Anyone live in a log house?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by miclew, Jun 19, 2005.

  1. miclew

    miclew Well-Known Member

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    We are buying a piece of property up in TN and we want to eventually build a log house. We are trying to do some research on it so that we will be well-informed. We do not want to do any of the work ourselves. We want it finished to the move in stage. There is a local builder in the area and we have been inside their model and spoken with them.

    Is there anything that I need to watch out for or that I really need to know? Is there a book you can recommend that will tell us everything we need to know before we do this?

    michele
     
  2. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Buying a log home can & is a trying experience for many. No book out there will equip you with the knowledge you need. Knowledge such as this is only available from the school of hard knocks.

    Generally speaking, first time log home buyers purchase a home from a company with the best salesperson. A wealthy friend of mine told me one should regard their first log home purchase in much the same way as a first marriage (you go into it with the best of intentions, but sooner or later you find out what all the faults are).

    Chalk up your first log home to experience. You'll be far more knowledgeable when it comes to your second one.
     

  3. RenieB

    RenieB Well-Known Member

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    We have lived in a log house for 26 years and we love it. It stays cool in the summer and warm in the winters. Just remember that when you want a change of color you are very limited. Our interior walls are matched boards and the only place we have wallpaper is the upper part of the bathroom wall and below is wainscoating. I had always had a dream of living in a log home in the country even as a grew up in the Boston area I knew someday I would be in the country I wasn't so sure about the log home. But I have it and we are happy here.

    RenieB
     
  4. Chuck

    Chuck Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We just bought a log cabin. We are very excited about it, and have been doing lots of research on them. The first thing I need to do with ours is get the exterior re-stained and sealed.
     
  5. idahodave

    idahodave Well-Known Member

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    I live in a log house, have added an addition, and built a log garage with loft and I love the buildings. I think a log home needs more attention over the first few years after construction. Some adjustments for settlement, a second coat of stain are a couple a things a conventional home wouldn't need.

    Check with your insurance company.....in some places log homes are expensive to insure

    Look over http://www.loghomebuilders.org/kit_log_homes_horror_stories.htm
    for other folks problems


    Find a contractor that's built (at least) one before yours

    Dave
     
  6. nodak3

    nodak3 Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We had a contractor do a Pre-way square log kit house for us years ago, and we loved it. Dust was much less of an issue for us than my brother's round log, and seemed to insulate better. Just pick a good reputable kit company and a good reputable contractor FAMILIAR WITH LOG CONSTRUCTION. And enjoy!
     
  7. affenpinschermom

    affenpinschermom Well-Known Member

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    We have lived in log homes both in the U.P. of Michigan and now here in Ky. We have loved it, however, here in Ky. if I were to build again, I probably wouldn't use log. I had never experienced, nor heard of carpenter bees and they have been a real problem here. I would check out the area of Tn. you are moving to and see if carpenter bees are a problem there.
     
  8. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

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    miclew,
    We are in the planning stages of building our log home. After years of research, we are finally ready to start building!! Yipee!
    Some things I've learned from research-
    ~Be wary of any claims that say that log homes are cheaper to build or are maintenance free. Both claims are still floating around out there and it's malarkey.
    ~Check out several log suppliers because the best value for you will depend on where you live and what type of logs you are looking for--so don't believe any blanket statements that say that "XYZ company is the best value".
    ~If any log home builder or milled log supplier tells you that 'you don't have to worry about settlement because our logs are dry' or 'because we use a special method of construction'--run away fast! Wood moves, shrinks, swells etc and you have to plan and build with that in mind.
    ~If you are purchasing a 'kit' then make sure you check out not only the company but also the sales rep you will be working with. An honest,knowlegable rep can make a big difference.
    ~If you are going to have someone else build your home--beware that a bad builder can turn your logs into a nightmare. I think someone pointed you to Log Home Builders.org - check the site out. And keep in mind, 90% of the horror stories cited there are a direct result of incompetant and/or shady builders combined with niave homeowners. Arm yourself with as much knowlege as possible and find the best builder you can!!

    Some resources for you:
    Jim Cooper
    Schroeder Supply (A couple of books available here are really good-even if you aren't building yourself-B.Allen Mackie's 'Building With Logs' and Monte Burch's complete guide to building log homes.
    Log Home Reports (A 'consumer reports' for log homes)
    Also, check out this forum:
    Log Homes on the Internet (sometimes the debates can get a bit heated on this forum, but the pros there are really helpful)

    Best of luck with your project!!
     
  9. GoatsRus

    GoatsRus TMESIS

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    Ahhh yes....carpenter bees! They definately are here in TN. They're something that we were never told about. It doesn't matter if your house is log or just has wood eves, trim etc... they will get it. My neighbor had a rental cabin in Gatlinburg and they sustained $20K worth of damage from Carpenter bees. Apparently it's not something the rental companies point out or make a habit of checking on when you pay them that 40% fee. The bees love soft wood so beware of pines. They come out twice a year here in TN. Early spring as soon as it gets warm and again in late summer, early fall. We spray all our fascia boards and eves with diazinon (sp?) or some type of chemical as soon as we see the first bee. You have to spray every week until they leave (I think they stayed about 3 or 4 weeks this year). They won't chew the boards that have been sprayed. They don't seem to bother the actually logs, just the fascia boards and eves. If you do find holes, you'll need to dip cotton balls in diazinon or other chemical and stuff the balls into the holes. Putty over the hole with wood putty. Keep in mind that carpenter bee holes make a right hand turn, so you'll need to make sure you get the cotton in there good. The chemicals will kill the eggs she's laid and closing up her hole prevents her return. I'm sure you'll find a lot of useful information on the internet. The preventave spraying has helped us so far each year and is your best bet against keeping your home safe.
     
  10. miclew

    miclew Well-Known Member

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    Ahhh yes....carpenter bees! They definately are here in TN. I have been reading the horror stories on that website that one of you recommended. FRIGHTENING! I am especially concerned about the chemicals used in the preserving of the wood.

    And the carpenter bees, OH MY!

    Maybe dh and I need to reevaluate.

    michele
     
  11. leprechaun

    leprechaun New Member

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    Enchanting Glen of Cloongallon.
    Log home? The first year or so you might want to use bug bombs.
     
  12. sidepasser

    sidepasser Well-Known Member

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    Hi,

    most people here use WD40 to deal with their carpenter bees, just spray the hole, bee drops out and dies, plug up home with wood putty. Preventive measures are everything from wood sealant to motor oil mixed with transmission fluid. Actually it is used motor oil mixed with a bit of transmission fluid - now don't get your panties in a wad, I didn't say it was environmentally friendly or good for you, just said they use it to keep the bee and termite population movin on...most pole barns have the poles soaked in this mixture now that creosote has more or less bit the dust and you can't get cca around here anymore.

    It is a superb wood preservative for outbuildings though, the guy I buy my rough cut lumber from has a building that is now approaching 50 years and has only had this treatment every five years. Strain oil, mix one bottle of the red transmission fluid with five gallons used oil, spray until wood is saturated, leave area to soak the stuff in. After a couple of days, smell is gone, wood is now a gorgeous reddish brown and no bugs...

    that's an old Alabama sawmiller's recipe for keeping bees out of anything that isn't store bought preserved.

    I use mineral oil mixed with eucalyptus oil, citronella oil (not the type you burn in outdoor candle things) and a touch of lavender. I spray it on all the wood in my barn - have no bees or termites, but bats don't seem to notice it too much..

    Take care,
    Sidepasser
     
  13. Quint

    Quint Well-Known Member

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    When I was planning my new house I looked at log cabins and talked to several folks that had them. I was dead set on having one but after talking with folks that had them for years I decided on a conventional stick built house with stained cedar siding and making the interior look rustic and cabin like.

    Several of the folks had trouble with the bottom (and other) logs rotting, all but one had serious settling problems and all but one had extremely high heating and cooling costs. Some had constant maintenance issues with the chinking. They all had problems with windows and doors due to settling. The one guy who was fairly happy with his place had a custom built house with logs on the outside, a thick foam insulation in the middle and another log wall on the inside. The cost was really high and out of my price rage. It looked absolutely gorgeous however. I simply love the looks of a log house and if I had the money to build one and more importantly heat and cool one I would have one in a second. However, I was looking for something that was inexpensive to heat and cool and something that wouldn't have the drawbacks of a log house. As one fellow that owned one and sold/built them for a while told me "There is a very good reason why our ancestors abandoned log construction".

    I am considering a log construction for one of my outbuildings where heating and cooling and settling issues are less important.
     
  14. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    Location:
    Vancouver, and Moberly Lake, BC, Canada
    We built our log cabin 33 years ago. It is a pure pleasure: easy to heat with wonderful wood, open a window on the windward and leeward sides, and top and bottom and the most refreshing evaporative cooling breeze blows thru and keeps you just right -- up to about 90F, then close up and the mass of the logs keep cool all day from the night time cooler temps, etc. We love the log-house-living-temperatures and variations you can get within the space with intelligent management.

    The insulation was moss from the forest, and the chinking is 1/3 sawdust, 1/3 flour, and 1/3 lime -- lasted 32 years. Recently we re-did some -- for a smother finish, still have to sand and grind off the excess in some areas.

    [​IMG]
    I just ground-down and sanded the old grey on the front logs and put two coats of marine spar-varnish on them. The sides of the cabin, I am only going to high pressure, then spray with a sealant-coating-clear.

    And from a post of mine:

    Lots of good luck,
    and have fun,

    Alex
     
  15. ozarkmomma

    ozarkmomma Well-Known Member

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    I would also suggest log siding. We have cedar log siding on our house and it looks great!