How to Determine the Longevity of a Log Cabin

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Many home designers love log cabin projects because of their traditional beauty. Offering a multitude of styles, log cabins appeal to quite a large audience because there are so many interesting exterior designs available, yet they all tend to emanate similar values of a meaningful connection with the wilderness.

Rustic log cabins feature unique facades, often with exposed wood grain and traditional logged edges. More contemporary log cabins have large, stately roofs with uniformly measured paneling. One of the wonderful things about log cabins is that no matter which style you settle on, you can rest assured that it will stay valuable for years to come, as log cabins of all styles consistently occupy market demand.

Investing in a Log Cabin Look

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Many individuals who are interested in purchasing a log cabin or building one of their own wonder about the longevity of log cabins. Because a log cabin is such a great investment, homeowners usually share the same pivotal question: How long do log cabins last?

This is an incredibly important question, because it has a direct impact on the value of the log cabin itself. Whether you’re planning on selling the cabin down the line or you intend to pass it on to family for the future generations, it is crucial to establish realistic expectations for the longevity of the log cabin. Knowing how long the log cabin is likely to last will help homeowners set up a more accurate plan for the upkeep required so the cabin maintains its value.

Log Cabin Longevity

So how long do log cabins last? The answer to this question relies heavily on a number of factors, including what type of materials are used in the cabin’s construction and what type of climate and weather exposure the cabin will endure. Depending on these two factors, log cabin longevities vary significantly.

First of all, the materials used in construction play a large role in determining how long the building will hold up. To demonstrate how a material can affect building longevity, let’s consider just one aspect of the long cabin’s structure: siding. When choosing siding for a log cabin, you may be debating between traditional wood siding and engineered steel siding that resembles real wood. Essentially, both materials look the same, but they have very different levels of tolerance to the elements.

For example, traditional wood siding and logs are more susceptible to damage from general wear and tear. Rotting, warping, sagging and mold are serious issues that can happen over time from moderate water and humidity exposure. Insects can also do a lot of damage to wood logs, forming holes and nests. Individual logs or panels will need to be replaced as soon as this damage occurs, as it can leave important layers of insulation exposed.

Unfortunately, it’s difficult to estimate how long a wood exterior can go without incurring damage, as insects can strike any given season. With that said, typically wood logs must also be refinished with stain or paint every five years. This is because sun exposure can cause fading on wood surfaces.

Steel vs. Wood

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When comparing wood siding with steel siding, there’s no competition. Steel log siding—though it looks just as beautiful as real wood—has a much higher tolerance. Steel can handle heavy moisture without showing any signs of damage, like rotting or sagging. Also, insects can’t puncture steel the way they can with wood. And better yet, the color of steel siding remains true, no matter how much sun exposure is endured. This means you can forget about repainting steel siding to cover up faded or peeling spots. On top of all that, steel siding is the safer choice when considering extreme cases, like fires, because it is fire resistant. Because of its enhanced durability, steel siding is likely to last decades longer than wood.

The other factor to consider is the particular climate challenges that your log cabin will face in the region. If there is a heavy wet season that results in excessive wind, rain or snow, this can take a toll on your log cabin and cut the longevity down a bit. However, remember that your choice of building material has a direct impact on your log cabin’s defense against the elements. Consider the specific climate challenges in your region. If you want your log cabin to last longer, then you will definitely want to choose steel siding over traditional wood.

By deliberately anticipating the challenges your log cabin will face, you can make better choices about the materials used in construction. Considering these two factors—materials and environmental challenges—will help you set more realistic expectations for how long your log cabin will last.

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