By Mikkie Mills
Maybe you live in your log cabin year-round, maybe it is a vacation home that you retreat to seasonally, or maybe it is an investment property that you rent out to vacationers. In any case, you must put some effort into maintaining your cabin, just as you would in any property that you own. Your cabin requires regular cleaning maintenance on both the inside and outside regardless of how consistently it is occupied. Here is a comprehensive guide to cabin maintenance.
Interior Cabin Maintenance
You may want to start by cleaning the floors because they see the most traffic. A traditional cabin has wood plank floors, although some may opt for more affordable options such as engineered wood or laminate. Be sure that you understand cleaning dos and don’ts for the type of floor you own. For example, hardwood floor cleaning cannot involve any standing water or the planks will warp.
Different areas of your cabin are exposed to different hazards. For example, the wood in the kitchen can become discolored due to oils from cooking. Proper ventilation in this area of the house is essential to prevent this.
Wood in the bathroom needs extra protection in the form of a clear polyurethane coating to prevent it from warping. However, this is only necessary in areas where excess water is present. In the rest of the house, you can apply a water-based acrylic stain. This provides a tough protective film that is easy to clean and dust while allowing the wood to breathe.
Don’t forget to pay attention to your interior roof beams. These sometimes crack, especially if your cabin is very old. You can fill cracks on interior beams yourself, then seal and stain them to disguise the repair. However, this only applies to interior roof beams, not ones on the exterior. You will also want to run a duster over your interior roof beams often to avoid an accumulation of dust and cobwebs.
Over time, you can probably expect some movement in your wood due to compression and shrinkage. However, you may be able to minimize this by maintaining appropriate interior humidity and temperature at all times.
Exterior Cabin Maintenance
When maintaining and protecting your cabin exterior, there are two main factors you need to be aware of: water and sunlight. Both can cause damage to your cabin’s exterior. Ultraviolet sunlight can cause damage and discoloration to the logs of your cabin just as it can to the cells of your skin. In addition to causing logs to warp, excess water can also promote mold growth. Your log cabin may also be prone to insect infestation that can cause extensive damage.
You can guard against most of these hazards by applying protective products to the outside of your home. A preservative provides protection against a variety of threats with a mix of chemicals. A stain may contain some protective ingredients but is primarily used to enhance the color of your home’s exterior.
The logs of your exterior can crack or separate. This can result in openings that allow insects to get into the wood or drafts to enter your home. Products like caulk, sealant, and chinking can help to fill up these cracks and crevices.
Besides applying products, there are things that you can do to protect your cabin exterior from damage. For example, when landscaping, try to maintain a three-foot distance between your home’s exterior walls and any mulch or ground cover. This helps to prevent damage from insects and moisture by keeping debris away. Avoid planting trees too close to the house and keep any existing trees trimmed away from the roof to prevent twig and leaf buildup.
You can protect your cabin from both sun and rain by extending your eaves. An overhang of two to three feet provides extensive protection and also gives your cabin an attractive look of quaintness.
Contrary to popular belief, cabin maintenance is not necessarily more difficult or complicated than that of any other home. It just requires a different approach because of the materials used.
Mikkie is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on natural health cures and news, budgeting hacks, and favorite DIY projects. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her little ones around or can be found rock climbing at her local climbing gym.