Can Log Cabins Be Dismantled? [Tips To Do It Right!]

Building a log cabin in the woods can be a lot of fun. But when it comes to moving, one question that people have is “Can log cabins be dismantled?”

Dismantling a log cabin can seem like a lot of work. After all, it is only a small house that you will need to take apart and perhaps move to another place.

Can Log Cabins Be Dismantled? 

It is definitely possible to dismantle a log cabin. These cabins are not as architecturally complex or sophisticated as modern homes and are built by placing interlocking pieces of logs one on top of each other. Methods of disassembling a log cabin depend on its size and construction.

In this guide, we will help you find out the best way to disassemble an old log cabin and why you would need to resort to this measure in the first place.

As a person who loves nature and has frequently lived off the land, I own my own cabin which I believe is excellent value for money. I have also had the occasion for dismantling my log cabin in order to move it to someplace else. It is a lot of effort but for various reasons, I think it is worth it. 

Can You Dismantle a Log Cabin?

Log cabins are usually made with interlocking logs like poplar, hickory, or red oak joined together like jigsaw puzzles to form the walls. These woods are not prone to decay, making them great options for the log walls of your cabin, but they may still rot.

As long as there is no warp or rot on the timber, it should not be too difficult for you to dismantle your cabin.

The walls of a log cabin are typically constructed without the use of nails and screws since the timber needs to shift slightly depending on the moisture content of the air.

Since cabins do not usually have plumbing, you shouldn’t have to worry about removing installed piping.

The trickiest part of dismantling a log cabin is the roof, which is the one portion of the log cabin that needs to be affixed with nails, screws, brackets, spikes, or whatever else you used.

Before disassembling your log cabin, we strongly advise that you mark each log so that you can re-assemble the log cabin fast at the new location. To reassemble the log cabin, the wall will need to be built up in layers so that the roof may be attached to it.

How to Dismantle a Log Cabin?

The simplest way to disassemble a log cabin is to remove the roof first and then remove the logs from the top making your way down.

Keep in mind, however, that disassembling a log cabin can be cumbersome and expensive, depending on the size of the building. It may not be the most cost-effective plan.

Be sure to have a trailer to haul away your materials. And don’t underestimate the overall weight of all of those beams, logs, and bricks.

The method that I have mentioned here should only be used for smaller cabins.

Removing the Roof

A log cabin needs to be dismantled from the top down. This means you will need to remove the roof first. This is the most difficult part of taking apart your log cabin.

You will need to remove all the shingles from the roof so that you can get to the insulation. I usually use a tear-off shovel to effectively remove the shingles from the roof. 

Once all the shingles are removed, you can easily access the water and ice barrier and other installations that keep your cabin protected from the environment.

Removing the insulation is easy enough and once you have done that you will only be left with the ribs of the roof. You can easily tear those down.

If you are thinking of assembling your cabin elsewhere, it is a good idea to save as many shingles and as much insulation since they can be reused.

This job can be done by one person, but personally, I recommend that you get the help of at least two people so that you can get the dismantling done in a fairly short amount of time.

Remove Adhesive and Insulation

Your log cabin is not nailed down but it does use adhesives and insulation to keep the logs together and the walls sturdy. 

So the next step in dismantling a cabin is to scrape off all the adhesive and lubrication on the log. If you have plastered your wall, you will also need to scrape it off.

Once all the insulation has been removed from the walls, it will make it much easier for you to remove the logs.

Remove the Logs

To remove the logs, start from the very top of the walls and work your way down, removing the logs one at a time. If the logs have been attached well, you need to knock them apart using a piece of timber and a hammer.

Logs are quite heavy and removing them by hand can be dangerous and difficult so I recommend getting a crane or a bobcat to help you do the work.

Once all the logs have been pulled down, you can pile them all on a truck and transport them to wherever you need.

Note: Before you start dismantling your log cabin, make sure you have all the tools and equipment you need to get the job done in an expedited and easy way.

Are Log Cabins Permanent Structures?

Log cabins are typically made of timber and can be dismantled due to their simple construction. Although They are not necessarily qualified as permanent structures, you may need a planning permission for a log cabin, although there are exceptions

Is a Log Cabin a Temporary Dwelling?

Depending on your preference, a log cabin can be a temporary or permanent dwelling. However, if you aim to live in it permanently, you cannot just make it anywhere. You will also need zoning and building permissions.

It is easy to buy a plot of land and build a quaint log cabin on it; however, you need to be in compliance with all the rules and regulations for temporary structures for your own and other people’s health and safety. 

If you violate these laws, your plan to create a log cabin will be halted and your investments will go to waste.

What is the Lifespan of a Log Cabin?

Log cabins have the capacity to last for decades. A well-made log cabin can last for over 50 years if it is cared for.

There are many log cabins that have lasted for over a century if they have been maintained well and are located in a place that does not have severe weather. 

When Should You Consider Dismantling Your Log Cabin?

Why would you want to dismantle a perfectly good log cabin? Turns out that there are various reasons for that. Here are some of the most common reasons:

Structural Damage

If a natural disaster like an earthquake, thunderstorm, or tornado occurs in the area where your log cabin is, it may have sustained some structural damage. Your log cabin may also fall prey to mold, humidity, and termites. 

In some situations, it would be easier to just simply make some repairs; however, as a free spirit, it might be just the sign you need to move to another location.

Depending on the extent of the damage to the cabin, you may be able to dismantle it, salvage some usable parts, and then move it to another location.


If your cabin becomes flooded due to torrential rain, it may be a good idea to dismantle it and move somewhere else which is drier to prevent further water damage to your home.

Some cabin owners who live near the shore push their cabin up the shore or hill to prevent the water from seeping into their cabin’s foundation and causing serious damage to its structure.

If this is the case with you, it is a good idea to dismantle your cabin and move it someplace more secure.

A New Scene

Some people who have been bitten by the adventure bug, like to try new places to live and may be looking to upgrade their view. If you have a dream spot that you would like to live in, it can be a good idea to dismantle your cabin and move it to a new space.

Transporting a Cabin to a Different Property

You may have bought a log cabin at a different property but would now like to transport it to the property of your choice or your own land. This is one of the most common reasons why people seek to dismantle and transport their cabins.

However, this can also be very difficult and expensive. So make sure you are able to dismantle the cabin properly and reassemble it as well before you get to the job. 

Also, make sure it can be moved successfully before you commit to buying such a cabin.

In most cases, I would not recommend you dismantle and move your cabin. However, if there is a lot of sentimental value associated with the cabin, then you can do it. 

Just keep in mind that it requires a lot of effort and manual work so you need to consider whether you are fit enough to do it. Otherwise, you will need to enlist the help of other people. 

Also, factor in the cost of the tools and equipment that will be needed to make the disassembling possible.

If everything feels right to you, the actual disassembling of a log cabin is not a complex process.

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