Most owners probably build their log cabins in spring or summer, so it may be several months before they get to really test them out in the winter months.
I built mine in the summer but prepared it for winter with 150mm of celotex insulation in the roof and 100mm of foil backed celotex under the floorboards. The cabin also has double glazed windows and door.
Only now that I’m experiencing my first winter in the cabin, can I truly judge whether it is cosy enough. Today in December in the UK there is snow on the ground and it must be around 1 or 2 degrees. The heating I have in the cabin is a 2KW oil-filled radiator. I have a rug down which covers most of the floor.
So, is it warm enough?
Warm enough to sit comfortably at a desk and work, I would have to say no. There are no draughts, its just that there is a cold spot six inches above the cabin floor. The air above six inches is warm and gets warmer to the ceiling. The air in the bottom six inches of the cabin is cold and never gets warm, meaning cold feet and a feeling of discomfort.
This is my first winter in the log cabin, so I guess it’s a learning process. I have read about electric underfloor heating, perhaps combined with some extra layers of underlay and this seems like a good solution to eradicate the cold spots.
Other than the floor area, the rest of the cabin is fairly cosy. With the radiator it heats up pretty quickly in ten minutes or so full blast and then maintains the temperature with the radiator on the half economy setting. So all in all not bad.
Of course there is a big difference in temperature depending on whether the sun is out or not. My cabin has three more or less south facing areas of glazing, so any sun on those does warm up the cabin inside.
When compared to the cost of heating the whole house, I take some comfort from knowing that heating the log cabin can be done at a fraction of the cost.
What About Damp?
I have not experienced any issues with damp in the log cabin. There is a damp proof membrane underneath the slab base so that gives peace of mind in terms of rising damp. You have to watch out for damp caused by condensation; opening the windows on dry days or when the windows are steamed up (almost never) is the answer.
Can you Safely Keep a Computer in the Log Cabin over Winter?
I have experienced problems keeping the computer, a desktop PC with flat screen and printer, in the cabin over the Winter. Everything works fine until the night time temperature falls below freezing. At temperatures of around minus 10 the hard drive would not start in the morning until slowly warmed up near a heater. My LCD screen packed up; it developed a fault which caused it to crash after it warmed up (maybe it had got used to the cold, who knows). The solution was to leave a heater on in the cabin with a frost setting on the thermostat; an oil-filled electric radiator. This prevents the temperature falling below freezing inside the cabin and protects the computer equipment. The other alternative would be to use a laptop computer in winter and bring it inside at night – problem solved.
Bottom line, winter in the log cabin in the garden beats a snowy commute hands down.