Buildings built from timber, like wooden log cabins can potentially last for many centuries. In Northern Europe or Japan, where building with timber is more common, there are many wooden buildings with ages of more than 1000 years.
Can your wooden log cabin last that long, too? The answer is: Why not? Dry timber is almost unaffected by the years. Or to say it the other way round: Wood needs moisture to rot. So the sensible thing to do to protect your wooden log cabin against decay is: Keep it dry!
In order to do this we must acknowledge that there are basically three sources of water which could become detrimental for your wooden log cabin. One is of course water from above like rain, hail or snow, one is moisture creeping up from the ground and the third one is moisture in the air or even fog.
The good news is: The third source will usually not affect wooden buildings. Wood can take up a certain amount of moisture from the air and give it away again just as easy as soon as the weather gets dryer again. Fog as well as drizzle rain will mostly affect the lower parts of the walls.
If your aim is to make your wooden log cabin durable, even more durable than most houses built from concrete and stones, then you need to focus on the first two sources of moisture: water from above and protection to the ground.
The best thing you can do to protect your wooden log cabin from rain, drizzle and fog are large roof overhangs. Here we arrive at the question, how you will you build your log cabin? Building one completely on your own is not as easy as it may seem. Chinking wooden logs is not in every DIYer’s set of skills and the construction needs a great deal of knowledge in order to avoid cracks or warping.
The other alternative would be to order a milled log cabin from a retailer specialized on the production of wooden garden buildings. These products are well fabricated, with the immense know-how from decades of experience and with strict quality controls. Depending on the wall thickness, the logs come with tongue-in-groove or even double tongue-in-groove connections and easy to follow manuals, so that the assembly is easy to do and all parts fit together well and tight which, of course, will also be beneficial when it comes to protection against the weather.
And weather in the United Kingdom, as you know, can be a lot to handle. So if you own a wooden log cabin already or if you plan to build one: Large roof overhangs can also be installed after the initial assembly.
This will protect large sections of the upper walls. However the lower parts still get their share of rain so they need to be protected by waterproofing. There are many options to do this. We recommend to choose one, which will still allow the wood to breathe.
The single most effective measure you can take to protect your wooden log cabin against moisture from the ground is to erect a solid concrete foundation which cannot be penetrated by water. Make it higher than the ground around your log cabin and see to it, that it has an outward inclination so that water will always flow away from the building. While the building will rest on a raised foundation, you may still want to protect the foundation against rain from the side and also make a drainage around it, to get rid of excess water during heavy rains.
The inside walls can be left unprotected where there is no moisture to be expected. Another thing is with showers or toilets, where the wood of course needs to be treated with water-protective lacquer.
So you can use your wooden log cabin for decades and even inherit it to your children and grand-children if you just regularly check the whole building for wet spots and keep the protection against moisture up to date.