“The Scandinavian Weather heavily influences their Log Cabins, as the Cold and Snow dominate the long winters here!”
The Scandinavian weather is quite cold at times, with lots of snow and temperatures well below freezing in the winter! Although the southern extremities of these countries is not far from mainland Europe, they all stretch north a long way, with large areas being inside the artic circle. The hard, long winters influence the log cabins here in 2 mains ways. Firstly the timber here is very slow growing due to the cold and certain species tend to suit these conditions too (we will cover the timber itself in another section). Secondly the design of Scandinavian log cabins has been undertaken to minimize the impact of the hard winters on the users and also to ensure the cold and snow do not create and problems for the building itself. It is the latter aspect we will focus on in this section.
How does he Scandinavian weather impact their designs?
The sub zero temperatures that are prevalent in the winter in Scandinavian, mean the log cabins have to cope very well with the cold. In real terms, that usually means that often quite thick logs (for machined logs) are used, wider than would often be used further south in Europe. The log cabins are usually well insulated too, to keep them nice and warm in the winter. The other components that help keep the cold outside and warm inside, are the windows and doors. These are normally made from sturdy frames and often triple glazed, rather than double glazed. The triple glazing really makes a difference and not only in thermal efficiency, but it also it really cuts out noise too!
Lots of snow also brings its’ own challenges to a log cabin. As the Scandinavian weather frequently features heavy snow falls, the cabins must be designed to withstand long periods of snow. One feature you will often notice with Scandinavian log cabins is their large roof overhangs. This is not cosmetic (although it does look good), but they help to keep the snow away from the log walls, as well as windows and doors. You will also often find large roofs covering the main entrance to the log cabin. Sometimes these will be open but are supported by pillars, but they also like to have deep covered veranda’s or decks too.
The doors themselves also can function differently from other countries. Outward opening doors are more common and this is so any snow which may have drifted against the door, will not fall into the house, but will be pushed away as the door opens. Another thing the snow affects is the roof. This is where the largest amount of snow will settle on the building and snow loadings have to be designed in from day 1. The roof pitch and the strength of the roof will reflect this need and hence dictate the roof design, more than in warmer climates. One other thing you will notice on some Scandinavian log cabins in the use of white trims. White stain is popular here, because in the winter it complements the snow.
The Scandinavian weather means that they enjoy long summer evenings, but also very short winter daylight hours (especially in the north). The sun is also low in the sky and this impacts on the size and location of glazed areas. Ideally you want to maximize solar gain, through using the sun rays for natural warmth, but at the same time you don’t want dazzling either. Also with short days in the winter, the inside of their log cabins need to be cosy and provide an enjoyable place to be in the winter. Sauna’s are very popular in Finland in particular and this can be a nice thing to do in the winter. Hence many Finnish designs will incorporate a sauna.
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