When buying a log cabin home, there are a few import things to consider related to the exterior of the home. One theme you will notice if you read my blogs is that water is a home’s worst enemy. Most of the defects I find during home inspections are related to water damage. Log cabins, which are made of a material known to be susceptible to moisture damage (wood), are no exception.
When inspecting the exterior of a home, my job is to follow the rain fall from the roof, to the gutters, to the grade, and away from the home. This is usually done in my imagination as I look at the home from a distance unless it is raining during the inspection. When it comes to log cabins, I am especially concerned with how roof and lot drainage is affecting the exterior logs. The following are common areas where I find water damage and decay on the exterior of log cabins:
How To Know If A Cabin Is Designed To Prevent Water Damage To The Exterior Logs:
1.) The finish on the logs has been maintained. The finish on the logs is essential in repelling water, and when it breaks down, the logs become exposed to sun, weather, and water and therefore are more susceptible to decay. If you can spray water on the logs, and the water beads, this indicates the finish is still good.
2.) The cabin’s overhangs are designed to prevent roof drainage from being concentrated onto the logs. The general recommendation is that there be at least a 2 foot overhang.
3). The cabin has gutters, and those gutters are functioning as they should. When gutters are missing, are improperly maintained, or are not sloped or sized properly, roof drainage overflow and overshooting can result. This results in roof drainage being concentrated onto the logs or splashing back onto the logs.
4.) The cabin has proper clearance between the logs and ground and between the logs and walking surfaces such as uncovered decks, porches, and patios.
Buying a log cabin can be very exciting, but they are high maintenance. Looking for a cabin whose owners have properly managed roof and lot drainage in relation to the exterior logs should be top priority on your list when searching for that perfect cabin. If you see any of these details above, you can feel confident that that cabin has been well designed and cared for. If you don’t feel confident in being able to identify these important features, it would be my pleasure to serve you. When you really want to know, contact Adam Duncan of Duncan Home Inspection Services, LLC.