Even though logs can naturally store some heat, you may need to consider insulating your log home kit. Insulation might not be necessary for log homes in mild climates or those only used seasonally. However, if your cabin is a year-round residence in a colder climate, insulation is recommended. Insulating walls, floors and ceilings will contribute to the energy efficiency and comfort of your log home.
R-value is something to consider when selecting insulation. R-Value is the insulation’s measure of resistance to heat flow. Common values for walls are R11 to R19 and R30 to R38 for ceilings. Multiple layers can be used to increase protection. For example by doubling the insulation layers in your cabin walls, you can increase the R-value from 16 to 25.
Types of Insulation
Although fiberglass insulation looks soft and touchable, this popular option is made up of tiny strands of itchy fiberglass. Sized to fit between standard floor and ceiling frames, fiberglass is available in batts and rolls. Batts are precut and designed for easy handling of framed areas. Rolls, available in pre-cut widths, are great for large areas.
Pros: Can be DIY and relatively inexpensive.
Cons: Fibers are unhealthy to inhale and not as effective in oddly shaped spaces.
Denim insulation (natural cotton fiber insulation)
Made from recycled scraps of denim, this insulation can be used in the same places as fiberglass. This zero-waste product is manufactured in batts in standard sizes. Unlike fiberglass it doesn’t irritate the skin and respiratory tract and is known for its excellent thermal performance.
Pros: Eco-friendly, sustainable, better indoor acoustics than fiberglass
Cons: Can cost twice as much as fiberglass
Rigid Insulation is a closed cell, rigid foam board made of a foam core sandwiched between two facers. Sold in sheets, it is often made of polystyrene, polyisocyanurate (polyiso) or polyurethane. The foam core is moisture resistant. It is commonly used in walls of log home kits. It is very effective when placed between the exterior logs of a log home kit and the interior wood siding. Rigid foam board insulation is also appropriate for floors, ceilings and roofs.
Pro: Highest R-value per inch of any insulation available. Lightweight, easily cut to size.
Con: More expensive than traditional insulation
These are just some of the insulation options for log home kits. There’s also mineral wool, spray foam, cellulose and blown in fiber insulation. Whether your insulation choice comes down to budget, eco-consciousness or ease of installation, remember that insulation requirements vary by location so be sure to check with local officials to maintain code compliance.