Wanting to build a log type home

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by crwilson, Feb 15, 2005.

  1. crwilson

    crwilson Well-Known Member

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    Ok heres the deal i want to build a really cheap home using as little man made trash as possible, and i get all the free logs i want from my fathers land... I was looking at log homes, but i dont want to build with round logs more like square logs.. My question is do people do this? how thick would the wood need to be if there is no insulation just the single thickness of the wood.. And i live in a pretty cold area Nova Scotia... I love the look of an all wooden home inside and i dont want crappy insulation killing me and a bunch of chemical foams and crap... Im probably going to build a stone and cement foundation under it, and besides some type of roofing and windows, i cant see really what else i will need to complete the basic building..

    What i really want to know is how thick do the walls have to be? and does anyone have experience or a link to this type of building
    Thanks Rick

    Oh yeah Im not gonna worry about building codes and insurance and stuff, so i can build it however i like if it works... It will be off grid on my fathers land and noone will no its there... Im thinking about 35 by 40 or 50 and two story
     
  2. moopups

    moopups In Remembrance

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    Each inch of wood equals about R45 in insulation value at the last time I saw the values, hope this helps you.
     

  3. coalroadcabin

    coalroadcabin Well-Known Member

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    crwilson,
    Here is a link to the log home council's publications:

    http://www.loghomes.org/publications.phtml?catid=8

    Scroll down and you will see a publication on the energy efficiency of log homes. (it's an adobe document) There are also documents on fire ratings etc.

    Just remember that the energy efficiency of any home is only as good as the roof, windows and doors. If your log walls are well built but your windows leak air, then you will be living in a cold, drafty home.
     
  4. KindredCanuck

    KindredCanuck In Remembrance

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  5. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    The R value varies with the spiecies. Southern yellow pine is about 1.5 per inch
     
  6. goatlady

    goatlady Well-Known Member Supporter

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    #1 rule for log homes is to make sure the logs are DRY before building otherwise they shrink and leave gaps in the walls. As far as not worrying about codes are you not going to have electricity and/or water, and sewer/septic? Otherwise you should check on codes. In my county you cannot dig a well or have one dug I should say without a permit, same with getting electricity, even "off'grid" you need wiring wo use a generator or solar. What are you going to do 5,10,15 years down the road when you decide to move on and you cannot sell the place for love nor $$. You just going to walk off and leave all the work, time, and effort and not recoup a dime for your new place? Just wondering.
     
  7. crwilson

    crwilson Well-Known Member

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    I Dont plan on ever moving from there and if i do i would keep it as a camp or retreat.. Its family land, and we will never sell it.. I dont mind not meeting the codes because im doing it all myself, and my government can bight me they suck "canada" as far as wells and septic im going to do it like my grandfather, use a spring well hand built and a hand built juniper septic system. even though he is dead both his have been working for over 40 years without matinence except the occasional trout placed in the well every 10 or so years to keep out bugs. "i dont think i will put a trout in it though" he raised 9 kids that way so it seems to work..
    Another question here.... Do you think 5 inch walls would be enough or should i go with 6 or more?
    Thanks for all your comments and concerns.

    The biggest reason why im doing this is because society has really got me down, and i just quit university and im 35 grand in debt without a degree, i dont want one. And im probably going to get involved in missions in about 4 years and i can just always come back home to my place...
     
  8. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    I haven't built a log home, but having lived quite a few years in the coldest part of Alaska, I've seen a lot of them, both finished and under construction. We actually had the logs to build our own there, but had to move before we could build it. So I have a few thoughts for you. For squaring your logs, a chainsaw mill would work fine. It's not really fast but a lot of homes have been built with them. You want more than six inches thickness. If you were building a tiny cabin, you could maybe get by with six inches, but the larger the home, the thicker the walls need to be if you want to keep it warm. For the size home you are talking about, I would suggest at least ten inches thick would be best. You will need to run caulk or insulation between the logs, and if you have the patience, also spline them. Otherwise, you'll have drafts. Yes, the logs ought to season for at least a year before you do anything other than peel them. If you slab them square before they are dry, they'll do more checking and cracking. I don't know about where you are, but where we lived in Alaska, the grain in the the logs had a lot of twist to it, and would crack along the twist as the logs dried.

    I would strongly recommend that you start with something smaller, MUCH smaller, than the house you described. Are you by yourself, or do you have a family? If you are by yourself, you could manage nicely in a ten by twelve cabin for a year, while your logs for the big house dry. If you have a family, you'd need to make it a little bit bigger, but still keep the initial cabin tiny. It will give you experience working with the logs and building; it will give you a place to live while you work on the big house; and it will give you a guest cabin, work shop, or perhaps a hen house or something, once you are moved into the larger house. It is likely to take you two or three years -- or more -- to finish your 30' X 50' big house. Do as much reading as you can, practice (an outhouse, dog house, the little cabin, a woodshed, or?), perhaps get work with someone doing building and learn what you can from them. As I said, I haven't built a log house (yet), but I have done a lot of other building, and it takes time to learn all those skills.

    Kathleen
     
  9. crwilson

    crwilson Well-Known Member

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    thanks i do plan on building a smaller home first probably 10 by 15 and living there for a few years.....
    and well ive been thinking and i probably dont need more than 28 by 30
     
  10. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Ive built various styles of log housing for folks the past 14 years, from full scribe to machine grooved "D" logs.....single story and 2 story.....

    First figure your common size of log, so you can build a level wall on both ends, whether you square one side or two or three, taper will catch up with you at some pont in time.

    second try to stay with all the same type of wood if possible, mostly for looks, but shrinkage is differnt for different specie of tree.

    third, cut your trees this year to build with next year, stack and sticker them and cover them..... it is not totally necessary to do this but minimized when doing so, especially for a full scribe project.

    Standing dead timber is better than green, but still will shrink some over time....

    8 inch diameter for a colder climate on the small end is preferred, however i know of folks who live in 4 inch log houses that stay toasty with their cabins, it just takes a whole bunch more logs to stack a wall.....

    with an 8 inch log, you can figure 14-to 15 logs to sill log for full scribe projects, depending upon what you want for cieling hieght, and if you are using logs for cieling/ upper floor joists [they will hang down and cause interference with lighting fixtures and head room.

    Develope a semi- flexible floor plan, then get your logs and then go over your floor plan to see if your logs will match the runs on your walls, if not then either get longer wall logs or make a room smaller, use a room to make use of short logs [jog in the wall].

    Log houses take time to build we figure that using 10-12 inch logs, full scribe, 40 foot walls/logs single run, we can hand peel, scribe, saddle notch, set, scribe the wall run, saw it out, reset the log, and doing a great job we can get 4 logs set a day, so a course with 4 walls and only one log on each run will get one course done per day..... we can do better, but it takes a couple folks to get a production out of it..... peeler, scribe, and helper.....

    one thing to remember in building anyting is that it only takes a few minutes longer to do a job right thst is craftsman quality than doing a sloppy job to get it done with....

    as for heating, i would seriously consider an outside boiler/hasha/wood fired heater and a radiant floor inside..... which saves space from having a woodstove inside, and saves peace of brain from having to worry about burning down the house with a bad chimney...... and saves leaking roofs where stack goes thru roof. causes new problem of having to stoke fire in blizzard outside in underwaer cause you forgot to stoke it before you went to bed yesterday..... but this only happens once..... then you dont ever forget again. Another plus is you can also heat your greenhouse with radiant heat from the same system.

    anyhow hope this gives you another few ideas to consider incorporating.

    William
     
  11. Alex

    Alex Well-Known Member

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    From another post of mine,

    btw Our cabin is 20' x 28', two stories, about 1060 ft2 usable with an additional 240 ft2 each of front and back decks, on the second floor and 240ft2 covered decks on the first floor -- all the room in the world for two loving souls, and there were four of us in the same space at first -- lots of room. And, no codes, no problem -- do it right though, really.

    Lots of good luck,
    and have fun,

    Alex
     
  12. ClubMike

    ClubMike Well-Known Member

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    Check out this link

    www.loghomebuilders.org

    They got the real info on log homes, I attended this seminar and it was GREAT!!!!!