Building a log cabin for sustainable living

Log cabins (also called Swedish houses) are built in the block construction, in which the walls consist of superimposed, raw or processed tree trunks. This construction technique is an excellent alternative to stone-on-stone construction. The block construction is one of the oldest, most traditional construction methods and is currently undergoing a renaissance because houses in block construction are built quickly and have their very own character.

That’s why log cabins are so popular again.

The most significant advantage of log houses is their fast construction. The log cabin also offers an excellent living climate, because wood with its filter properties absorbs various poisons and even unpleasant odors from the air.

Also, the risk of Staubaufwirbelung or mold is very low, which significantly improves comfort, especially for allergy sufferers. Wood as a natural building material has excellent insulation properties and enables energy-efficient living.

Construction of log cabins

Sweden houses are made of round or planed wooden beams, which are stacked on top of each other. The protruding beams are clamped together at the corners – this is called a dovetail joint. The traditional roofing of the log cabins are clay tiles, but other materials are also conceivable.

Good to know: The natural reduction process of a wooden house lasts up to 5 years. Usually, the beam portion drops by about 3-4% per meter, which you should consider when planning windows and doors.

Find suitable wood species.

When selecting the wood for your log home, you should consider the weather resistance, the wood color, the darkening, the grain, the origin of the forest and the investment costs.

In the construction of log cabins, coniferous wood and especially pine wood are the most commonly used, with spruce, fir, Douglas fir or larch being also suitable for log cabin construction.

Carefully plan interior fittings.

Contrary to appearances, houses made of tree trunks do not necessarily have to show wooden elements indoors. You can hide the chests under plasterboard and instead of a rustic decor conjure a modern look with wallpaper or colored walls.

On the other hand, you have no 100% freedom in interior design. The most important limitation imposed by log cabin construction technology relates to the interior work on the walls of the building. This is because the house works intensively for the first two years and consequently oscillates. When designing the interior, you must, therefore, ensure a safe distance between the ceiling, walls, and furniture. The same applies to the staircase construction, which generally should not be firmly fixed in the ground.

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Tip: In a log cabin designer furniture pieces are great eye candy. Only act by the motto “less is more.”

Electrical installations in the wooden house

Maybe you are worried about a short circuit and consequently a fire? But you do not have to: The power lines are laid in ribbed tubes, which are hidden between the bars. This measure additionally protects the wooden surface from mechanical damage.

Good to know: The 14 cm thick beams are considered incombustible and can be additionally painted over with fire retardant impregnation agent. There are all types of painting techniques that are applicable in this scenario. I learned most of them from my brother, Mike, who owns a commercial painting company that you can find at https://www.completestructurepainting.com. You can find all sorts of useful tips and tricks, or just give him a call and tell him Marion sent you. He’ll be glad to help out.

Log houses are usually more expensive than stable homes.

Although the construction of a log cabin is relatively fast – usually faster than a massive house – unfortunately this does not reduce the construction costs. They typically pay more for a timber house than for a large home with the same floor space, mainly because of the expense of an experienced construction company that specializes in building technology.

And also the material suggests: Timber imported from abroad is usually more durable than native wood species, but even more expensive.

When building your wooden house, be aware of the use of FSC wood: The seal stands for “Forest Stewardship Council®” and confirms that the wood comes from responsibly managed forests. This is how you contribute to sustainable house building and do something good for the environment!

We provide tips and techniques for all kinds of projects for homeowners as well as commercial business enterprises. Stay tuned for our next article.

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