Things You Should Know about Cabin Maintenance

By Lana Hawkins

All those people who own a wood cabin eagerly look forward to weekends and vacation times when they can escape from city chaos and enjoy the peace and tranquillity of their second home. However, very often, after returning to their cabin after a longer period of absence, they are faced with maintenance issues that can really spoil their plans. Here are some measures you can take to make your stay comfortable and ensure that your cabin lasts for years.

If you are not visiting your cabin during winter, by winterizing it you will avoid serious damages. Unplug all power appliances. The main water valve should be shut off, and all the water-using appliances drained so the water would not freeze in the pipes and cause them to break. You can even pour some antifreeze down the drains. If you have an electric water heater, turn it off if you want it to last and to escape hot water problems on your return. If you decide to come and stay in the cabin during winter, make sure you do not overheat it. Heat creates moist, and moist causes mould and rust to build up. Secure all windows, and place meshes over attic vents to keep pests out. It is a lot easier than having to remove mice, squirrels and birds from your home once they settle in.

Re-staining your log cabin is of the utmost importance. If your cabin is newly built, you should apply the first coat of stain immediately, then it is recommended to wait for one year for the first coat to completely soak in before applying the second. After that, repeat the process every 2 to 5 years. This time span depends on the weather conditions in the area, and the sun exposure. If mould grows on the old coat of stain, power wash the walls of the cabin before applying a new layer. The same applies to your wooden deck.

In addition, secure all outdoor furniture to make sure that they will not be blown away in case of an intense storm. Flying object could damage the windows. Cover the furniture to protect it from the elements. Shut down your gas grill to avoid leaks. If you notice carpenter ants, try to locate their nest and destroy it with an insecticide. Then fill the holes in the wood with caulk. Seal the roof edges with tar to make it water tight. The ends of logs are more susceptible to rot, so reseal them every year. Clear all stumps and fallen trees around the house, since they are an inviting nesting place for insects. Plant all shrubs at least 3 to 5 feet away from the walls of the cabin to let the air circulate freely. The circulation will help the logs dry faster after rain or snow.

It is hard to keep your home safe when you are there, let alone when you visit only occasionally. Install automatic lights in and around the house that can be set to turn on and off on a timer. If you have a nearby neighbour, you can ask them to drive by every now and then and make sure nothing is out of place. Adding a security system involves some costs, but it is nothing compared to the damage you could suffer if there is a break-in.

These simple maintenance tips will make your favourite get-away safe and your stay more enjoyable. So, the effort really pays off. Have you taken any measures to protect your vacation home from burglars and other pests?

lana_hawkins copyAuthor’s Bio: Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney, Australia. She enjoys cooking and knitting, but her truly passion is writing about home improvement. She is a regular contributor to Smooth Decorator and she loves reading about sustainability.

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