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Country Discussion Topics
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Anyone Have A Log Cabin?
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Peanut    Posted 11-29-2004 at 09:41:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have always wanted a log home as my full-time home. In NE Missouri, the winter weather is not all that bad. In the summer it gets real hot and humid. I am considering a wood burning heating system for the winter and central air for the summer. The initial material cost is what scares me the most. It is considerably more expensive to buy log home kits than it is to get material for a normal frame/stick house.

Does anyone have a log home or know someone who does? How do you like it? How well do the logs insulate? What is the maintenance needed to keep a log home in nice condition? Are insects a problem with the logs? Would you live in a log home again? Is there a structural difference between pine, cedar, or oak logs? (There sure is a cost difference.)


Fred Masey    Posted 08-21-2005 at 23:05:33       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Check out our website and podcasts at I think you'll find a reliable source of answers to your questions.

bulldinkie    Posted 11-30-2004 at 05:04:20       [Reply]  [Send Email]
we have a real log cabin.We brought it in and restored it.a 1 room

Rick    Posted 11-29-2004 at 17:42:41       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Here are a few facts about wood.
First softwoods like pine, cedar, doug fir have a R factor of about 1.4 per inch of thickness. So a 8" thick wall would have an approximate R value of 13 which is the same as 3 1/2 inches of fiberglass insulation. Aditionally as the thickness of the wood increases another factor comes to play called thermal mass. This is woods abillity to store temperature. It may take some time to warm a log house to your comfort but it will hold that temperature much longer than conventional buildings. Another fact: Most heat loss occures in the roof not the walls, so insulate the roof well.
As to the bottom logs rotting: Any wood will rot if exposed to weather regarless if the log has been sawn into boards or it remains as a log. Overhanging eaves are important as well as biulding high enough on the foundation wall to prevent water infiltration at the base.
The chemicals that are generally used for insects are borates and are inert.
There are many styles of log construction and if properly constructed do not crush window and door openings.
The sealants that are used to chink the gaps between the courses of the logs are important as the product must be able to expand and contract as the temperature and humidity changes. These products are expensive but will seal the walls completly . The same holds true of the sealants used to block wheather and ultraviolte degeneration from sunlight.
Log homes can be built at the same cost as conventional framing if the quality of wimdows, doors,roofing, insulation, flooring, cabinets , fixtures,ect are the same value.
There are many qaulity log builders out there and a search on internet will show, and with some shopping you will find kits that are not priced at the high end of the spectrum.
Tecnology has improved the air infiltration , settling, and other concerns, as it has with other forms of construction.
My 2 cents says build what you would enjoy.

Bob Mi    Posted 11-29-2004 at 13:18:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have what they call half log the structor of the house is a normal house. On the outside is half log pine and it is beautiful, My neighbor has a real log hause it is a pain. Windows dont close doors dont work. The stuff you have to spray every three years is a pain and is expensive but you have the look. I wish I knew how to put a picture on this thing. I would shw you

Quint    Posted 11-29-2004 at 11:13:38       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would stay away from them. Our ancestors stopped living in them for a reason. I wanted one REALLY badly. I was all set to build one when I talked to several (about 7 all together) and all of them said to be prepared for difficulties and all but 2 said not to build one.

They all told me they were terribly expensive to heat and cool if not darn near impossible sometimes. Also all but one had trouble with the bottom logs rotting. All of them had trouble with settling problems such as doors and windows which wouldn't open or close, cracks in walls and other associated problems. One person in particular dumped is retirement savings into his house and spent over 500,000 dollars on ti and I was shocked when I seen the condition of the structure after 10 years. Yes it was beautiful (incredibly so-I almost built one after seeing this house even with the problems) ) but there were serious structural problems with it. The bottom 3 logs had rotted, the ends of all the logs had serious rot problems, cracks were everywhere on interior walls, the exterior walls also had cracks along with the rot problems, the doors and windows were all out of line and there wasn't a square interior door in the place. The kitchen cabinets had to be taken off 3 times and rehung due to settling. The place was one expensive nightmare to the poor guy.

I would either go with a log looking exterior of half logs or log siding and build a properly insulated frame built home. I went with cedar siding and couldn't be happier. It gave me the rustic look without the rustic problems. Oh, if I had unlimited funds to keep a log home repaired and heated and cooled I would have one in a heartbeat but not with my limited means. Like some girls I dated, awfully nice to look at but the maintenance and upkeep is murderous.

Griz    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:58:54       [Reply]  [No Email]
Well, a good friend of mine has a beautiful log home that is about 3500 square feet. Total cost was around $250,000. While certaily out of the budget of most it is well within normal (actually leaning on the low end) of conventional building. What they did was rather creative. The home itself is a typical framed in home which has true log siding on it. The home went up very quickly and they are receiving the benefits of not only the insulation value of the log but also of the insulation in the walls. For the log look on the inside they used the same siding wherever they wanted. I love log but I also like have nice dry wall too. This is truly the best of both worlds and it is starting to become the norm here in the midwest. Good luck!


screaminghollow    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:43:51       [Reply]  [No Email]
There are logs and there are LOGS! Most folks in this area who have log cabines have old drafty originals or those made out of 6 inch thick, short logs that are butt-ended together in the middle of the wall. Next door folks paid a fortune for a log kit from Canada, made out of huge logs. there are 8 to 9 inches thick and 12 inches high. Some of the logs are thirty six feet in length going the entire way across the wall with no butt to butt joints in mid wall. They have a wrap around porch and very wide overhangs to protect the logs from the weather. In fact, I don't think those logs have ever gotten wet, except maybe in last years hurricane. They are on top a rather windy hill. I've been there only two or three times in winter and they kept the house at about 65 degrees, a bit cool for my taste. (they put in no supplemental heat or fireplace and heat with propane.) In summer, the walls and windows are shaded and the house stays fairly cool without much strain on the air conditioner. Thr Mr. said he'd never do logs again, just too expensive for what they got. It is a beautiful home, but the construction figures with mostly sweat equity still came to over $160,000. And Mr. did everything, set the logs, installed floors and partitions, roof etc, but the poured foundation, plumbing and electrical. It is only about 1600 sq ft.
I looked into several log home companies, and I think I can get more value for the money with something else. I really like the look of those Austrian/German/Swiss type houses you see in the calendars and posters, whitewashed on hillsides with two stories and dark wood shutters balacony and doors. They are only slight variations on the basic cube shaped house, but have character and conserve space. (For me two story cathedral ceilings are an impractical waste of space.)

deadcarp    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:12:45       [Reply]  [No Email]
our place was originally part of a station for west fargo stage lines and it's an added-onto 100-yr-old log cabin. log are cute but more drafty than a good frame wall. they've lasted a long tme but like most places, durability is a factor of roof condition more than anything else. (look at old houses and dance halls - the ones still standing always had decent roofs - or better porches) i think average r-value of logs is about 4 (same as 1 inch of insulation) but ours has an insulated 4" frame wall in additon to the logs. i use the logs every morning as foot levers for getting out of bed. i'd have another log place but i'd be right there when it was built. much prefer straw/paper (strawcrete) bale with shorter bales each wrapped in mud..

Judy in NC    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:00:35       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hi, Peanut,
I hope you get some well informed replies to your query.

I can tell you that we looked very seriously into a log home for our planned home construction. We have two dealers with displays right here where we live, so it was easy to get a good look at them (Amerlink & American Log Cabin Homes).

We had a builder friend go with us to view them and his response was that there are a LOT of costs that are not included in the log home package. Sooo, not only was the kit very expensive, but it was not even close to the complete materials cost for finishing out the home.

Also the chemicals that have to be periodically sprayed on the exterior turned us away. We try to grow our food as organically as possible, and really try to keep harmful chemicals out of our home (cleaning with organic cleaners, etc.)The thought of bathing our home in chemicals every three years or so did not suit us.

We ended up opting for brick - very low maintenance. (but not very rustic) :-)

I wish you the best in your decision. The folks on this board are SO helpful in guiding us in our decision making. I thank you and each of the others for your many helpful repsonses.

Judy in NC

KatG    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:04:58       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Judy if you want rustic and low maintenance have you considered rock??? We have got lots of it here and quite a few dealers sell it out of state...MAkes beatuiful homes...Wish I had one...KAtG

JB    Posted 11-29-2004 at 23:35:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
My dad built a number of rock houses. I remember when I was 14 years old, he was building a small rock house. I got interested in hearing about it and went to work with him for several days, and helped him. He was the sort that didn't think a helper could only be a 'gofer', but if they wanted to try laying stone, brick, or what have you, he would show you how, and if you caught on, why, have at it! I worked like a horse, and enjoyed every minute of it!

Last summer I was in the area and drove past that little rock house, and it is still standing, though boarded up and vacant. A beautiful big rock house he built in early 40s is still standing, and I don't think has stood vacant a single day since the first occupants moved in. I always hoped to have him help me build one for us, but it never happened. A pity.

Judy in NC    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:18:06       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I have always admired those. I actually hadn't considered it for our present planned home.. Now you've got me thinking.
Judy in NC

KatG    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:22:40       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I can tell you from experience that they are very energy effencent and pretty...There are rock homes here that are over 100 years old, and I live in what some call tornado alley, they have withstood many a storms...Paula mentioned some of the ways you can put one up...They also have a higher resale value than a brick or frame house...KAtG

Peanut    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:09:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
This may be a dumb question but when you say rock, do you mean a frame/stick home with a rock exterior?

I would think that constructing a solid rock exterior wall would be a leveling/plumbing nightmare with all the mortar and rock shapes & sizes.

I really like the look of rock homes. I would definitely consider this as an exterior choice. I know how to construct with standard building lumber. I suppose I can learn how to shape and set stones on the exterior.

Paula    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:18:05       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Like Judy I looked in to log homes too and for the same reasons - expense of kits and building vs stick, and living in a cloud of pesticide or risking borer insects - went elsewhere.

If you like stone look in to slipform masonry. Basically you build a form, fill it with rocks and then fill with concrete. There are variations on this (eg. inserting ridgid insulation) but if you're handy you can do alot of the wall work yourself.


KatG    Posted 11-29-2004 at 10:15:22       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Well Peanut my husband says it can be done both ways...and he says it is not killer to learn to do...When we first moved here we rented a trailor house that the landlord had rocked in...him and his once you get it I think it must be rather easy...Also might work into a paying resource if you like it...Have you get rock available where you are???..KAtG

puldeau    Posted 11-29-2004 at 12:04:20       [Reply]  [No Email]
peanut, we built one about 8 yrs ago here in arkansas.called a " d" log. 2 story , 28 by 40 floor space. no more expensive than frame house same size and dont think ya could go wrong.only maintenance so far is spraying the out side logs with a sealant. any way i can help u, just ask away robert

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