Log cabins are probably the most popular trend in real estate today. People are in love with these gorgeous dwellings, especially as the McMansions that are so common continue to spread across the country. Who wants to live in something so cheaply made, especially when it looks exactly the same as every other boring house on the block?
But one of the drawbacks about log cabins is that they do require more maintenance. It is worth it, especially when considering value and permanence. After all, a log cabin can last for generations, where a cheaply made house can fall apart before the mortgage is even paid.
Here are five things you must do with a log cabin in winter to keep it in tip top condition.
Inspect The Outside
The outside of your cabin is where problems are most likely to occur. Weather can seriously wear down the condition of the outside and in areas where the climate is more extreme it is worst. Damp is especially bad for wood, which can rot or warp, though sunshine can cause cracks and dryness in the logs.
Every new season it is important than you do an inspection to make sure there are no impending issues that could cause problems. For instance, you might notice a thumb sized area of one of your walls it soft and presses inward. This is a sign of rot and once it has started it can quickly grow out of control. Or maybe you see a plank that has bulged out. This is wood warping, usually caused by moisture behind the wood that has caused it to expand outward.
Catching these things before the snow falls makes it easier to replace or repair anything that needs to be, It also gives you a chance to restain, something you should do to the wood every three to five years.
Inspect The Inside
Once the outside is secure it is time to go inside to see what might be done there. A log cabin is pretty solid and cozy, so hopefully you won’t run into any issues. But there are some that are possible to come across so you should always be vigilant in your inspections.
The first problem to look out for is signs of pests. As the weather turns colder, different creatures are going to seek shelter from the chill. Mice, insects, spiders and even small mammals like raccoons could be trying to find a way into your home as you read this. Once they get in they can wreak havoc, especially those that have burrowed into the wood like termites. They can cause damage to your house, due to scratching, biting, burrowing and waste.
Look for any signs of these critters. Go to the smaller areas of the house, like dark corners, unused rooms, closets, basements, attics or crawlspaces. Put a couple of barrier methods around your house to prevent anything from crossing over.
If you do find signs of an infestation, either bug bomb/spray yourself, or contact an exterminator who can lay out traps or fumigate for you. The sooner in the season you get it done, the better.
We have all heard of Spring Cleaning, but Pre-Spring Cleaning may be even more crucial. If your house isn’t ready for the winter it isn’t ready for you to settle in and be comfortable during the frigid months ahead.
This includes removing all dust, mold and dirt from inside your home, freshening rooms that aren’t as commonly used, cleaning carpets or polishing hardwood floors, storing items for warmer months and cleaning/preparing ones for the colder and opening the chute to your fireplace and making sure it is clean and ready to go.
This might seem like a lot of work, but it is going to ensure your winter is a wonderland and not a nightmare.
Clean and Cover Gutters
Your gutters are going to be a major source of problems if you don’t get them regularly cleaned. When they back up with debris it allows rain and snow to gather and overflow, or to stay stagnant and rot the wood of your log cabin until it is cleared out. You want to make sure that never happens and so clean them out every few months.
For winter you won’t want to go out on a ladder and risk falling in the ice. So you should clear them at the beginning of the season and making sure there are no leaves still on trees nearby where they could drop in.
To keep any further debris you can get gutter covers. These little marvels allow you to snap them over the top, some magnetically and some using little clasps. This keeps things out and protects them through the winter.
You can also add an extender to the drain pipe. It will send water further from your home and keep water from building as the base of your log cabin, where it can damage the wood and foundation.
Weather strip Your Log Cabin
Want to keep cozy as the weather gets colder and colder? Stopping leaks and drafts is a good way to do it. Weather stripping will trap hot air in your home and keep it from letting out through cracks under the doors, around windows and even through your chimney, attic or basement.
You can hire someone to do it for you and it can be worth the extra cost to really seal things in. But weather stripping is also a DIY project that is pretty basic for most homeowners. You can find materials and kits online or at your local hardware store. The average cost is around $200 – $300 for an entire house. This can be more or less expensive, depending on if you do it yourself or hire someone to weatherize your log cabin for you.
All in all, it is worth putting in the effort to make sure your log cabin is well protected through the years. Especially through winter, when wood can be damaged the most.