Choosing a new log cabin is an exciting decision with many possible options. The correct log thickness will allow for use throughout the colder months, without the need for expensive heating bills.
A quick look around the internet will reveal a considerable difference in the specification of log cabins available. From different designs and sizes to colours and even the number of windows & doors. One of the most important decisions is choosing the correct wall thickness for how and when you want to use the log cabin.
Unlike summerhouses, which are typically 12mm, cabins offer several different options for log thickness including 28mm, 44mm and over 60mm. Use as a garden office throughout the winter is going to require greater heat insulation compared with a bar which is only used in spring and summer. A thicker building will provide greater insulation for both heat and sound and also adds to a more premium feeling.
Log cabins are produced from interlocking timber logs. Slow-grown timber is recommended as it is denser with increased sturdiness and provides longevity for your investment. The overall structure will be watertight and contain no visible gaps. Thicker logs can increase the initial cost significantly, with the aim to see lower-running costs from heating throughout the year.
The thinnest in the range from a good quality log cabin supplier will be 28mm log thickness. These buildings are available in many different designs and also at an attractive price point, using a single tongue & groove system. Compared with a summerhouse, the increased heat retention will allow for use even when the weather is not sunny and late into the evening.
28mm wall thickness is suitable for late spring, summer and early autumn use. The overall building will be sturdy and robust, keeping any draught or damp at bay. A log cabin with this thickness makes a great choice for use as a garden pub across the warmer months. With multiple people inside the heat will be retained and provide some sound insulation for your neighbours.
For activities where you will be moving around inside, a log cabin of this thickness is fine. Many will choose 28mm thickness when the building is being used as a gym or workshop. This thickness makes great storage locations to keep any equipment protected throughout the winter.
Insulation and double glazed windows are not going to make a massive difference at this wall thickness and we wouldn’t recommend them. Most of the heat will be lost through the walls and adding double glazed windows will do little to stop that. If you really want to add insulation, the roof would be our priority as the logs are going to be thinner and heat rises then escapes through the roof.
Our verdict: A low-cost option to use throughout the warmer months for non-sedentary activities.
Once log thickness increases to 44mm or above, a double tongue and groove system is used to create a tightly interlocked structure which excellent heat retention. At least a 20% price uplift can be expected when compared with a 28mm building; a higher initial investment for reduced running costs. 44mm and above log cabins are suitable for use throughout the year, with only the coldest winter days needing to be avoided.
With walls of this thickness, the log cabin becomes extremely versatile and makes a great location for entertaining guests. Further uses include a movie or games room. The thicker logs retain heat much better, allowing for the interior to be warm even in winter. During the summer months, thicker walls help keep the sun out and keep the ambient temperature cool.
Log cabins with 44mm walls make a popular choice for a garden office. The walls are thick enough to maintain a comfortable temperature, and a lower-cost option when compared with a garden room. As this thickness is popular, a huge choice is available in terms of sizes and designs.
For use as a garden office or movie room, we would definitely recommend upgrading to both insulation and double glazing. Around 1/5th of heat in a log cabin is lost through the windows and double glazing is a low-cost option for increasing efficiency and heat retention.
Insulation can be used in the floor and roof of a log cabin. The floor insulation stops cold air from rising and creating a drafty atmosphere inside. Some garden building suppliers will provide this as an extra, but it can also be done yourself once the cabin is installed.
Our verdict: A versatile choice for use throughout the year. Floor & roof Insulation recommend for use as an office.
Log cabins over 60mm are not widely available and generally found at specialist suppliers, rather than the ones also selling sheds and summerhouses. Anything over 60mm is a real step up from a garden building to a room that feels like an extension to your home. Log cabins with this thickness are suitable for use throughout the year in all weather conditions, even the snow. The heating costs are reduced due to very good heat retention from the dense wood.
The way in which log cabin suppliers approach thicker buildings can vary. Some will use logs that are the full thickness and very expensive, making them difficult to construct. Others will use walls that come pre-installed with insulation.
Thick log cabin walls with insulation contain a cavity in the middle which is packed tightly with insulation to increase heat efficiency. This is the same concept as used in house building and can provide a higher U value, with reduced depth to the wall. Log cabins with pre-installed insulation are generally easy to construct and a good choice if you had planned on installing insulation yourself after.
Cabins with this thickness also provide excellent sound insulation, expanding their use further and could be used as an extra bedroom with the appropriate planning permission. Double glazing will usually come as standard, along with insulation in the ceiling.
Our verdict: A premium choice to expand your living space further and use just like another room.
What is the best wall thickness?
There is not a single answer for the best wall thickness in a log cabin. The choice is going to depend on how and when you plan on using the building. For use as a gym or pub in the warmer months, a 28mm option will be suitable as a budget option.
For most, we recommend a 44mm log cabin which provides the perfect balance between cost and warmth. The double tongue and groove system is versatile for use throughout the colder months and into the winter. We recommend ordering with both insulation and double glazing to avoid any unnecessary heat loss and reducing heating costs when the weather turns colder.
Which log cabin wall thickness will you be using? Let us know in the comments below.