How to Make Your Outdoor Cabin More Weather Resistant

As residents throughout the Rocky Mountain region continue to explore barndominium cost vs house prices to help find an affordable place to live, the concept of log and natural wood exteriors has received increased attention. This log cabin aspect works extremely well with the “barndo” concept, providing attractive aesthetics that vinyl and other types of contemporary siding cannot. But while the log cabin look fits the bill in the Rocky Mountain surroundings, the large accumulation of snowfall and cold temperatures will put the structure to the test. With this in mind, keep reading for 6 ideas for how to make a cabin more weather resistant.

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Caulking, Chinking, and Weather Stripping

Even the most well-constructed cabins are bound to have some small cracks and crevices in the building envelope. This is particularly problematic for log cabins because such cracks are the perfect byway for moisture, which will ultimately contribute to rot.

To secure cracks in a log cabin, it is important to regularly apply caulking, chinking, and weather stripping.

Caulking is a type of sealant contained in a tube that is used to fill cracks in a construction material. It is particularly effective for filling gaps in transitional aspects of the home, such as window to wall transitions.

There are many different types of caulk, such as silicone, acrylic, polyurethane, or water-based latex. Each of these will have more beneficial properties for different purposes, making some types of caulk better for interior applications and some better for exterior applications. For example, as water-based latex caulking shrinks as its water evaporates, it does not do as well in direct sunlight exposure, making it better as an interior sealant.

For exterior purposes, a special type of sealant known as chinking will perform best. Designed with superior elasticity to accommodate shrinking and swelling, the best chinking agents can handle joint movement of up to four inches, keeping the log cabin’s exterior air and moisture resistant in the face of varying weather conditions. It can also be fabricated in numerous colors and with treatment compatibility to ensure that the aesthetics of log-to-log transitions are not compromised.

Weather stripping is another means of reducing air leaks in a log cabin, although not quite on the scale of caulking and chinking. Weather stripping is usually some type of tape or adhesive placed around window or door frames to improve airtightness. This may include adhesive-backed tape, tubular gaskets, door sweeps, or v-strips.

Treat the Timber

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Despite its beauty, wood does require a higher degree of maintenance than many other types of building materials. As such, it is important to treat a log cabin within the first seven days after construction is completed.

There are two overarching categories of log treatments, both of which are essential for establishing weather resistance.

A penetrating finish is predominantly oil or wax based. As its name implies, it will soak into the wood to help protect against moisture infiltration and UV damage. Penetrating finishes are typically very thin to allow for absorption by the wood’s pores.

The other type of log treatment is a film finish. This is more of a surface layer type of treatment used to repel moisture. Usually formulated from resins or polymers, the compounds will bond together during the drying process to create a “film” that does not allow air or moisture to pass. The more coats of a film finish that are applied, the thicker the film will be. 

Create Large Roof Overhangs

Most log cabins in the Rocky Mountain region are built in areas that receive significant snowfall. As a result, snow melt is a major threat to undermine a log cabin’s foundation. To help prevent damage, build the log cabin with ample roof overhangs and a sufficient gutter system. This ensures that any precipitation is directed well away from the base of the cabin so as not to compromise the cabin’s structural integrity when it reaches the ground.

Install a Metal Roof

Speaking of roofs, metal is the best option when building a log cabin for weather resistance. It pairs extremely well with log siding or faux wood siding and is among the most durable roofing types on the market. Whereas snow accumulation often gets absorbed by asphalt and wood roofs, metal roofs provide a completely impervious roof for the cabin that facilitates snow sliding off instead of accumulating.  

Radiant Floor Heating

There are few log cabin floor plans that will work well with carpet. Carpet simply does not work for cabins that are likely to see a fair amount of mud and moisture tracked inside. 

Therefore, hard flooring options such as polished concrete or engineered hardwood are the best choice for log cabins. While they are much more durable and better able to withstand the elements than carpet, they can get a bit cold. As such, it is a good idea to install a radiant floor heating system to the subfloor before installing these hard flooring options. Using an innovative system of insulative electric mats, radiant floor heating slowly releases heat up through the floor throughout the day, creating a stovelike warming experience that will keep the cabin’s floors warm even during the coldest months of the year.

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Although wood is typically a “breathable” building solution, it is important to go even further for securing the ventilation of a log cabin to help prevent mold formation. Installing double-pane windows is a great idea for enhancing air circulation in the summer, but they will not solve the problem when the cabin is closed for months on end. Therefore, the best step to take is to install a minimum of two air vents toward the top of opposite walls in the various rooms of the cabin to keep air moving and moisture from accumulating. Just make sure the vents are mesh-backed to keep insects out.

6 Ideas for Making Your Outdoor Cabin More Weather Resistant

Despite its aesthetic advantages, the log cabin barndo design will be put to the test in the chilly climes of the Rocky Mountain region. To help in this regard, consider any of the 6 pro tips listed above for making your outdoor cabin as weather resistant as possible this winter!

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