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FAQs

Common questions about us and your garden buildings - How to build them and how to look after them

We cover many different subjects on this page so we have an index below - please click on the title that interest you which will then take you to the appropriate section.

There is also further information within the "Resources" section in the footer at the very bottom of this page.

INDEX

General Hortons information

General log cabin information

Installation information (and helpful hints)

Base laying

Log cabin aftercare

Services installation (electrics, plumbing, etc)

General Hortons information

Q. Do you have a show site?
A. Yes. Please click on 'Our Showground', 'How to find us' or 'Why not visit our show site?' within the bar at the top of this page.

Q. How are log cabins measured?
A. Log cabin measurements are taken from the overall length of the logs (log-end' to 'log-end') that make each wall, excluding any roof overhangs and cantilevered roof canopies. Every log cabin has corner nibs, which support the corner joints. The nibs on our log cabins protrude from the main walls by 100mm. The nibs are not load-bearing so they do not need to be supported by a base. All of the building measurements shown on our website are listed in a standard format with the first measurement listed being the wall dimension that has the main access doorway in it (i.e. the front of the building). 

Q. Can you make bespoke, made to measure log cabins?
A. Yes we can. We can make any size, shape or design - we ask for customers input at the beginning of the process which is then turned into full production plans for approval before manufacture begins and before any timber is cut. This way, we can ensure that we supply everything to the correct design and size. Our windows and doors are the only standard modules with a bespoke design, and they are supplied with standard architraves - sometimes these may be too wide or long to fit into a bespoke design and will need to be trimmed down to fit on site accordingly (this may also be necessary with some of our standard designs as well where the windows and doors are positioned very closely to each other).

Q. I have designed a building. Can you give me a quote?
A. Yes, we have a process, but, briefly, we will draw up a simple jpeg using MS Paint including doors, windows etc, revise and review it with you and then, after receipt of the deposit, we will submit our jpeg to our manufacturers who will produce detailed CAD drawings from which they will manufacture the building.
We will work very closely with you on a bespoke building. Our Terms and Conditions provide more detail of the process. You can call us for a preliminary discussion at any time. 

Depending on the size and design of building, you may need to employ a structural engineer to work out the structural calculations for anything unique to your building (ie, wide clear span openings in walls, basework, etc), which in turn will need to be submitted to your local council and approved by your council BEFORE you confirm and approve the final production plans and your building goes into production. We do have stock calculations for standard elements (roof purlin strength and insulation values) which we are happy to forward on to you for submission to your council.

You are deemed to have all necessary approvals from your council when confirming your production plans - Hortons is not liable for any infringement of Planning laws (which includes Planning Permission and Building Regulations).

Q. Do you provide advice on Planning? 
A. NB: This reply applies to the United Kingdom.
No. We do not provide Planning advice. Please see our Terms and Conditions.
UK Government advice can be found at: https://www.planningportal.co.uk/info/200130/common_projects/43/outbuildings/6

Q. How can I find out about delivery?
A. Please refer to our Delivery Policy.

Q.Which vehicle(s) do you use for deliveries? 
A. Your log cabin could be delivered to you using either

  1. a lorry with a fork lift mounted on the rear
  2. a lorry with a Hiab crane (can reach about 6m away from lorry)
  3. a flat bed lorry which would require off-loading by hand
  4. a small transit sized van with swing jib crane (small buildings for local delivery only)

We will advise you of your options when we arrange your delivery. Please see our Delivery Policy for more details.

Q. Where can I find information about Health and Safety?
A. NB: UK only - Please see the Health and Safety Executive website at: http://www.hse.gov.uk/index.htm.

Q. Can I return items if I change my mind?
A.. This is covered within our T&C's, but essentially yes within certain parameters -

The Buyer may return any delivered Goods within 14 days of delivery for any reason whatsoever and must notify the Hortons in writing via email. But  we do point out that You have a statutory duty to take care of goods.....

Hortons will not accept returns or cancellations if the Goods have been altered by applying treatments or paints to any of the surfaces, or by cutting, altering or customising the Goods in any way or doing anything that could be deemed to be an act of the Buyer accepting the Goods as his or her own. The Buyer must keep any Goods he or she intends to return to the Seller in good condition and they must be returned in the same condition as the condition in which they were delivered (ie, "as new" and not weathered or dirty). If Goods are delivered flatpacked they must be returned in the same condition including complete disassembly and packed in such a way that they can be easily collected (ie not in a loose pile) - care must be taken to ensure that Goods returned are packed well to avoid damage or loss in transit. Goods returned which cannot be sold as new due to damage or wear and tear may be subject to a reduction in the refunds given.

 General log cabin information

Q. Is my building guaranteed?
A.We cannot offer a guarantee for a Hortons building as a whole because it is a timber building relies on ongoing maintenance from our customers (regularly checking the integrity of the roofing material and re-painting as necessary), the long term stability of the bases that they are built on and also whether they have a damp proof membrane to protect against rising damp. However individual items have their own guarantees/warranties-

Felt shingles - 10 years
Standard cabin windows and doors - 1 year against mechanical failure (all hinges are easily adjustable and should be checked and lubricated within 1 month of installation and then annually thereafter, adjusting if required)
House quality (ISO) windows and doors - 2 years against mechanical failure (all hinges are easily adjustable and should be checked and lubricated within 1 month of installation and then annually thereafter, adjusting if required)
EPDM rubber roofing - 20 years manufacturers warranty
Onduvilla tiles - 15 years manufacturers warranty
Recycled rubber slates (Ecoslates) - 50 years manufacturers warranty
Paints and timber treatments have no fixed guarantee but each brand that we offer has it's own recommended maximum life cycle before needing to be repainted-
  • Sadolin Superdec - up to 8 years (depending on exposure to the sun and weather)
  • Sadolin Classic - up to 5 years (depending on exposure to the sun and weather)
  • Aquatop 2600 - up to 7 years (depending on exposure to the sun and weather)
  • Remmers Aidol HK Lasur - up to 5 years (depending on exposure to the sun and weather)

 Q. Do you supply locks and handles as standard?
A. Yes.

Q. Do you include the price of the floor in your log cabin prices?
A. Yes, the price of a standard floor (19mm floor boards supported by bearers spaced every 400mm) is included in cabins by Hortons.
We also can offer you an upgrade to 28mm floor boards, please call us for details.

Q. Can I buy a two-storey cabin?
A. NB: This reply refers to the United Kingdom. We recommend that you contact your local Planning office at the outset for advice. You should then contact us for further information.

Q. Do you supply bitumen shingles as standard
A. No, our buildings are supplied with a 19mm Roof board and will require a roof covering - this is because we can offer a choice of coverings for customers to choose from. We recommend heavy-duty bitumen shingles or recycled rubber roofing slate for a more authentic heavy duty finish, but we can also supply other types of roof covering. Please call us for details.

If an underfelt is used (whether breather membrane,ie Tyvec, or a bituminous felt) we suggest that it should be dressed down and trapped behind the fascia boards & barge boards and trimmed accordingly, then the top roofing material is laid as described in the appropriate fitting instructions. This means that should the top roofing material fail for any reason (high winds etc), the underfelt should be held securely all round providing a secondary waterproof layer.

Q. How are your log cabins made and what finish can I expect?
A.  Our buildings are made with softwood timber, which is a natural material which will change (both appearance and
dimensions) with differences in temperature, humidity and general weather conditions.
The timbers used have been kiln dried to 16 - 19% and then planed before cutting or machining.
This means the timber finish is not comparable to the smooth finish of plastic, steel or glass.
You will need to understand the nature and finish of the external timber we use in our products- they are not the same as the
internal "prepared" joinery timbers in your house for example, and are not intended to be. Timber can be totally unpredictable with how it splits or cracks, which can happen in a very short periods of time- it will swell and/or contract which results in stresses in the grain causing splits or cracks in the timber. Sometimes they can be deep or wide (called shakes or cracks) which can appear unsightly but they are to be expected (especially so if left unpainted / untreated during hot weather). Once the straps have been cut and the timber unpacked, the lengths of timber will be un-restrained, therefore the building should be built as soon as possible. Any timber yet to be used should be stacked flat and protected from direct sunlight to avoid any excessive warping or twisting of the timber. During the build, door  and window frames should be installed as soon as possible, these will hold the non-interlocked log ends in place and prevent them from twisting or warping. 

We would expect a competent person to resolve any surface finish problems by filling (using a flexible filler) and sanding to a finish before decorating.

Q. Do Hortons provide a factory painting service?
A. Yes we do. there are various services available-

  • Basecoat (insecticde & fungicide) factory sprayed onto the wall logs
  • Basecoat (insecticde & fungicide) factory sprayed onto the roof and floor boards
  • Full factory finish to the wall logs (translucent Remmers or opaque Teknos Aquatop 2600)
  • The full factory painting includes for the windows, doors and fascia boards as well - these can be painted a different colour to the wall logs at no extra cost.
  • Twinskin log cabins can also be painted a different colour inside to outside at no extra cost, although from some extra paint may need to be purchased to paint the corner nibs to match as follows-

We cannot provide a full factory paint finish to the roof and floor boards because this adds thickness to the tongues and grooves which are already a tight fit, thus meaning that it wouldn't be possible to interlock them when installing the cabin due to the additional paint thickness to each side of the tongues and grooves - these will need to be painted after installation.

Q. What happens if I find a damaged timber part?
A. Firstly, as described in your instructions, all parts should be checked and ticked off on the supplied parts lists before you start to build your building. You should check all parts to make sure everything is present and not damaged. If you do find that anything is missing or damaged you should notify Hortons immediately (by email or telephone - we will require photos of any damaged parts). Hortons will not be responsible for any claims for compensation by customers or contractors if you start to build the cabin without checking off the parts lists only to find that the build cannot be completed halfway through because of damage or missing parts. 

You should then advise of the best course of action, which is usually very simple.......

There are other steps to make use of your (or the contractors) time whilst waiting for replacement parts - Cutting the (roof and floor) insulation to size ready to be fitted, Boxing out of the window and door frames, Painting of the window and door frames, Painting of the fascia boards, etc.

NB - Hortons provide spare wall logs, T&G (roof & floor) boards and trims in every log cabin kit as standard. We obviously cannot supply a spare part for every item, so we provide the longest parts relevant to that type of item (ie, we will provide at least 1 spare wall log for the longest log in the building - more in larger buildings), which then enables You to cut it down to length should you require a shorter wall log (thus meaning that you don't have to cut a corner notch as the longest log will already have a corner notch at each end as a matter of course). Equally, if you require a replacement trim that isn't supplied as part of your kit, then it is also possible to cut a spare (roof/floor) T&G board down to width in order to make a spare trim (ie a replacement fascia board / window trim / door trim, for example - anything requiring up to 125mm width can be cut in this manner) - You are expected to be able to carry out this simple operation as it is part of the standard fitting procedure for a log cabin roof / floor which requires the last board of each run to be cut to width to fit the gap that is left, as stated in the instructions. Trims are not always supplied in one long length in our kits (because they are not structural items), therefore it is perfectly acceptable to cut shorter replacement parts and join them together when fitting them in place.

Q. Why do you deliver so many spares with your cabins and how do I dispose of them afterwards?
A. Although we hope that no damaged or unusable parts are delivered with your cabin, inevitably with so many individual parts it is a possibility. In that eventuality customers would not want to wait days or even weeks (depending on the parts required) in order to build their cabin. Therefore, even though it does cost us quite a lot to send these extra spare parts, we feel that it is a much better and safer solution to send extra parts with every kit.

Not forgetting everything is wrapped in weatherproof polythene wrapping as well which also needs to be disposed of (or made use of - these are large sheets of polythene and can be very useful as tarpaulins).

Customers often make use of the spare parts supplied by making them into shelves etc or use it for fuel in their open fire or wood burning stoves (the timber is kiln dried and burns very well and efficiently). However, if you cannot or do not want to make use of them, then a simple trip down to your local amenity tip is a common way of getting rid of it. Failing that, you can follow this link (https://www.hippowaste.co.uk/hippobag/where you can order a bulk bag waste collection service (some parts may need to be cut in order to fit them into the bag or if your cabin is being installed, then our installers can cut any long lengths down to no longer than 1m such that they will fit). We can also order this waste collection bag for you, but please be aware that we would also need to charge an additional admin fee as well.

Installation Information

Q. What site conditions are required if I employ Hortons to build my garden building?
A. The installers will require the following-

  • Free parking close to your property and/or the build site
  • The pre-delivered building kit should be within 50 metres of the build site (as set out in our T&C's). If this is not the case, you should contact us to discuss - it may mean a small extra charge being applied to cover the extra labour time to carry the goods to the build site
  • Clear and easy access from the parking area and delivery area to the build site
  • Free access to electric and water supplies
  • A "clean" site - quite often a new base has been laid meaning that the site can be very muddy (especially after heavy rain). Therefore you should supply boarding (eg plywood or similar) around the perimeter of the base. This will then avoid your new building getting muddy during the build as the installers will be able to remain clean themselves. If this boarding isn't supplied, your building will still be built and the installers will try their best to keep everything as clean as possible and also leave the site clean and tidy, however they will not be responsible for cleaning the building down on completion - this will be your responsibility as it will be impossible to keep mud from getting on the building without appropriate boarding being laid down in advance, which is your repsonsibility.

Q. What skills and which tools do I need to build my Hortons Building?
A. We would expect a customer who intends to build one of our buildings to be competent at DIY. ie at least capable to carry out a construction task, you require more than the skills to fit a shelf - it is a mini building project and should only be tackled by somebody who is comfortable undertaking such a project.

You will require basic joinery equipment for both our Easibuild framed sheds and our log cabins (some elements in our building kits are supplied as standard sections and/or lengths which will be required to be cut to size during installation).
In addition to our installation guide, nails and screws, you will need:

  • Saw - to cut various trims to size (plus ideally, also a circular saw as you will be required to "rip" some planks down in order to finish the roof and floor installation of a log cabin)
  • Ladder
  • Trestles
  • Scaffold tower (depending on specifications of the building)
  • Hammer
  • Mallet
  • Cordless screwdriver / drill (various bits may be required - 3mm - 10mm drill bits + Torx / Posi / Hex screwdriver bits)
  • Spirit level
  • Square

Q. Can I book a date for my delivery and installation at the time of ordering?
A. This is not possible as we can only offer estimated time of arrival to our UK storage yard at that time - we import from our European factory which involves international hauliers, ferries and customs checks, all of which can cause delays for various reasons -

  • the importing lorries can break down, causing a knock-on effect 
  • ferries can be cancelled or delayed
  • a full customs check of an articulated lorry can take up to 3 days 
  • not forgetting the weather - our factory is in the Baltics which can reach -25 centigrade during the Winter which can stop machinery working and lorries being able to travel causing possible backlogs until Spring

All have happened in the past and all of which are out of our control. Therefore we need to wait until your building arrives in our yard to ensure that we can keep to the arranged dates of delivery to your property. Upon your request, we are happy to keep you up to date with the timings of your order as things progress.

Q. Do we guarantee a date when the installation will start and finish?
A. We cannot offer any guarantees, only estimated guide times - but we will obviously do our best to keep everything on schedule. There are a number of factors that come into these logistics, including but limited to -

  • The previous job can be held up through no fault of our own leading to a delay in starting your job when scheduled (we will always inform you as soon as we are aware that this may be the case)
  • Bad weather - If the weather is extremely bad (strong winds, really heavy rain), then we may have no choice but to abandon the job until the conditions improve. This is especially relevant if you have an insulated roof as the first layer on top of the ceiling boards is a moistureproof vapour barrier. This will catch the rain and hold water to form puddles within the roof voids which obviously cannot happen. We require a dry period of time to build an insulated roof. 
  • Incorrect/unsuitable base. We require your base and all groundworks to be completed and ready on arrival as it is not possible to build just part of a log cabin or framed building and avoid the unbuilt area whilst you finish this off - the whole of the floor bearers sytem needs to be set out first and everything else is built upon this timber framework. The only exception to this is if there are any stand-alone posts (to hold a roof canopy up, for instance) - these posts require concrete pads for support and are built directly off of these pads, therefore these also need to be laid in advance in the correct postions and also the correct height. If these pads are not laid or in the incorrect postion then it will not be possible to install the posts and therefore carry on building the structure.
  • Vehicle breakdowns

We will not be liable for any costs you may incur from a delay in either starting or finishing the installation - You should always allow plenty of spare time if you have arranged for other trades (electrician, plumber, landscaper, etc) according to our estimated start/completion dates.

Q. How do I make sure that my base timbers are square before building the walls?
A. It is imperative that the floor bearers (or floor panels) are set square before starting the build the walls - if they are not, the higher you go the worse it gets to such a point that the roof doesn't fit and possibly the windows and doors bind up and don't open. There is a very simple way to ensure that the bearers are indeed square - you simply measure both diagonals from opposing corners and if they are the same then your building is square. If you need to move things to make them square, then the square measurement will be exactly in the middle of the 2 measurements you have already taken.

If you have a corner cabin, then this method needs a further step before measuring the diagonals because there will be a corner missing from your base timbers where the doors are to be fitted. Lay the top course of logs down on top of the bearer timbers (you can temporarily attach them with screws to make sure they stay aligned with the bearers) - these logs will then extend out to a full square (because there is a canopy over the doors making the full square). You now have 4 corners from which to measure your diagonals.

Q. How do I stabilize the short logs between the door and windows whilst building my cabin?
A. You have 2 choices - either slot the windows and doors into place and fix a long temporary batten across the back of them, build the remining wall up and the final log across the top of the wall will slot into the window and door frames and stabilize them. The alternative is to remove the rear architrave from the first window, slide into place and then re-fit the architraves. This then gives a slot for the short logs to house into without falling out. Do the same with all of the joinery and do not forget to equal out the gaps. You should have about 5-10mm gaps up each side of each frame. There will be a very large gap if you push the logs into a tight fit.

Q. I have upgraded doors and windows - how do I fit them?
A. Upgraded doors and windows are very easy to install - you only need to fix4 trims to the inside and 4 to the outside (this forms a U channel for the wall logs to fit into and be free to move, as all log cabin wall logs must).

  • Collate the top trim, 2 side trims and the bottom trim for one side of the door/window you want. 
  • Position the bottom trim (architrave) on top of the frame and make it flush with one side, once you have done this you will be able to see and measure how short the trim is from being flush with the other side of the frame. 
  • Whatever the window trim is short from being flush (for example), you then know the top and side trims needs to overlap the frame by half of this measurement - screw these into place (you can use the bottom trim as a spacer when fixing the side trims to make it easier). 
  • Then fix the bottom trim, overlapping the frame by the same amount as the other trims. 
  • Once this has been done to one side of the window you then turn it over and do the same on the other side. 
If the cabin walls have been built and you plan to fit the window afterwards (a perfectly acceptable way of fitting them), you would fix the trims to one side only then put the frame into the wall and fix the trims to the other side. DO NOT fix the window, the top or side trims to the walls of the cabin as the logs need to be able to move independently. However, you should fix the bottom trim to the wall log as well as the the very bottom of the side trims (as shown in the installation guide).
 
You can make the frames more secure by gluing and screwing the trims to the ouside of the frame, thus ensuring that intruders cannot gain entry by simply unscrewing the trims and removing the window or door. You should only glue the outside trims and not the inside so that you can unscrew them in the future should you ever need to (you can use this method to make our standard cabin frames more secure as well by unscrewing the pre-fitted external trims and then re-fixing with glue).
 
NB - our upgraded tilt and turn windows have a drip bar on the outside at the bottom of the opening sash (usually silver or dark brown) - this is commonly mistaken for a trickle vent which would go on the inside at the top!). If in doubt, the window handle will alway be on the inside face of the opening sash, the window will opens inwars and the sash will hinge at the bottom and "tilt" inwards at the top when in tilt mode.

Q. How do I make sure that the roof purlins are straight when I nail the roof boards?
A. You build the cabin up to and including the purlins. You then tack temporary roof boards to brace in the middle of the run of the roof (front and back) - Offer this temporary roof board at one end and mark off where it crosses each purlin to make sure that the spacings remain the same when you fix it in the middle. Only remove the temporary roof boards when they get in the way for fixing the permanent roof boards.

Q. How to fix the roof panels in your corner log cabin
A. Every corner cabin roof has been temporarily fitted at our factory before being packed and sent. You should follow the plans and instructions which show the sequence and order they will fit in. The first crucial stage is to make sure that the top course of logs are exactly square - you can simply measure the diagonals to check this. Log cabin walls can easily "wander" out of square during the build, so just because your floor is square, it doesn't necessarily mean it will still be square at eaves level. If you do need to push or pull the walls to make them square again, but it doesn't stay in place when the pressure is released, then use some spare timber/s to fix across the corners and hold everything in place (fix in such a way that they won't hamper the fitting roof panels as you don't want to remove this brace until the roof is fully fitted).

As stated in the installation guide, you should only secure each panel by just 1 screw at the top to start with (straight down through the top of the roof panel into the ridge directly below - it is wise to drill pilot holes to do this as the screw are quite big and could split the panel timbers) until they are all in place and fit nicely. You can then fully fix the panels into place - 1 screw in each corner of each panel into the top of the wall logs below, and then more screws along each edge (the fixings should be no more than 800mm apart). 

Q. I don't seem to have enough hexagonal felt tiles to cover my log cabin roof
A. Our hexagonal pattern felt shingles are not a uniform colour across the whole roof but are supplied such that they show "black shading" along each row in order to give a 3D effect (the correct tile spacing is achieved by lining up the bottom of the tile being laid flush with the top of the cut-out of the tile on the previous row). Therefore if they are overlapped too much such that the black shading is not visible then you will run out of tiles. The following picture (supplied by a customer) shows the incorrectly laid felt shingles on the bottom half of the roof (no black shading) and then the top half being correctly spaced once the mistake was realised (black shading visible) -

Q. Do Hortons supply and fix guttering to buildings?
A. We do not supply or fit guttering to our buildings - there are so many possible combinations of layouts that we would have to send so many spare gutter parts that it become unviable and uneconomic - it is much more economic for you to buy your own guttering once you know the gutter design and downpipe position. Flat roof Lugarde buildings are supplied with short  integral downpipes onto which you can slide your own standard 68mm gutter downpipe to channel the water wherever you require (water butt, drain, soakaway, etc)....

Q. How to fix the floor boards in your log cabin
A. Once the building has been weathered in, it is safe to lay the floor without danger of it being exposed to the elements. Use the same principle as used with the roof, ie. start at one end and work towards the opposite wall (2 x 60mm galvanised nails at each junction with the floor bearers), always checking that the remaining gap is equal at either end of the boards to avoid having to cut a wedge shaped final board to finish. We do not recommend secret nailing the floor boards - these are outbuildings and not generally heated as well as a house (if at all), meaning that the floor boards are subject to much more extreme changes in temperature and moisture hence they are more likely to move over time. This means that they need to be strongly fixed as described above - secret nailing will not be strong enough and will probably work loose. If required, use floor board clamps (can hired from a tool hire shop) or floor board ratchet straps (can be bought or hired) to make sure of a good tight finish between the boards. Always try to lay any boards that are not quite straight between 2 straight boards, this will help to hold them straight over time, or you can cut the board in the middle of the curve which will dramatically reduce any gaps (this may not always be required because some cabins are supplied with shorter floor boards that need to be butt-joined on site rather than in 1 long length - this is the case with houses where most floor boards are supplied in random lengths and are cut and joined as appropriate, there is nothing wrong with this method of laying floor boards).

NB Always allow at least an 8mm gap between any wall and the floor boards to allow for expansion. If no expansion gap is left or if you use floor clamps in an unheated building (or even clamp them too tightly in a heated building), then they could buckle up -

Q. What options do you offer for lining Hortons Easibuild framed buildings?
A. We offer a number of standard choices, plasterboard, moisture resistant MDF and tongue & groove timber boarding (TGV). There are 2 types of plasterboard, square edged and tapered edge - square edge requires plastering, tapered edge requires taping and filling (commonly known as dry lining). The dry lining option should be taken for anything other than plastering by a professional plasterer. All options will still require full decoration after installation.

Base laying

Q. What type of base is required for my garden building?

A. The base can be a concrete slab/raft foundation or paving slabs (as long as they are bedded onto a suitable sub-base) or a timber platform - both / either option can be quoted for on request. It is essential that the base is exactly level - otherwise the higher up the building you get, the worse it becomes to the point where it is no longer possible to make the parts fit. If there are peaks and troughs across the base (ie undulations less than 2mm) this can lead to a bouncy floor and windows & doors not working properly). It will also need to be large enough to receive the building - the floor bearers should not be cantilevered off the edge of the base.

 

Concrete bases should NOT have "trowelled edges" under any circumstance (a small 10mm pencil rounded corner is acceptable). This is because a trowelled edge not only produces a ridge of concrete (ie, a cement bead upstand which varies in height across the base) about 100mm in from the edge but also depresses the edge of the concrete such that it can be up to 5mm lower than the main area of the base, which therefore means that there will be gaps under the floor bearers when they transition from the higher to lower trowelled edge areas. This would almost certainly lead to bouncy floors and bouncy walls (because the bearers they rest on are actually in mid-air and not directly supported by the base at all).

There is one immediate reason why our installers will NOT build on an uneven or unlevel base - the parts will not fit properly leaving gaps in the building, doors and windows wouldn't even open unless remedial works were carried out on site (our installers do not carry specialist woodworking equipment with them in order to do this) and glass may break if the frames are not installed in a true, square and level wall - all of which means both we and our customers will  not be happy with the "finished" building.

We do NOT ever recommend using "packers or shims" under the building - the installers do not carry "packers" with them nor would we ever recommend this as a long term solution for a bad base.

Looking slightly longer term, if the building is built on an uneven or unlevel base then although the windows and doors may work initially, over time your buiding will settlte down to the levels of the underlying uneven/unlevel base, meaning that your doors and windows may start to bind and locks will not align (there is only around 3mm of clearance on a door or window sash, so a base that has an undulation of over 4mm means they will definitely not work once the building has settled down). The settlement of the building will also start to stress the roofing material which would lead to the roof eventually leaking.

Although customers would be very disappointed if the building cannot be installed on the pre-arranged day/s and may try to persuade the installers or our office staff that it should be installed (just because there was another building on the base beforehand, this does not mean that it is still true, flat and level - the base could have easily been out of level or uneven when originally laid or possibly it may have moved, settled or cracked over time), the fact of the matter is that we cannot do so for the reasons stated above no matter how inconvenient to all involved.

However our installers will always try to suggest various solutions to you, which may involve extra costs, but then you can be sure that your building will last for the long term and that you will be happy with the result.

Q. I can't decide whether to lay a concrete base or use a wooden base
A. Both methods are valid as long as they are done correctly:

Simple checks BEFORE mixing and laying your concrete-
The way to check whether a base is square is very simple - measure each diagonal, if they are equal then the base is square. 
Stretching a string line between the corners also ensures that each edge is straight.
The hardcore should be kept at least 200mm away from the shuttering (especially on a slope where there are tall edges) - this ensures that the concrete goes right up to the shuttering and encases the hardcore. This then effectively builds a strong solid wall right down into the ground - too many people hardcore right up to the shuttering and when the shuttering is "struck" it exposes the hardcore which falls away and makes a void under the edge of the concrete and leaving it very weak.
 
We also sell a timber base kit - we use recycled plastic posts which are concreted into the ground and all timbers are then bolted to these above ground level, so no timber is in contact with the ground. The plastic posts will never rot and they also act as a damp proof course as well to protect the base timbers from rising damp. This method saves a lot of time and effort if your site slopes because it is much easier and quicker to carry lengths of timber and plastic post to your build site rather than barrow loads of hardcore and concrete, especially if it's a long way, hsa steps, steep slopes or difficult access through a narrow and bend path (or even through your house). You can see this here - https://www.hortonsgroup.com/log-cabin-sales/log-cabin-timber-base-kit/raised-timber-base-kit-for-log-cabin
 
There is a 3rd option for bases which is to use interlocking plastic grids - what isn't obvious is that you cannot just lay these onto the ground without any prepartion. They require a sub base (scalpings, MOT, Type 1, etc which need to be compacted using a vibrating plate to exactly level - if this is not level then your plastic grid will also not be level) underneath them to make sure that they will remian strong and stable long term (especially through the winter months when the ground may become wet and soft and therefore your base may start to sink in various places). We do not recommend this type of base for large and heavy buildings such as log cabins. 

Log cabin aftercare

Q. How will hot weather affect my building?
A. Extremely hot weather during summer can lead to extreme movement.

 
Basically it says that for softwood timber (which is what we use for our timber buildings), will shrink 1% across the grain for every 4% drop in moisture content within the timber. 
 
The article also states that softwood timber can change size by up to +/- 3mm (-3mm in summer and +3mm in the winter) on a standard 150mm board width from its mid-range moisture content (our timber is kiln dried to between  15 - 19% at the point of manufacture) but measurements taken from our showground buildings during very hot summer preriods have shown as only 8% moisture content , leading to a further 2mm of shrinkage. Therefore the average 150mm board is currently as much as 5mm less across its face, leading to excessive movement in wall logs (a log cabin could be as much as 80mm shorter during these periods than their average height), cladding (used on framed buildings), floor and roof boards:
 
Log cabins - there are an average of 14 logs to the top of a typical door frame. Our tolerance allows for 45mm of movements which is ample for normal UK weather (allows each log to shrink 3mm). In an extreme heatwave this tolerance is tested to its limit with a slight chance of small gaps appearing. The building is still structurally sound and will return to normal once the weather abates.
 
Cladding on framed buildings - Our shiplap cladding has an 8mm rebated depth (ie the boards overlap each other by 8mm). Again, extemely hot and dry weather conditions test this overlap to its limit such that there is only minimal overlap between the boards. The boards should not be removed and re-fixed close together because when normal weather resumes these boards will swell up to more normal sizes - if they are fixed too close together, they will simply push themselves apart and buckle away from the wall (the least point of resistance).
 
Roof & floor boards and general tongue & groove boarding - Our tongue and groove boarding also has an 8mm rebated depth (ie the boards overlap each other by 8mm). Extreme hot and dry weather conditions also test this overlap to its limit such that there is only minimal overlap between the boards. The boards should not be removed and re-fixed close together because when normal weather resumes these boards will swell up to more normal sizes - if they are fixed too close together, they will simply push themselves apart and buckle up (the least point of resistance). Please refer to 13.7 here regarding floor boards - https://www.hortonsgroup.com/conditions-of-use. If the weather is hot and dry when installing your building, it is also wise not to clamp the roof and floor boards too tightly as they will inevitably swell a little when the weather returns to normal such that they could buckle (even a heated building does not normally reduce timber to below 13% moisture content, extreme weather can reduce this down to as low as 8%).
 
Rest assured that the timber will revert back to its average manufactured size once the weather normalises and in turn increases the moisture content within the timber.
 
The above is not withstanding that timber will always move summer to winter as a matter of course, which is why cracks, splits, wanes and warps are always a possibility, especially in the summer months. These, again, will moderate once the summer months have passed.
 
NB - If your building has threaded rods inserted through the log corners (and possibly elsewhere if a large building), then the base should not be oversized but flush with the external wall faces. This is because the cabin will settle down (a lot in very warm weather) which leads to more of the threaded sticking out of the bottom of the logs than when it's first built. The rod should be allowed to extend down as far as required unobstructed (possibly up to 100mm in extreme cases, ie a lot more than the standard 45mm high bearers) - if this is not allowed to happen, the roof may be lifted off of the top of the log walls which is hard very to repair. 

Q.What modifications can I make / adjustments do I need to make to my log cabin after installation? *IMPORTANT*
A. Log cabins are built without the use of a vertical framework which would hold the walls at a set height. They are composed of horizontal logs which lie on top of each other and are taller during the autumn/winter. This may also mean that the walls could move in and out of exactly level and plumb - the cabin may be exactly level when installed but then settle down and be slightly out of level, but then also move back into level during the winter or summer months. This is part of owning a log cabin - the walls will definitely move from season to season, but this does not compromise the structural integrity of the building.
The walls are usually 17 logs high and each log can absorb enough moisture during the /autumn winter that they can each easily swell by over 1mm, so the log cabin could well be 17mm higher during the autumn/winter.
Log cabins will take approximately 2-3 weeks for the initial 'settling down' but will take a full year's cycle (Spring, Summer, Autumn & Winter) to fully settle after construction, where the logs could move substantially and the height of the building will reduce by at least 30mm. In most cases, this will cause the door and/or windows frames to move to some degree and therefore causing the doors and/or windows to bind slightly. You can rectify the problem by altering the adjustable hinges to re-align the door and/or casement.
The 'settling down' MUST be allowed to happen without obstruction. This means that you must not fix the window or doors frames into the surrounding logs so that the logs are 'free-floating'.

The coach screws fixed through the slots in one end of each of the wind braces may need to be re-fixed in the middle of these slots once settlement has taken place (not too tightly as this will stop any further movement and could cause issues).

You must not nail or screw the door and/or window frames into the logs. You must not use a gap filler, mastic or thick layers of paint which would 'glue' the logs to the frames. We strongly recommend that you don't fill and paint over any of the internal window or door trim screws as they may need to be removed in order to make adjustments in the future (as referred to later in this answer). If you do need to make adjustments and they are filled and painted over, then there may be no other option other than breaking the trim in order to make these adjustments. Hortons will not be liable to repair or replace these items in such a circumstance.

The consequences of not allowing the logs to move will cause severe problems with the cabin and will result in gaps appearing between the logs either side of the window/door frames.

If your cabin has posts (ie to support a roof canopy for instance), they will have adjustable metal brackets to fix it down to the base. You will need to adjust these with a spanner as the cabin settles down to let the roof come down to match the rest of the cabin and may be necessary to adjust these on an ongoing basis (there are a number of factors that may affect this). If you have a Lugarde building, these adjustable nuts may be hidden by a plinth around the bottom of the posts - these plinths are secured by a screw, so this screw will need to be undone which allows the plinth to be slid up the post in order to expose the nut.

You must not build stud wall partitions within the cabin that are permanently fixed to the wall logs (you  must use sliding fixings or fix through slots), or extend to / are fixed to the underside of the roof (there must be at least a 70mm gap from the top of your studowrk to the underside of the roof and/or purlins) - the cabin WILL settle down and therefore gaps will appear between the wall logs, or in the worst case, the studwork framing may even lift the roof off of the cabin causing severe damage to the building. Further severe problems can occur if the studwork is fixed to the cabin at various heights (ie, stepping up into the roof void) as this will cause the roof structure to distort - shaped roofs with  hips or valleys will almost certainly leak due to the roof junctions being stretched / distorted (the different faces of the roof will be force in different directions) and breaking the roofing seal at these points.

In some cases, window and door frames may need to be re-squared because of the settling process. You can do this by unscrewing the 2 internal side architraves, re-squaring the frame, i.e. equalling out all of the clearance gaps around the casement/door, temporarily put a wedge in place and then fix a small packer in each corner to stop lateral movement. Then remove the temporary wedges. You must make sure that the packers aren't so tight that they will stop the logs moving up and down because they still need room to move.

If you have an insulated roof, the ceiling boards can shrink after installation, especially in a heated building (more so if they get wet  or damp prior to, or during installing them), which can lead to gaps between the boards once they dry out again. These boards are installed in such a way that they can be gathered back in again by simply pushing them together from either end of each roof bay and extra boards introduced into the celing structure as required - always leave a small expansion gap if doing this in case the boards swell again (the gable coving may need to be unscrewed and removed in order to slide new boards in, then replaced again afterwards).

The same principle applies to the floor boards - our floor boards are supplied as kiln dried to between 16 - 19 percent moisture content, but they will always move according to the moisture content in the air (outbuildings are rarely heated to the same amount as a house, and therefore the timber is subject to more movement than in a house.This is caused by the variation in air moisture content - the colder the temperature, the more likely it is that the ambient air will be damp. Hence damp the corners commonly found in unheated/derelict houses)....

a) If the building is going to be heated, then generally floor boards will dry out and therefore shrink a little - hence the reason why nearly all old buildings have gaps between their floor boards. It is possible to use floor board clamps when fitting in this situation - but be warned - if the building is not always heated and the air moisture content within the building increases (in the winter, for instance), then the floor boards will swell and potentially buckle because the standard expansion gap will not be enough to take up this amount of swelling, and in extreme circumstances the floor will need to be re-laid.

b) If the building is not going to be heated, then they will swell during the winter months, hence the reason for leaving expansion gaps around the perimeter (as stated in the instruction guide). In this instance, it is not wise to use floor board clamps.

The floor boards should ideally be allowed to acclimatise for a number of weeks inside the building before being fitted, thereby limiting some of the initial movement that may occur. However, this isn't always practical, and the person fitting the floor boards will have to use their own judgement when fitting them. This is especially true if the boards get wet or damp prior to fitting them - they will swell accordingly and if fitted before being allowed to dry out, this will definitely lead to gaps appearing between them once they dry out again (see previous question above - How to fix the floor boards in your log cabin).

If you have requested Hortons to install your building, please also see point 13 in our t&c's here https://www.hortonsgroup.com/conditions-of-use

If the building has been supplied with Georgian bars for the windows and doors, these will not be installed unless you have requested the building to be factory painted as they need to be painted before being fitted, otherwise the unpainted sides against the glass will be visible through the glass (not ideal). Therefore these will need to be installed by the customer after they have painted them.

If your cabin has threaded rods inserted in the log ends, then these will need to be tightened as the cabin settles down initially - just finger tight is fine (the cabin as always moving up and down with the seasons, and so there is no point using a spanner as it will automatically tighten again in winter anyway). Be sure that the rod ends are clear from any hard surface underneath them as they must be allowed to move - if it is getting close then they should be cut accordingly (with a hacksaw or grinder).

Q.Do I need to paint or treat my log cabin after installation? *IMPORTANT*
A. Timber treatments must be applied to the exterior of walls (must be waterproofing), the interior of the building, including the ceiling and to all exterior fascias, trims, windows and doors. You must ensure that all joints between the wall boards are thoroughly painted (paying special attention to working the paint into all corner joints) such that a waterproof seal is formed between the boards, there should be no breaks in this seal around the external faces of the building - in extreme weather conditions, wind pressure can drive rain through timber joints, be they vertical or horizontal, and cause dampness inside your building. We advise that a flexible paint is used to allow for any timber movement without breaking the paint seals between timbers. All treatments must be applied in accordance with the manufacturers directions. Do not use emulsion internally as it will flake and crack and absorb air moisture to dis-colour into what looks like a damp patch.

Q. Can you move a log cabin once it has been built?
A. NB: This reply applies to log cabins only.
It is possible to move a log cabin BUT the following factors will affect the ease of doing so:

  1. the size of the log cabin;
  2. the configuration of the building, e.g. if you wish to re-configure doors and/or windows; and
  3. the construction of the base.

Please call us to discuss and we can give you some general advice as there may be many other variables that will affect your particular requirements.
You should also contact your installer for specialist advice.

Services installation (electrics, plumbing, etc)

Q. Is it easy to install electrical wires and plumbing into a log cabin?
A. Yes. You will need to follow some rules, as below:

  1. Hortons do not carry out any electrical works (1st or 2nd fix) - any electrical work must be carried out by a qualified electrician.
  2. As with window or door frames, the logs must be allowed to move freely in a vertical plane (fixing in a horizontal plane is not an issue because timber will not shrink or swell along its grain), therefore if you are using conduit this should be through slots rather than solid fixings to ride up and down within the bracket), ideally you should use pipe conduit fixed with saddle brackets (not fixed too tightly) as this will allow the conduit or pipe to move within the saddle brackets- just make sure that the conduit or pipe is at least 50mm shorter than the wall (if it is the full height of the wall) as the cabin could easily settle down by this amount (conduit is very strong and could stop the logs from settling causing gaps in the wall or in extreme cases it could even lift the roof off the building). Nothing should be fixed such that it runs across a window/door frame and then wall logs in the same run.
  3. Lights should be fixed to the purlins and not the t&g roof boards, otherwise the fixings could puncture the roofing above. It is not recommended to use inset downlighters if the roof is insulated and theoretically has a wide enough void to fit them within for 2 reasons-
     

    a) They are usually quite hot when switched on with nowhere for the heat to dissipate

    b) The bottom layer of roofing is designed in such a way that it is free-floating in a horizontal plane (external buildings are subject to extreme conditions which can cause these boards to shrink (in summer when it's warm and dry) or swell (in winter when it's cold and damp) a lot more than you might expect, if fixed permanently they could swell and buckle or shrink causing gaps. They are free floating to allow for periodic corrections to be carried out very easily- they are installed with expansion gaps at either end to allow for expansion, or if they "gap" then it is very easy to push them back together without taking the roof down and starting again.

  4. The easiest electrical installation method is to fix the distribution board in a corner of the cabin and run a tail down the corner in order to run 1 ring around under the floor and bring tails up wherever a socket is required (if the cabin is a twinskin then the cavity can be utilised for this), then run another tail up the corner from the distribution board in order to lay another ring around the ceiling for the lights with a tail hanging down for the light switch (not forgetting to allow for the expansion gaps as mentioned above).

Additional flexible joints and "swan necks" need to be used in all vertical water pipes to avoid stresses and strains which could result in leaks and/or floods.

NB - If the vapour barrier (roof, walls or floor) is penetrated in order to feed wires and pipes (or anything else) through, it is VERY IMPORTANT that it is then sealed up again. If left as open gaps, it is possible for air moisture, water vapour or steam (if in a kitchen area or bathroom) to enter into these areas and condense thus causing timber discolouration, mould or rot. Water vapour can travel a long way within voids before condensing, and can sometimes seem like another independant problem but is in fact related. It is very simple to seal around wires but all to often neglected, causing major problems much later in the life of the cabin.

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