Making your cabin

Its a lot easier than you might think to make your cabin yourself. It can even be a lot of fun, particularly with a few people working together. All of our products are simple enough to erect, but maybe take a look through this page to get some idea of what is involved.

Be aware that the cabin does not come with individual instructions. It comes with a cutting list, and plans showing you where each log goes, and has full measurements shown. So this page is the closest thing to instructions, so do make yourself familiar with them.

You can also download this page as a PDF to print off and keep.

DOWNLOAD PDF

Be sure to keep your wood dry and well ventilated when it arrives, and make sure you treat the wood immediately after you had constructed it. (see below about timber care)

If you are making a KI CABIN with a rounded roof, please CLICK HERE

You may find it useful to take a look at a short gallery of a cabin that was put up recently:

Click Here

The base

The base is the most important part to get right. It needs to be dry, firm, and above all, level.

Its a good idea to get the base made well before your cabin arrives as it can take a while to prepare.

The simplest method is to create a concrete base. This needs to be the same size as the footprint of the cabin, and not too much larger, or else water can sit on the surface of the concrete and work its way under the cabin. So its best to make it similar in size to the cabin.

The base needs not only to be level, but very flat to ensure the bearers sit flush with the base. This ensures there will be a good seal to stop any water ingress.

The cabin sizes quoted are the length of each log, but as they intersect by aroud 10 cm, the actual footprint is smaller. So around 20cm smaller than the quoted size.

All of our products come with pressure treated bearers that can be lain directly onto the concrete or wooden base.

Take a look at the example below for instance. This base is made by digging into the ground and placing pressure treated wooden uprights into the ground. This is then levelled off, and the uprights being used to create a wooden base. You can see that the base is complete, and the first set of pressure treated bearers have been lain down already.

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Building the Cabin

Inspect the pieces

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.

If you notice missing or damaged parts, please tell us at this point.
Important: never put components on dirty surfaces, or grass as it will be very difficult to clean them afterwards.

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Lay out the green tanalised floor bearers for the cabin to sit on

The foundation frame is treated against rot. The log cabin packs contains green tanalised bearers which will sit on the DPC, and the log cabin will sit on these bearers.

These are two sizes of bearers. The 70mm x 70mm bearers go under the walls of the cabin, and the 70mm x 45mm go under the floor of the cabin (these floor bearers go in after the cabin is up)

Lay the bearers out the bearers for the outer wall as show below, and fix the lap joints with woodscrews. Check the diagonals, they must be identical!

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).

The bearers lock together in each corner as shown.

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

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.

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Start building the 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. 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.

The walls site towards the outer edge of the floor bearers, allowing the flooring to rest along the beares later.

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 shown.

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.

Remember – keep making sure the cabin walls are square. If they are not,
you will have problems getting your roofing to be straight and fitting your floor etc. Take the time to get this part right.
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Keep adding more timbers, ensuring they lock together.

Please note: If you have walls that are longer than 6m, then you will have logs that need to be joined with a locking log. This fits at right angles to the outer wall, and is normally an internal wall, or if not, it will come into the room by about 50cm. (see the first picture below)

Where the two ends of the wall log meet, you will need to cut lengths of around 10cm of batton (supplied in lengths) to fit into the ends, holding them in place. If you are unsure, please ask us before your cabin arrives and we can talk you through it.

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Fitting the windows and doors

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

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.

Fit the door into position by slotting into place, as shown in the image below. The doors and windows slot into the walls and the door trims/facias are added once the cabin is constructed.

The doors can be very heavy.

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

Screw the window strip to the outside of the window frame as shown.

Finish the wall by adding the remaining timbers.

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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.

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 Secure the last wall timber with a long screw.

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

Add the second roof beam.

Add the remaining gable fixings as shown below.

Then secure the gable fixing into the timbers.

Add the remaining gable end timbers to complete the wall.

Secure the roof beams by screwing as shown.

Add the gable fixing detail for the other side.

Then secure the fixing by screwing as shown.

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Add the storm braces to the inside walls

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

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.

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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 is not realy safe enough to walk on.

If you are fitting a KI Cabin with a rounded roof please CLICK HERE

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

Below you can see the completed roof from the gable end

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Fix fascia boards all around

Screw the fascia boards on to the log cabin end. Also add any trim.

Fit the roof covering

You can use lightweight roofing such as bitumen tiles, Onduline and felt etc. You could also add roof battens and add lightweight tiles from Lightweight Tiles as shown here. Take a look here for some additional products you could use.

lightweight roof

Fit the floorboards

Now we add the floorboards. Its a good idea to this last, as you don’t want to damage the floorboards as your making the cabin.

Add the joists (the floor bearers as shown on your plan)

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, therefore leaving expansion gaps between floorboards and between floor and walls is a must.

In the image you can see the floorboards resting on the floor joists, and insulation has been added for extra warmth.

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

IMPORTANT: Windows and doors must be painted inside and outside with water based paint. It is best if a bead of silicone is run around the outside beading where it touches the wall.

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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.

Timber Care

We have a page all about timber care HERE

There are two things you need to do with your cabin. You MUST use a preservative first, and then use a stain or wood colour.

We would recommend using either Sadolin or Sikkens, as they are high quality, and have a wide selection to chose from.

Generally speaking, the more you pay, the better the product, but do shop around.

Whatever you use, make sure:

1. It is a preservative, and not just a paint
2. It must have at least a small amount of pigment to provide sun protection.
3. It must be a waterproofer (many preservatives do not contain any waterproofing)

Whatever you do, don’t just use regular paint on your cabin. It will not allow the wood to breathe, and it doesn’t stretch, so it will soon ruin your wood.

It is just a log cabin though, so any good quality wood treatment will ensure a longer life.

As the wood is in individual pieces, you can take the opportunity to paint inside and out, and also get into the grooved areas, where you will be unable to paint later on.

Please ensure you treat your cabin within a week of it being put up.

Insulation

You can insulate the floor, roof and walls, depending on the kind of cabin you have. All cabins can have insulation fitted between the floor bearers, and also in the roof. If you wish to have another layer of tongue and groove for the interior of the cabin roof (double roof), to clad over your insulation, please let us know. Double walled cabins have a 55mm gap between each wall to allow solid insulation like 50mm Kingspan to be slotted into the cavity as it is being built, and automatically come with a double roof anyway.

As always, if you have any questions, please get in touch.

There is a wealth of information on the internet about this subject, and you can always ask a qualified joiner, or builder for their advice.

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