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What can go wrong with my BBQ Cabin?

What can go wrong with my BBQ Cabin?

Stuff does go wrong sometimes, so this is to help you understand what can happen, how to avoid it, and what will happen should it occur in your BBQ Hut

While we think they are perfect, and as a rule of thumb, they are, all the BBQ cabins need to be looked after, and sometimes, things go wrong with them.  Most of these issues can be dealt with a little on-going TLC, so in this article, we will speak about the most common and what you can do to help your cabin live a long and happy life.

Setting the scene

Have you bought a car before?  Or a shed?  Or a house?  If so, I am going to bet a large chunk of cash on there being at some point, you will have had to maintain it.  And if you didn’t, it would have, or it did, go kaput.  A BBQ Cabin is no different.  It is a wooden structure that will need to be looked after.  None of the maintaining of your cabin is onerous, but it does need to be done.  And sometimes, parts need replacing.  Just like a car.  While we have done our best to protect against the vagaries of the Scottish weather, it brings the best of us down over time.

Shingle Bells Shingle Bells, Shingle all the way!

Nearly all the time, we never have bother with the shingle.  However, it does happen, and it usually one of a couple of things that will have happened.  Understanding how the work, will help mitigate any issues.  

One part there are sometimes issues, is when we install the cabin, the roof to the pelmet part is shingled on-site.  The shingle has a backing on it, which is taken off, and stuck down.  BUT, this needs some heat to fully bond.  Natural heat though, not a hairdryer or anything more dramatic!  In Scotland at certain times of the year, there is not a lot of this about, so you may have to put something onto this area (like a brick) for a while to hold it down, and let the glue work. It might not look great for a wee while, but it does, has, and will work in time.  Very occasionally there is a bout of amnesia and the backing hasn’t been taken off, but this will be spotted quite quickly as you will see it.  If this is the case, give us a call, as it is simple enough to do yourself to sort.  And then pop a brick on it to keep it down while it bonds.

Occasionally a rough nail may be stuck somewhere, that will have let water trickle in, and start to cause an issue.  As soon as you spot this, let us know as it can be easily and quickly remedied.  

Staining your cabin or giving it a tan!

When you get your cabin installed, it will likely have stain already on it.  This is a great product as it is anti-fungal and great for weatherproofing your cabin.   However, it does not last forever, and you will need to, at the very least, stain your cabin once a year.  You may need to do this twice a year, and only when your cabin is in, will you know.  For example, here at the farm on our show site, our show cabins need a coat twice a year due to the wind and sun exposure they get.  You will know when your cabin needs a tan, because the wood will lighten, and look dry.

When the cabin is re-stained, it will look a little darker than before, but once it dries off, it will go back to its lighter brown colour.  The stain comes in two shades – brown, and clear.  We usually use brown, but if you want to have the option of a lighter staining, then we can mix the two together and stain this for you, or you can purchase both tins and crack on yourself.

Staining is the most important part of looking after your cabin.  It will extend its lifespan, it will keep the wood protected, and it is also a part of your warranty promise.  An unstained and unmaintained cabin will not be covered (and we can tell the difference! We don’t zip up at the back) by us or the manufacturer.

7m and 10m BBQ Cabins at the Royal Highland Show

Moving parts

There are a few moving parts on the cabin, mostly just hinges, so a quick squirt of WD40 and a wash down with soap and water and you should be good to go.


OK, this is one which can be trickier to work out the source, as there are loads and loads of reasons as to what could be the cause.  Sometimes it is something that is within your environment, and sometimes it is something we have done.  What helps massively is firstly, make sure you are using your cabin.  It must be aired and ideally kept with a heat source in it fairly regularly (even if you just burn a fire in it once a fortnight if you don’t have electricity in it).  It might seem a weird thing to say, ‘use your cabin’ but you would be amazed at how many become a large garden ornament!  This is particularly important to do if you live in a damp part of Scotland.  Also, if you do notice damp, please let us know right away.  If it is something we have done (rogue nail for example) then we want to be on that.  If it is something else, then it needs to be addressed asap, before your cabin gets worse, and it costs an awful lot more to sort.

The Lock

This is always a part that can cause confusion. It is always set so that it cannot lock from the outside without the key, to stop you getting locked out of the cabin.  The other reason for the lock being set as it is, is that you use the key to lock and close the cabin.  Please do not ‘slam’ the door shut as the lock will just end up breaking inside, and you will need a new one.

Doors sticking/jamming

Usually if this happens, the door needs a little adjusting as it will have settled over time.  You can usually manage this yourself (please call if you need some advice) or else we can come out, but this will be charged depending on your location.


These are not part of the roof.  They are separate parts and are covered by a different warranty.  If there is a part of your cabin that will need repairing in its lifetime, this will be it.  They have a warranty for 4 years, and on most cabins last well beyond this.  Cabins that are in damper parts of the world, or with damper gardens are the ones that seem to need these a bit sooner.  You can help them ‘live’ longer by ensuring that when you stain your cabin, you stain the underside of these too.

Smokey Cabin

As so many of us are now brought up without fires in our homes, this can trip people up when they first get to their cabin, but we can sort this no bother.  Firstly, make sure your wood is dry, and then dry it again.  Certain woods burn better than others (pine is rubbish for burning, too much sap) so it is worth experimenting with your cabin to see which one burns better in your situation.  Wood absorbs moisture from the air, so if you leave it outside, it will sook up water.  The way to test this is, weigh it, take it inside, and then weigh it in a week.  You will be surprised at how much of a change there will be.

Secondly, make sure you open the baffle fully so the air can get underneath, and if you have a plug, take that out too.  That will be the fastest way to re-create a scene from Top of the Pops from the 80s.  Also, keep the door shut when you first light the cabin until the flame fully catches.

Thirdly, if you are going to use the cabin as a fire pit, we highly recommend that you purchase a fire basket.  It helps the fire to take and reduces the chances of smoke billowing everywhere while the flue heats up.

If all of these have been covered and checked, then the issue is coming from below.  This is more than likely something that has happened after we have installed.  If there is something blocking the airflow, then the cabin cannot breathe, and the fire cannot stay in.  For example, if you do decide to put decking around the cabin, please ensure that there are vents and good airflow built into it.  (And as an aside, don’t butt this right up to the cabin, as the water can ingress here.  Give it space to run away) If you are on a concrete base, make sure that the pipes aren’t blocked or covered.  And mind and take the plug out!


This will certainly be a part that will need replacing.  When will come down to how often you use your cabin and what charcoal or fuel you use.  This is where a fire basket can really help prolong its life.  Also, don’t use industrial strength charcoal, that will burn through it in no time!  We can supply grates for either collection or can be posted directly to you.

Anything else?

We’ve had a good old think and so far, we haven’t come up with anything else.  If there is, then please let us know and we will check and help get this sorted.  We aren’t in the habit of leaving you high and dry and letting you get on with things.  Equally so, if there is an issue, and you think you can sort it yourself, please do!  We are always here to offer advice and support.

As a small business, we do not have the budget of the AA, so cannot operate on a 24hr free call out service.  While the parts of your cabin may be covered under warranty, time and travel and additional materials are not.  It might not be the best news to hear that you have done something, often unintentionally, that has caused an issue with your cabin that will cost to fix, equally it is most frustrating if it is something we have done.  We ask that you are respectful, calm and open when discussing issues with us, as we will be with you.

So now you know all the things that can go wonky, then give us a call or drop us an email to arrange an appointment to see us here in Abernethy, and find out which cabin is right for you.


01738 850203