If you’re running out of space in the house but don’t want the hassle and expense of building an extension, a log cabin might be a relatively quick and effortless solution.
What’s the difference between a log cabin and a summerhouse?
Their walls are built up with interlocking precision-cut logs that slot together so tightly that no fixings are required. Floors and roofs are usually constructed from close-fitting tongue and groove wood, leading to strong and watertight structures suitable for a whole assortment of uses.
The logs are usually made from kiln dried wood. This process extracts moisture from the wood to a precise level, which reduces warping and minimises the possibility of splitting.
What are the main points to look for in a log cabin?
Not all log cabins are the same. Wall density can range from around 28mm up to more than 50mm, and floors are usually between 19mm and 28mm thick. Some cabins are double-glazed, which makes them usable in all weathers, whereas others might only have single glazing, so check before you purchase.
In terms of roofs, most are around 19mm thick and available with a choice of covering. Felt shingles are widely believed to be the most appealing, but you can also obtain corrugated bitumen panels and felt sheeting.
Think about the shape of the building also. Log cabins with pitched roofs tend to be taller than those with flat or sloping roofs, which may sometimes limit where you are able to put them on your garden.
If you are considering erecting a small detached building such as a log cabin, shed or sun room in your backyard, you will not normally need planning permission.
- You’re not allowed to place a building beyond the front wall of your house – in other words, in front yard.
- No more than 50 percent of the land around the original dwelling could be consumed with outbuildings or extensions – so if you have a small back garden, measure carefully to be certain there is enough space left over for a cottage before you commit yourself.
- Height is a significant factor. If the cabin is less than 2.5m tall at its highest point, you can put it within 2m of your boundary – otherwise, you’ll need to position it further away.
Do log cabins have to follow building regulations?
Building regulations are safety rules which govern how well a structure is built. They won’t apply if your log cabin is less than 15 square metres in size and contains no sleeping accommodation. Even if the cabin is between 15 and 30 square metres, it will usually just have to meet building regulations if it is located less than 1m from your border.
However, if you’re hoping to use the cabin as a granny annexe, guest room or vacation let, then it has to comply with building regulations because it is going to include sleeping accommodation. This applies to any size of cabin and is down to security reasons.
Where is the best place for a log cabin?
Place the cottage on a level part of the garden. Leave a fantastic gap throughout the building so that you may reach the walls to employ treatments or execute repairs, and remember to allow for roof overhang when measuring the space available.
Don’t place the cabin in which it will block out your neighbours’ light, and be conscious of planning rules – if the building is more than 2.5m tall, you should not put it within two metres of the border.
Consider the direction of the sun, as you might not want sunlight beaming straight in if you’re going to use the cabin as an office. Consider convenience too. If you’re planning to install electricity in the building, placing it near the house will make it easier to connect a power source.
What foundation do you need to get a log cabin?
If the base is not strong enough, or is even slightly irregular, the walls will eventually warp.
For adequate support, it is ideal to put the cottage on a 150mm thick concrete base. A paving slab base ought to be sufficient for smaller cabins of less than 30m², as long as it’s completely level. Try to create the base precisely the same dimensions as the cabin for a neat look.