The Seven Most Frequently Asked Log Home Questions

Over the years we've been asked thousands of questions about log homes.  Here are the top 7 most frequently asked questions with an abbreviated response.

Question:  What is the cost of a turn-key log home per square foot?  
Response:  Full or solid log homes can start at $160 per sq ft and goes up from there based on a variety of factors, such as size of the home, complexity or simplicity of the design, amenities, species of wood, etc.

Question:   Are log homes energy efficient?
Response:  Yes they are, checkout the study conducted by the Log Home Council.  Click this link to read the study:  The Energy Performance of Log Homes

Question:  How much maintenance is required with a log home?
Response:   A log home does require routine maintenance as part of an overall maintenance program.  Typically a new log home will require re-staining at 4-7 years after completion.  But it all depends on how well the original stain finish was applied, type of stain used, if the raw logs where prepped correctly.  Usually the sides of the log home that receive the most sunlight during the day will need to be re-stained more often.  Today many stain manufacturers offer a maintenance stain coat.  Using a darker stain color (more pigment) will last a bit longer.  Plus it depends how well you maintain your log home.  Meaning do you keep corners and checks caulked, periodic washing and stain touch-up.  Read our blog post about this subject, plus read the Log Home Council on preservation and maintenance.  

Our blog post:  Proactive Log Home Maintenance

Log Homes Council:  Preservation & Maintenance of Log Structures

Question:  How long does it take to build a log home?
Response:Typically it takes approximately 6-10 months to build a custom log home.  But it depends on many factors that can influence the timetable such as, how well the homeowner and dealer/builder have done the preliminary planning, the size of the home, type of log home building system, complexity of design,  size of the building crew, level of communication between the builder and homeowner, weather, timeliness of sub-contractors, etc.

Question:  Air dry vs. kiln dry, what’s the difference and is one better than another?
Response: Logs that are air dried for typically 8-14 months or longer depending on the moisture content before they are milled.  Kiln dried logs are usually air dried for a period of time then are dried in a heated kiln for up to 30 days to remove the moisture.  Is one method better than the other?  We think that's the wrong question.  It's really a matter of quality or how well they execute their preferred method of drying the logs.  We've seen both methods that are poorly done resulting in excessive exterior and interior checking, staining and cupping/warping.  Visiting the manufacturer is one way to see for yourself, but if that's not possible ask to visit client projects and look at the logs yourself with the log home dealer.  

Question: How much do the log homes settle?
Response: This question is directly related to the question above.  A log that has a higher moisture content at the time of construction will typically settle a little more.  Each manufacturer will have engineered specifications on how much their log home package will settle (typically less than one inch to a 2-3 inches).  The manufacturer will provide specific instruction for the builder to follow so the structural integrity of the log home will be maintained and your windows and doors operate properly.  (Note:  does not include handcrafted log homes).

Question:  What's the best wood species for my log home?
Response:  Let's review some simple facts.  A log home manufacturer uses a wood species that is easily attainable and native to their region.  It's really about geography and the principles of economics that factor into what a log home manufacturer offers.  The pine (white, red, yellow, lodgepole) family is prevalent throughout the U.S. so it's the most common species offered.  It's also easy to dry, mill and build with and accepts stain well.  More expensive species offered in our region is cedar (Eastern White Cedar) which is known for its rot and bug resistance, but expect to pay 30-40% more.  So what species should you build with?  Well if you're building the in the Midwest, we recommend White Pine species.

For you wood geeks, checkout this book; The Wood Handbook  

Do you have a question you'd like to ask us?  Respond here or email us, we're happy to share our thoughts on any log home related subject.

By The Leelanau Log Home Company 

Copyright 2012 Under the Influence of Wood Blog