The Zen 3 is the largest cabin in the Zen collection. It features a spacious interior, as well as a large partially covered veranda to the side of the building. This shaded area can be used to sit out in all weathers and relax as you enjoy the view of your garden.
Like the Zen 1 and 2, the cabin has been manufactured with 28mm cladding, with thicker options available at an additional cost. It also comes with a high quality roof and floor, both of which are built with 19mm tongue and groove cladding.
The cabin benefits from great natural light thanks to the tall glazed window and glazed double doors. Single glazing is provided, though you can upgrade to the thicker, more secure double glazing if you prefer. The doors are also protected with a mortice lock and key.
One of the signature design elements of the Zen range is the flat roof. It comes with a very gentle sloping design that is barely noticeable. This helps with water drainage, protecting the roof from rot. A 10 year warranty is supplied with the cabin for great reassurance.
You will need a lot of space available to erect this beautiful cabin. It also requires treatments in order to protect it throughout the seasons.
What we rate
Large side veranda
10 year anti-rot guarantee
Glazed wide double doors
1 tall glazed window
28mm thick cladding with thicker options available
What we slate
Comes with a high price tag, though the cabin does offer extremely great value for money.
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How We Rate It
Longevity Of materials9/10
Ease of installation6/10
Value for money10/10
Let's Take a Closer Look...
Belonging to the Zen collection, this Zen 3 cabin is the largest in the range and it is classed as a large summerhouse. According to the Waltons specifications, it is primarily designed as a home office. However, it could also be used as a place to unwind or an entertainment area. The building is actually split between an interior space and an outdoor veranda. The veranda could be used for additional storage or as a place to sit and relax. If using it as storage, keep in mind that wind and rain could still get into the veranda even though it is partially covered. So only weatherproof storage such as garbage bins, should be kept here.
Roof height – 2.23m
Eaves height – 2.15m
Door height – 1.89m
Door width – 1.52m
Veranda depth – 2.30m
Overall width – 5.74m
Overall depth – 2.84m
The most significant difference between this and many other cabins is its width. Measuring 5.74m, it’s a huge building that won’t be suitable for smaller gardens. Keep in mind that this width isn’t all internal space. It also includes the outdoor veranda. The actual amount of internal width is 2.31m. So it’s actually quite cosy inside.
The doors are another unique measurement compared to a lot of outdoor buildings. Measuring 1.52m wide, you are given fantastic access into the cabin, allowing you to get bulky furniture and equipment into it without difficulty. They are also pretty tall so you’ll be able to walk right in without worrying about hitting your head.
Not only is this a wide cabin, it is also pretty tall too. You can’t really tell from the picture, but it amounts to 7’4”. Overall these are pretty impressive measurements and they ensure both comfort and convenience.
Roof and Floor
Thick 19mm tongue and groove cladding is used on the roof and floor. This is pretty standard for log cabins as they are designed to hold pretty heavy furniture and various types of equipment. What is different about the entire Zen collection however, is the flat roof. It gives the cabin a very modern look, helping it to stand out against the mainly traditional competitor cabins. It can’t be seen very easily, but the roof also slopes a little.
This is to ensure that rainwater doesn’t collect on top of the building as this could cause rot and other damage over time. A heavy duty mineral felt is included, though it does have a fairly lightweight design. We’d estimate it lasting no longer than 2 years so it could be a good idea to upgrade.
Cladding and Frame
Like the other two models in the zen range, this one is manufactured from 28mm pine tongue and groove cladding. The pine gives it a wonderfully light, chic design. What’s great about the 28mm thickness is that it doesn’t necessarily have to be upgraded – especially if you are planning on investing in the extras such as the insulation pack and double glazing. However, if you do have the funds available, upgrading to a thicker cladding will boost its strength, security, insulation and security. Your upgrade options are 34mm or an extra-thick 44mm cladding. More about these is explained under the customisation options of this review.
As the thick pine timber uses tongue and groove cladding, it fits together really snugly. The tongue is basically a slot which features at one end of the panel, whilst a groove is located on the other end which the slot simply clicks into. Once slotted into place, the panels interlock to provide brilliant weather resistance. It isn’t as prone to warping like overlap is, but the panels do have a built in gap which allows for slight movement in the timber. So if moisture or heat do affect the wood, it won’t be problematic for the cabin’s overall structure.
Thick framing is used as you would expect, but the corner joists and chalet connections are worth highlighting. These are clearly visible on the exterior of the building and not only are they used to give ultimate stability, but they also help to give the cabin a more stylish appearance. Large support beams are also used for the veranda.
Treatment Requirements and Warranty
The cabin comes with a 10 year anti rot warranty, though you will need to take measures to ensure the timber is protected against the varying weather conditions. This means maintaining adequate treatments. Treatment application times vary depending upon the type of cladding and the type of treatment used. As this cabin is constructed with exceptionally thick timber, it doesn’t have the same treatment requirements as a thinner tongue and groove cladding. If you use a spirit treatment after assembly and then every 2-3 years, this should be adequate enough to keep its weather resistance in tip top shape.
Doors and Windows
Similar to the Zen 1, the Zen 3 comes with 1 tall, openable window and glazed double doors. The glazing on the doors isn’t panelled so they filter in unobstructed light. They have a particularly wide design which makes transporting large items such as a sofa, gym equipment or office desks, a breeze. They are also really tall so there’s no chance of banging your head on the way in or out of the cabin. What’s really great is the lock and key built into the door. This ensures they don’t just stay closed in windy weather, but they also stay secure from thieves.
The tall window also doesn’t have panelling and it opens from the bottom. This allows a fantastic amount of air into the building and encourages excellent ventilation. So in the hot sticky summer months, the cabin will still be comfortable to use. Both come with 4mm single glazing, but you can add double glazing for more security and insulation. More about this option can be found in the customisation section.
Security and Privacy
You couldn’t ask for a more secure cabin. The cladding is virtually unbreakable, especially if you upgrade. Then there’s the high quality built in lock complete with key. The fact the lock is actually built into the door, rather than fastened on the top, ensures it cannot be easily removed. There are ways to make it more secure such as upgrading to the 16mm glazing and investing in the 44mm cladding. However, the security it features as standard is already pretty impressive.
As sold, the cabin doesn’t give you a lot of privacy. The window is tall and easy to see through. As the doors also come with glazing, every part of the cabin can be viewed from the outside. The good news is you can add curtains or blinds to prevent people seeing into the cabin when it isn’t being used.
The Zen 3 comes with the same customisation options as the 1 and 2 variations. You can add thicker cladding, better quality roofing materials and upgrade from single to double glazing.
The cladding options are really good. Personally we think the 28mm thick cladding that comes with the cabin as standard is fantastic. The logs are thick and solid and already provide an excellent amount of insulation. However, if you truly want to maximise the building’s comfort, there’s also a 34mm cladding or 44mm cladding thickness available. Out of the two, the 44mm cladding is obviously going to provide the most benefits. Whilst it comes at a pretty hefty cost, it does offer something the other two options don’t. Built into its walls is a double wind tunnel which stops any drafts from getting inside. You could consider this an essential upgrade if you’ll be using the cabin to work or relax in during the winter.
Like all of their buildings, this Waltons cabin is supplied with free heavy duty sand felt. What’s disappointing about this however is that it is exactly the same thickness as the felt found on standard garden sheds. Due to the quality of the rest of the building we would have expected the roof covering to also provide fantastic weatherproof benefits. You can see from the included felt that it isn’t overly strong and will likely only last 1-2 years at best. So we would suggest upgrading to the superior felt. This is the most affordable customisation option, yet it will make a dramatic difference to the roofs longevity. It is offered in either olive green or charcoal and it has been expertly constructed with fibreglass. This is incredibly weather resistant and won’t wear down over time.
The other roofing option you have is ArmourShield Shingles. They look and act just like the roofing tiles you see on homes, but they come with a self-adhesive benefit. They are very attractive, though as the roof is flat we feel it would be a waste investing in this technologically advanced covering. The superior felt will provide plenty of longevity and water resistance benefits and is much cheaper.
The last customisation option is the glazing. If you go for the 16mm double glazing option, both the doors and the window will be upgraded. Noise reduction, insulation and additional security are the main benefits of upgrading. Therefore the cost of this upgrade is actually giving you great value for money.
Let’s start with the most expensive extra first. Solar panel kits are offered as a natural way to power the cabin. Whether these would come in useful very much depends upon how you plan to use the building. If turning the cabin into a home office, you will need some kind of power source to use computers, printers and any other electrical office equipment. You will also need lighting.
The great thing about these solar panel kits is that although they are pretty expensive to purchase, they do offer long term cost savings. This is because they supply power to the cabin via natural renewable energy. The panels charge up throughout the day via the sun’s rays. It doesn’t have to be particularly sunny, it just needs daylight. This means you have zero running costs to worry about. As they also do not require connection to the mains, they are a lot easier and safer to install. It is worth taking a look at each solar panel kit. Some are a lot more powerful than others. There are also roof mounted and freestanding panels to choose from. The free standing panels have more flexibility in where they can be installed, though they are more costly.
Another extra you might not need, but which can be useful is the Garden Building Eco-Quilt insulation kits. Two packs are available, with one offering 30 square metres and the other offering 60 square metres. Obviously the main benefit of adding insulation into the cabin is that it makes it warmer and more comfortable when the weather is cold outside. It will also help to keep the cabin cooler in the summer, preventing heat from being absorbed through the roof. You can install it in the floor, walls and roof of the cabin, Though with the 30 square metre pack you won’t be able to insulate all three. Whichever length you choose, they both have an exceptional 6 layers of thermal wadding, a reflective foil layer, breather foam and all tools and equipment needed to install it.
Your last customisation option is the Waltons Home Installation Service. A lot of customers choose this as it really does take the stress out of trying to erect such a large building. A team will show up sometime after delivery of the cabin and they will erect the building in a safe, professional way. After it is erected, they will also clear up so you literally have no work to do. It is expensive, but it guarantees the cabin is built properly and it really saves you a lot of time and hard work.
So, How Does It All Stack Up?
Even though the roof felt included with the cabin is pretty weak, it still doesn’t detract away from the fact that this is one impressive building. Ultra-thick walls, a modern design and plenty of space both internally and externally, this is one super quality cabin.
Longevity Of materials9/10
There’s no doubt about it, this cabin is built to last. It does need some treatments to maintain its natural defences against the weather. So this is the only thing which stopped us giving it 10/10. However, we especially like the thickness of the tongue and groove floor. If maintained properly this is a building you will benefit from for decades.
This rating is for the interior space only. Keep in mind that there is also a fairly large veranda included, adding a good amount of external space. The cabin itself would make an ideal home office and will comfortably fit a desk, shelving, small sofa and other small to medium size pieces of furniture.
Ease of installation6/10
We’d definitely recommend using the professional installation service. It may not be the most complicated log cabin to build, but it is heavy and it will take a long time to erect. Though the instructions are pretty simple, it’s still a lot easier to pay for the installation service. It’s a lot of money, but it ensures you can just relax and enjoy you brand new contemporary building.
Value for money10/10
Whether you decide to stick with the standard version of the cabin or you choose to upgrade, it still provides fantastic value for money. It’s an extremely durable and tough building and it looks impressive in the garden. The treatments don’t need to be applied annually as long as you use a high quality preservative. All in all, as many customers will testify, this offers plenty for your money.
Final Thoughts: This very large cabin gives you both indoor and outdoor space to work, exercise or simply relax. Its partially covered veranda is the main feature of the Zen 3. In the summer months you can sit out and relax in the comfort of the shade. It benefits from quite a few outstanding features such as 28mm cladding as standard, a rigid 19mm tongue and groove roof and floor, large glazed double doors and a unique flat roof. Thanks to the strength of the pine cladding used, treatments do not need to be applied every year, but it will still need adequate treatments to protect it against the weather.