Escaping the outdoors by retreating to the cabin and curling up fireside with a cup of hot cocoa—does this dream sound familiar? Many people romanticize the idea of having their own log cabin. And rightfully so! Log cabins are often symbolic of cozy, safe spaces connected to the wilderness, and there is a long tradition of cabin-style designs that have regained in popularity.

Having a log cabin homestead doesn’t have to be a fairytale anymore. With real options on the market today, you can embrace the log cabin lifestyle for your home. But when it comes to decisions concerning building materials, you may be surprised to find that cabins made from real wood logs come with quite serious concerns. That’s why many homebuilders are turning to steel log siding for construction of cabins.

Not so sure about steel? Then read on to learn about four different elements that can impact your home’s performance and consumer impact. These four aspects are serious things you should take into consideration when choosing between wood and steel for the construction of your log cabin.

Durability

Durability is important because it directly affects how much maintenance and upkeep will be required in the future. Siding must be maintained for both aesthetic and safety reasons, because it can impact your home’s value and structural performance.

Wood is quite durable when it comes to typical weather challenges, like wind and hail.

However, it is not as strong when put up against moisture. Wood can rot quite easily in humid conditions, and rotting can lead to significant holes and warping. Steel, on the other hand, is much more durable than wood. It simply won’t rot, crumble or warp—no matter what the weather may be. Steel can withstand much more challenging circumstances than wood, meaning you’ll have less maintenance down the line.

Stains and Colors

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Aesthetically speaking, stains and color options are vital when designing your dream cabin. This is a project you’ve been thinking about for a long time, so you want to be sure you find the perfect shade of siding for your cabin. Both wood siding and steel log siding offer a rich assortment of stains and colors to choose from, so there’s a great chance you’ll find the perfect color whether you’re choosing wood or steel.

Where these two materials differ is in the longevity of color. Wood siding must be painted or stained, and excessive sun exposure will inevitably cause the color to fade. This means you’ll be repainting the siding every five years or so—if not more—to maintain the appearance. Steel, however, does not fade at all. Because steel log siding is engineered to withstand UV rays, the appearance will stay true to color no matter how much sunlight the building soaks up.

Flammability

There’s no doubt that you want your log cabin to be a place of refuge and rest. One aspect that can impact safety is the flammability of building materials. When gauging flammability, there is no contest between wood and steel. Wood is much more flammable, meaning it puts your log cabin at a higher risk of fire than steel. This is particularly relevant for individuals building a log cabin in a remote area, such as a forest or other sparsely populated locations. Steel log siding looks just like real wood—but without the flammability.

Sustainability

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Finally, sustainability may be a real concern if you’re debating between wood and steel. While log cabins made out of real wood require a massive amount of timber, cabins with steel log siding do not. If lowering your environmental footprint is a priority, you’ll definitely want to opt for steel when constructing your log cabin.

Building a log cabin is an exciting project that allows you to put your own creative interpretation on designs. When it’s time to pick building materials, make sure you consider these four elements—durability, stains and colors, flammability, and sustainability—as it can help you make the important choice between wood and steel.

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