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Country Discussion Topics
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Log kit homes
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gatractorman    Posted 03-07-2004 at 04:03:15       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Anybody put one of the log kit homes together before? Seems to me an awful lot like a jigsaw puzzle, but I'm sure there has to be a method to the madness. My sister is thinking of purchasing one and offered a tidy sum to get it put together, now I'm not a carpenter by trade but not completely ignorant on the subject either and I have all the tools I should need, anyone have any words of encouragement??


Cowlady    Posted 03-07-2004 at 13:44:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Dispite the discouraging words posted below, I have to tell you we did NOT encounter any of these problems. If you want, I will e-mail you with the brand/company of our house kit.
1. We have been in our home since 1997, with NO discernable log shift. The cupboards are attached right to the logs and we have had minimal adjustments to the cupboard doors. Mainly on the doors that are used the most...Just like any other house.
2) We did all work. Only exception was pouring the concrete basement. We plumbed, electrified, installed the furnace, etc. If you are not familiar with this type of work, my suggestion would be to hire someone to draw up the plumbing and electrical blueprint. Windows, doors, and roofing system were included in the kit. All exceptional quality, other than the utility room door.
3.) Our fire ins. is actually discounted. Think about it...Try to burn a 8" log, and try to burn studs and vinyl siding, which is going to go up in flames first and fastest?!
4.) THE HONEST TRUTH: We get NO wind (air leaks) that we can feel. Once the house warms up, it stays warm. It's cool in the summer. We have NEVER turned on the air!
5.) The kit came with the logs numbered, and was palleted in the order of how we needed to assemble it.
6.) Our home is relatively small 1,474 main floor, the loft over the kitchen and dining area is maybe 800sq ft. (I don't remember)
7.) In '97 we paid $68,000 for the kit, spent another $40,000 for fixtures, carpet, tile, basement, furnace, equipment rental, etc. The house was appraised by bank for the mortgage at $258,000. For insurance purposes we needed to get the cost of a contractor re-build...They would charge about triple the original investment.

You can go to "log camp" and build cottages for a week to see if you are up to the task, or to see how much you could take on yourself, before you commit. Our sweat equity paid off BIG TIME!

The downside: I spent a year hand staining, and hand finishing all the trim and the kitchen floor. No offense, but many contractors would have slopped it up cheap and quick. The outdoor maint. can be a pain. We have re-oiled with Wood Guard and an insecticide twice. (preventitive, as we have had NO bug problems in all this time) and lastly, the center of the house is open two stories tall. It is breath-takingly beautiful (and I like it) but cowman feels it's wasted space, and would have built more of a ranch style if we did it again. We would also scrap the spiral staircase (it looks good, but as I get older, it's more difficult to get up and down!)

We feel the home is cost efficient, unusual, and affordable. Especially when we looked at modulars that were $130,000 and up. Do some homework, visit the manufacturer, visit homes (new and old). If this is your dream, take the class and see if it's right for you!


cowlady, again    Posted 03-07-2004 at 14:06:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just went and took a look around...The majority of electrical outlets and switches are on the interior walls. Only 8 were drilled through logs.

For overhead lighting, we ran flat conduit on top of the log beams (it has a name...like they use in offices to hide the computer wires)

We kept most of the plumbing on interior walls also.

In between the (tongue & groove) exterior logs there is a gasket and a bead of rubber like goo. (like the poster below mentioned)and the logs were also spiked together with large screws. (They too have a name, that I can't remember!!)

I was the official cook, and detail minder on this project, rather than the carpenter!


Fern(Mi)    Posted 03-07-2004 at 06:48:15       [Reply]  [No Email]
Has sister looked into insurance. Premiums most likely out of this world. Fire damage to a log house is extremly expensive to repair. How do you remove & replace just part of wall?


TonyKY    Posted 03-07-2004 at 04:38:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
Being an electrical contractor in central and eastern KY, I've wired several of them, and I've never seen one go up that didn't go over budget and they all drive builder and home owner completely crazy. Not to mention, they cost about 5 times more to wire and plumb.


Michael M    Posted 03-07-2004 at 04:30:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, I don't know about encouragement, but....
I don't recommend working for family or friends. I was a contractor for ten years, and had some deals go real bad doing that.
Also, I built log cabins and timber frames. I have seen a couple of the kit deals. Some were OK, and some were not. If it is being used as a full time residence, and is above the Dixie line, I never recommend a log cabin. Wood has an R-value of '1' per inch of thickness. A six inch thick sawmill log will give you a wall that is only R-6.
There are a lot of reasons that log cabins stopped being the standard housing. Most of the time, the logs used in the kits are still green, even the kiln dried machined logs. Even if they are not, when the seasons change, the logs expand and contract with the humidity. The best building job possible can look real bad a year later. I know of a cabin not a mile from here that was built in about 1827. A friend of mine used to own it. One wall was three slabs of a black cherry log. Beautiful. We measured it one year, and in the course of a year, the wall 'moved' 3/4's of an inch with the seasons. It is wood. That is what wood does.
If the logs are the tongue and groove machined kind, expect them to seperate in a year or so. If they are the staight cut sawmill type, like are common here in Indiana, use perma-chink between them, it stretches. Also, use hardware wire and insulation in the chink gaps.
http://www.reliable-net.net/~plumb/~plumb.html
The above is the old website for the company I used to have. There are some pics there of a few of my projects from the past.
Good Luck


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