Log cabins - a buyer's guide

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We bought a log cabin from Alliance Log Homes and were left with an unfinished, constuctionally flawed building. We spent £600 on a chartered surveyor's report and it is estimated that it will cost £20,000 to make it habitable.

Your log cabin is probably a one-off purchase, avoid pitfalls, learn from our experience, find out what log cabin companies don't tell you.

Go to see a cabin of the type you want to purchase. We bought our cabin on the strength of the company having built smaller office buildings, that they were beginning to build residential cabins and that they needed a show home. We knew that it was the biggest at 14m x 7m that they had done and our expectation was that as it was to be a show home , it would be the best standard possible.

The cabin was left unfinished and in such a state that it had to be re-roofed immediately.Alliance Log Homes are not using it as a show home.

The cabin you view needs to be 1+ years old. Daylight can now be seen through several log joints and the wind comes in through nearly every joint not only in the corners but along the whole length of the walls.

It is assumed that building material in this country is dry to 22% moisture making it shrink and mould free.Do not assume such with foreign wood, in our case much of the building arrived mouldy which has given us an ongoing problem. 

It is of no consequence how good the joints are at the beginning when the wood is wet and  is going to shrink and shrink it will. Some joints on our cabin have left gaps up to an unbelievable 2 inches.

Pay attention to the fixtures and fittings and find out if the quality provided is standard.In the end the only things Alliance Log Homes provided was the kitchen carcase and the fridge with no adjustment in price.Their fitted kitchen was to include an extractor hood but they refused to fit theone we provided to extract.   

The iron mongery on the doors rusted within weeks and  had to be replaced and there are gaps around all the windows and doors. Internal doors do not close, most have swelled but one is too small and just swings.

Pay attention to workmanship. What a company views as top quality might not meet your standards. We had to pay for a firm of kitchen fitters to install the kitchen worktop as Alliance Log Homes could only do strip covered joints.

 The floor boards have shrunk and are not fitted flush to the walls meaning that we will have to refloor the whole cabin. This is after spending £200 on sanding the boards due to their unevenness and a further £200 on wood treatment.

If you are considering a limited company look at their records on line at Companies House.Contracts are meaningless when you are dealing with a limited company with little assets.

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