Log Homes

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by dennisjp, Mar 26, 2006.

  1. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    I have seen several people talking about log homes and would like to help any one I could. I fell from a scaffold a little over a year ago and it pretty much stopped me from working, hard that is. I still can get my firewood cut. But that is a hard days work for me now. It didn't stop my brain from working and it needs something to keep it busy. I have a lot of idea's on building log homes and nearly finished building a sawmill to cut my own logs before I fell, but I can't buy the land I wanted now, so let me help you all build your own. I'll get to mine later. I have been in construction, from drilling wells to home building and welding and fabrication with metal for over thirty five years. Pick my brain and I will be more than happy to help. DJP
     
  2. pcdreams

    pcdreams Well-Known Member

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    Sending you a pm
     

  3. Highground

    Highground Well-Known Member

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    DJP, what state are you in?
     
  4. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    Virgina, and you?//
     
  5. McLeod

    McLeod Member

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    Hello I have a few questions like what is the real cost per square foot for a log home to lockup stage, would you recommend that an amateur try it on their own, and how do you keep the woodpeckers away. That is my starting questions. McLeod
     
  6. chickengumbo39

    chickengumbo39 Well-Known Member

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    I just purchased 20 acres in Colorado and am wanting to do a log home on the property. I'm a total novice at this (although I've been in the building industry in Arizona...I sure don't want to live in a stucco "people coop" ) Looking for any advice and input you have!
     
  7. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    You can build your own saw mill if you think you can build a log house. Even if you don't know how to weld, you can cut everything and tack it together and have someone weld it for you for a couple hundred dollars. Scroungeing parts and an old mobile home trailer frame, which you can get for hauling them off, and an old riding mower with a good motor on it, ( I bought one with an 18 HP electric start engine on it for $ 200.00) you can build one for less than a thousand dollars. If you have standing timber that can be cut into atleast 4-5"x 6" logs (I would really want 6"x 8" min. sized logs, and even larger if you are up north) you have your walls. Floor joist and rafters will take much larger trees, But two or three large oaks will go a long ways when you get it on a saw mill. After you have the foundation in, which is according to what you want, (it could be rocks laid on concrete footing that are only 24"x24"x8" thick or a whole basement.) After that, find out what your doors, windows, paper and shingles, and a water sealer, you will have a great part of the cost for the house and you have 1/2 to 3/4 total cost already. My design uses 1/2" allthread rod every 6', and in all corners, with nuts and washers on top and bottom of each log. As far as the wood peckers go, they are digging in wood to get bugs out. Don't use wood if it has bugs in it. You do need to put something on the logs and all the other wood like Thompson's water seal and there are several out that are a lot better than that but for a house, this isn't a really big cost when you cut your own materials. E-Mail me at dennis_phillips7@yahoo.com and I will get into it better with you. Dennis
     
  8. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    If you have twenty acres, is there any trees on it? If so, I can help.
     
  9. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

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    I have 36.5 acres, 95% wooded with mostly pine and oaks. A log home is a definite for us. What do you think of the idea of a 2-1/2 story walkout basement style. I was thinking of embedding the basement into a hillside. I have already picked out the location and am getting water and electricity run to it and a road put in for heavy vehicles. I hope to get the excavation and basement started this year. I was thinking of three pours on the basement. One for footings, one for foundation walls and the third for the slab. Then the basement walls would be built on the foundation walls with 8x8x16 blocks. A flooring would go on top of that and then the logs on top of that. We are going to use milled quare oak logs for the walls with chinking in between with dovetailed corners. I also want to build a 12/12 roof with dormers for a loft. We also have quite a bit of cedar so using cedar shakes for the roof is a possitility. Total dimensions for the project will be 28'x28' so this should yield 768+768+330 sqare feet.

    Any thoughts?
     
  10. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    ______________________________________
    If someone else has done something,
    you can do it too, if you learn how they did it
     
  11. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    After looking at your listing again, I would say not to use the 8x8x16 blocks. They probably wont even pass code. I wouldn't use anything less than 10 blocks and would rather have 12"s. When I build mine, (Whenever that will be) I am going to use quarry rock and portland cent to lay them. Makes a beautiful basement wall for a cabin style home and they are a lot cheaper to buy. They are easier to lay too, and make beutiful fireplaces, if you want one, but masonary contractors will tell you defferent. If you are going to do it yourself, use rock. If you are going to hire it out, see if you can find some masons needing work and keep your eye on them. Any questions, e-mail me, @ dennis_phillips7@yahoo.com Good luck. Again, I would be willing to camp out there and oversee the job for a very fair fee. It could save you thousands of bucks.
     
  12. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

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    This is a weekend/retirement property so we have plenty of time before we start building but it is well worth planning ahead and talking to others. I will check into the quarry rock. That is not a matierial that is readily available in East Texas so the transportation of heavy materials can often account for half the costs or more. I even had so much trouble with delivery of a small 2-1/2 yard pour of Ready Mix that I purchased a 5 cu ft mixer and trailered in the sand and aggregate and mixed it myself. That is tough work for a 46 year old. :stars:
     
  13. Hoop

    Hoop Well-Known Member

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    Chuck
    I had no idea basements had any place in Texas. I'd want to make absolute certain ALL drainage issues were completely addressed, so that a 6 week continuous rainstorm of biblical proportions would still leave your basement high & dry.
    Oak logs for walls in a log home? I know of only 1 log home company in the US that uses oak logs. I would think oak would check & split FAR too much. Plus, oak generally is a high dollar wood. Personally, I believe oak logs should be exchanged for dollars. Pine is more than adequate. Far easier to wood with.

    You haven't stated how big your logs are going to be. I'd go with 10" blocks just to be sure.

    Dovetailed corners are the best fitting joint for log homes. Do you have a jig for cutting the dovetails? They aren't cheap if you buy one. $1600 or more. You might want to try building one yourself.

    A 12/12 pitch roof will be aesthetically pleasing. They can be technically challenging when you add some dormers. Be sure to vent the roof properly.
    You couldn't get me on a 12/12 roof at gunpoint. I sure am glad its your roof.

    Lastly, the cedar shakes for roofing material. In this area, they were very common in years past. Today, maybe 2 or 3 out of 1000 homes have cedar shake roofs. Some people call them kindling roofs. They last about 15 years or less in this area.
    Lots of work to get from logs to shakes. Riving shakes is a slow process. 80 years ago, people weren't going anywhere. They had the time for such an undertaking. Do you?
    I'm of the opinion that cedar logs should be exchanged for dollars. Dollars that will buy a metal roof or modern shingles.

    Let me add this. What might work fine in Northern Wisconsin may be totally out of whack in Texas. And vice versa.
     
  14. Yvonne's hubby

    Yvonne's hubby Murphy was an optimist ;) Staff Member

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    I have no problem with the overall idea, the walkout basement is especially a good thing. Its some of the easiest square footage you will get. Log homes, done correctly, are the best way to go in my opinion.
    I would recommend downpours in your blocks at the corners to support the weight of those logs above, other than that it sounds good, I have done it with 8 inch blocks with good results. Stone corners are better for strength but harder to seal in a basement setting. Plenty of rebar and full depth downpours about 4 feet both ways from your corners and you should be fine.
    ok, here I see a slight issue that I would do differently, instead of supporting your logs on the floor between the logs and blocks, I would install joist hangers on the top run of block, set the floor just inside the block walls, then your logs will be supported directly on the block. I have seen it done the other way, didnt like the results over time. Using the dovetail corners is the best way I have ever seen. Its worked well for couple hundred years in this area, those old houses are still standing and I have even seen them skid off the foundation during a tornado, but the logs stayed together. I milled only the sides of mine, got a lot of lumber, all my rafters, floor joists etc but left the logs intact on top an bottom. This method gained me a lot of wall height with fewer logs. Its a little tricky figureing the taper but was well worth the effort. I wound up with 1 1/2 story walls (38"inches above the second floor), with 7 logs per wall this way.
    I used a 12/12 roof with an 8ft dormer in each room, this really gains some space in that upstairs. Depending upon what kind of cedar you have, you could have a permanent roof going on there too. I have seen some barns in this area (south central Ky) with white oak shingles as well that have been serving for well over a hundred years.
     
  15. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    I'm like Hoop, what works here may not work there. In Virginia, if you have as much as four foot of back fill against the blocks, you have to go to 10". If the walls are more than 8' high, and you have 4' of dirt, they must be 12". I have contracted , and ran contracted jobs where we had to jack up the house and tear out nearly whole 40 and 50 foot walls,dig out the back fill and relay the walls because they were 8" blocks. Now I will add, each one of these jobs were mostly, in my oppenion, because of pour drainage and the lay of the land, but I DO NOT Like 8" blocks with backfill on them. I have seen way to many cracked walls and the extra cost of tens or twelves is small compared to taking a wall back out in 10 or 20 years, just when you think you are getting ahead and getting up in your years. I did two jobs at a cost to them that didn't put much money in my pocket, just to help old couples out and it still about broke their saving, if they weren't telling me a lie, and I don't think they were. Do it right the first time and sleep happy.
     
  16. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Dennis, that is a generous offer, and I DO have a question.

    Before we build, we will need a bridge over a small creek. Our neighbors had one put in, but it was put in at an angle, so that during a thunderstorm the water rushes out of the pipe and washes away their bank.

    Some contractors do a good job MOST of the time, but just about every contractor does a good job SOME of the time or they do not stay in business for very long.

    The question is, how do I find a contractor who will put in a good bridge MOST of the time, as opposed to somebody who has only done a good job a few times? I expect that just about EVERY contractor can point to a FEW good bridges for me to look at!
     
  17. chuckhole

    chuckhole Born city, love country

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    Basements in Texas? Well here in Houston where we are about 15-30 feet above seal level? Definitely not. But my GPS states that my property is 400+ feet above seal level. The soil samples will tell the rest. I will be sending those in for testing in the next couple of months.

    The logs are 4x8 and the dovetails are already made. I purchased the entire lot for $6700 including delivery. There is enough for 10' walls. I was concerned about the thickness being only four inches but the thermal absorption properties of wood are supposed to make up for this. I also figured that I may also put two inch thick insulated walls inside if this was not adequate. It rarely gets down to 10F during the winter and the real concern for insulation is the ceilings. I will use a ridge vent in the roof to make sure that I do not bake the roof no matter what roofing material I end up with.

    I do intend on placing the walls directly on the sill plate of the basement as you mentioned. I did not state that correctly in my earlier posts. As for the basement walls, I did heavily consider a full downpour with rebar every four feet. What does everybody think of using the 8x8x16 blocks with a stone veneer? And I will also use two inch insulated walls inside the basement.

    As for drainage, I was going to place the 4" field tiles (black pipe with slits) around the perimeter of the footings and walls and backfill with gravel.

    I SOOOOO appreciate the feedback.
     
  18. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    Terri, you can find a good backhoe man by talking to people that has had a home or an addition built recently and talking to them. Ask them, did he waste their time with the machine or did he come, get the job done and leave as fast as possible, >("and do a good job")<.
    Most good backhoe operators have a full schedule and do there work fast, charge a fair price, and move on. If they start thier time when they get there, fiddle around getting the machine off the trailer, and then wants to talk to you and fiddle around, they are stealing your time and according to what the size of the machine is, at $50-$100 an hour it gets your bilfold fast. A dollar a minute or more.
    I don't know where you live and what type of soil you may have, but may need to have the right soil trucked in to put under, around, and on top of the pipe so it wont wash out. That could be why the others washed out or maybe it wasn't packed good enough. Those are the two main reasons they will wash out. I would use a good heavy clay, and if you know there are problems with this in your area, it may not hurt to rent a gas powered tamper to tamp the dirt as it is being put in. If you do this, (tamp it "AS it is being put in) and don't wait until it is finished because all you will be tamping is the surface, pretty much. After the backhoe has put 6" - 12" on both sides of the pipe, have him set his bucket on top and tamp it good, and keep going through the same procces ever 6" to 12" until you finish it up. You can tell by the dirt when it gets firm enough with the tamper. Most opperators will just pack it with the tires but in some places, that just isn't good enough. You see the big rollers on highways when they are building them, and that still leaves bad spot in the road later on. Like the man on TV says, pay me now, or pay me later. That is true nearly anytime you cut corners. I DON"T BUILD ANYTHING< IF I HAVE TO CUT CORNERS. It cost tooooooo much later down the road.
    I have also known people to pour conctere on the rock bed before setting the pipe because the way the rock were laying, it was causing it to wash out, but only once as I can recall. :shrug: Hey, another thought is, how big is the Small Creek, how deep will the pipe be when the road is in, and how much land do you own upstream from it? You may be able to build a pond and put a water wheel up to make your own elecricty. It isn't as hard as one would think. Your road could be tha dam. Makes a beutiful site and a heck of an addition to your property. Check out Mother Earth News on the net for this months mag. Just a thought. Cause I want one bad, lol :bouncy:
    _____________________________
    Anything someone else has done,
    you can do it too, if you learn how they did it.
     
  19. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    A pond would be cool: I will talk to DH about it.

    I do NOT own much land upstream but there may be room anyways, DH would know. I leave anything to do with length to him, LOL.

    Thanks!
     
  20. dennisjp

    dennisjp dennisjp

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    The houses I was talking about earlier had drain tile installed also, but the 8" walls still gave way. They hadn't fell, but they would have with time. It is going to be a walk out on one end, how deep is the dirt going to be backfielded on the other and how long is that wall? I have layed too many block, and I just don't like 8" blocks below ground.