Log cabins are more than just an aesthetic choice. You are making an investment in real estate that can not be understated. It is committing to a beautiful home with a high value, but that requires a bit of maintenance beyond what you would expect from a non-wooden home. Especially as the seasons change.
If you have a cabin, or you are planning on buying or building one, you should be prepared. Winter is over, and the warm weather means it is time to start thinking about preparing for Spring. Here are some things you need to know.
Winter May Have Done Some Damage
First of all, one of the biggest threats to wooden homes in general tends to be weather. Wet and cold can do a real number to the sealants and protections that are placed on the wood itself. The moment the snow melts you will want to take some time to go through the outside and inside perimeters of the house, searching for any cracks, chips, or wear on the surfaces.
One of the best things you can do is take a hose and spray the outside of your house. If your wood is properly stained the water will bead completely and run off without wetting the logs. If it is absorbed it means the previous stain has been eradicated by the winter weather. It is time to add a new one, before further damage can be done.
This can seem very expensive, at first glance. For a cheaper stain on a smaller cabin you are looking at anywhere from $ 500 to $ 700. For a larger cabin, or a better quality stain, you are closer to $ 1000 – $ 1300.
Keep in mind that this only necessary about every three to five years, and it protects your home from more expensive damage later on.
Leaks Are Easier To See
There are two different kinds of leaks that you have to protect yourself from. First is the leaks in the sealant itself. Similar to staining, a sealant leak can cause water to slip through the spaces between the logs. The second type is the air leaks around windows and doors.
You probably found these leaks during the winter, as you felt wet spots or cold spots inside the house. But finding the source was impossible thanks to the snow on the side of the walls. Now you should be able to see more clearly.
For leaks in the sealant, look for dark patches or cracks in the wood. This indicates waterproofing needs to be redone. If left unchecked, the log can rot and leave you with a major repair cost as you irreplaceably replace the wood
As for leaks around windows and doors, these are more common. They are also very easy to fix, as they just require a recaulking around the edges. If there are still problems, you may consider replacing doors or windows with thicker alternatives that fit more neatly into the frames. Often the need for this relocation will be dependent on the location of your cabin, and common weather problems in the area.
Plant Life Can Offer Some Challenges
Plants? What could they possibly do to your cabin? Actually, quite a lot. One of the most unexpected problems people with wooden houses are faced with is creeping of plant life near their home. Trees will grow thick roots toward the cabin, plants will pop up, and sometimes you will even find plants growing inside of the logs themselves, the vines pushing them apart and creating large gaps in the wood.
If you keep an eye on plants every Spring, you will be able to see any that are getting too close. From there you can can prune them, cut them down, or eliminate them in the case of weeds. This is also important if you have a garden, as so many log cabin owners do. Outside plants can entirely ruin the ecosystem of your garden, and poison the soil for certain plants.
Temperature Changes Lead To Wood Expansion and Shrinkage
This is another huge threat to your cabin you may not have considered. Wood is highly absorbent, which is why stains and sealants are so very critical to the health of your home. When logs get wet they will expand, weakening the wood in the process. When the weather warms up and they dry, they will shrink.
Repeated expansion and shrinkage will break down the strength of the logs and cause them to crack, chip, and even bend. Gaps will appear between each of the slabs. If you have bought a used cabin you may have noticed warps in the walls caused by this phenomenon. You will want to restain and replace any rotted wood as soon as possible.
Gotta Protect From Those Pests
Spring is a big time for pests, just as with the beginning of any major shift in season. Wood rot can invite pests into the logs themselves, such as termites or other insects. Mice, spiders, and even larger rodents can burrow into your home, slipping in through gaps in the outer walls.
You should have an inspection the moment you see any pests, even if it is just one. Because if there is one, there are likely hundreds, even thousands. The longer they are allowed to stay there, the harder the infestation will be to take care of.
Take Care Of Your Cabin Before The Problems Start!
Because wood is a different kind of material than what most cheaper homes are made of, it needs greater care. But the reward is far more than you would find with the average McMansion. If you watch for signs of wear, properly maintain the outside, and really love your cabin, it will remain strong for generations.
Spring is a great time to get started, as the lack of snow gives you a chance to more closely inspect the outer perimeter. Make sure you are ready, and by Summer you will not have to worry!