Should you build your new log cabin yourself, or have the supplier assemble it for you by one of their ‘professional installers’?
At first glance it may seem easy, convenient and quicker to purchase a log cabin and have it installed by the retailer as part of the package. You might also reasonably assume that the ‘professional’ installer would make a better job of the installation than you would. But is this really the case?
In reality the big log cabin manufacturers almost exclusively use relatively small third party retailers to sell direct to the public. These retailers will offer to assemble the cabin themselves by using their own employees, or much more commonly, subcontract the job to third party contractors to build the cabin. The retailer may suggest or imply that the sub-contractor is to varying degrees directly employed; they are not. If you buy a log cabin your contract will be with the retailer only. This means that if anything goes wrong during the cabin build it will be potentialy extremely difficult to get it put right.
Now your installers may do a brilliant job building the log cabin, and that’s fine. However, they may not. Don’t forget, the installer’s priority is to get the log cabin erected as fast as possible. Plainly, a quick job is not usually a good job. If things do go wrong the log cabin retailer can state that it’s not their responsibility to put it right, but down to the third party assemblers. You are then into a complex contractual dispute with little hope of a positive outcome, and, in any case, the damage to your new log cabin and peace of mind will already have been done.
When it is delivered to you from the manufacturer, the log cabin arrives (or should arrive – check it before signing) in pristine condition stacked in its constituent parts sealed in plastic wrap on a pallet or pallets. The manufaturer will supply a long list of recommendations and instructions on how to install the cabin; failure to follow these may result in the manufacturer’s guarantee becoming invalid. However, as has been stated, the priority of the installer will be to knock up the cabin as quickly as possible and get onto the next job.
The fastest way to build a log cabin is to put to one side the manufacturer’s screws and work instead with a nail gun – no pre-drilling and careful screwing, just fire and blast away with the nail gun. ‘Professional’ builders just love to use nail guns for speed and ease. Firing nails into soft wood splinters and punctures the logs and timbers making the final finish a splintered, smashed mess which looks bad and will cause the cabin wood to deteriorate faster. If you pre-drill pilot holes and screw the timbers with precision it will take longer but the finish will be far superior, the cabin will last longer, the floor will not creak, children will not get splinters and you will actually be able to dis-assemble the cabin, eg to make modifications, repairs, or to re-site it. Put a cabin together with a nail gun and you’ll never get it apart undamaged.
Caution: log cabin retailers don’t tell you the above! Their desire is to offer a cheap (fast) assembly service. This is not the same as a good assembly.
Also bear in mind, log cabin supply is a one shot deal; they won’t be relying on repeat business – who buys a second cabin? Will they even care what you think of the final finish? They’ve had your money and move on to the next punter. Its easy to mistakenly think that by getting a log cabin ‘professionally’ installed the result will be better than if you ‘the amateur’ did it yourself.