Does anyone live in a log home??Questions?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by bozey, Feb 5, 2007.

  1. bozey

    bozey New Member

    We are going to build a house and have always loved log homes. I was just wondering if anyone on here lives or has lived in one.

    Was wondering if heating it was outrageous? We want one with a loft. And will heat with electric.

    Was the maintenance on the logs a pain. They tell us you only have to do it every 3 to 10 years.

    I would love some info before we build one and decide we don't like it or can't afford the utilities or upkeep.

    We will have bedrooms upstairs but the master bedroom will be downstairs. And, we are not doing a basement. I really don't want any more stairs!!



  2. Cromwell

    Cromwell New Member

    We did live in one for about 8 months once. It was in Western Washington that is not too cold. It was poorly built and as far as we could tell had received no maintenance for many years. It was warm due to the design of having the bedrooms like upper loft areas running around the central lower room (yet private)and it was surprisingly quiet. The logs were very dark which made it gloomy inside, but I have been in homes with really light wood and they have been fine. This log home was not a kit and was very rustic indeed.

    The heat was from a pellet stove which put out great heat and with a ceiling fan very high up circulating the warm air. The pellets were incredibly cheap and lasted ages. One sack lasted two weeks and we only emptied the ash pan about once a month if that.

    So yes, it was very warm which was surprising for such an amateurly built home.

    Love Annie C
  3. bozey

    bozey New Member

    Thank you for answering. Now I am more excited. We are ordering a kit and my husband is a carpenter so ours will be made right. And we are going with the pine wood, it is lighter.

    You have to use a caulk on all of the seams to seal it so I'm sure our home will be toasty. It shows most all of them come with a fireplace but we're not doing a fireplace.

    We will instead put our wood burning stove in it.

    I figured they would be quiet since it is built with 8" logs.

    I have never heard of pellets for a stove. What are they and where do you get them?

    Thank you very much for your reply, you've made my day.

  4. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    My daughter has a log home in Alaska and they love it. Yes, I think you would have to maintain the logs every few years, but they haven't done it yet. They heat with an oil stove and a fan to circulate the heat and they seem to stay warm, even in AK! She likes how it stays cool in the summer since they don't have A.C.
  5. bozey

    bozey New Member

    alaska, Thanks for the input. I didn't think of it staying cool in the summer. We will put in central air, but how cool would that be if we didn't have to use it?

    Now, I am getting even more excited.


  6. alaska3355

    alaska3355 New Member

    She had some days in the 80's and felt no need for an air conditioner.....she even opened windows to let some "warmth" in LOL. I'm with you, though- I'd put in the A.C. just in case and then not use it much.
  7. sisland

    sisland New Member

    I Have Never lived in a log Home but have been in a few over the years,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and one thing i noticed is that they had installed big Metal floor grates or vents in the upper Bedroom Floors,,,,,,,, so the Heat can rise up from below! Just an idea!,,,,,,S
  8. atiledsner

    atiledsner New Member

    My neighbors had one,we live in Alabama.Some kind of bugs got in the logs and a big bubble had to be put over it for a few days, yeah the whole log cabin.

    The summers here have been very hot so they had to use the air conditioner.

    They had a fireplace and used it but also had central heat on the coldest days.

    The house was all one level, no upstairs.

    Another thing I would consider is the underlayment heated floors.I believe with the stove and these floors it would always be cozy.

    I love your excitement of building a house. I love houses and anything to do with building them. Are you going to use any ceramic tile?
  9. bozey

    bozey New Member

    for all your input. Alot of great ideas. I will tell my husband about the grates in the upstair bedrooms.

    And I will check into the pellets for heating. Cheap and not as messy as wood for sure.

    I really hope I don't ever need to tent my house. I hadn't even thought about bugs. Uugggg. But atiledsner, we will probably do tile in the bathrooms. Not sure about the kitchen.

    The house we are in now has an open kithen and dining area and had 8" square tiles. We've been here 9 years and I just hated trying to keep the grout clean. It is such a large area. Kitchen is 15x25 and dining is 15x15.

    Now that we are going to sell, we covered it with wood flooring and I just love it. It is so easy to keep clean and the floor is so much warmer. I wish we had done it years ago.

    Well, again, thanks to all of you for the ideas.

  10. atiledsner

    atiledsner New Member

    I was really thinking of tiles on the wall.

    CK said it and it is true tile on the walls and tile on the floor are certainly different.

    You still have the grout stains unless you seal the grout.I use tub and tile grout on the wall tiles.It is much easier to clean than the sand grout.
  11. bozey

    bozey New Member

    not sure about putting tile on walls except in the bathroom.

    By your name, are you a tile designer?

    Enlighten me. Where else would you put tiles on the wall? Kitchen? above the backsplash on the counter?

  12. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    Logs shrink. You have to keep this in mind when installing windows, doors, plumbing, etc. The height of the ceilings will actually lessen several inches as the logs shrink. You have to use a special slip joint in the vertical plumbing . You have to do special framing to allow windows and doors to compensate for the walls shrinking in height.

    If you have the logs exposed on the interior of the house's walls, it becomes more difficult to run the electricity to any outside wall in your home.

    If you build a fireplace, you have to make provisions for the home to shrink next to the chimney when the logs dry and get smaller in diameter.

    You want compound bevels at the corner intersections of logs so the water automatically drains out.
  13. bozey

    bozey New Member

    Do the logs shrink even if you put the treatment on them inside and out? And, we will have to caulk between each log.

    Man, what a bummer. Here I thought there were no drawbacks except having to coat it every three years. Argggg. Well, that and having to worry about bugs and having to tent it. LOL

    But thank you for your input. I will tell my husband and see if the dealer told him this stuff and what to do about it.

  14. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    Yep, they still shrink as they dry out. Have you ever installed decking boards? The spaces enlarge between the boards as the deck boards continue to dry after construction.

    Another example would be the installation of an oak floor. Normally, the moisture content needs to be below a certain level prior to installation or there will be unacceptable spaces between the board when they dry after installation.

    Normally, wood flooring instructions tell you to take them to the actual area where they will be installed for a couple weeks prior to installing the flooring. Those boards are SMALL and will dry faster than logs. The moisture in logs takes much longer to disipate (spelling???)

    Ask the hard questions. Ask to get names of people who have had this product. Ask the homeowners directly about shrinkage. See how they join the logs together at corners. Think of yourself as water, would you be able to sit in the joint? See what their insulation is between the logs. See how they run electricity in the outside walls.

    If you are looking at a model home, find out what are the "extras" that don't come with the base price. Model homes seem to always have all the upgrades in them. You want to know exactly what you are getting for your money.

    I'd also find out if the people who will be building the home are licensed and insured. You want your home inspected by the city as it is being built. yes, you pay for the inspections, but then you know that your home will meet code.

    Yes, there are several different systems for "chinking"
    between the logs. Some involve a channel cut into both logs with a strip of insulation run into the channel. Some have a gasket that sets between the logs. Chinking normall covers this.

    My brother installed crown moulding in all of the rooms and attached it to the ceiling only so when the walls shrunk, the crown moulding just moved a little down the wall.

    Another issue about shrinkage comes into play when you have stud interior walls and exterior log walls. The stud walls aren't going to shrink like the log walls. This uneven shrinkage that will happen over time from stud walls to log walls needs to be addressed during the construction process. That is why the stud walls have to have "built-in compensation" for this extra shrinkage of the log walls.
  15. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    I went online and got some info. from 3 different sources:

    "About Settling and Shrinking

    The words "settling" and "shrinking" invoke fear in the hearts of many future log home buyers. This shouldn't be the case, however, because the business and practice of building log homes has been around long enough such that the "problem" is well understood and is really not a problem any more. However, it's a topic that needs some understanding and consideration.

    The Facts

    Let's start with some facts. Logs are "wet" or "green" (contain a lot of water) when cut from the forest (exception: standing-dead trees used primarily in handcrafted homes). After being cut, logs will slowly start to lose water to try to match the ambient air moisture content. As logs dry, they shrink, which can cause checking, warping, and twisting. The degree to which these effects occur depends on the wood specie and drying environment. The purpose of managed drying is to pre-shrink logs and make them more stable before they are used in construction. When logs are stacked in log walls, even after drying, they can settle. Settling can be significant enough to require special construction techniques to compensate — or not.

    About Settling

    Settling is made up of two factors – shrinkage and compression. Both contribute to a possible reduction in height of stacked log walls. In a 10-course log wall, 1/8 inch shrinkage in each log means a total 1.25 inches for the wall. Significant settling can cause problems that range from serious (separation of walls from roof), to relatively minor (windows and doors that stick).

    Shrinkage is a reduction in log dimensions. Some wood types shrink more than others. Some wood types shrink in different ways than other types. Individual logs of the same wood type can have different shrinkage characteristics. All woods shrink less when dry.

    Compression is caused by the weight of logs stacked on top of each other. Fibers in the wood are forced closer together, which reduces the size of each log in a vertical direction. Compression between logs is good in that it helps create tight joints. Proper drying minimizes or eliminates the effects of compression.

    Log home companies fall into one of two categories regarding how they handle the possibility of settling.

    Some companies simply ignore settling or declare it to be insignificant, which may be perfectly justified given the wood species they use, their drying method, construction techniques, and their experience. These companies make no special provisions for settling.

    Other companies believe that settling deserves some attention, even if the possibility is slight. These companies may use a combination of springs on bolts, slip-mounted cabinets and trim, floating interior walls, jack screws, and settling space above doors and windows.

    Which philosophy is correct? To be honest, it's not clear. To a large extent, we have to trust our chosen log home company to know their business and understand which philosophy works for them. However, it is our opinion that adding slip joints, floating walls, and settling spaces above doors and windows is very inexpensive insurance against the possibilty of problems in the future.

    Log homes and log cabins are susceptible to shrinkage because of the natural material that is the basis of construction- the log. Logs will shrink mainly in diameter as they move towards equilibrium moisture content. This shrinkage can be as much as 10% in some species of Pine or Spruce. Logs will not shrink much lengthwise thus combining log walls (which will shrink) with log posts (don't shrink) poses some issues. A careful builder will realize these issues and make allowances for them during construction. Also, because of shrinkage, extra space must be left above doors and windows to allow for the logs to settle and not hang up on the log home doors or windows.
    The log home owner needs to be aware of the wood shrinkage process. Wood retains water between its cells and within its cells. Once a tree is cut down, the wood begins the drying process. When wood dries, it moves and shrinks and this is not necessarily an “even process”.
    Logs shrink both tangentially( in direction of the growth rings) and radially (across the growth rings). Therefore an 8” wall can have shrinkage of 1-2” in height if the logs are green. Shrinkage continues to occur when the moisture content is between 15-25 percent. Air dried and kiln dried logs do experience slight shrinkage. Professional experienced log home builders can allow for shrinkage with proven building techniques that compensate for future shrinkage. If your home is constructed properly and shrinkage is accommodated, shrinkage will not be a problem
  16. bozey

    bozey New Member

    Thank you for all the info and taking so much time to answer me.

    I will do alot more research before we decide anything.

    And I thought it would be so easy.

    Who am I kidding.

    Oh well, back to the drawing board. ha ha

    Thank you again.


    But, I still love the look of log homes. I am so country and would be so comfortable in one.
  17. joyfully

    joyfully New Member

    remember, it is the moisture content in the center part of the log which takes a long time to dry out. I think they take their measurements about 1 1/2 inches into the log; that is not the center of the log.

    I'd talk to people who are now living in log homes. After the normal chit chat about what they like about their log home, ask them what they would do differently AND what surprises did they encounter that they were not prepared for. THOSE are the important questions that you learn from their mistakes.
  18. bozey

    bozey New Member

    Thanks again. I will investigate a whole lot more.

    I know where there is a log home by where we are going to build. I think I will stop by there and ask them a few questions. That is if they are friendly folks.

    Their house is kinda tucked on a small lot in a wooded area and they have 2 big dogs running loose so I will have to wait til it's a little warmer and hope to catch the owners outside.

    Thank you so much.