Log cabins have become a popular and cheap alternative for those looking to rent an office, build a brick house or who want a second home, Whilst there are a number of companies offering these cabins, for the uninitiated it can be difficult to know what represents the best value for money, and what factors you need to consider before buying your log cabin.
Here are 10 tips to help you.
1. Planning Permission
Planning permission should be your first consideration, as you cannot just arrange for a log cabin to be erected on a piece of land you may own or lease. You will need to get permission from your local or municipal authority, who will need to know what size your cabin is going to be, what purpose it will have, and where it will be located. You will need to have detailed plans of the cabin which you can take to your local council, and also you need to have consideration for your neighbours. If your proposed cabin blocks their view or, in any way, damages their enjoyment of their own property, it is unlikely that the council will grant you planning permission.
2. Credibility of the Cabin seller
Make sure you buy from a reputable seller and do not just go for the cheapest option on the market. Read their website reviews, and consider contacting the company itself and asking to view cabins of existing customers. Talking with owners of actual cabins themselves can provide unbiased feedback.
3. Do not be fooled by low prices
As with anything else in life, if something seems too good to be true, it probably is – so look out for deceptively low prices when it comes to cabins. Some companies seem a lot cheaper than others, but do not trust the price that you initially see! First of all, find out what is included in the price (delivery, VAT, etc.). Then look for similar design/size cabins and calculate the price per m2, as some companies only advertise slightly smaller cabins at seemingly much cheaper prices, but when you actually calculate the price per m2 it works out pretty much the same, or even more expensive.
Then you need to consider quality issues. A high quality product cannot be produced at a low cost – it takes time to manufacture decent doors, windows and timber, so if one company is offering their cabin at a much lower cost than its competitors, they are likely taking a shortcut somewhere when it comes to quality.
4. The visual appearance
As important as quality is, you also need to make sure that the cabin is aesthetically pleasing and somewhere you want to stay or spend time. The design, the finish and the whole structure should be something that pleases you and is attractive to others.
5. Quality of the logs and timber
Make sure the supplier tells you about the timber types. Most vendors offer buildings made of a very basic timber, which is something to be avoided. Instead, try and choose a cabin made of slow growing conifer timber – like spruce and pine – because these woods have less knots and sap, and are much more resistant to rot and mould, which ultimately improves the longevity of the structure itself.
It is important to also know about the length of logs used in a particular cabin. If the walls are built using multiple short logs, they will most likely be joined by the finger-joint method, which should, if possible, be avoided. Instead go for a solid log structure because it provides better stability, insulation, moisture resistance and is longer-lasting.
6. Windows and doors
These are very important when it comes to the quality of the home. They should allow natural light to stream in and allow fresh air too. They also need to be of good quality, so visit your local showroom and check them out, making sure you verify their shape and function, and that they are durable and strong. Also, take in to account the security aspect, and make sure that it is not easy for intruders to break into your cabin through them.
7. Roof and floor construction
Ask about the roof joists and roof gables, which are very important components of a log cabin. If they are not well made your roof will sag and possibly collapse, so make sure that the quality of the roof is up to standard. Also, some cabins do not come equipped with floors, so double check with your supplier that one is provided with your cabin of choice.
If you live in an area that has very cold winter periods, then you will need some form of insulation. This should be fitted on the inner and outer cavity of the walls so as to give the desired effect. Proper insulation will reduce heating costs.
Make sure that any insulation materials used are non-inflammable.
Having chosen your log cabin and the various materials, installation needs to be considered. In theory, it does not take a qualified engineer to assemble a cabin, as someone with little to no carpentry or woodwork experience can erect one. However, if you are in the slightest doubt as to your ability in this respect, make sure the supplier will provide somebody who can erect it for you quickly and safely.
10. Customer service and after sales care
If the customer service team are friendly and willing to help, then that is a good guide to the quality of the company and how much they care about their customers. That is important too when it comes to assessing the after-care treatment as well – you do not want to buy your cabin from a company that will forget about you as soon as the sale is completed.