The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

A Back Porch Perspective from my Log Home

Posted on Fri, Sep 7, 2012 @ 08:26 AM

custom log homeSo far it's been a long hot summer but fall is fast approaching and I'm sure we're all looking for a cool down in the not too distant future.

However, living in an energy efficient log home, the effects of high energy costs are not too much of a worry, but we would all like to see lower energy use whenever possible.

Over the summer we've had lots more rain and thunderstorms than normal.  We need the rain but the hail and heavy downpours with the continuous lightening can be a bit disturbing.  It is quite nice when sitting either inside or outside your log cabin home to just listen to the rain drops falling on the roof and the comforting sound it makes.  At night - it's great to fall asleep to the sound of rain on the roof and even in the middle of the night, if you happen to wake up, it's the sound that puts you right back to sleep.  For me it's the comfort that I know my log home will protect my family and myself and withstand most of what Mother Nature sends our way.

A few times this summer I've sat on the back porch and just listened as the storms approach, watch the clouds darken, smell the rain coming and finally seeing the lightening and watching the rain start to fall.  The air cools rather quickly and often the humidity falls to a very comfortable level.  Afterwards, listening to the rain drops fall from the leaves on the trees and seeing the water droplets form in to multifaceted diamonds that glow with color on the needles of the cedar trees that surround the house is quite peaceful.  It's usually pretty quiet just after the storm, but eventually the birds start singing and the humming birds start feeding again from their feeder hung right off the end of our porch rafter.

The screen keeps the bugs at bay and the back porch is protected from these pests as we enjoy an afternoon lunch or evening dinner.  It's a GREAT place for resting and relaxing as I go back and forth to the grill while dinner is cooking.  A cold drink is often close by to sooth the heat and humidity that is summer in South Carolina.

We love our porches and they were important to us when first planning our log home in 1991.  Knowing that if we wanted to entertain or just enjoy a screened in porch that would include an outdoor dining table and chairs we would need to consider at a minimum a 10' deep porch.  We have a hot tub, table and chairs for 4 and 2 lounge chairs on our back porch where we can watch the sun setting over the trees and the back yard where it's not unusual to see deer, turkey, quail or other woodland creatures come out to feed and play. 

Our front porch which we knew would not be used quite as often or for entertaining, we made only 8' deep which is plenty for our purposes.  A swing and a couple of Adirondack chairs make for a great place to have coffee and watch the sunrise in the Spring and Fall. 

Living in a custom log home in the woods is a dream that many folks have.  At Appalachian Log Structures we've helped thousands of folks realize that dream and provided the log home building materials for their log cabin home.

If you have the dream and are ready to get started be sure to contact one of our Log Home Building Consultants soon.  We'll invite you by to set on our porch and listen to the dreams you have.  We're ready to help you make it a reality when you are!

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

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

Is your Log Cabin Home Manufacturer a Log Home Council Member?

Posted on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

 

custom log home

Building your dream log home is likely one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. But you’re not the only stakeholder in this project. Your local building department requires the log cabin home be constructed to code. Your lender wants the log home to be valued correctly. The builder wants to earn more business through word-of-mouth, as does the log home manufacturer.

With so much riding on this decision, who do you trust? We suggest limiting your choices to members of the Log Homes Council like Appalachian Log Structures. Why? Because for decades now, new log homes buyers have trusted members of the Log Homes Council to make their dream home a reality. That’s because all council members must:

  • Abide by a strict code of ethics
  • Grade their logs and timbers by third party agencies to ensure quality
  • Provide construction manuals to ensure correct construction techniques
  • Sponsor scientific studies that advance log building technologies
  • Provide information to help consumers make smart choices


"This means when you buy from a Log Homes Council member, you are getting quality building materials that will stand the test of time," says Nicole Robinson, Chair of the Log Homes Council.

But those aren't the only advantages in choosing a company that belongs to the Log Homes Council. While member companies compete fairly for your dream home while adhering to the membership requirements, they are united in their passion for their work.

"When was the last time you bought anything from anyone who not only harvests the raw materials, but also designs and crafts the finished product?," asks Robinson. "You will find everyone from the sales rep to the owner of the company have something in common with you: They share the same passion for living in a log home as you do."

Learn More About the Council
The Log Homes Council is a national organization with membership comprised of manufacturers of log homes. The council is part of the National Association of Home Builders.  Appalachian Log Structures is proud to be one of the companies that first formed this organization and throughout the years have had two of our employees being Chair of the Council as well as serving on numerous advisory boards and committies.  We proud of our association with the Log Home Council and their efforts to promote and support our industry.

 

Information above is taken in part from the Log Home Council's web page.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, Log Home Council

A Company’s Legacy of Log Home Living

Posted on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:44 AM

custom log homeLooking back 20 years ago next month, my wife and I were putting the finishing touches on our log home and preparing to move in.  Over the previous 18 months, we planned, sketched, met with banks, met with builders, scheduled the work to be done and prepared for our journey in to the building process.  We started construction in March of 1992 and by mid-September were moved in.  Building a log cabin home in South Carolina during the summer months is NOT the best of planning but we pulled it off. 

Along the way we learned quite a few things about building a log home and the construction business in general.  Over the past 20 years I’ve been willing to share these experiences and assist several hundred homeowners to successfully move in to their log home.

There are several employees, including myself, at Appalachian Log Structures Inc. that live in log homes and have done so for quite a few years – over 200 years combined in total.  My father, the founder of Appalachian Log Structures, who passed away in 2010, lived in two log homes (my mother still does), the President of Appalachian personally built both of his log homes (lots of sweat equity there!), our VP of Marketing has lived in two log homes, our VP Sales lives in #13, the 13th log home to roll off our line over 32 years ago (see photo above).  The Manager of both our production facilities in Princeton, WV built his home in 1992 as did my sister and her husband who since has moved in to my Grandmothers log home and remodeled it.  Over the years we’ve had other employees and family members build log homes and they are still living in them today.

In addition to employees most all of our Independent Representatives either live in or work from a log model home (or sometimes both!).

So you see, when you contact someone at Appalachian Log Structures you have the opportunity to speak with someone that has first hand experience of building and maintaining a log home – experience that is valuable to someone just starting the process.  In addition, all of us are willing to share our knowledge and experience so that you too can have the opportunity to live the log home life like so many us have been blessed to do.

When you are ready to start your log home, we’re here and waiting to assist you.  We’re only a phone call or a short drive away so come on by for a visit and let’s get you started on your dream log cabin home.  Contact your Local Sales Representative today!

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

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

Log Home Options Up to 50% Off

Posted on Thu, May 10, 2012 @ 02:35 PM

log cabin home discount

Save up to 50% off select log home options!

If you are thinking about a log cabin home building project, now is the time to get started and take advantage of these great savings!

Order your Appalachian Log Structures Predesigned or Custom log home Package by June 30, 2012 and take delivery by September 30, 2012 to receive up to a 50% discount on select options purchased.

  

Popular log home options include:

Metal collar tie plates

Porch, deck & stair railing

Heavy timber stair components

Interior log siding for gables, dormers or interior walls chinking

Log siding and log siding corners

High “R” roof insulation upgrade

Roof panel fasteners

 

 With our proven Cleartreat process, 25 year log wall warranty, and Premiere pre-cut log and beam system, all of these option products will add an enduring value to the log home of your dreams.

 

Note: This promotion may be combined with our 5% discount on ALSI Predesigned models! Discount on hand hewing and fixed gable glass are not applicable for this promotion.

Contact your ALSI Sales Representative or call 1-866-LOG-HOME
to take advantage of these fantastic savings NOW!

Tags: log cabin home, log home kits, log home packages, log home discounts

Getting to Know your Log Home Manufacturer

Posted on Thu, May 3, 2012 @ 02:18 PM

log home manufacturerWeb 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.

On Saturday March 31 we hosted a great group at our first Plant Tour/Seminar for 2012 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 on May 19th for our next Plant Tour/Seminar.  Not only will you learn something valueable, but you'll also have lots of fun!

Tags: log home, log cabin home, log home manufacturer

Almost Heaven Log Home

Posted on Thu, Apr 26, 2012 @ 03:39 PM

log home ownersNo one can tell you better the advantages of living the log home life than someone who actually LIVES in a log home.  In previous blogs we have discussed how to plan, questions to ask, what to look for when building a log home.  Now we will share with you some of our homeowners experiences.

Once Mr. & Mrs. Lewis finished their beautiful log home by the Greenbrier River in West Virginia we couldn't help but ask if they would allow us to photograph their log home as well as get some additional insights into their experinece in building a log home.  CLICK HERE to read how they made their decisions and how they came to choose Appalachian Log Structures and learn what was important to them when completing their home.

In addition - enjoy some wonderful photos of their completed log home and be sure to start making notes on what you want in your dream log cabin home.

When you are ready to start your log home project please be sure to contact the local Log Home Building Consultant in your area.  We're ready to share with you our experiences and insight to make your project a dream log home come true!

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

Spring Cleaning your Log Home

Posted on Fri, Mar 9, 2012 @ 03:06 PM

log cabin kitsSpring has sprung a bit early this year and NOW is the time to start planning the spring cleaning projects on your log cabin home.

If you plan on rinsing off your log home, there are some great cleaning products that are "green" and easy to use.  Most of these products use an oxygenated bleach (no chlorine) which removes not only mold/mildew but also pollen, pollution, dust, dirt, etc from the surface of the wood.  These products do not require pressure washing so most any homeowner can wash down the exterior of their beautiful log home with just a water hose.

Should your plans include applying another coat of an exterior finish, now would be the time to consider some great additives to help repel carpenter bees and/or additives to help eliminate the growth of mold/mildew.  These additives are easily mixed in the exterior finish and will help reduce the amount of future maintenance.

Another sign of spring is the buzzing of bees. Carpenter bees make their apperance in early sping and start their annual short lived but sometimes damaging effects on your log cabin home. There are some wonderful products that will help control or eliminate these pests, and come in kits to either spray or hang on around the home. Although the bee traps look kind of silly - from personal experience - they REALLY work!

Don't forget to check your downspouts and gutters to make sure they are draining properly and that the water is draining away from your foundation.  Remove all the fall and winter debris from the valleys in your roof so water properly drains from these areas into the gutter system.  Trim back any landscaping that may be too close to your log wall to allow air to flow around plants and the wall to inhibit the growth of mold/mildew.  A good overall visual check of the exterior of your home is a good idea at least once a year and spring is as good a time as any to get this done.

If you are looking for some helpful products to use during your log home spring cleaning be sure to vist the Maintenance Products section of our web store.  We offer many quality products and can get them shipped to you quickly! 

For more information or insight on maintenance for your log cabin home be sure to contact your local Log Home Sales Consultant - most of them live in log homes and are happy to share their experiences and suggestions to keep your home happy, healthy and looking GREAT!

Tags: log home, log cabin home, log home sales consultant