Anyone have any experience with Dunster House log cabins?

Soldato
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I am looking at getting a log cabin from Dunster House, they are 15% off which is an added bonus.

This one: https://dunsterhouse.co.uk/premiumplus-carsare-w3-5m-x-d2-5m

I was planning to pick the 45mm thickness with double glazing to get something that will last a bit longer. Probably superfelt for the roof as most of the roof is out of view on the rear side of the log cabin.

I have a quote for a 2.5M x 3.5M concrete base which has come in at around £700. This includes digging out the existing turf and taking the excess away. The guy who has quoted me does all the bases for a nearby garden centre so I am pretty confident it will be a good job, if not the cheapest option.

Interested to hear any personal experiences that people here have had!

The Dunster House installation costs are a bit nuts so I am looking at putting it up myself, enlisting some friends and family along the way. I am not necessarily that 'handy' but I can do basic things, and these appear to be giant puzzles that require a bit of lifting and careful placement.

I have read some interesting reviews around Dunster House, and read a bit online. It's definitely not all rosy stuff but I assume they must shift a volume of these things and will wind up with some disgruntled customers along the way. Some of the bad reviews did say the product itself is fine, they just had issues with getting the install done by Dunster House.
 
Soldato
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I don't think they are too bad compared with the general log cabin market place. My local garden centre wanted £3.5k for a slightly smaller version at the same wood thickness with double glazing.
 
Soldato
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@HungryHippos with regard to the base I would ask him to specify what he is installing like 100mm of type 2 hard core, damp proof membrane and 150mm of concrete so it's clear what you're getting. At that size and my suggested thickness one imagines he's mixing the concrete himself because many concrete companies have a minimum charge of 5m3 which would be circa £600-700 by itself. If he's mixing himself be sure he isn't skimping.
 
Soldato
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I have not been back in touch with that guy about the base yet to get more specifics.

I worked out I'm not even at 1 m3 of concrete, so I would assume any concrete base would be mixed on site no matter who did it?

I have gone out for some other quotes as well though, had one guy come back to say it would be £680 which is slightly less, his work looks good. He said it would be 100mm of concrete, I can add a DPM for £40, and/or rebar support for £80 (2 x rebar mesh). The ground in my garden gets a bit boggy in the winter, he suggested that the DPM may not be required (the log cabin sits on pressure treated bearers) but the rebar support may be helpful if the drainage isn't very good.

He would not assist in installing the cabin itself though, neither would the other guy. The cabin build doesn't look too bad as it's basically a massive IKEA kit, with some assembly required. Not sure how much would be a fair price to pay for an install of it, a single competent person could probably put it up in a day or two.
 
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Can't comment on dunster, I ruled them out when we did ours early this year. Went with Tuin in the end https://www.tuin.co.uk/

Even if you dont use Tuin, they have some really good install vids

So here are some of my learnings. As I wanted to place by the boundary I needed one of the restricted height ones. We got the https://www.tuin.co.uk/Uddel-Modern-Log-Cabin.html very nice

Now the mistake I made with the install was I ordered the special shaped foundation beam, which draws water away from the base. All well and good, but with the restricted height you do not have a solid bottom beam all the way round, so you have shaped foundation which tries to lean the cabin outwards. would be 100% fine with a solid bottom plank, but not when the door frame sits "on the ground"
This meant I basically built the cabin, then took it back down again and fixed the base before putting it up again. Lesson learned! What i did the second time was screw the door frame down which helped massively.

When you build these things you have to pretty much use no fasteners, the logs all need to move around. I also built an insulated floor into ours and reinforced a lot as we are using for a gym.
I had help the first time to build, but I took it down and rebuilt on my own, it takes slightly longer but is possible.

Building the walls and roof beams, approx 3 hours
Putting the roof on, about 2-3 hours
Doing the floor, about 6 hours

Realistically you should be able to build the cabin in a day if you crack on early and don't stop too much. plenty of space helps so you can lay out all the pieces in order, then its as you say a jigsaw.

Issues we have had..
A few logs, and most annoyingly the back top one do warp a bit in the sun/rain. I haven't checked last few weeks since its been treated, we left it a couple of months to weather in before treating.
The front top also warped (these ones not interchangeable) so in the end I too the decision to screw it to the one below. This still allows the logs to move, but restrict one direction a little. So sign of any issue doing this, but its a calculated risk.
Building the door frame was a pain. Not sure why you had to do this, but the window came fully assembled.
We do have a small gap in the small logs between the window and door. If you really pushed me, my suspicion is the window is slightly oversize, somethings is just nto quite right in that area, it also jams when it expands so you cant open the handle.
The roof leaked! Its just normal overlapped felt, but the issue is you then nail downwards, and with a tiny slope the water was seeping between the nails. i fixed this with some resin sealant. next year or one after I plan to put a false roof on the top, just adding some insulation board, and then some rubber roofing so the felt will be a backup thats all.
 
Soldato
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Hi,

Went with a Dunster house 5x3 which gave us 15msq internal space. slightly under as we opted for double skin full insulation, My wife and I built over a week in June when we have the heatwave!!

The roof was a massive ache to get done in the heat, and the roofing insulation panels weigh quiet abit.

Was pretty easy to build even for novices, we had a concrete base put in by a local builder as we live Bedford way and the ground is all clay.

Once built i left it two weeks and got on with having the electrics and network installed, and have just given it its first coat of stain.

The instructions are poor in places, but we got it all done :)

Its now in use as my wifes office.

Expensive but would use dunster house again, there were some warped planks, but i just went the bedford branch and they were able to swap them out.
 
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Don
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I've got a dunster house cabin and it's excellent. Picked it up with 20% off after Christmas. Mines the 45mm log with insulated floor and roof and it stays warm enough with two single electric radiators. I bought a different floor and used the floor boards to build a wall and used the left overs for skirting. Their internal walls are pretty expensive so I did my own plus they couldn't separate out like I wanted.

Installation was easy, with everything going together well, just take your time and follow the instructions. The instructions are quite tricky as they are universal so you need to go through and identify what's yours.

I used dimplex Q rads intelligent heating and they are great, you can set a minimum temperature and they turn off if someone leaves a door open.

I bought a PremiumPlus Vanguard Log Cabin W5.9m x D4.0m £3,854 including insulation, felt and timber treatment.
 
Soldato
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sorry to bring up an old thread. im looking into the possibilities of one of these log cabin builds to use as my gaming room. currently using the spare room and my daughters are sharing a room. but they want their own rooms so im going to have to move my setup. I do have a loft but i think it would be alot more expensive to convert this for use other than storage!?

so my questions if some of you guys dont mind.

1. With the concrete base, how are you stopping the bottom rotting out. Ive seen a few builds on youtube of people using piers and then DPM on top , this obviously leaves an air gap underneath. How would you prevent the moisture from getting in if the cabin is sat on the concrete base?

2. how has the log cabins held up over the winters/summers we've had?

3. i plan to do all of the work myself (Bar electrics) is it cheaper to buy the pre insulated cabins or to buy one and then insulate from the inside myself? looking through similar threads, using the 44mm cabin and insulatin with 50mm celotx and then 12.5mm plasterboard.

4. have you had much condensation inside the cabin?

5. the cabin inside would be simple, desk setup and a small sofa with TV. need to do a bit of planning as i wouldnt have a big shed so not sure if it would all fit. althuogh some rough guestimation says it would.

obviously any help is greatly appreciated from those who have done it already.
 
Associate
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sorry to bring up an old thread. im looking into the possibilities of one of these log cabin builds to use as my gaming room. currently using the spare room and my daughters are sharing a room. but they want their own rooms so im going to have to move my setup. I do have a loft but i think it would be alot more expensive to convert this for use other than storage!?

so my questions if some of you guys dont mind.

1. With the concrete base, how are you stopping the bottom rotting out. Ive seen a few builds on youtube of people using piers and then DPM on top , this obviously leaves an air gap underneath. How would you prevent the moisture from getting in if the cabin is sat on the concrete base?

2. how has the log cabins held up over the winters/summers we've had?

3. i plan to do all of the work myself (Bar electrics) is it cheaper to buy the pre insulated cabins or to buy one and then insulate from the inside myself? looking through similar threads, using the 44mm cabin and insulatin with 50mm celotx and then 12.5mm plasterboard.

4. have you had much condensation inside the cabin?

5. the cabin inside would be simple, desk setup and a small sofa with TV. need to do a bit of planning as i wouldnt have a big shed so not sure if it would all fit. althuogh some rough guestimation says it would.

obviously any help is greatly appreciated from those who have done it already.

I don't have one, so cant speak from experience but you must heat it. My brother in law built his own from log lap, insulation and plasterboard etc - spent thousands on it as his main office to work from home. He ended up getting a radiator plumbed in to come on with the boiler. Electric heaters are expensive and obviously theres the danger that if one fails you won't be in there to notice it. He said without heat it still gets major issues just as a detached house would with no heating.
 
Soldato
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I don't have one, so cant speak from experience but you must heat it. My brother in law built his own from log lap, insulation and plasterboard etc - spent thousands on it as his main office to work from home. He ended up getting a radiator plumbed in to come on with the boiler. Electric heaters are expensive and obviously theres the danger that if one fails you won't be in there to notice it. He said without heat it still gets major issues just as a detached house would with no heating.
thanks,

im wondering if my loft is the most obvious route. i dont want it to be a bedroom, will be used for storage and my computer. we have lighting in it, it wouldnt take much work to insulate and plasterboard. i know an electrician who could run some wiring for sockets up there.

anyone know if that would require planning permission?
 
Soldato
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OP here, I didn't go log cabin route in the end. Instead spent the money on landscaping the garden a bit.

Log cabin isn't a bad shout but I had a couple of reasons for not going ahead in my scenario;

Reason 1 - A lot of spiders where I live, I could imagine the log cabin being a fantastic spider home, then I'd have to burn it down.

Reason 2 - Going to the effort of leaving the house specifically to go to the cabin, and having to make sure both were securely locked at all times would have probably been a pain.

Reason 3 - Would need heating and cooling potentially, in height of summer probably too warm, in height of winter too cold. If running power I would consider air-conditioning as that can do both heating and cooling :)

If you can afford to do it the loft is probably a better idea. Even better if you can get proper steps going up to the loft. Electrics/heating etc all in the house already. I'd want to make sure your plasterboard seals it well due to spiders! :D

Possibly even better than the loft would be some kind of home extension to add a bit of a study/extra lounge area to your house? This is probably the most expensive one though. Or a conservatory/orangery type thing.
 
Soldato
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OP here, I didn't go log cabin route in the end. Instead spent the money on landscaping the garden a bit.

Log cabin isn't a bad shout but I had a couple of reasons for not going ahead in my scenario;

Reason 1 - A lot of spiders where I live, I could imagine the log cabin being a fantastic spider home, then I'd have to burn it down.

Reason 2 - Going to the effort of leaving the house specifically to go to the cabin, and having to make sure both were securely locked at all times would have probably been a pain.

Reason 3 - Would need heating and cooling potentially, in height of summer probably too warm, in height of winter too cold. If running power I would consider air-conditioning as that can do both heating and cooling :)

If you can afford to do it the loft is probably a better idea. Even better if you can get proper steps going up to the loft. Electrics/heating etc all in the house already. I'd want to make sure your plasterboard seals it well due to spiders! :D

Possibly even better than the loft would be some kind of home extension to add a bit of a study/extra lounge area to your house? This is probably the most expensive one though. Or a conservatory/orangery type thing.


Cheers. The more I'm reading the less I'm looking at the idea of the log cabin. Running electrics seems like it would be a pain due to the location on fuse box and where I want the shed.

Loft "coversion" is seeming like the best option.

I willi between the rafters leaving a 50mm gap between insulation and tiles and use insulated plasterboard underneath. Exterior wall will be insulated much the same way and then plastered.

Boarded out on the floor and jobs a good un.
Still mostly storage but with a desk in the corner.

Our neighbor 2 doors down has a similar setup. They only have a heater in there for the colder months but the amount of insulation will sort it out for both winter and summer. They have a window in there's but I don't need one of them as it's only use will be a few evenings a week.
 
Associate
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Loft conversion is a decent idea, just make sure you have an escape route at all times. Unless you do it properly it's not to fire regs. With no staircase and just a hatch the ladder would need to be left down on the landing (obviously so you can get back down).

Your home would not benefit at all in value from doing it, but that's not why we spend money on things at the end of the day.

Oh and make sure it can still breathe somehow, usually a gap is left at the eaves. If you board it, put a wall vent in the board's every now and again just to make sure.
 
Soldato
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Loft conversion is a decent idea, just make sure you have an escape route at all times. Unless you do it properly it's not to fire regs. With no staircase and just a hatch the ladder would need to be left down on the landing (obviously so you can get back down).

Your home would not benefit at all in value from doing it, but that's not why we spend money on things at the end of the day.

Oh and make sure it can still breathe somehow, usually a gap is left at the eaves. If you board it, put a wall vent in the board's every now and again just to make sure.

I'd love to get a full loft conversion done but I think it would be way too expensive. Just want something cheap and cheerful really. (Not going to be cheap with any route I don't think)

The garden office Is the next most expensive option.

I'm speaking to a guy I know who actually builds them tomorrow. He also does loft coversions so will speak to him about a budget option of that.

The next idea I had would be block back up our under.stairs cupboard and make a little Harry potter office under there. I'm only a 1 screen guy anyways, I have power there, just need internet which I can do super easily. But it's a decorative storage area at the moment so the wife will need some convincing. At the end of the day some compromises need to be made. I've already moved from the 2nd reception/play room to the back bedroom.
Ideally I don't wanna move my office outside but I can see the attic being too expensive.

Everywhere I read it says that I'd need to reinforce the floor joists. All the stuff I have stored up there now weighs alot more than me and my desk
 
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