In the sauna we quickly noticed that in spite of our best efforts, it was hardly weather tight. This observation, combined with the very rough (rustic?) appearance of my cabin beams, quickly led us to decide to panel the inside of both buildings. This also presented an ideal opportunity to add a thin layer of insulation and an air barrier.
This project proceeded well in the sauna, halting mostly when my supply of 6″ cedar panelling ran out.
My father repeated the same process in our bathroom when they came to visit, and recently I’ve had the time and inclination to begin applying this to our entire cabin (extended periods of -30 degrees has also gotten me into an insulating frame of mind).
I did a quick test run at the bottom of the stairs to the loft, which also gave me an opportunity to straighten out that wall, which had begun to twist inwards towards the bedroom.
I put up a single sheet, admired my handiwork, and then after a brief discussion with Donna, decided to cut my teeth on finishing our bedroom, a part of the cabin that had been getting progressively colder and colder as time went on.
When I got to the trim around the patio door in our bedroom, I was actually pleasantly surprised to discover that there were large gaps between the logs and the framing of the patio doors! I had forgotten that my father had only added foam to the outside of that perimeter before having to return home, and that the perimeter still had much work to be done before it could be considered “finished” or weatherized.
Luckily I had a few cans of window and door spray foam on hand, and I proceeded to use it in combination with sill gasket to seal up the door essentially air tight. This put me in mind to check the other doors in the cabin, and again I was happily surprised to realize that they too only had a bit of foam on the outside, and there were still large and numerous gaps visible from the inside which I could repair. Having a half can of expanding foam really motivates one to try to find locations to use it up, as it can be challenging to revive a can after it has been started.
With the doors suitably foamed up, I returned to the bedroom and pressed hard to complete it. Which shockingly, I was able to do!
Of course, that night was amazingly warm, with the temperature dropping only to -5, so it wasn’t really a fair test. I think my ambition would be for the cabin to be insulated enough that it only loses about a half or third of a degree each hour that the stove is not running. By my rough calculations, this should let us permit the fire to go out and us go to bed at 20 degrees, and wake up to 16 degrees, which is a manageable temperature to put on a fire and have our first coffee of the day (or tea for non-coffee drinkers like myself…)
I have purchased ten more sheets of 1/2″ foam and still have loads of straps, so I will continue with this project and report back with how much of a difference it truly makes to the overall cabin. Of course, once it is finished, I will cover it with an air/vapour barrier, and then paneling to complete the aesthetic appeal.