It’s hard to deny the appeal of a log cabin. Most of us are drawn to the beauty of a log home nestled in a wooded setting and have often dreamed about living in one. If you’re considering building a log home, you have a few options on how to go about this.
Today’s log homes have come a long way from the cabins that the pioneers built. Today’s homes are energy efficient, structurally sound homes. There are two main types of log homes to chose from: milled and handcrafted log homes.
A milled log home is produced by an automated manufacturing process. A milled log is put through a sawmill, a lathe or a planer. It is cut to a specific shape or profile. All of the logs in a milled log home will be of a uniform size. Milled logs can be manufactured to allow for several different corner styles and log lengths. The surfaces of the top and bottom of the logs can be flat, coped or tongue-and-grooved. They can be finished in different ways for different looks. A milled log can be sanded smooth, finished with a rustic look or hand peeled with a drawknife. Finally, milled logs are often air-dried or kiln-dried to a predetermined moisture content.
Handcrafting log homes is really an art form and uses many of the same practices that the early Americans used years ago. Much of the work is still done by hand. Log smiths carefully select trees and cut and shape the logs so that each log fits perfectly on top of the one before it. These logs retain much of the characteristics that the tree once had and often look more rustic than milled logs. Log home builders will tell you that generally handcrafted log homes are more expensive than milled homes because of the amount of labor involved.
A third option, log siding, emulates the look of log homes without being made completely of logs. In this option, log siding is combined with conventional stud framing and insulation. It’s become a popular option over the last several years.
Whichever option you decide upon will depend on your budget and time frame. Meet with a few log home builders to discuss your options as to what would work best for you, your budget, your time requirements and your land.
One thing to keep in mind is that if you purchase a log home materials package, there is no industry standard as to what that package must contain. Each manufacturer is unique and often has a few different packages, some of which will get you started, some of which are a more “turn key” package. Know what you are getting before you buy it. Be sure if you are trying to compare packages between manufactures (a difficult process) that you know what species of wood is in each package and what grade of accessories (such as windows) that each package contains.
Exploring your options and carefully researching the market will help you pick a log home builder you can trust and will help ensure that your beautiful new log home is the right one for you.