Interior picture of a Post and Beam home.

Frequently Asked Questions About Building a Log Home

The following are some answers to the more common questions we are asked about our log homes. If you do not see the answer to your questions here, please feel free to contact us.

What are the advantages of building a traditional handcrafted log home over machined?
A handcrafted log building is the only "true" log building. In a handcrafted building, the log is still a natural log, the only alteration being that it has undergone removal of the outer bark and part or all of the "cambium" or inner bark layer. Because of this, each log still possess all of the uniqueness and character that nature intended it to have. Contrast to this a machine-cut piece of wood - mechanically profiled to be identical to every other piece in the building. It is no longer a log, but a factory run piece of lumber that used to be a log. Because of this, the handcrafted log building has an aesthetic advantage - each log of every building is unique and distinctly different from every other - creating a unique building every time.

Building a log home - joining logs Handcrafted buildings also offer structural advantages. Using natural full-size and full-length logs up to 60' long and from 10" to 30" in diameter creates structural integrity using only wood. Contrast this to machined logs - typically 6,8,10 or 12" in diameter and up to 30' long that are nailed or screwed together at regular intervals. Larger, handcrafted logs joined using a "Full Scribe" system are stronger in all stress situations and offer greater design options based on size and length without the addition of costly design, engineering and steel fabrication.

The automated milling process is less expensive than hand crafting natural logs, however the cost of a finished milled product is very close to that of a handcrafted. Why is this? Surprisingly, our handcrafted homes are far easier to assemble, saving considerable crane and crew time at your site.

If you compare performance over time and look at the character and thermal mass that is lost in creating machined logs, you can see why our homes offer better value and a higher resale. Many contractors have told us that handcrafted is often less expensive on the total project cost.

Are log homes a more environmentally friendly building choice?
We believe now, more than ever, a log home is a responsible option when considering environmental sustainability. This is because a log building incorporating good design and maintenance will easily last for several generations, many homes are still in service 60 and more years after construction. This time span more than allows the forest to regenerate the materials harvested to create the original.

Also log homes naturally don't require as much synthetic material as conventional construction, reducing the industrial footprint of pollution, energy consumption and waste.

Log homes can be easier to heat, using less energy, see the below FAQ: How does a log home compare for heating?

What is a 'Full Scribe' log home?
'Full Scribe' refers to a method of fitting horizontal stacked logs to build a tight wall. Each log has a long groove hand cut into its underside, so it precisely and securely nests on the log below. The corners are interlocked with notching to provide a very secure structure. Example 'Full Scribe' floor plans (Tennessee).

What is a 'Chinked' log home?
'Chinked' refers to a method of fitting horizontal stacked logs to build a wall. Each horizontal log rests on the log below; we choose the logs to fit well but there is no grooving along the bottom side. To keep the weather out 'chinking' - a special filler - is applied between the logs, much like a bricklayer uses mortar between bricks. The corners are interlocked with notching to provide a very secure structure. We build chinked homes periodically on request.

What is a 'Post and Beam' log home?
'Post and Beam' homes use vertical logs (posts) to support load-bearing horizontal logs (beams), similar in idea to a kitchen table, except on a grand, more complex scale. This creates a robust frame for a home of beautiful exposed logs, leaving many options open for the exterior walls.
  • Post and Beam homes feature logs with their natural round shape and character intact except where they join the floor and ceiling joists, rafters, etc.
  • Many joinery options are available.
  • Structural elements (logs) are typically visible from both inside and outside of the building.
Example 'Post and Beam' floor plans (Selfridge).
Timber Frame home Click to enlarge
What is a 'Timber Frame' home?
Timber Frame construction is similar to 'Post and Beam' except:
  • With Timber Frame, dimensioned lumber (8" x 8" for example) is used instead of logs.
  • Timber Frame typically uses classic mortise and tenon joinery secured by wooden dowels.
  • Structural elements (timbers) are typically visible from inside only and the frame is usually 'skinned' outside with conventional frame and plywood or state-of-the-art structural insulated panels.
The gorgeous soaring roof trusses one sees in old wooden churches are usually Timber Framed — examples of the unsupported spans possible, and the lasting strength.

What is a 'Hybrid' log home?
'Hybrid' homes are a popular combination of 'Full Scribed' and 'Post and Beam.' We put down a few horizontal courses of 'Full Scribed' logs and then build 'Post and Beam' on top. Here is an example photo of a 'Hybrid' log home and a photo of the same 'Hybrid' log home under construction. And here a 'Hybrid' Floor Plan and drawing of the same home (Snoqualmie Pass.)

What is a home with ‘Log Decor’ or ‘Accent’?
‘Log Decor’ or ‘Accent’ refers to enhancing standard frame construction (for example a typical suburban home) with log accents to lend a rustic feel. We do it all, from some simple faux beams for your den to a porte-cochère for a Marriott Hotel.

What type of wood should my log home be made from?
Design and maintenance have a large bearing on how well certain woods perform in extreme weather exposures. Western Red Cedar does well in all settings. It is more stable and has a natural oil content that helps to preserve it. Douglas fir is the strongest so we like to use it for hard working structural elements such as floor and roof beams, although a larger diameter log in cedar will do the job. We compare several log home wood choices on our log home pricing page.

What finishes do you recommend for log homes?
Avoid anything that creates a build-up on the wood surface that will prevent the wood to from breathing. Moisture trapped inside an impermeable finish can cause severe damage.

How can you assure wood quality?
We have independent licensed Timber Products Inspector (TPI) graders on call. If you require, each log can be graded and stamped - certified to meet or exceed TPI standards. The cost is approximately $1,000 per building.

Colorado Log Horse Barn Colorado Log Horse Barn

How long can a log home last?
With good design and proper maintenance the well built log home will serve for centuries.

Are log homes safe in an earthquake?
Because a log building can flex without the structure failing, it is considered a safer building to be in during an earthquake.

How much do log homes cost?
This is a difficult question to answer so we developed a whole page - pricing a log home - on just this.

How does a log home compare for heating?
Handcrafted log home walls have comparable R-values to what you get with standard construction. However we have noted that our homes are often easier to heat than what you would expect from the R-values. There is more to the story — thermal mass. Logs offer better thermal performance based upon its mass.



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