On the surface, it might seem like a log cabin is similar to a timber-frame building. Yet, whilst both are made of timber, this is largely where the similarities end as the two are structurally very different. If you are considering which type of timber building is going to be right for you, we have put together this guide to help. As experts in timber structures, we are in a great position to advise and answer the questions that our customers ask us on a regular basis.

Structural differences

A log cabin will be comprised of logs that are stacked horizontally to form the frame of the building, whereas a timber-frame home is made up of vertical posts and beams. These beams and posts are connected to form the frame of the house, making it look much more like a traditional style of home. The frame of a timber home will be incredibly strong, with the connected posts and beams taking away the need for load-bearing walls inside. This means that the structure is able to have plenty of height without the need for additional structural walls breaking up the expanse of space inside. You can create large, uninterrupted, high-ceilinged spaces with a timber-frame home which perfectly complement the modern way of life. By contrast, a log cabin will look more rustic due to its structure. It is also more likely that you will experience shrinkage with a log cabin as the water content of the logs reduces over time and the logs change shape slightly.

The construction process

The construction process is essential to the quality of your timber-frame home. It makes it watertight, weatherproof and solid, forming a frame that will structurally support the whole building. We take care of the whole construction process for you, making your timber frame components at our own manufacturing facilities in Kent then putting them all together on site.

Our construction process involves:

  • Drawings and CAD designs. We will discuss your requirements with you and will use this as an opportunity to get to know your needs in full. We then put together plans for the whole structure so you can see how your building will look in the flesh.
  • Once the design is agreed we get to work building the structure, taking care of the whole process. We transport all materials to the site and put the building together for you. We are experts in our own products and know this produces the best results.

The construction of a log cabin will generally take less time and be less intricate as it is a simpler structure. The logs will be stacked up to form the walls, as opposed to having an internal structure that forms the foundations for the whole building. This makes a log cabin feel less like a house, which is why they generally serve a different purpose.

Is there a difference in the planning permission required?

If you are building a log cabin as an addition to your current home, you might not need planning permission as you are often deemed to be building within your permitted development rights. However, if you are building an entirely new structure or on a newly acquired plot of land, the circumstances are different. You will need to ensure you have the correct planning permission in place before you go ahead and build a new structure. Please speak to us if you would like any further information and we can always point you in the right direction.

Aesthetic differences

One of the most notable differences between a log cabin and a timber-frame building is the way the two look. A log cabin has a more rustic appearance whereas a timber frame building looks more like a traditional home – but made from timber rather than masonry. You will have much more flexibility with a timber-frame home in terms of the way you want it to look; the frame can be designed in exactly the way that you want the rooms and spaces internally to be like. This is harder to do with a log cabin as the logs form both the inside and outside walls.

Internal differences

There are some differences between the two that will be clearly noticeable from the inside as you go about your day-to-day life within each type of property. These are some of the key areas where you might notice the biggest differences:

  • Insulation. Logs are good insulators, however timber frame homes can be fitted with extra insulation to make them more thermally efficient. They can be as well insulated as homes made from brick and masonry.
  • Aesthetics. Timber-frame homes can have large, expansive interiors with exposed beams on the ceilings, if you like this look. A log cabin will have lower ceilings and will usually not feel as spacious inside – though it will certainly feel cosy. If a permanent home is what you are trying to replicate, then a timber-frame home is going to do this more successfully.
  • Acoustics. As timber frame homes are very well insulated, this also affects the acoustics. It will be more soundproof, protecting your home from outside noise.

Log cabins or timber-frame buildings – which is better?

It is difficult to say definitively which of these building types is the best. So much of the decision will come down to personal preference, the look you want to achieve and the function of the building that you want to construct. If you want a building that you can use as a home gym, an office or a summerhouse, then a log cabin will serve you very well. The rustic design will fit in with your garden surroundings, and the amount of usable space you get will be sufficient for your purposes. If you are looking for a property that you can live in, with enough space to house you and your family, then a bespoke timber-frame house is going to be the right option for you. This type of construction is a bona fide building, affording you a properly reinforced, structurally sound, permanent property. It will make a beautiful home for you and offers excellent value for money, making it the perfect decision for your long-term future.

If you have any questions about timber-frame buildings, the construction process and whether they will be more appropriate than a log cabin, our team are more than happy to help and advise. We understand that this is a major decision to make and will do all we can to make it an easier one for you. Please just get in touch and we will be on hand to assist you.

Telephone: 01233 740944