Log cabin: origin, styles, architecture and inspiration.
What is a log
cabin and where does it originate from?
A dwelling made from
logs. That's the simplest definition of a log cabin. Although the origins of log cabin
structures are uncertain, their history date back to the Bronze Age
in Europe and Scandinavia, where pine and spruce trees were readily
available. Medieval log cabins were considered moveable property, and
buildings were disassembled, transported to a new location and
reassembled. In North America, the history of log cabins dates back
to 1638, where the first log cabins were built by European settlers
in the Delaware River and Brandywine River valleys of New Sweden.
Settlers often used log cabins as temporary houses while building
permanent homes, and when they were done, used the log cabins as
outbuildings, barns or chicken coops. Traditional log cabins were
simple one-story structures made with round logs laid horizontally on
each other, and their gaps filled with chips and mud. Their roofs
were made from either a purlin or rafter roof structure depending on
the material used for the roof, such as bark. Log cabins are similar
to wooden houses, but then soon after the settlers built the first
log cabins in America, log construction spread all over the United
States. Soon thereafter, log cabin styles increased in variety and
today, the construction of modern log cabins are prevalent all over
America. Log cabins also gave birth to log and wooden houses,
and the oldest surviving log house,
the C. A. Nothnagle Log House, is situated in New Jersey.
What are the
different types of log cabin construction?
As times changed, so
did the construction of log cabins. Because of the growing number of
wood styles, each log cabin is unique, and its sophistication depends
on how modern or traditional you want yours to be. To achieve the log
cabin style you desire, you can choose either one or a combination of
log designs styles to suit your needs. Here's a list of them.
The Square or
rectangular log cabin design style is when the logs used for the
cabin are cut with four square corners. These logs can be uniform in
width and height or rectangular.
The Round log style
gives log cabins a smooth finish. Round logs are cut in circles and
have no angles or corners, and often use thru-bolts for support.
The Swedish Cope log
design is when logs are cut circular, with a crescent removed from
the bottom of the log, so that each log can stack on one another.
The next style is
the D-Log, where logs are cut with one round side and one flat side
for consumers who desire one side of a log wall to have a flat
surface while the other retains a rounded edge.
There's also the
Handcrafted log style where the timbers are debarked by hand and each
log retains its natural shape. Handcrafted log cabins are built so
each log is in a precise location in the cabin, allowing for maximum
stability while retaining a rustic look.
Next, we have the
Interlocking Corners construction style. This is when wood is cut
from the four sides of a log, recessing an area to lock into the
intersecting log and hold both logs rigidly in place in all
There's also the
Dove Tail design, which is when a log’s end is cut to produce a
fan-shaped wedge. As the logs are stacked, the ends of one wall’s
logs lock into the perpendicular logs.
Next in line is the
Butt & Pass log design, which is when one log stops where it
meets a perpendicular log, which extends past the corner of the home.
Last but not least
is the Corner Post design style, which is when a vertical post at
each corner has a mortis.
looking for a log cabin as a home, outbuilding or for leisure,
knowing what styles are out there is important. That way, you get to
make a more informed decision. Get the help of a professional architect who has worked on log cabins, and for thousands of images to inspire
your choice, homify is what you need.
What are the pros
and cons of a log cabin?
There's no denying
that log cabins are charming, and whether you want to build or buy
one, you need to know the pros and cons of owning one. We'll start
with the positive news first.
If you're all about
the looks,log cabins are as charming as they come, with different
styles that will set yours apart from the rest. Wood is an insulator,
which makes log cabins well insulated. Logs are less expensive than
most building materials. Log cabins are simple structures, and you
can buy a preformed one to assemble, making it DIY friendly. Log
walls are natural sound insulators. The inside walls can be finished
with wallboard to enable surfaces to be be papered or painted. Log
cabins are the greener way to go when it comes to building materials.
And for the not so
carpenter ants, woodpeckers, feed and make their homes in wood,
which means your log cabin, depending on your location, would be
prone to these.
When wood is new, it
cracks and pops a lot, which could be irritating. Log cabins are also
complicated to wire with electricity. Wood tends to shrink, so
regular caulking is necessary. Log cabins have to be stained and
sealed every 3-5 years, which is expensive.
As with every big
decision, research is key, so before making a decision, do as much
research as possible.