How to Insulate a Garden Log Cabin
Posted: October 29, 2021
Categories: Log Cabins
Log cabins are the garden buildings best suited to year-round use as a home office or garden room. This is because they are the best insulated.
Why Is Good Insulation So Important?
Good insulation is essential to retain heat and keep out the cold. However, its benefits don’t end there.
Insulation also helps reduce noise pollution, which is invaluable if you’re hard at work inside your log cabin garden office and need to maintain your concentration levels or talk to clients by telephone.
What’s more, a well-insulated garden cabin also makes a more secure one. Because the walls are thicker, they are stronger. And as the windows and doors are better sealed, they are harder to break into or prize open.
So, it’s fair to say that good log cabin insulation is of paramount importance. However, not all garden cabins have the same levels of insulation, so it’s important to know what to look for when buying a new log cabin or improving an old one.
5 Key Areas of Log Cabin Insulation
In this blog, we reveal the five key areas to examine when purchasing a new log cabin to ensure it has sound insulation. We also advise you how to improve insulation levels in an old one. Then, we’ll introduce you to an exciting new method of constructing log cabin garden offices, which is taking insulation to a whole new level.
1. Garden Cabin Wall Insulation
When buying a new log cabin, one of the most important choices facing you is the cladding thickness. Cladding is the material that makes up the outer structure of the garden building and, in most cases, refers to the walls. It is normally measured in millimetres.
We stock log cabins with 19mm, 28mm, 34mm, 44mm and 70mm cladding. Generally, the thicker the cladding, the better insulated the walls. For comfortable year-round usage, we advise choosing 44mm or above.
Improving Your Old Log Cabin’s Wall Insulation
You might have heard of people using bubble wrap to insulate their garden buildings. Don’t do it. Although bubble wrap has decent insulating qualities, it can cause fire to spread quickly through a wooden structure. It can also give off harmful vapours and trap moisture – neither of which makes for an inviting living or working environment.
We advise insulating your old log cabin’s walls using the following method:
Firstly, ensure that the walls are in sound condition. Fill any holes with sealant or foam, and replace badly-damaged panels. Then, apply a roll of breathable membrane, which is available from most DIY shops. Cut it to size, attach it to the wall panels and then cover it with a good-quality insulation slab. Finally, fix plywood over the top.
Please note that if the insulation is thick, you may need to build an inner frame to accommodate it.
2. Log Cabin Floor Insulation
The best wood for a log cabin floor is tongue and groove, which is more robust, durable and weatherproof than other types of wooden floor. In log cabins, its thickness will vary between about 12 and 28mm. All other things being equal, the thicker it is, the better insulated the floor.
This area is incredibly important because cold air rises through the log cabin’s floor.
DIY Log Cabin Floor Insulation
There are a variety of ways you can improve your log cabin’s floor insulation.
If buying a new one, purchase a floor insulation kit too. They are available from most builders’ merchants.
Firstly, cut the insulation boards to size. Then, add a frame to the floor bearers for the insulation boards to sit on. (Without the frame, they might absorb water through the log cabin’s base.) Afterwards, fit the insulation boards between the bearers. Finally, lay the log cabin’s floor boards on top.
When insulating an old log cabin’s floor, fill in any gaps with sealant, lay a breathable membrane on top of it, and cover this with laminated wood. (Bear in mind this will slightly reduce the internal height of the garden building.)
Alternately, you could replace the existing flooring with insulation boards, add a sheet of oriented strand board (OSB), and lay carpet on top. This is an attractive option if you are buying or already own a log cabin with cheaper flooring.
Remember not to lay carpet directly on top of an uninsulated log cabin floor because wood needs to breathe, moisture will become trapped, and your carpet will develop mould.
3. Log Cabin Roof Insulation
Log cabin roofs tend to be between 12 and 19mm thick. Like with walls and floors, the thicker they are, the better insulated.
While cold air rises through the floor, once it warms up it will leave via the roof, so roof insulation is also very important.
How to Further Insulate a Log Cabin’s Roof
If you have an old log cabin, once again, be sure to fill in any holes before you begin. Use sealant to plug smaller ones, spray foam if they are larger.
Mineral wool or glass-fibre wool are both good materials to use to insulate roofs. Firstly, layer the wool over the panels, ensuring that you cover the whole area. (If you want to be eco-friendly, sheep’s wool is a good option and works just as well.) Then cover the wool with MDF. Use longer clout nails to fix the MDF into place as they have larger heads, so will keep everything secure.
Alternately, put Kingspan in the rafters and cover it with shiplap cladding.
4. Insulating A Log Cabin’s Frame
A log cabin’s frame is a relatively easy area to insulate. It provides the perfect gap for foil-backed polystyrene, which is simple to cut to size.
5. Window and Door Insulation
Around 15% of a garden building’s heat is lost through its windows, so they are important areas to insulate.
If you are purchasing a log cabin with thicker walls (think 44mm and upwards), choose double glazing for the best insulation. However, if the walls are any thinner, it will probably not be worth the extra expense.
Improving Window Insulation in Older Log Cabins
Firstly, ensure there are no small gaps around the windows. If you find any, use wood filler or a beading of wood to rectify the problem.
As mentioned above, if your cabin has 44mm walls or thicker, and providing the window frames are thick enough, replacing the glass with double glazing is a sensible move.
Should you own a log cabin with thin Perspex windows and be a confident DIYer, you may wish to simply cut another layer of Perspex to size and add it to the existing one, saving yourself the expense of buying new windows.
With regards to the doors, always ensure they are hanging correctly so they remain properly sealed when closed.
Off-the-shelf draught excluders make a nice addition.
SIPs: Taking Garden Building Insulation to The Next Level
Structural Insulated Panels (SIPs) are a high-performance, energy-efficient building material used in some of the best new homes. They provide an environment that is damp-free, cool in summer and warm in winter. They can be used with the walls, floor and roof of a log cabin to create an energy efficient, fully-insulated structure, which you can enjoy the whole year round.
Forest Garden use SIPs on their Xtend range of garden offices. The wall SIPs sandwich insulation between two sheets of OSB for enhanced thickness. They come preassembled and cut to size for a straightforward assembly.
With pre-primed interior cladding and premium 15mm tongue and groove exterior cladding, this makes for an exceptional overall wall thickness of 177mm.
The floor and roof are constructed in a similar fashion, resulting in overall thicknesses of 108mm and 122mm respectively. This ensures that Forest Xtend Garden Offices are unbeatably well-insulated garden buildings.
A Final Consideration…
Most log cabins are supplied untreated. Therefore, you must coat them in a high-quality wood preservative upon assembly and annually, thereafter. Always opt for specialist log cabin treatment. This is of paramount importance because it keeps the wood free from rot and fungal decay, both of which will not only have a detrimental impact on your garden building’s insulation levels, but on its entire structural integrity.
Log Cabins for Sale
Buy Sheds Direct is one of the UK’s premier suppliers of log cabins. To find the best-insulated models on the market, choose from our superb range of garden log cabins for sale now.
Alternately, to speak to one of our log cabin experts, please click here.