If you’re looking for a small cabin that offers adequate storage or makes room for some simple lodging, a 20 by 20 foot cabin is ideal. But how many logs do you need to build a 20×20 cabin?
You’re looking at between 70 and 85 logs for a 20×20 cabin. That number shifts based on what size logs you choose to use. You will also have to consider what type of wood you use and the type of log cabin you’re hoping to construct. Furthermore, the height of your cabin will play into the final log count.
While it’s fairly easy to find pre-made kits to build your own log cabin, if you’re hoping to build a cabin to your specifications from scratch, there are some key items to keep in mind before you start shopping for logs.
Calculating How Many Logs You Need to Build a 20×20 Cabin
You want to select logs that have a substantial girth to them. The thickness of the logs can help to naturally insulate the property, meaning that you can remain nice and warm inside the cabin. Logs should be between 8 to 12 inches in diameter. With this range, you get that strength and hardwearing you want while still being able to handle the actual logs without heavy equipment.
The best logs for log cabins will be straight and cylindrical. Another option is straight logs that are cut “D-style” which involves one side of the log being round and the opposite side being straight. A D-log should be between 8 and 10 inches thick to guarantee good insulation and structural integrity.
In terms of length, logs should ideally measure between 8 to 16 feet long. This gives you a lot of wiggle room to design your log cabin to your liking, and this also means that the total number of logs you need for a cabin this size could ultimately vary. You also need to have enough logs to build a roof, though they will be measured differently.
If you’re able to source logs on the longer side, building will be a little bit easier, but how you plan to build your cabin will also determine which length is best. This all said, you’ll end up needing between 70 to 85 logs when following these recommendations with a log cabin that hits between 8 and 9 feet in height.
What Kind of Wood to Use for Log Cabins
Wood choice is paramount in constructing a log cabin that is going to last for many years through the elements of the environment you live in. Your best choice in wood would be cedar, pine, spruce, or fir. The great news is that each of these types of wood are fairly easy to source.
Even though a different type of wood might be beautiful, it may not be the most durable choice for a structure that needs to stay intact. Fortunately, the trees listed above produce some very gorgeous wood that can be found with distinct and unique patterns and colors. You also have the option to stain your wood to your liking.
Chopping Your Own Trees Versus Purchasing Logs
A particularly handy and resourceful person could get a thrill out of chopping down trees to procure all the lumber necessary for a log cabin. This may not be feasible for everyone. You also have to be cognizant of how trees are growing before choosing them to procure logs. Logs need to be as straight as possible to make construction a much more seamless process.
Of course, whether you chop trees, buy lumber to cut yourself, or purchase logs that have already been formed is all going to depend on what’s available to you locally. Furthermore, you’ll have to abide by any building codes that exist in the locality of the log cabin, whether it’s being built on your residential property or elsewhere.
The best places to look for logs to purchase include sawmills or even companies that can be hired to construct a log cabin. Interestingly enough, you can source logs online if you don’t live near a sawmill.
How To Assemble a Log Cabin
You have to go into building a log cabin with a very specific plan in place. Be sure you’re able to source as many logs as you think you’ll need for your cabin. If you can get some extra logs, you should. You should determine whether to draft up plans yourself, or find a tutorial that results in your dream cabin.
You should also decide how you’re going to join your logs. There are different ways you can join logs, such as a full-scribe to fit logs together, or dovetails corners. Regardless of the joining method chosen, each method is easier with a certain length of log. As such, you should choose a method before sourcing wood.
There are very specific protocols to raising a log cabin that differ from other structures. When you start construction, you want to pick your very best logs to start with. Be sure you put aside a few of these really amazing logs for your roof as well. This ensures you start off with the best basic structure to then construct your cabin around.
How To Build a Log Cabin Roof
The roof of your log cabin needs to be constructed carefully, to ensure everything remains protected from the elements. You don’t have to use wood, but it definitely adds to the rustic beauty of the log cabin.
The best way to approach building a log cabin roof is to construct a triangular build. As you could expect, you’ll have to cut some logs to varying lengths to construct this shape. Once the log roof is built, you can leave it as is or add some shingles for extra security.
How To Protect The Log Cabin Interior and Exterior
In order to ensure that the log cabin remains properly insulated, you should perform a double glazing on the logs. Use an oil-based stain, as well as a flexible sealant to ensure that each joint is completely secure. You should also reseal your cabin every few years to ensure it retains its insulation and structural integrity.
Tips For Building A Successful Log Cabin
When sourcing logs, you want to take appropriate time to inspect each log very well. One of the things you’re looking for is moisture or lack thereof. Logs that are too moist or too dry run the risk of deteriorating quicker than one that’s in good range. That moisture content range should fall between 20 and 25 per cent.
Another key to a good cabin is one that’s constructed with logs that are from the same type of tree. They also need to measure to the same specifications chosen. Logs that have very little to no cracks or knots are ideal as well.
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