Log cabins and summerhouses – is there a difference?
10 January 2019| News| Mareike Eckhoff
One of the decisions that you need to make when choosing an enclosed garden building is whether it should be a summerhouse or a log cabin. However, a lot of people don’t know the difference between the two and think that the terms summerhouse and log cabin are synonyms. It’s hard to blame them for this, as summerhouses and log cabins are, in fact, very similar and the difference between them lies mainly in their design and the construction system that’s used to build them – log cabins are built using the signature overlapping corners where the logs are stacked on top of each other, while many different construction systems can be used for summerhouses – for example Lugarde uses both the Prima-system and the Pro-system. To help you distinguish between summerhouses and log cabins, we’ll take a look at the main differences between them in this article, so keep reading if you’d like to find out which one is more suitable for you!
Shape and construction system
As mentioned in the introduction, the main difference between log cabins and summerhouses is the construction system that’s used for building them. Log cabins are almost always constructed using the eponymous log-cabin construction system that uses overlapping corner connections, which are a defining feature of their appearance. Because of this, log cabins will always be rectangular or square in shape. Meanwhile, summerhouses can be built using various construction systems, and the best manufacturers develop their own patented systems to improve the functionality of their summerhouses and make the assembly easier. Due to this, summer houses can have various shapes – not only square and rectangular but also pentagonal or octagonal. That can be considered an advantage, as it makes summerhouses more versatile than log cabins. However, the log cabin construction system has other advantages, like the increased strength of the corner connections, which means that they are sturdier and more durable.
Wall thickness and size
Wall thickness is a characteristic where neither one of these garden building types really has the upper hand, as both summerhouses and log cabins are usually available with different wall thickness options. For example, at Lugarde we offer our garden buildings with a wall thickness of either 28 mm, 44 mm or 68 mm. The 68 mm option provides greater wall thickness, which can be important for several reasons. First of all, a greater wall thickness means that your garden building will be more stable and durable, making it feel more like a proper house than a garden shed, which will help you comfortably host guests in your garden building. Thicker walls also make these garden buildings very suitable for insulation and insulating the log cabin will allow you to enjoy it throughout the whole year. Last, but not least, greater wall thickness allows the creation of larger buildings, which is perfect if you’re looking to extend your living space or you require a large amount of storage space. Meanwhile, if you require a smaller garden building that will only be used for relaxation in the warmer months or for storage, you can choose wall thicknesses of 28 or 44 mm, which will be perfectly sufficient for your needs.
When it comes to size, there are, however, some differences between log cabins and summerhouses, as log cabins can usually offer more space than their counterparts. Of course, both log cabins and summerhouses are available in various sizes, and it is possible to find large summerhouse designs as well; however, when people require a lot of usable space from their garden building, it’s a lot more common to choose a log cabin. Meanwhile, summerhouses are usually the go-to option when people require a compact garden building that can fit into any space.
Many people only associate log cabins with their classic rustic design, with an apex roof and large overlapping logs. However, nowadays log cabins come in many designs and variations in addition to the original look. While summerhouses still offer more variety including various designs of modern summerhouses and classic summerhouses, log cabins can provide multiple design options as well. In fact, most of our log cabins are made from the same materials as our summerhouses, with the only difference being the overlapping corners, instead of the straight corners used for summerhouses. Modern log cabins also offer various design options, including different roof types and even sliding glass doors.
Of course, summerhouses are even more versatile, offering excellent design possibilities as well as the option to choose a pentagonal or octagonal garden building. For this reason, summerhouses are perfect for compact gardens or gardens with an irregular shape, where increased design variation is crucial. And another slight design advantage of a summerhouse is the possibility to have an apex roof, which isn’t usually available on a log cabin – they are preferred by some people because the roof shingles provide an option to choose the colour of your roof.
It’s also important to remember that the best manufacturers also offer the ability to create a bespoke design, allowing you to design a summerhouse or a log cabin that’s perfect for your garden.
As we have already established, the differences between summerhouses and log cabins are mostly found in the smaller details. The same also applies to their construction processes, as they are quite similar but there are some slight, but significant differences. For both of them, the process starts with preparing the foundation of the garden building, which has to be flat and level. After that, the process is continued by laying out the wall sections or logs as well as the foundation beams – it’s important to make sure that the groove points downwards and the tongue upwards, so that the next row can be attached to it. After that, the wall sections or logs are built up layer by layer, and that’s where the main difference appears. While for log cabins the cross section is placed after building up the walls, which creates the overlapping corners, for summerhouses the corner post must be slid onto the corner before building up the walls, as it holds them together. The next steps are quite similar again and continue with the roof construction; how this is achieved depends on the type of roof that you have chosen. It should be mentioned, however, that this description takes the most popular summerhouse construction system as its example, while some manufacturers have designed their own construction systems (for example, Lugarde’s Pro-system which uses an aluminium strip) that might differ from the log-cabin system a bit more.
As you can see, even though they have some slight differences, log cabins and summerhouses are quite similar garden buildings, and neither one of them is necessarily better or worse. Therefore, the decision of whether to choose one or the other mostly depends on the layout of your garden and what you plan to use your garden building for. If you feel ready to choose your garden building, check out our range of log cabins and summerhouses.
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