The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

Construction Loan Application - Step #9 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

log cabin homeThis step can take some time to complete and will take some patience.  There are several items that most financial institutions require you provide when you apply for your loan.  Listed below are just a few:

  • Last 3-4 years of tax returns and/or W-2’s

  • Last 3-4 pay stubs

  • Your address for the last 2+ years

  • Current statements from checking, savings, portfolios, etc

  • Employment addres for last 2 years

  • Copy of deed/title to the land you are building on or being purchased.

  • Set of floor plans and builder contracts/estimates

There is a lot more information that will be requested before the loan is closed so be prepared to keep digging through your files and have patience.  Our Log Home Sales Consultants assist folks everyday who are going through this process, and believe me, you are not the only ones who feel like they are going through the hoops as this process takes place.

At some point in the application process an appraisal will be ordered for your log cabin home building project.  The appraiser will take your log home floor plans along with the contractors contract/estimates and will determine a value of your home setting on the lot you have chosen.  This value will become part of the basis for the amount of funds the lending institution will loan towards your log cabin home.  Once this amount is determined, the draw schedule can be completed, papers can be signed and you can begin building your dream log home.

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Our next and final blog in this series is Step #10 – Placing your Log Home Package order.

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

October Log Home Maintenance Checklist

Posted on Fri, Oct 19, 2012 @ 09:39 AM

Log Home MaintenanceOctober is the first full month of fall; by the end of this month, most of your winterization should be completed. Falling leaves and dwindling daylight signal a final opportunity to do some outdoor organizing before winter settles in.

Reinforce windows
Replace your screens with storm windows. If your screens are dirty or damaged, repair and clean before storing them to prevent further deterioration. Light scrubbing followed by a blast from a hose will eliminate bird droppings and other grime. Small tears can be sewn up with thin wire. If you have older single-pane windows and no storm coverings, apply heat-shrink plastic to the inner or outer window frame to create an insulating air space and save heating expense.

Fire fluency
Make sure your damper is in good working order by opening and shutting it prior to lighting the first fire of the season. If you didn't clean your chimney at the end of the heating season, do it now — especially if you burn soft woods, which release more creosote. Often the first indication that a chimney needs cleaning is a chimney fire, so preventive maintenance is important.  The fireplace/wood stove in your log cabin home is now ready to enjoy on those soon to be cold nights!

Detect deadly gas
If you heat your home with wood heat or a gas heater, a carbon-monoxide detector is a must. These devices look and sound like smoke detectors, but they detect carbon-monoxide gas instead. Units that plug into an outlet are also available.  Protect your loved ones as well as your dream log home investment!

Check batteries in smoke detectors
Daylight saving time ends Nov. 7. Get into the habit of checking smoke-detector batteries when you "fall back" and "spring ahead." Also make sure household fire extinguishers are fully pressurized and in good working order.

Close seasonal air conditioners
If you live in a place where air conditioners are used seasonally instead of year-round, this is a good month to close them down. Switch off power, make sure the condensate drain is clear, and clean condenser coils and filters (a vacuum will do). Either remove window units or cover them, to protect your home from drafts and the units from inclement weather.

Bleed air from radiators
Radiators can get air pockets in them when not in use. If air pockets stay, they will keep the unit from heating up to its full capacity. If your unit doesn't have automatic air valves, you need to bleed it prior to every heating season. To bleed air out, turn on the furnace and circulator and open the supply valve to the radiator. Find the bleeder valve (it's usually opposite the supply valve) and open it while holding a pan to it. Air should be released, followed by hot water (thus the pan). Close the valve as the water comes out. Lightly feel the radiator to make sure it is heated along its entire surface; if there are gaps, repeat the procedure.

Cut brush back from the house
Before stowing all of your gardening equipment for the winter, walk around your house with a weed whacker and a pair of pruners and cut back any brush, weeds or branches that contact your house. This task will eliminate a common access point for insects, rodents and rot. It will also keep branches and shrubs from scraping away at your siding during windstorms.

Watch those leaves
If you don't want the tannin in fall leaves to leave hard-to-clean imprints on your deck and concrete walkways, keep those surfaces leaf-free. If you do get some leaf prints, try a solution of half water and half bleach (test it first in an unobtrusive spot — it may lighten the wood on your deck) or trisodium phosphate (commonly known as TSP) and warm water. Or, just leave the prints and consider them an artistic addition to your exterior look.

Store outdoor furniture
Scrub and store outdoor furniture; even furniture designed to stay out year-round will last longer if protected from extreme cold and wet. Store or cover your barbecue unless you cook with it all year. Empty and store large planters — clay or terra-cotta units will crack if left out to freeze and thaw. Clean and store your gardening tools, but don't put them completely out of reach — shovels are useful year-round.

Winterize external plumbing systems
This is the most important job of fall if you live in an area that freezes in the winter. The simple fact that water expands upon freezing has caused countless homeowners innumerable woes. Ignore this job and flooding, water damage and thousands of dollars worth of plumbing bills will be your constant winter companions.

Here's your to-do list:

  • Drain underground sprinkler systems

  • Have outdoor pools drained and professionally serviced.  

  • Drain exterior water pipes and any pipes that run through unheated areas (such as a garage, crawl space or unheated porch). If draining these pipes isn't possible, wrap them with foam insulation or heat tape. 

  • Cover exposed spigots with foam covers. Or, if cosmetics and ease of removal don't matter, wrap spigots in layers of newspaper, cover the newspaper with a plastic bag, and seal the whole affair with duct tape. 

  • Drain and store garden hoses. Leave one hose and nozzle somewhere that's easily accessible; you'll need it for gutter cleaning and car washing.

Preparing now will save you time and money next spring when the thaw comes.  Take care of your log home and it will take good care of you!

Parts of the article above was reproduced from a posting by By Anne Erickson of MSN Real Estate

Tags: log home, dream log home

Log Home Living - Safe in Any Storm!

Posted on Sat, Aug 25, 2012 @ 04:00 PM

Log Home LivingPeople often ask me what the advantages are of living in a log cabin home.  Because I lived in Florida and now live in South Carolina, I tell them that for safety sake, as well as other personal reasons, my custom log home will weather most any storm and survive where frame homes and brick homes will not.

In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo made landfall on South Carolina beaches in the early morning.  What followed was a devastating event that destroyed not only homes but roads, power lines and other necessities in every day living.  In 1992 South Florida experienced Hurricane Andrew which blew ashore with the same type of destructive force causing even more heartache for those in and around Homestead, Florida.

We moved from Florida to South Carolina in 1991, but had friends and relatives in the South Florida area when Andrew came through.  We also had relatives in Florence, SC when Hugo blew threw so we knew what type of life altering events these natural disasters can have on houses and everyday life.

It never occurred to me the strength of a log home until reading a few articles over the span of about 3 years as well as a comment made by the person who constructed my home.

In 1990, a log home magazine featured an aerial photo of a log home in South Florida shortly after Andrew.  You could see that the structure lost some shingles, but the home was intact as well as all the windows and doors.  What really caught my eye were the concrete pads on either side of the log home where frame homes used to be!  Those homes were wiped completely off of their concrete slab foundations and blown away.

In the mid 1980's, Appalachian Log Structures featured two photos (a before and after shot) of one of our home in South Charleston, WV.  A freak tornado touched down and brought a 52" diameter oak tree across this home.  The solid log wall construction along with the strength of the heavy timber roof framing and 2" thick tongue and groove, split the tree in two.  Of course some of the shingles were damaged along with some of the OSB and solid insulation.  In addition the heavy timber ridge beam was cracked and needed replacing, but otherwise the house withstood the impact.  Their insurance agent, after inspecting and photographing the damages stated that if it had been a frame home, it would have been destroyed - a complete loss!

In 1992 while our custom log cabin home was under construction, the builder took me aside one day and said that over the past three years he had been repairing a lot of homes from the damages that Hugo left behind.  Damaged roofs, porches and the like were all effects of the up-lift from the high winds.  As he was putting our heavy timber roof together he could not help but share with me that "if this house were here when Hugo came through, it would not have touched it"!  He was very impressed with the strength and stability of the roof structure and was convinced it would take a lot more that a Category 4 Hurricane to take apart my log home.

Over the years I've read even more stories about log home surviving floods, when frame and brick homes were washed away.  And because of the solid wood walls, the flooded homes were quicker to move back in to since the pink fluff/batten insulation did not have to be replaced (batten insulation looses about 1/2 of the R-value when exposed to moisture) and there were no worries about mold/mildew because of the lack of batten insulation and dry wall.

Another story out of California where a wildfire jumped a team of firefighters who found themselves caught between two burning fronts.  Fortunately, there was a log home with a metal roof close by which they escaped to.  The photo shows this log home to be the only survivor in the subdivision and saved all of the firefighters.  Once again, the solid wood walls withstood the flames with some charring.  As a thank you for saving their lives, the firefighters removed the char from the log walls and the house was like new again.

Not only are log homes beautiful, but they will keep you and your family safe from the storms and other events that Mother Nature may throw your way.  When you are ready to build your beautiful, strong and protective log home for your family, contact on of our Log Home Building Consultants to help you get started.

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

Log Home Consultants - We're Here to Help!

Posted on Thu, Aug 16, 2012 @ 09:42 AM

Log Home ConsultantWhen starting to plan a log home building project you may find it seems to be a bit overwhelming.  Some people are skeptical about asking for help and others think that they will be "sold" something they don't want or need if they ask a sales person.  We consider our Sales Team "Log Home Consultants" as they are knowledgeable about the entire process of building a custom log cabin home and are willing to share that experience with you.

Most all of our Consultants live in a log home (or work from a log home model) and will invite you to stop by for a visit and to discuss your building plans.  They have assisted hundreds of clients through the financing process, choosing a builder as well as planning your floor plan to fit the budget you've decided.  All very important steps in a successful building project!

Besides the assistance they offer before you build, our Consultants are with you during the construction phase and even after you have moved in!  We're keen on keeping our clients happy and satisfied.  One of the top 10 reasons that our homeowners chose to use Appalachian Log Structures as their log home manufacturer was because of the good relationship they had developed with their Consultant.

For your convenience we offer 29 Consultants that cover the following states: Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Kansas, Maryland, Minnesota, Mossouri, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.  In addition, 4 of these Consultants assist folks from the other states not mentioned above, and one even handles Exports to other countries.  Combined, we have over 400 years of log home experience helping over 10,000 folks, from all over the world, successfully achieve their dream log home.

When you decide that you are ready to start on your log home building project, let one of Appalachian Log Structures Consultants assist you.  Their experience, knowledge, insight and willingness to help is priceless!

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

Energy Performance of Log Homes

Posted on Fri, Jun 29, 2012 @ 10:55 AM

custom log structureA lot has been written about the energy efficiency of log homes.  When discussing this topic with those "none believer's", I usually ask them the square footage of their home, how high the ceilings are in their home and what types of energy they use to power their home.

After determining all of this and then comparing the costs to my own log cabin home, they are quite surprised at the differences between the energy costs of the two homes.  You see, you can read, calculate, research and argue this topic for a good long while however the proof is in the monthly power bill.  My home continually out performs my next door neighbors who live in conventional built homes with 8' or 9' tall ceilings.

Thanks to the physical characteristics of logs, when you build your new log home you can watch your energy bills go down, which really adds up. Log homes are able to achieve excellent energy efficiency, thanks to “thermal mass,” a natural property in the logs that helps keep inside temperatures comfortable in all seasons. This enables log homes to stay cool in summer and warm in winter. Indeed, in studies by the Department of Energy and performed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, log homes were found to outperform other forms of construction. Read all about it in the Log Home Council's white paper, The Energy Performance of Log Homes.

Although a very technical paper it does provide some insight in to the "thermal mass" phenomanom that is really at the heart of the topic.  It's this mass that gives the log home the energy efficiency that they are known for.  Our forefathers understood the energy efficiency of log structures.  That's one of the reasons why so many were built.

When you are ready to begin your new energy efficient, dream log home, be sure to contact your nearest Log Home Building Consultant to assist you.  We're here to help when you're ready to start.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, dream log home, logs, log cabin kits, log home building consultant, Log Home Council

The Log Home: An American Dream

Posted on Thu, Jun 14, 2012 @ 10:08 AM

custom log home
Over the centuries log homes have come a long way.  The resurgence in log home construction came in the mid-1970's and along with it several opportunities to improve on what our forefathers taught us about constructing homes with full logs.

Of course when log home construction started in this country, our virgin timbers were HUGE and contained a lot of heart wood.  Heartwood of all wood species is naturally resistant to insects and decay. Preservatives weren't so necessary then and what was used to help protect the wood was organic.

Now that we're on our 3rd or 4th harvesting of timbers there is a lot more sapwood exposed when the logs are milled or hewn.  Sapwood of ALL wood species (yes - even cypress and cedar) is susceptible to decay and insects so preservation is very important today.  It's the reason we started in 1977 to pressure treat our log wall building materials - something that no one had tried before - and we have never had a homeowner with insect or decay problems.  In addition, just like our forefathers we're using an organic preservative in our pressure treating process - borates.

In the infancy of the new log home building industry the Log Home Council (LHC) was formed and became a division of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).  Appalachian Log Structures was one of the companies that helped form and support the LHC and still does today.  Over the years several white papers have been produced by the LHC and one of them is featured here today.  Click Here for an overview of the Log Home Industry and be prepared to learn some interesting and useful facts that you can take with you and use in your own dream log home project.

Don't forget to contact your local Log Home Consultant when you have questions or are ready to turn your dream log home in to reality!

Tags: log home, dream log home, log cabin kits, log home construction, log home industry, log wall building materials

NC Log Home Owners Use Strategic Planning

Posted on Fri, May 25, 2012 @ 09:36 AM

Cozy Log Cabin HomeGood strategy, communication, vision and hard work eventually pay off for two homeowners who used all of the planning tools in their tool belt to build their dream log home.

It was not planned or executed overnight but over several years.  Cultivating the dream, envisioning the finished product and working towards a common goal all paid off in the end.  Now this beautiful log home is the Shaffer's dream log home come true.

A lot of their own blood, sweat and tears went in to their retirement home in Western North Carolina and it really shows.  For the protection of their investment, they chose to use logs pressure treated with borates to guarantee against wood digesting insects and decay.  In addition, they also liked the advantages that the spring loaded thru-bolt offered - keeping their log cabin home tight and energy efficient over the years.

Now that it's complete - they enjoy their time on the porch looking over the picturesque views of the Blue Ridge Mountains.  Their home was featured in Country's Best Log home magazine and you can CLICK HERE to see more photos and read about their experiences.

When planning your dream log home, take your time, think it through and don't forget to work with a Log Home Consultant that has your best interest at heart.

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

Who is Manufacturing your Log Home Package?

Posted on Thu, Mar 1, 2012 @ 04:17 PM

log home manufacturerThere are a lot of claims about being a log home kit manufacturer, but knowing the difference between a broker and a manufacturer is important.

A log home manufacturer owns and operates the machinery that cuts your log home building materials.  For those manufacturers belonging to the Log Home Council, like Appalachian Log Structures, we also provide quality grade stamped logs and timbers, as well as construction manuals, construction DVD's, on-site technical assistance and other such valuable services.  A few of the manufacturers, like Appalachian Log Structures, have their own drafting departments where they focus on providing homeowners with specialized drawings on how the materials are to be assembled.  Most manufacturers are very proud of their manufacturing facilities, and over the past 10+ years we've been offering Plant Tour/Seminars at our Princeton, WV facility, where we've hosted thousands of interested log home enthusiasts .  These people (many of which are now homeowners) tell us that visiting our log home manufacturing facility made them feel secure in the fact that they knew who and where their dream log cabin was being produced.

When doing research for your log home kit, you'll run across a few log home brokers.  Although advertised and promoted as a "Log Home Company" or manufacturer, log home brokers typically purchase the log home building materials from saw mills or sometimes from a log home manufacturer, or both!  The materials are then re-sold to consumers as being made by the "Log Home Company".  If you don't inquire, (or don't care), you'll never know who supplied and milled your log home building materials.

When its time to choose your manufacture/supplier - it's not a bad idea to visit their manufacturing facility.  You can learn so much more about the company you are going to be dealing with, as well as see first hand the quality of the product you are investing in.

Knowledge is power - be sure to educate yourself on not only the quality of the log home components you are purchasing, but know who you are dealing with, and where the log cabin kits are coming from...the manufacturer or someplace else!

You are invited to our Spring Plant Tour and Seminar being held later this month.  Contact your local Log Home Consultant to learn more.  Sign up soon as seats are limited!

Tags: dream log home, log cabin kits, log home manufacturer, log home kits

Does Size Really Matter? How thick are your Log Home walls?

Posted on Thu, Feb 2, 2012 @ 11:52 AM

log cabin kit logIs 6 inches really 6 inches?  Is 8 inches really 8 inches?  When discussing how thick you want the log wall to be in your dream log cabin home, you'll hear lots of different opinions on what should be used or what is required for you to use when building.  Keep in mind the following two terms, Nominal and Actual.  Nominal dimensions are common in the wood/lumber industry.  When purchasing a 2x4 at a home store you are purchasing a "Nominal" piece of lumber that "Actually" measures 1.5 inch x 3.5 inch.  The same goes for logs in your log home.  Where most manufactures advertise a 6 inch or 8 inch thick log, what actually arrives at your job site is something a bit smaller.  Disappointed?  Well we can certainally understand why - it happens to a lot of folks.

At Appalachina Log Structures we offer ACTUAL thickness' in our borate pressure treated log walls.  You get every inch you expected - and PAID for!  And with the extra wood that is included (about 12% more wood in the entire wall) that means you are also getting added insulation as well - WHAT A VALUE!  Thicker logs and more insulation - what more could you ask for?  Different shapes of logs and different corner styles - we have that as well.

When searching for the manufacturer of your dream log home keep us in mind.  We offer a lot more than the competition - for the same (or sometimes lower) price.

Quality, Value and Service all at great Price!

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

$aving Money on your Log Home Package

Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 12:36 PM

log home savingsSeems everyone is in to saving money these days, especially those who are planning on building a new log home. Not only are there ways to design your log cabin home to help keep costs down, but also the materials you choose to have included in your log home package will impact your costs.  In response to those who are looking for a great opportunity to save, Appalachian Log Structures is offering purchase incentives to "inspire" you to take the plunge and join the rest of us that live in our own dream log home.

In the log home building business you'll often hear that the most cost effective way to build any structure is to design a square or rectangle house (only 4 corners) with 1 straight roof line.  You'll also hear it is most cost effective to build "up" and not "out" - meaning a two story home or a home setting on a basement contains more living space under roof that a ranch style home (single story) with the same foundation foot print.  Although not always desirable (or practical) there are ways to enhance a basic square/rectangle floor plan with dormers, porches, and other unique architectural features.  And for those who don't want to climb stairs in their retirement home, ways to keep all of your living space on one level and let guests/family take the stairs to a loft or basement level.

As for another way to save - watch for sales or incentives being offered by your favorite log home manufacturer.  Discounts, options credits and rebates are just some of the ways log home companies will inspire you stop thinking about building a log home and actually DO something about it.  Click here to learn more about how Appalachian Log Structures can save you thousands of dollars if you plan to build in 2012.

None of us are getting any younger and if living in a log home is on your bucket list, then let us help get you started today.  Be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant for more help.  They will be a great resource throughout the entire project and offer invalueable insight.

Tags: log home, dream log home, log home manufacturer, log home packages