A short introduction to building a log house
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a home you have built yourself?
Living in concrete jungles that we do today, we can only imagine the wild freedom that was enjoyed by our ancestors in the old days. Sure, things were not as comfortable and most of the modern amenities we take for granted in the 21st century were unimaginable back then. But the charm of the wilderness is something we cannot feel living as we do in our modern houses and skyscrapers. But if you want you can get a feel of the old world rusticity that is all but fleeting in modern times, you can do so by building your very own log cabin.
Log cabins are not only a viable alternative to regular concrete and brick homes, building one by hand can be very liberating. You don’t need to be a master builder to make a log cabin of your own. All you need is the determination and the right set of tools, along with the inclination to put in the necessary amount of work. In this guide, we are going to lay down a step-by-step detailed plan you can follow to build your very own log cabin and avoid most common mistakes when building a log house.
Ready to get going? Then read on!
Prepare Your Plan
The first step, and obviously the most important one when you are setting out to build your log cabin from scratch is to have a detailed plan in place. Starting on the work without a well-defined roadmap for your task can be a recipe for disaster, so take the necessary time to chalk out the details. Some of the vital things you need to take care of in your plan are as follows:
- Cabin Type-The foremost item on the list should be the kind of log cabin you want. Here you’ll want to detail the size of the cabin, how many rooms you are planning to have in the cabin and also any other features that you wish to include in your dream house. The size of your cabin, along with its features, will have a significant impact on your schedule, which is what we are going to discuss next.
- Schedule– Next, you’ll want to prepare a clear schedule for your construction. The schedule should clearly break down each task that you need to perform (for the tasks, continue reading below), and assign a well-defined time frame within which you want the task to be completed. Be very specific about your schedule; vague terms such as within a fortnight are a strict no-no. Carefully consider the complexity of each of the tasks facing you, and assign realistic time limits that you know you can fulfill. Also, include some slack time for contingencies.
- Budget– After you have settled the above two, now it’s time to get real. Building a log cabin by hand costs money, so you’ll have to make sure you have the required means at hand. The cost of your cabin will again be determined by its size and features.
Select A Location
After you have finalised your plan, you need to zero in on the location where you are going to build your cabin. If you already have a property in a suitable location, that’s great; otherwise, when buying land for building a log cabin it is wise to settle on an area with the best location and views.
You also need to be aware of any building laws and regulations in your locality that must be fulfilled for you to build your cabin. If you feel it necessary you can consult with your local Town Planner, building certifier or council to help you out.
Create Your Design
The blueprint of your cabin is the one place where you get ample room to show your creativity. For inspiration, you can always scour the internet which has lots of available building plans to choose from. You can easily select the ones you like and then improve and improvise upon them to suit your tastes. Once you are done, it’s best if you take the help of a professional architect to ensure the robustness and structural integrity of your plan. We can also draw up your design in the below models to showcase what your dream house will look like in real world!
Once you’ve settled the location and other particulars, now it’s time to get your hands dirty with the raw materials: the logs that will form the framework of your cabin. This is a very essential step and should be done with the utmost consideration. The quality of logs that you use for building your cabin will determine the resilience and durability of your property. Good quality wood can go a long way towards contributing to the longevity of your cabin.
Depending on the size of your dream log house or cabin, we have a few options for you to choose your logs from. All of Log Houses Australia kits come with double tongue and groove interlocking mechanism to ensure the most airtight and weather sealed build you can get. The log thickness will depend if you are going with a shed, a cabin or a full blown double story house! We have options to select from 28mm, 44mm, 68mm, 88mm and 132mm.
Once you select your design, the kits will be supplied directly to you that will include all the required raw materials for the cabin itself. There are still a few site as well as design specific things you will need – so read on!
Building the Foundation
Now it’s time to lay the foundation for your cabin. You need to take care with this step as the foundation will ensure the stability and robustness of your cabin. There are multiple foundation types to choose from such as timber piers, steel piers, concrete slab or a mixture of all of them. The choice of foundation is determined by the land where you are building, the soil type, and yes, you guessed it, the size and layout of your cabin as well as your personal preference!
Take ample time to research and settle on the right type of foundation. You should also take the seasonal effects into account and local topography when deciding on the foundation. If you are in a flood zone, or the ground is not level – you can elevate the cabin higher.
Most importantly, your foundation has to be level and square to ensure the cabin is assembled correctly and will withstand the test of time.
Put Up the Structure
You have already come a long way, and next, you need to start laying out the logs as per the plan of your cabin. Our kits all come with DIY instructions and each log will be labelled with the correct wall and number in the process. The general steps are below:
- Lay out the flat pack kits by their corresponding wall labels. This will ensure you do not need to look for any particular piece and can cross reference the packing list in case anything is missing.
- Starting with the pieces labelled A01, B01, C01 and so on you will lay down the first layer of the logs
- It is important to secure these to your foundation as well as ensure they are all square as per the design of the cabin.
- The process is repeated for the next layer and continues going round and round with each corner interlocking into each other.
- About halfway up, you will need to install windows and doors as per your specific kit instructions.
- Followed by roof purlins and the timber roof boards
- Inside, you can choose to lay down insulation and other materials before installing the flooring that is provided in all of our kits!
Roof It Up
Finally, it is time to install the metal roof. Our kits have the optional roof that can be included, however we have found that for most customers a local roofing supply works out to be easier and in most cases cheaper. The next step is to select the type of insulation and Colorbond or similar roof you are going for. The roof structure will depend on the insulation that you choose, we can assist you with some advice but ultimately, it is based on your location, weather as well as local requirements.
Your cabin is up and standing now. But the work is not done yet. After construction is complete, you will need to take steps for protecting it from the elements; humidity and UV rays can quickly degrade your cabin. Here you need to follow three steps to protect your creation:
- First, you need to clean the logs to remove any dirt and moisture they have accumulated during the construction process.
- After your logs are dry and have weathered you can seal them with a sealant and a stain to preserve their natural colour or paint with your own choice of colour. This will protect your cabin from the the elements.
- Finally, seal any openings in the logs with an appropriate sealant to prevent the outside from getting in.
Building one of our log cabin kits by hand usually requires anything between 3 days to a few weeks to complete. We usually build a 20 to 28m2 cabin within 3 to 5 days! If you are in a hurry, you can choose from any of our flat packs we have in stock, which come with all the raw required materials that you need to build your log cabin in a fraction of the time. Foundation and roof materials can be added to the kits or you can get them from your local hardware store.