The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

Investing in a Log Home - Quality, Service, Value or Price?

Posted on Tue, Sep 10, 2013 @ 11:55 AM

log home porchOver the past 20 years I've been blessed to assist hundreds of people in realizing their dream of living in a log cabin home.  Every day our team of 40+ Log Home Building Consultants are sought out for their expertise and insight in to the process of building a log home or purchasing wood products from our mill.  With all of these Consultants and all of their time spent in the Log Home Industry we have well over 300+ years experience people can tap in to when they want to invest in a log home they will be happy with.

In today's society, with the Wal-Mart's, Targets, Dollar Stores and the like, folks are always looking for what they perceive to be a "deal".  With offers of 35% or 50% off pricing a lot of people think they are getting a deal, when actually they are paying retail.  If you've ever shopped for jewelry or furniture, you know the mark up from retail is HUGE as no one could make money off of product that is consistently marked down 50% to 70% - I don't care how much "volume" they push.  However these large box stores have made a habit of grabbing peoples attention with advertising low prices and today's society expects it.  If I had a nickel for every time I get asked "what is the CHEAPEST price you have...?" I would be retired by now.  I don't know about you, but when I built my log home I was not looking for cheap....I've never heard of anyone bragging about living in a cheap home.

If you ever noticed, most companies that really push low/cheap prices typically don't use words like quality, service or value and there's a good reason why - to keep the prices so low something has to be sacrificed.

Everyone knows that quality does not come cheap.  In order to keep standards high only the best quality raw materials can be used.  How those materials are handled throughout the manufacturing process is also important.  In addition, if your product is proudly made in the USA with quality, local materials (not the cheap stuff from other countries) and highly trained, local labor you will get a product that begins and ends with quality.  It won't be cheap, but it will be made to last.

A BIG part of the quality aspect is the service that goes along with it.  Without good customer service from beginning to end quality will be affected.  Today's customers expect GREAT customer service, but when a cheap product is purchased and they don't get great service, why are they surprised or disappointed?  As my Grandfather used to say - "you get what you pay for" and it still rings true today.

Now a word that a lot of people use wisely is value.  A product that is good (not the best), offers decent (not top notch)  service at a low (not cheap) price has good value.  Of course all 4 of these words will not only have different meaning to each individual, but everyone will have a different set of criteria using these words when choosing products.  We're not all the same, don't all think the same nor all want the same thing.  If you ever wonder why there are so many choices when making any type of purchase, whether its cars, mowers, or pickles, it's because of this very reason - everyone wants something different.  A certain style of car, a specific width of mower deck or a pickle that is sliced cross-wise or length-wise, the choices are numerous.

When deciding on what you want in a log home and before you ask about pricing, consider listing these words, in order of importance to YOU...Price, Value, Service, Quality.  Once you've established the order it will be a lot easier moving forward and making decisions.  You'll also understand a bit more about yourself and your buying habits so when the time comes to make decisions you won't waver on your choice.

IMG 20130906 175011 resized 600Recently I was eating at a local restaurant and I happened to notice what was written on the back of the servers t-shirts.  It's obvious that I'm not the first person to discuss this very topic and it does give one pause to think....and think HARD....about it's meaning.  At Appalachian Log Structures we work hard every day to offer QUALITY log home building products that come with excellent customer SERVICE all at a VALUE that is fairly PRICED. 

When you're ready to discuss your wants/needs in your dream log home, give one of our Log Home Building Consultants a call.  We're ready to listen and to help you move forward with your project.

Remember to follow and "like" us on Facebook!

 

Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant

Getting to Know your Log Home Manfacturer

Posted on Fri, Aug 23, 2013 @ 12:55 PM

log home millWeb Pages, Blogs, facebook, Twitter, Email, Brochures, Magazines, etc, etc, etc.  It's how most of us go about searching for a log home manufacturer.  Social Media is fun, but how can you really get to know a log home company without ever meeting them?

You are making one of THE largest investments in your lifetime and hopefully you won't make it based on the layout and design of a company's web page or a facebook page or a tweet.  There's more to it than that.

Earlier this year we hosted two great groups at our Spring Plant Tour/Seminars in Princeton, WV.  These people had visited our web page and several had spoken to one of us on the phone and decided it was time to come and see what we were all about.

What they all had in common was that besides everything they've heard, read or seen on a computer screen - they really wanted to actually MEET the faces behind the company that would be supplying their log home building materials, as well as see the mill where their dream log home would be made.  Investing one's time (researching) before making a buying decision is one of the best investments a person can make.

We spent the morning reviewing the process and questions one should ask when going through the planning process of purchasing and building a log cabin home.  Several insightful questions from audience members were fielded and the answers let everyone learn from each other in an informal and open setting.  Some of the feedback we got was that the display items we had on display, helped them visualize the parts/pieces that would come with their log home package.  Also the photos we showed of some finished homes as well as those under construction were useful to help them understand the process of building and living in a completed log home.

After lunch we toured one of our log home manufacturing facilities in Princeton, WV.  A brief tour of the log cut line, rafter line, the pre-cut/slotted jamb line as well as the pressure treating cylinder, and how it works was followed by a log stacking demonstration with many getting a hands-on opportunity on how to lay logs.  We heard from several of the attendees that they enjoyed being able to participate in the log laying and learning practical solutions of log construction.

Gathering information from the web or Social Media is only one SMALL part of the research process.  Meeting people face-to-face and actually being able to see the process of manufacturing and building a log home is priceless.  Get out from behind your computer, put down your smart phone and come and join us this fall for our next two Plant Tour/Seminars (September 28 and November 2) Not only will you learn something valueable, but you'll also have lots of fun!  Space is limited at these educational events to be sure to call your local Log Home Building Consultant or 1-800-280-2574 soon to reserve your spot!

Remember to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultants

Part 4 of 4 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built Homes

Posted on Thu, Jun 6, 2013 @ 02:21 PM

custom log home

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are 3 more advantages...

10) The Eyes Have It
If you’re worried about mold, mildew or insect infestation, then a log home offers clear advantages since you’ll be able to see anything untoward, just by taking a stroll around your home and visually inspecting the logs. This quick detection leads to a less costly remedy. In contrast to a conventional home, the sealed wall cavities can be a hidden refuge for mold, mildew and insect infestation, which can cause far more damage before its detected.

11) Superior Craftsmanship
Conventional custom homes can have their fair share of beautiful carpentry, but this is typically limited to trim and millwork. In log homes, examples of fine craftsmanship are at every turn, in the handcrafted staircase with its branch-like spindles and balustrade, in the hand-scribed large timbers overhead in the cathedral ceiling, in the one-of-a-kind light fixtures.

12) Peace & Quiet
Log homes are often quieter than stick built homes, thanks to the same thermal mass that provides energy efficiency and the sound deadening affects of wood walls, according to a white paper produced by the National Association of Home Builders Log Homes Council. “The acoustical benefits of a log wall, therefore, are the reduced transmission provided by its solid mass and the sound deflection provided by the profile of the log (the angle, shape, and texture of the log surface),” the paper concludes.

Be sure to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

This article is reprinted from a Log Home Council webpage.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home

Part 3 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built Homes

Posted on Thu, May 30, 2013 @ 02:11 PM

custom log home

12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are three more reasons to consider a log cabin home.

7) Super Energy Efficient

Provided the home is sealed properly (between the foundation and the first course of logs, between log-to-log connections and where the roof system meets the log wall), you can have a super energy efficient home. Indeed, some builders routinely build log homes to meet the DOE’s “Energy Star” standards. This means it will be 30% more efficient than what building codes call for, saving you serious coin over the life of the home. “Today we can build a log home to be 15 to 20 percent more energy efficient than a conventional home,” says builder Mike Gingras, owner of Seven North Log Homes in New Haven, Vermont, who has designed and built Energy Star-rated log homes for the past 18 years.

8) A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Hanging a picture in a home with drywall is a big ordeal, involving a stud finder, a hammer or drill and bruised fingers—maybe even a bruised ego, since your spouse may tell you to move the picture, requiring patch work. Homeowners report the simplicity of hanging a picture is one the simple joys of living in a log home.

9) Rustic Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t High Tech

While rugged is appealing, roughing it is definitely out. That’s why today’s log homeowners increasingly want a hideaway that’s connected, automated and secure. Many log homeowners are adding backup generators (in case of power outages), security system and a CAT 5 wiring system that can accommodate high speed video, voice and data, as well as a host of new communication technologies on the horizon.

Be sure to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

Watch for Part 4 of this 4 part series coming soon!

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log home

Part 2 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built homes.

Posted on Thu, May 23, 2013 @ 02:04 PM

custom log home 12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are three more reasons to consider a log cabin home.

4) Fit the Land
Since this organic building material comes from nature, the resulting structures blend into the topography like a 10-point buck on opening day. Log homes naturally integrate right into the landscape, rather than being awkwardly imposed on it.

5) Fast Framing
If you choose to use a precut and pre-drilled log system or a handcrafted home, the shell of your home can be framed on site faster than conventional stick framing, which will reduce the likelihood of weather-related damages or mold and mildew issues. With the right crew and building system, it can be weather tight in as little as two weeks—for an average sized home. In conventional construction, your home is exposed to the elements for far longer, which could lead to mold issues within framing of the home, where it can thrive undetected for years.

6) Warmth of Wood
Warm to the touch (as opposed to the always chilly sheetrock), wood has something called “thermal mass,” a natural property in the logs that helps keep inside temperatures of homes comfortable in all seasons. This allows log walls to collect and store energy, then radiate it back into the home.

Watch for part 3 of this 4 part series soon!

Be sure to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

 

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home

Log Homes are better than Conventional Built Homes - 4 Part Series

Posted on Fri, May 17, 2013 @ 01:56 PM

Custom Log Home

12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Part 1 of 4

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors. The benefits start with the building materials.

1) Trees are Renewable Resource
Since trees are a renewable resource, log homes come with a solid green pedigree. When a home is made from solid logs, you are effectively taking the carbon contained in those logs out of environmental circulation over the entire life of the home. Moreover, some log home producers harvest standing dead timber (done in by pesky insects) or purchase logs from forests certified as sustainable. Some builders are constructing log homes to green building standards as well.

2) Long Lasting
Got a know-it-all in the neighborhood who thinks his brick home is durable? Inform him that log homes still in use in Europe routinely date back more than 800 years. And one log-constructed church in Russia is reportedly more than 1,700 years young.

3) Withstand Mother Nature’s Wrath
The log home industry has countless stories of these homes successfully weathering the worst weather Mother Nature can dish out, including the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When Rita’s winds caused a giant oak tree to crash through the roof of Menlo Klingman and his wife Mickey’s 1,700 square foot log home in Eastern Texas, the home’s solid log walls withstood the weight of the toppled tree and prevented more damage “There is no doubt in my mind that this log home saved our lives,” says Mickey.

Watch for Part 2 next week!

Be sure to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

 

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home

Where in the World is Appalachian Log Structures?

Posted on Fri, May 10, 2013 @ 09:29 AM

China Log StructureSince 1979 we've been manufacturing and pressure treating quality log homes and log home building products.  Today, we're continuing the tradition and are proud to be one of the few log home manufacturers to be owned and operated by the same family that conceived our company so many years ago.  During these years we've successfully delivered thousands of dream log homes.  Although our main market is North America, we've had quite a few go beyond our borders and quite literally, half way around the world.

One of the first exports shipped was to a US citizen living in Japan.  Due to the limited logging on this island nation they had to look elsewhere for the supply of timbers as well as a design and a building system that would be approved by the Japanese.  West Virginia's economic development department in association with their counterparts in Japan brought together this homeowner and Appalachian Log Structures.  We helped the homeowner design his dream log cabin home and engineered it to Japanese standards to withstand the frequent earthquakes that country is known for.  Not only did they purchase the log home building materials from us, but they also loaded in to the container countless "western style" finish items (lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, cabinets, etc.) that were hard to come by over there.  It was quite an interesting project and a good one to cut our teeth on.

We also fielded a call from Australia where a gentleman learned about our use of borates in the pressure treatment of our log home building materials.  The ever present termite in western Australia had this homeowner look the world over to find a product that would withstand this insect and one that would protect his dream log home investment.  After visiting our home office in Ripley, WV and our mill in Southern West Virginia he was satisfied that he found the right company and the right product to meet his needs.  Needless to say, the person sent from Appalachian Log Structures to do the Technical start up on this job had quite a bit of Frequent Flyer miles built up upon his return!

Over several decades we've supplied Jamaica with more than 30 structures not only for residences but also for resorts and Inn's.  Our first foray in to this market was also driven by clients looking for log home building materials that would withstand not only the humid/moist climate and termites that Jamaica has but also the pounding of hurricanes that frequent the island.  This time we had several folks from Jamaica visit our facilities and took orders for not only several houses but also for a commercial structure.  Recently we assisted a client with adding a 2nd story to his existing Inn near Negril which was followed by shipping three smaller rental cabins using our Sportsman log on the same property. 

In 2006 we were contacted by a company in China inquiring about our log homes.  After numerous emails and research they decided to send a representative to visit our facilities.  We were glad to show him our National Headquarters in Ripley, WV as well as our mills in Princeton, WV.  Once he saw the logs coming through the mill and could put his hands on the finished product, he was sold.  All other product he had been using previously (coming from Russia or Norway) had not been as large or as finished.  That it was also pressure treated with borates was icing on the cake!  Quality product was what he had been searching for worldwide - only to discover it in West Virginia!  The photo above is the first structure they built which was a "Refreshment Hut" on a golf course.  I called it the "19th hole"!

Just as we like it here at home in the USA, sometimes folks in other countries just want to have someone listen to their dreams and show an interest in what they want to accomplish.  The log home building materials we shipped to Mexico all started with an email stating that he liked on of our floor plans and thought it would look nice setting on his mountain top.  Others thought he was crazy but he had a dream and we helped him achieve it.  He loves his log home and it does look GREAT sitting on that mountain top.

Whether you live next door to us or half way around the world, we're interested in helping you with your dream log cabin home no matter how big, small or crazy in design.  When you're ready to come and see what folks from all over the world have searched us out for, we're ready to show you what we've got.  Be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant and set an appointment to talk about your log home project.

Be sure to "like" and follow us on Facebook!

Tags: log cabin home, dream log home, log home building consultant

Protecting Your Log Home from Forest Fires!

Posted on Thu, Mar 28, 2013 @ 12:20 PM

log cabin home

Dad was a forester, earning his degree from WVU (West Virginia University) and working in the woods or around timber for most all of his life.  Spending a season or two in fire towers he passed along his respect for the proper care and treatment of forests to his kids and immediate family – especially his respect and concerns for fires.  When building my log home in 1992, he knew that we were located on 11 acres of totally wooded land and it was surrounded by forests beyond.  We spoke about and designed the building site so a fire break was included around the house in case one of a forest fire.

Recently I ran across an article* in a building magazine mentioning most of the ideas my father had about protecting my dream log home against these fires and though I would share them with you too.  Whether you are just now starting to build a log cabin home (or any home for that matter) or still planning your dream log home here is some good food for thought.

“Forest fires are more than just fire.  They can become a “firestorm” – a deadly mix of unending fuel supply and thermally-induced high winds that roll into a blast furnace, and approach, uninvited, with the speed and power of a locomotive.  Seemingly non-combustible materials burn or disintegrate.  Sheer winds uproot trees, fences and roofs with unnatural ease.  Superheated embers fly, bounce and crawl into fresh territories to advance the wall of flames ever faster.  To understand this power, picture a 3,000 square foot house burned to its foundation in less than eight minutes.  It has been described by its victims as a “fire-tornado”.  Often, fire breaks are the only answer, starving the flames of combustibles that fuel its insatiable appetite.” 

“What can be done to brace against such disasters?  As witnessed in recent events such as the Waldo Canyon fire in Colorado, quite possibly nothing, short of a fire break.  Still, there are many efforts that you can make in your building and landscape design to ensure the property is more fire-resistant, and may stave off more serious destruction.”

Walk the property, and look up.  Encroaching trees with overlapping crowns, proximity to other buildings and prevailing winds can make the property an easy reach for forest fires.  Create a “green belt” around the structure – usually referred to a Zone 1.  This is a 30 feet clearance on all sides of the structure, free of combustibles including dead brush, firewood, propane tanks or debris.  Trees near a house may look cozy, but to be safe, clear out all trees from Zone 1 of the property.  If that is not possible, trim overhanging branches a minimum of 6 feet away from the building.  Keep lawn and foundation landscaping in the green belt low and well-watered.

Create a “fuel-free” zone around the buildings. Keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris, and consider specifying decorative stone, rather that mulch near the building.  Consider your landscape design for fire safety; keep portable or permanently installed gas grills away from the house.  Combustible outbuildings and garden structures like gazebos, bridges or decorative wells can invite fire closer to the building; make sure these structures are a good distance away from the primary structure.  If you have wood fencing attached to the building, this can lead fire straight to your structure like a wick.  Create a barrier of non-flammable fencing a minimum of 6 to 10 feet from the property walls.

If a building is in a high fire danger area, it is mandatory that your use fire-rated materials on your construction.  For roofing, metal, slate, tile and some fire-rated fiberglass or polymer tiles may do the job.  A metal roof with a Class A rating is an excellent deterrent against fire.  

If your roof has skylights, use tempered glass skylights, rather than plastic ones.  Double paned or tempered glass windows offer extra protection that can help keep a fire from entering the interior of your structure.  The temperature differential between the hot forest- fire air outside and cooler attic air can cause a strong vacuum effect, pulling fire in to the structure.

Use a finer 1/8th-inch opening steel screen on your eaves vents; while coarse screening may keep out the birds, you will need something smaller to keep airborne embers for being pulled in to attic spaces.

Create fire breaks in your landscape design.  Use driveways, walkways, and water features to create vegetation barriers.  Even low stone or cinder block walls along the property line can serve as an effective fire break.  Prune trees so that trunks are clear of branches and undergrowth 6 to 10 feet from the ground.

When building your log home in the forest, keep these ideas in mind so your investment is properly protected from forest fires.

Follow us on facebook!

*Part of the blog is from March 2013 Metal Builder Magazine and an article written by Doug Myer, Metal Panels, Inc.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home

Carpenter Bees, Log Homes and Other Exterior Wood Structures

Posted on Fri, Mar 8, 2013 @ 01:37 PM

carpenter bee trapWelcome Spring!  With such a light winter in the South this year it seems that the carpenter bees are beginning to hatch a bit earlier than normal.  If you live in a home (log home or otherwise) with wooden structures like porches, decks, fascia trim, etc. now is the time to begin thinking about how to protect these area of your home from this wood destroying insect.

Besides the badminton/tennis racket method which will give you a good workout while swatting at these pests, there are several other products on the market today that will help you reduce and in some cases eliminate the drilling bees.  Keep in mind that since these bees are not ingesting the wood just drilling in to it - topical coats of borates will do little to deter the carpenter bee. 

If you live in a log home or a wood sided home you may want to try a great "green" product called NBS-30.  This liquid additive may be mixed with the finish that you are using on the exterior of your home.  By mixing NBS-30 with a good penetrating product the effects of the additive will last longer as it is not only on the surface of the wood, but penetrates in to the wood as well.  You can use NBS-30 as a topical treatment by mixing it with water - but it works the best with penetrating finishes.  The main ingredient is citronella - the same natural ingredient that is put in candles and burned around outdoor areas where people gather.  Not only does the carpenter bee not like the smell, but spiders, flies, lady bugs and most other insects don't like the smell either.  I've used this product on my dream log home with great success and like the fact that I'm not using a chemical around my house.

If you don't live in a log cabin home but have wooden structures or wooden members on your log home you may want to try one of the traps that are offered.  Most homeowners have seen some of the damage that carpenter bees can do to fascia boards around the perimeter of the roof structure.  A clever individual came up with the idea that by drilling holes the same size as the carpenter bee in a piece of lumber, then making a channel on the back of the wood and placing a glue like substance in these channels - the lazy carpenter bee will enter the pre-drilled hole and get stuck in the glue on the back side.  After initial installation, these traps can be taken down and cleaned and used year after year.  These facia bee chambers are great to use in these areas since the 1" lumber is what the bees like best.

Another trap that I've used for the past two years is pretty ingenious.  Although a very simple design - it works GREAT.  When I first hung the carpenter bee traps at the peak and tips of my log cabin homes gable end I thought I had wasted my time and money.  After less than 4 hours about 1/2 the bottle was FULL of carpenter bees!  I was laughing at how simple a trap it is but what a fantastic job it was doing.  I've almost eliminated the carpenter bees around my house since I've trapped so many over the past two year which means they've not been able to re-produce.

If you have a pretty severe case of carpenter bees (barns, outbuilding, sheds, etc) where you don't do a lot of upkeep or maintenance the carpenter bee kit will be a good solution as well.  Although it does use a chemical dust - it is effective.  You'll need to read the directions and follow them carefully to eliminate the problems but it does work well.

Using a combination of the above products will help eliminate carpenter bees around your home and keep them from coming back.  After all - you spend enough time taking care of your home (both inside and out) so why not spend a little time now so you can save a LOT of time later taking care of those nasty carpenter bees. 

Remember to "like" us on facebook!

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, dream log cabin home

Order your Log Home Package – Step #10 in Planning for Success

Posted on Fri, Jan 18, 2013 @ 11:09 AM

finished log homeNow that you've successfully completed the previous 9 steps in Planning a Successful Log Home Project you are ready to order your log home building materials. 

Remember to contact your helpful and knowledgeable Log Home Consultant so they can assist you with this process.  They are a great resource of information.  If you do not plan on financing any part of the project most log home manufacturers require a 10% deposit to complete your construction set of plans and to start planning for your order.  Usually a 40% deposit is needed to begin the manufacturing of your materials with the 50% balance due upon delivery.  If you are planning on taking a loan, most financial institutions that have previously worked with log homeowners will require the borrower to put down at least 10% with the log home manufacturer and the 90% balance due will be released from the lender on day of delivery.  This is all subject to the loan closing before any manufacturing occurs. 

From this point it will take an average of 6 to 8 weeks for the materials to be manufactured, packaged and ready to ship.  This gives you time to clear and grade the building site, dig and install the foundation and ready the sub floor.  On the day of delivery all that needs to be done is to put the log bundles on the sub floor and start the installation process.  You can look back over the recent past, re-trace the steps you took and be satisfied with all of the planning you did to make your dream log home become reality!

Follow us on facebook!

Tags: dream log home, log home consultant, log home manufacturer