Log cabins are usually constructed from softwoods including cedars and spruces. Softwoods have excellent thermal qualities, are relatively cheap, and make attractive log cabins. Other wood types are also used in log cabins, each with specific benefits and weaknesses. When choosing a wood to build a log cabin, factor in appearance (the colour and grain), durability (risk of warping), practicality and the wood's reaction to insects and climate changes.
According to Log Home Advisor, white pine is often used for log cabin construction in Eastern areas of the United States. White pine ranges from a white to yellowish brown colour and is relatively lightweight. It has a uniform grain, is cheap to purchase, and is resistant to the dangers of warping and shrinking. White pine also has good thermal qualities, is very strong, and is fairly resistant to deterioration. As it ages, white pine turns to a dark orange colour.
Red cedar is a soft, aromatic wood that is relatively low in strength. It has a straight grain, is practical for cabin construction and shows resistance to decay in bad weather. Red cedar also resistant to the effects of insects and is nonresinous, which makes it ideal for wet climates. Red cedar has good insulation qualities, as stated on the Coyote Log Homes website, but is quite expensive compared to other wood types.
Yellow pine is a hard wood that is easy to use for cabin-building. It is pale yellow in appearance with a grain mould of dark and light. Yellow pine is harder than white pine and contains a high resin level. It is also very resistant to decay compared to other pines, but not as resilient as cedar. Yellow pine is quite cheap and is an excellent choice for constructing log floors, door framing and furniture. For structural log cabin walls, however, white pine is a better option.
Oak is not frequently used to build log cabins, as stated on the Log Home Advisor website. It comes in a range of colours, including pale whitish-brown to deep, grainy reds. Oak is heavy, strong and highly resistant to wet weather and age-related decay. Oak is an excellent choice for log cabin construction, but it can be very expensive. It is also difficult to work with, which means you may have to employ highly skilled labourers to complete the job.
Spruce is mainly used in Northern areas of the United States and Canada. It is a light, resinous softwood with a straight grain that dries out swiftly and retains stability. Spruce is fairly strong and moderately easy to work with for log cabin construction. Spruce is also fairly cheap and durable in dry climates, but it's not very resistant to the effects of decay.