When you say the words ‘log cabin’, people generally imagine something rustic, tucked away in the woods, probably off grid and no running water, or they think about Center Parcs or similar holiday destinations. And it’s true, there are plenty of log cabins around that meet those descriptions, and they’re quite lovely, but houses made of logs aren’t ALL about the rustic. Log homes can be just as sophisticated and modern as any other type of house construction.
Apart from the simple fact that log homes are gorgeous, there are lots of good reasons to choose a house made from timber over the traditional UK building method of brick and block.
First and foremost, there’s the fact that wooden buildings are environmentally friendly. Sustainably sourced timber is a natural carbon sink (it locks up carbon in the wood and prevents it being released into the atmosphere during the lifetime of the house, a process known as sequestration) and is genuinely a renewable resource. It also has a significantly lower embodied carbon footprint compared to many other construction materials, even allowing for the processing required to create glulam beams and laminated logs, which is generally what is used for log buildings. Studies indicate that the life cycle emissions of a laminated timber building (not accounting for the added value of carbon sequestration) can often be 30-50% lower than those of a traditional concrete block building.
A log home is naturally energy efficient as it has a low thermal heat transfer, so it’s cooler in summer and warmer in winter than a standard build, and will save you money on heating bills and so have a lower impact on the environment.
Then there’s the benefits to your personal health and wellbeing, both physical and mental. Studies suggest that being surrounded by wood inside a building – paneling, furniture, wooden walls – can reduce stress and promote improved sleep and feelings of relaxation. There is also some evidence that timber buildings can help alleviate the symptoms of conditions such as asthma, especially when a system such as Mechanical Ventilation Heat Recovery (MVHR) is installed, due to the lower incidence of dust and chemical fumes compared to a brick and block, plaster-walled home.
Wooden homes also better regulate humidity in the home, absorbing excess water in damp conditions and releasing it again when the air becomes dry, reducing the likelihood of mould formation – again, an MVHR system is likely to improve this effect even further.
Finally don’t forget the speed of construction of a log home compared to a standard brick and block construction. A conventional build takes many months, with multiple contractors working on it, and is highly subject to the vagaries of the British weather. A log home can be built and weathertight within as little as 6-8 weeks, at which point the rest of the trades can get to work unhampered by rain, hail, snow or wind.
All in all, with so many advantages, coupled with house designs that really are a cut above the average, how could you NOT fall in love with the idea of living in a log house?