Winter is coming (no, that isn't a Game of Thrones reference) and it is time to start getting that lovely log cabin of yours ready for the bad weather around the corner. Wooden houses are awesome as they are high value, beautiful, sturdy and a dream home for many. Unfortunately they require a bit more maintenance than the average house does, given the materials used to build it.
Before the snow starts to fall, make sure you have gotten these things struck off your Winter preparation checklist.
Clean The Outside
The first step is always getting the exterior of the house prepared, because it is what will be most impacted by inclement weather. Scrubbing it down and washing off dirt with a hose is a good idea. If dirt is trapped under snow it could remain there all winter, which isn't good for the wood and could lead to damage later on down the road.
You should also clean out the gutters, which can become logged with water and cause the wood to rot through the Winter. Consider getting snap on gauuter covers and an extender that releases the water further from the house. These are an inexpensive investment that will keep you from much costlier repairs or lumber replacements in the future.
For your garden it is worth getting everything cleared and prepared for the next year, such as laying down special soils to heal the soil through the coming months. It may even be a good time to get some landscaping done, as many companies have lower prices during non-peak months.
Clean The Inside
Getting the inside cleaned is just as important as the outside. Why? Think of it as pre-Spring cleaning. Washing walls and windows, getting rid of dust and dirt and just getting everything aired out is an efficient way to prepare for the months you will be spending indoors. After all, you won't be able to keep the windows open in the frigid cold.
This is a great time to get your ducts cleaned, clear out any vents, change your filters, clean the carpets and do other odds and ends that will make your house more welcome and clean.
Look For (And Seal) Any Leaks
There are several reasons to make sure there are no leaks in your house or gaps in the wood. First of all, gaps and leaks can let out precious warm air. If you have been noticing you have been using a lot more air conditioning over the Summer there is a good chance there is a leak somewhere. As the weather gets colder it is easier to find these leaks as there will be drafts in certain areas of the house.
Weatherstripping is an easy way to get rid of the more obvious places where this is happening. Air escapes around windows and doors all the time, leading to a jump in energy costs and a less comfortable climate around the house.
Another problem that may occur is warping in your wood. Log cabins can get gaps, which let in pests and undesirable critters that are best left outside. Fix these gaps as soon as possible, otherwise the problem will just grow.
Spray For Pests
Even if you don't have any infestations that you know of, it can be a good idea to spray for pests before the Winter comes. As the weather gets more cold insects and vermin of all types can make their way into crevices in your home, making nests and take shelter from the winds and rains before it turns to snow. You may not know they are there until there are so many they can no longer be hidden. That is a common story for log cabin owners who end up finding signs of infestations come Spring.
Spend a few weeks laying down traps, poison and spraying. Pay special attention to attics and basements, as well as anywhere you may have found leaks. Spray along the outside as well as they may have not yet found a way into the house.
As Winter progresses you may have to spray again. Wooden houses are prone to certain sneakier pests such as termites, which can eat through your wood and cause damage to the exterior and interior of your house faster than you might imagine. Always be on the lookout for signs of their existence.
Put Up Energy Saving Curtains
If you have weatherstripped, checked and sealed leaks and still want to save energy and keep the house nice and toasty, consider putting up energy saving curtains. These are the thick blackout curtains that require reinforced rods to hang.
They are heavy, dense and don't let any light into the room, making them perfect for days spent sleeping in, or those who have a night schedule and sleep during the day. These curtains also help keep the air inside from escaping so your house stays nice and warm during the colder months and nice and cool during the hotter ones.
If you don't want to go with heavy curtains there is an alternative method. Get regular curtains and put another piece of fabric between them and the window. It isn't the best way to keep in heat as some will still escape through the layers. But that additional barrier will be some improvement to a single sheet.
Evaluate Exterior For Possible Restaining
Every log cabin owner knows that they need to restain their home every three to five years to keep the wood healthy and reduce the risk of cracks, wood warping and chips. Every year before the snow falls you should take a look at the exterior to make sure the time hasn't already come for that new layer of stain.
One thing you might notice is that there are some areas that are more worn than others. This is usually due to sun, rain or wind exposure, which means a section could need staining before the rest. Get this done before it gets too cold, or your risk the wood rotting from the damp.