pliers

Drill

Knife

Ladder

Clear silicone

Assembly drawings Protective gloves

OK, lets get started...

 

1.  Carefully unpack the cabin and check all components are present

Inspection of components

Open the packages and sort the components according the wall plans on Installation Drawing and Component Specification. Don't be surprised to find some extra logs for walls, 2-3 floor boards and roof boards - some extra components are there just in case of any damage in transit or during assembly. Important: never put components on dirty surfaces, or grass as it will be very difficult to clean them afterwards.

Unpack the contents




2. Ensure base is level and square. EXTREMELY IMPORTANT!

A proper and good foundation is a deciding factor for safety and duration of your cabin. Only level, rectangular and capable to take load of cabin foundation can ensure the problem-free installation. Faulty foundation will definitely result in out-of shape walls, doors and windows will be impossible to regulate. Upper edge of foundation should extend over the ground at least 5 cm.

Recommended foundation options:

Cast concrete bed or concrete strip foundation Concrete slabs or pavement slabs

3. Lay the out the green tanalised bearers for the floor to sit on

The foundation frame is treated against decay, as well as floor joists.

We recommend you place a layer of DPC (damp-proof course) on the concrete base first.  The log cabin packs contains green tanalised bearers which will sit on the DPC, and the log cabin will sit on these bearers.

Lay the bearers out as show below, ensuring they sit on the DPC

Ensure that frame is laid completely flat. Fix the lap joints with woodscrews. Check the diagonals, they must be identical measure. Install floor joists and fix them to foundation frame.

ADVICE: As extra protection from storm, you may want to fix the foundation frame to the foundation by steel angles or anchors (The fixtures to the concrete are your choice and not supplied with a cabin).

Laying out the floor bearers

The bearers lock together in each corner as shown below

Bearers locked together

Now screw the bearers together as shown below.  Use a set square to ensure the bearers are square.

Screw the floor bearers together

Once the tanalised frame is complete add the remaining tanalised sections inside the frame, as shown below.  The outer frame supports the walls, the inner sections support the floor.  Ensure all of the bearers are sitting on DPC.

Add the center tanalised bearers

4.  Separate the wall components

If your cabin has four walls separate the wall components into four individual stacks corresponding with each of the walls to avoid any unnecessary confusion later on.  With rectangular buildings ensure you separate the long and short sides.

5.  Start building the cabin walls

The walls of the cabin are built by adding layer upon layer of timbers.  The first row sits on the green tanalised wood laid earlier, as shown below.  In the image below you can see that the timber on the left is laid first, so that the timber on the right interlocks over its ends.  This is the principle of interlocking cabins.  The end locks the side pieces into place.

Remember - all wall logs are placed with tongue up. Make sure all Tongue&Groove are fitted properly in each row of wall logs.

Follow the wall drawings, and use correct components. Start with half logs as per drawing, and fix them to the foundation frame before proceeding with next row of logs up.

IMPORTANT: after you have first row of logs installed, measure the diagonal lengths, if necessary re-install the logs. You can proceed with next row of logs only if base frame is rectangular and diagonals of first row are equal measure.

When walls are 5 or 6 logs high, it's time to get doors and windows installed.

First row timbers

 Keep adding more timbers, ensuring they lock together.  You can see the second layer being added below.

Second row of timbers

Continue to add more layers building the wall higher, as shown below.

Continue building the log cabins walls

6.  Fitting the windows and doors

In the picture below you can see the gaps in the walls that are ready to receive the windows and door.  On the right of the front section is the gap for the door.  On the left of the front is an edge for the window.

Doors and windows come in ready for installation units that slide into door/window opening from top. Package with all fixtures contains handles and face plates.

Doors always open from inside out. Tilt & Turn windows will always open to inside. Single glazed or economy double-glazed windows open to outside.

IMPORTANT: Do not fix the door/window frames to the wall logs! If you decide to do so, you can fix them with a couple of screws in the lower part of frame, as when logs dry out cabin is settling and door frames will be damaged/distorted.

IMPORTANT: Final adjustments and tuning of the doors and windows can be made only some 2-3 weeks after the cabin installation, when cabin has adopted to weather conditions

and atmospheric moisture, and logs have settled. When tuning the doors, you will need a hexagonal keys, spirit level and angle to check positions of frame, door sheets, then aligning

of door sheets in the frame by tuning the adjustable hinges with hex -key.

Gaps for doors and windows are ready

Fit the door into position by slotting into place, as shown in the image below.  The doors and windows slot into the walls

This used to be the way we fitted the doors but they are fitted AFTER the cabin is constructed now. The doors are placed into the door opening on completion of the build and the door trims/facias added once it is in place.

The doors can be very heavy.

Log cabins door being slotted into the wall

The image below shows the door in place.  To the left of the door smaller timbers have been inserted to make the gap for the window.

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. A bead of clear silicone must be run around the outside beading to glass seal.

Door fitted to log cabin wall

The window slots into the wall, as shown in the image below.  Note how the next timber is being inserted at the same time.

Window being inserted into the log cabin wall

In the image below you can see the fitted window.

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. A bead of clear silicone must be run around the outside beading to glass seal.

Window fitted to log cabin

The log cabin we are building in this example has two windows side-by-side.  In the image below you can see that small timbers have been added to the left of the first window to create the gap for the second window.  Slot in the second window just like the first.

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. A bead of clear silicone must be run around the outside beading to glass seal.



Two windows fitter into log cabin wall

In the image below you can see the remainder of the wall being finished by fitting the end interlocking timbers.  The interlocking timbers finish the wall securely.

Wall being finished


In the image below you can see a smaller window fitted to a wall.

Small window fitted to wall

Screw the window trip to the outside of the window frame as shown below.

Window being fixed

Finish the wall by adding the remaining timbers, as shown below.

The log cabin wall being completed

7. Build up to gable ends then place ready cut roof purlins into position and fix with parts supplied

Once the walls are complete we are ready to add the gable ends, as shown below.

Apexes are supplied in one piece for most of designs, but sometimes apex must be assembled from several parts. These parts will have to be fixed together with woodscrews, and roof beams must be fixed to apexes too. Apexes are notched to accommodate the roof beams. Keep checking with spirit level if roof beams are level, before fixing them to apex. Apexes must be screwed to the top wall logs at ends.

ATTENTION: If you notice the upper log not on the same level with apex, then you must check all wall logs below if tongues are properly sinked into grooves, tap the wall logs to get them into correct position; or plane the apex and/or side wall log some lower to get them in line for roof boards

Last piece of wall added

Secure the last wall timber with a long screw.

Secure wall top with long screw

The finished wall is shown below.

Finished wall

Position a gable end and offer the roof beam up to it, as shown below

Gable end and roof beam

Add the second roof beam.

Second roof beam

Add the remaining gable fixings as shown below.

Add remaining roof gable fixing

Then secure the gable fixing into the timbers below

Secure gable fixing

Add the remaining gable end timbers to complete the wall.

Add the remaining gable end timbers to the log cabin

Secure the roof beams by screwing as shown below.

Secure the roof beams

Add the gable fixing detail for the other side.

Gable fixing detail

Then secure the fixing by screwing as shown below

Secure gable fixing

8.  Add the storm braces(wind tie) to the inside

The storm braces should be screwed on the inside walls as shown below.

The purpose of wind ties is to prevent the entire roof with apexes to be lifted by gale force winds.

In many cases it is just a precaution measure, but we always recommend tying the apexes to walls by putting a strong screws in the middle of elongated hole to wall (in the bottom) and round hole to apex. The screw in the elongated hole must be left not too tight, to allow for movement of wall logs.

Storm brace added

9. Nail roofing boards into position

Now that the walls are complete we can add the roofing boards.

Before you proceed with roof boards, check if all walls are completely level.

Start with roof cladding from the front edge of roof, smooth side of board up. The roof boards have a chamfered V on the front face. This is the face you look at.

Tap the boards lightly and make sure you push tongue into the groove not full way, but leaving about 1mm expansion gap, to allow swelling of roof boards when absorbing moisture from the air.

ATTENTION: Use a stable and secure ladder, don't step on the roof, as cabin structure is safe for even load (roof shingles, snow, wind, etc...) but can be not safe enough for point load.

Roof boards must be even with roof beam-ends, the last board must be trimmed with a saw.

Having installed the roof cladding, and/or roof felt - proceed with fascias and felt battens.

Make sure roof shingles are covering side and front fascias and protecting them from moisture.

Shingles, felt or other roofing materials are not supplied as standard, and have to be ordered extra.

Add roofing boards

Add the underside roof trim to the roofing boards by screwing in from the top.

Screwing roofing boards into the log cabin wall

Below you can see the completed roof from the gable end

Completed roof from the gable end

10. Fix fascia boards all around

Screw the fascia boards on to the log cabin end, as shown below

Fascia board added

Also add any trim, such as this diamond

Diamond trim

11.  Fix the roof covering

Click Here

for the guide

 

12. Fix floorboards into position

Now we add the floorboards.

When cabin is built and protected from the elements, then only you can proceed with floor installation. Place the floorboard on the joists and foundation frame, tap them lightly against one another and leave about 3mm expansion gap between them. Use so called secret nailing when fixing them to joists through the tongue at angle. If necessary, cut the last boards to the suitable width, leaving about 5mm gap to wall. Floor beadings will cover all expansion gaps between wall and floorboards. Beadings must be cut into required lengths and fixed by small nails.

ATTENTION: Depending on time of the year and weather conditions, floor boards may swell or settle. Dry wood is absorbing moisture from the atmosphere and floor is expanding, therefore leaving expansion gaps between floorboards and between floor and walls is a must.

Lay and secure floorboard

In the image below you can see the floorboards resting on the floor joists

Floorboards resting on the floor joists

Add more floorboards, locking them together, until the floor is complete.

Add remaining floorboards

Finished log cabin pictures

The ceiling

Finished ceiling

Ceiling

Ceiling

The finished windows

Windows opened

Window catch

Log cabin window

Window tilting

Opened window

External window view

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. A bead of clear silicone must be run around the outside beading to glass seal.

Window

Completed door

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. A bead of clear silicone must be run around the outside beading to glass seal.

Completed door

The completed log cabin

Completed cabin corner view

The completed cabin seen from the front

Log cabin front view

Painting

Wood is natural material and must be protected from moisture and UV radiation.

If left unprotected, wood may become grey or may get mold and blue stain after while. Your cabin must be treated with wood exterior grade wood stain immediately after installation.

Doors and windows must receive a multiple layer of exterior grade stain or paint, INSIDE AND OUTSIDE, otherwise wood may absorb moisture and doors/windows can get twisted and/or stuck in frames.

When applying stain or paint, use high quality materials and tools, follow the paint application manual, and avoid rainy weather and strong sunshine when painting.

Finishing Guide

It is vital that a good quality branded product (see below) is used to protect and decorate your new purchase. Please ensure that your doors and windows are treated fully in accordance with the finishing guidelines within the Conditions of Sale

We recommend the use of Sikkens, Jotun and Sadolin translucent woodstain systems, particularly for external use.

Please try staining a small area that is not visible to check that you like the colour before staining the entire door, window or walls. Sadolin Extra Durable Clear Coat retains the natural colour and beauty of the timber without significantly affecting the original timber tone (light coloured timber will acquire a light golden hue). This product requires a minimum of 3 coats application to bare timber.For advanced protection and lasting colour we recommend the Sikkens colour system.

Cetol HLS Plus is a single application base coat that absorbs into the timber providing excellent adhesion for subsequent coatings.

Cetol Filter 7 contains ultraviolet light absorbers for advanced protection from the sun, offering superior durability.

These products can be found at many reputable DIY outlets.

 

Maintenance and troubleshooting

Having properly installed, finished and painted, your cabin's lifetime is increased substantially. We recommend that you inspect the cabin thoroughly one every six months.

The possible problems are:

  • ● Gaps appear between the logs.

    Cause: something is holding logs from settling/expansion.

    Solutions: If door/window frames were attached to wall logs, release them. Storm brace is fixed too tight - loosen it's attachment.

    Upper logs of cabin sitting on the window frame - remove the door/window linings and cut the bigger gap between log and frame.

    Rain gutter piping does not allow for movement of wall logs - loosen the

    pipe attachment.
  • ● Doors or windows stuck or difficult to operate.

    Cause: The cabin walls or foundation has settled.

    Solution: Check whether cabin is level; get the foundation and walls level. Window/door frames not level - adjust them accordingly to get back to rectangular shape, frame stiles must be vertical, and jambs strictly horizontal, all angles 90 d. Cause: The windows/doors have swelled due to moisture

    Solution: Adjust door/window hinges; if necessary, plane the door or

    window off a few mm.

www.logcabinssouthwest.co.uk

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