When you talk of log homes, images of small structures in remote hunting trails or mountain tops usually flash through the mind. Structures without electricity or plumbing, these were traditionally places to get far away from the maddening crowds. However over time, this concept has changed with the modern desire for unique and interesting structures. Today log homes are built on estates in cities and towns, with log farm houses set amidst rolling fields reflecting the quiet beauty of nature.
A Log home is traditionally built with logs stacked horizontally and fixed in place by notching the corners. Such types of construction originated in places that had large forests of tall and straight coniferous trees like pine and spruce. Sweden, Finland, Norway, Russia and the Baltic states are places that saw an abundance of log homes.
All logs when freshly cut have a moisture content, the quantity of which varying between the different types of wood. However, this moisture dries out soon and the logs shrink minutely in size, leaving small cracks in the wood. This is a very natural process, associated with almost all log homes. In milled logs though, the processing takes out the moisture content so these cracks are typically not visible in houses made with such logs.
Since wooden homes with milled logs are available in a variety of shapes and sizes, owners have a number of options to choose from. The first is logs that are round in shape both inside and outside, while square logs have a groove running through the log which helps seal the home properly, eliminating the possibility of leaking. Then there is D shape logs which are flat inside and round outside. The type of log used in the construction depends solely on the preference of the home owner as the house’s final appearance is largely dependent on the wood type.
If you are planning to have a log home, there are certain areas that should be considered. Choose a company that has a reputation for building such homes with years of experience in this field. Get a package that is all-inclusive since these types of homes are unique and putting in fixtures and fittings by other contractors might be difficult. Discuss with the builder the shape of logs preferred by you and whether they should be kiln dried or naturally air dried. The finish and texture will also depend on the owner’s decision regarding these issues.
Once your log home is ready, have a maintenance plan in place. It is always recommended you hire a specialised log home builder at this stage and for this purpose. Wooden exterior walls will need greater degree of care than brick ones, as over time they tend to degenerate faster with extreme weather conditions. Regular care and inspection will highlight any minor flaws which if repaired quickly will not blow up into major expensive servicing.
What are the main problem areas? Watch out for rot, decay and insect infestation. Seal failures and weather infiltration are also one of the most common issues with log homes. An experienced log home builder will quickly set this right. It is, therefore, necessary to regularly restore, rejuvenate and if necessary reassemble some portions of a log home after few years.