Kit homes can offer a cosy, long-lasting, environmentally-friendly and cost-effective alternative to other building methods. They are usually (but not always) made from sustainably-produced timber and have been available for a long time. If you are considering buying a timber home kit, here are some important points to consider:
● Where does the wood come from? The further north the trees grow, the harsher the climate. Growth is slower, and the wood is more dense and less susceptible to bugs and shrinkage.
● Is the wood pre-treated, and if so, with what? You don’t want to be living with out-gassing toxins or compounds that might trigger allergic reactions.
● Will you need to add a protective coating to the outside surfaces every year? Painting a house is hard work, and non-toxic wood treatments are not cheap. Check what’s involved beforehand.
If you are satisfied that you can deal with any questions raised by the above, you may be heading towards a beautiful, functional living space that is suprisingly affordable too. While the name ‘log cabin’ might bring to the imagination a tiny hut in the woods made from huge round trunks, the reality is very different. Many companies will work with you to make your own design a reality. It’s also not uncommon for a team of builders to accompany the kit to the site so that the basic structure is put up quickly and efficiently by people who know exactly what they are doing. Joining the construction team is often encouraged, too.
If your kit is not timber construction, you will need to satisfy yourself as to its eco-friendly and non-toxic nature before going ahead.
Specialising in environmentally-sustainable bespoke buildings, the Benfield ATT Group is an award-winning UK-based group of companies specialising in timber-frame products, engineering, manufacture and build. The group includes Simply Self-Build, a leading UK self-build housing company specialising in complex ‘green’ projects. They also extend or convert existing homes using the ‘engineered timber frame’ technique.
Border Oak specialises in hand-made oak frames, but also designs and builds a range of oak and structural insulated panel homes incorporating a wide range of eco features.
Timber-built (using renewable sources) modern eco homes incorporating fresh-air heating system, solar micro-power generation capabilities, deep insulation, and secure design. The designs are guided by the ‘Code for Sustainable Homes’ – Code level 4 as standard and upgradable to level 5.
Featured on ‘Grand Designs’ on Channel 4. All timber is from Finland, and thus has grown very slowly. Erlundhouse offer custom design and planning services and can work from a sketch of the floor plans (with dimensions) together with pictures from magazines etc of any particular features you would like to incorporate.
FinEstAm Log cabins, an Anglo-Estonian family run enterprise. They produce log cabins, log houses, timber frame houses and much more.
Fleming Homes are timber framed (sourced from well-managed forests) with eco features such as sheep’s wool insulation, ground source heat pumps, solar panels and wind turbines.
Manufacturers of wooden houses and mobile homes in Scandinavian log. They also make self-build kits for vacation log cabins, log houses, holiday lodges and more.
Scandinavian Log Cabins Direct are the UK distributor for Jorntrahus of Sweden, a family business which has been building log homes and log cabins in the far north of Sweden, close to the Arctic circle, for 70 years.
Log & Cedar Homes are the authorised dealers for Linwood Homes of Canada. All homes are bespoke and built from (north american) western red cedar, a ‘durable’ wood described as being ‘generally suitable for use as external cladding without preserative treatment or a water-repellant coating’. They use panelised walls and a post-and-beam roof construction.
Norwegian Log offers a comprehensive range of holiday lodges including one-bedroom weekend hideaway cabins, multi-storey holiday homes and 3- and 4-bedroom family homes. They also have a bespoke design service.
Potton offers many eco packages and can recommend the most practical and cost effective way of achieving the required level of the Code for Sustainable Homes for your chosen home design.
Scandia-Hus makes timber-framed homes with triple glazing and high levels of insulation.
Scandinavian Homes Ltd source their wood from the heart of Scandinavian forests to produce homes, saunas, guest accommodation, home offices, garages and more. As well as having a range of plans available, they also offer a ‘custom design and build’ facility.
Scandinavian Log & Timber Works produce handcrafted log and heavy timber homes.
Strongwood Log Homes UK design, supply and build log homes.
TimberHome LLC manufactures log houses using the skills and traditions that have accumulated in Estonia and Norway through many centuries. Their ‘budget’ model, advertised on-site (plan shown, left), is a log house kit of 75sq.m for €30,000…
Timberville Ltd are dealers for the Finnish Company Honkarakenne Oy who market buildings under the Finwood Oy banner and also the ‘Honka’ trade mark. They design, importat, distribute and construct log homes, mobile homes, holiday lodges and public buildings.
WeberHaus homes and are all bespoke, environmentally friendly, energy efficient timber-framed homes, individually designed and thermally efficient (far exceeding current Building Regulations) using sustainable materials.
Welsh Oak Frame designs, manufactures, supplies and erects the (carbon-neutral) oak frame structure of their kit homes. An oak frame house is usually very warm due to high insulation levels in the roof structure and because wood stores heat effectively.