Insulating a Log Cabin

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When it's time to rechink your log cabin, make it last.

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We purchased a partially vertical lob cabin in the summer of 1996. The cabin was built in 1982 and had been simply chinked with fiberglass insulation stuffed between the logs, which needed to be replaced every few years. The builder had never found a way to effectively seal the spaces between the vertical logs.

The cabin is located 60 miles north of Fairbanks, Alaska. The summer temperatures can soar to the high 90s’F, while the winter temperatures can drop to -60°F. We needed to effectively rechink the cabin.

I began by removing all the weathered and damp fiberglass insulation and then rechinked to cabin with good quality salvaged batts of fiberglass insulation. I then measured and cut lengths of 1-1/2-inch fire hose, which had been discarded by the forest fire fighting service as unusable. The fire hose was nailed in place with galvanized roofing halls ove the insulation between the vertical logs.

This work did take a lot of cutting and fitting-laid flat, the fire hose is two layers of rubber encased by two layers of canvas-but it did go quickly.

It’s been two winters since the work was completed, and I can tell you that there has been no deterioration of either the fiberglass insulation or the fire hose. Recently, the cabin was inspected by a representative of the local weatherization program. He said that he had never seen a log cabin that had been chinked in such a manner and the work appeared to be very satisfactory. He felt the chinking could last for 10 to 15 years. This method of rechinking with salvaged material is practical and cost-effective, particularly when compared to available commercial products.

–Robert Kallio
Fairbanks, Alaska

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