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17. 03. 2020   ·

Shrinkage of the log house

The shrinkage of a wooden house is a natural process that occurs as a result of drying of the wood and compaction of the insulation. This leads to a decrease in the linear size of the structural elements and the appearance of small cracks during drying.

Shrinkage is calculated based on the type of logs and the material used, and on average it makes 8 percent of the total wall height. During the first year, the shrinking process is most active. It is not recommended to install and run any heating sources during this period, such as a fireplace and underfloor heating. Beginning from the second year, you can turn on the heating in a gentle mode, warming the air to 17–20 degrees. Window and door openings are best covered with mosquito nets during the first year – it prevents insects, birds and snow inside. This way, you log house weathered and dried naturally. Full shrinkage of the house will take 4 to 5 years.

The second method of working with the house during the shrinkage period is more complex and does not tolerate errors, it is important to strictly follow all the rules. Under this method, you can install windows, doors and frame partitions, but leave special gaps for the shrinkage. Internal finishing is done immediately, but the heat must not be turned on. Besides, you need to tighten shrink brackets on the poles and check the sliding elements on the rafters from time to time.

An effective method to minimize log shrinkage is to use winter harvested timber for construction. Logs harvested in winter have higher strength and less weight due to the fact that trees give away excess moisture in fall. Their wood contains less starch, which prevents rotting and insects. The logs harvested in winter are easier to process, with no wavy cuts and with the butt-ends of a light shade that looks aesthetically pleasing.

Wood cracking is an unpleasant consequence of its drying and shrinkage. This can usually be handled by making compensatory cuts in the invisible part of the log. However, small cracks give a log house a natural and authentic effect. If necessary, sealants can be used to hide the unwanted defects.