The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

NC Log Home Owners use Strategic Planning

Posted on Fri, Jan 9, 2015 @ 12:41 PM

dream log cabin home

Good 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.

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Tags: log home, dream log home, dream log cabin, log home building consultant, borate pressure treatment, borate pressue treatment

One Size Does NOT Fit All - Choosing the Log Home Right For You!

Posted on Fri, Sep 26, 2014 @ 05:10 PM

Custom Log HomeNot everyone has the same wants and needs when deciding on what size log home to build.  It is a personal decision that is determined by the individuals budget, site restrictions, purpose of use (full time home, vacation home, rental, etc.) and a combination of other such reasons that each person must decide for themselves.

Years ago we used a tag-line in our marketing strategy call "More Choices".  Although we've developed other tag-lines since, we still offer quite a few choices when it comes to assisting you with your choice in log cabin homes.

Let's start with square footage size.  Although we offer 9 Pre-designed cabins (under 1000 square feet) we've custom designed hundereds more.  We also offer 2 garage plans and a Garage Cottage plan that several homeowners have built before building their larger home.  They build/use the Cottage before starting construction of their other home and sometimes use it as their vacation home first, then as a rental or guest house after their log home is built.  custom-exterior-1

Our Pre-designed models offer 24 plans in the 1000-1999 square feet range, 25 plans in the 2000-2999 square feet range and 7 in the 3000+ range.  In our newest series of plans, Frontier TRS, we offer 12 single story models that have truss roof systems in place of our heavy timber/exposed beam/cathedral ceiling roof materials.

Although we offer an extensive range of floor plans, over 85% of all homes we produce are either modified or customized to meet the needs of the homeowner.  It's these types of choices that folks search us out for as our clients don't like to be pigeon holed in to a specific design.  Us Baby Boomers grew up with the Burger King mentality where we could "have it your way", and we expect our log cabin homes to be the same way.

How about size of the logs themselves?  One item that sets us apart from the rest is that we offer a FULL THICKNESS log.  Although log home manufacturers will tout a 6" or 8" (or larger) log, they will actually measure 1/2 inch lesss in thickness so you wind up with a 5-1/2 inch or 7-1/2 inch thick log wall.  So for the same money - when you invest in a log cabin home with Appalachian Log Structures - you get a thicker wall which translates in to more INSULATION and a better overall VALUE.  Our standard offerings include a 6x8, 8x8, 6x12 and 8x12 log and each size of log comes in a variety of corner styles.  We've also custom milled different size logs for those wanting something even more out of the ordinary.

28boybeq

Now a bit about the size of the structural timbers.  Once again, depending on the design and the wants/needs of the individual we offer a wide range of structural timbers to use in your design.  Although our standard designs typically use a 4x8 floor joists and roof rafters, 6x12 girder beam and 4x10 ridge beams, we also offer round joists and rafters.  Want something larger than what we design with - just ask.  Several homeowners want larger timbers for the LOOK they are going for in their home and not what is required structurally - and that is ok.  Just let us know what your size requirements are and we'll be happy to work with you.

The most important size to consider when building ANY home is budget.  Be sure to set a reasonable budget for yourself before designing a home.  Be honest with yourself and if you plan to finance, talk with a mortgage lender before getting your dream home designed.  They will help you determine how much money they will lend on the project and you can discover how much monthly payments, including interest, will be as well as expected property tax (if any in your state) and insurance.  The last thing we want you to experience is to have to eat hot dogs and popcorn for the first 10 years of living in your dream home because of over extending yourselves financially.

When you're ready to start planning the size of your log home be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant for assistance.  We're here to help you make your log home construction process be successful!

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

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

Posted on Fri, Sep 12, 2014 @ 12:06 PM


custom log home

Over 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

log home building consultant

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.

Recently 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.  Look closely at the photo below...I think you'll understand that both of the photos are expressing the same thing.

cheaper photo

 

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.

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

A Company's Legacy of Log Homes

Posted on Thu, Aug 14, 2014 @ 12:27 PM

custom log homeLooking back 22 years ago, 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 successfully 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 22 years I’ve been willing to share these experiences and assist several hundred homeowners to successfully move in to their dream log homes.

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 built and lived in two log homes, our VP Sales lives in #13, the 13th log home to roll off our line over 34 years ago (see photo above). The Manager of both our production facilities in Princeton, WV built his home in 1992 as did my oldest 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!). Several of these Independent Representatives are also experienced builders who have become expert log home builders.

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 experiences 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 cabin 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 Log Home Building Consultant today!

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

Where in the World is Appalachian Log Structures?

Posted on Fri, Aug 1, 2014 @ 12:35 PM

log home in ChinaSince 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.

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

Celebrate Log Home Month - Visit our Open House This Weekend

Posted on Wed, Jul 16, 2014 @ 02:07 PM

Log Home MonthOn June 7th 2012, the U.S. House of Representatives formally recognized the log home industry in the United States.

"America’s log cabin industry as a quintessential symbol of the American pioneering spirit, embodying America’s strength and ingenuity," said Congressman Reid Ribble (R-WI) in the Congressional Record.

"Log cabins, whether used for recreation or as primary residences, are economically sustainable, reducing waste and employing materials that put Mother Nature’s beauty at center stage," Ribble said. "The industry is experiencing renewed growth, exporting this American icon to nations from Germany to China."

The Log Homes Council, part of the National Association of Home Builders, was instrumental in helping Congressman Ribble bring attention to the log home industry. Council members are holding an open house this July, to help educate log home enthusiasts about the joys of log home living.

"Log cabin production directly supports thousands of jobs from builders to sales professionals, as well as the housing market, lending institutions, and many others. The people of this industry are hard-working, charitable, and deserving of recognition for their centuries of accomplishment," Ribble said.

This is not the first time that the log home industry has been honored with historic significance. In 2009, the United States Mint launched the Lincoln Log Cabin Penny at the National Park Service's Abraham Lincoln Birthplace National Historic Site, in Hodgenville, Kentucky. The day was appropriate, as it was the 200th anniversary of Abraham Lincoln's birth.

Appalachian Log Structures will be celebrating National Log Home month in July with some exciting and money saving news. Stop by our Open House in Ripley, WV or at one of our Independent Representatives Model Homes in your area to learn more about the special savings we're offering ALL month long!  

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

Choosing a General Contractor for your Log Home Project - Step #8

Posted on Fri, Jun 6, 2014 @ 02:56 PM

custom log homeUnless you are building your dream log cabin yourself, you will be speaking with and interviewing several general contractors or if you plan to act as your own general contractor, numerous sub-contractors. 

In this process not only is it recommended that you ask for references, but also to call and visit those on the reference list from the contractor.  The references should contain both recent projects completed, within the past 12 months, as well as some older references, 2+ years old to see if the service after completion was performed satisfactorily. 

Ask for copies of licenses, certification of insurance and other coverage’s and check with the local building code office or Home Builder Association to get some additional insight of those you are considering.  For vendor references check with the local lumber yard or “big box” store to see if they pays their bills and sub contractors on time.  The folks at these places of business see and hear things that others may not. 

Remember, when choosing a general contractor, you will be working with this person for an average of 6 months +/-.  It is best to make sure that you communicate well, that they understand the scope of your log cabin home project and that all agreements (from BOTH parties) are put in writing so mis-understandings don’t arise.  Don’t be afraid to ask to see a recent or sample contract so that you know what to expect when yours in completed.

Ask questions; take notes on how long it takes to get an answer and just how complete an answer you get.  The more specific your questions and their answers, the better build project it will be.

Next time – Step #9 – Applying for your Construction Loan.

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

Log Home Construction Costs - Step #7 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, May 29, 2014 @ 02:45 PM

custom log cabin homeNow that you’ve got your floor plans drawn by your log home manufacturer, you can start gathering more accurate construction costs.  Up until now any estimates or quotes you have received have been “any ones guess”.  Most quality contractors we hear from won’t provide any type of pricing until a set of log home floor plans has been produced and folks are ready to spend some time discussing their wants/needs and budget for their log home project.  Once a floor plan drawing is completed contractors now have something specific to associate bulding costs to.

For financing purposes, you will not only need a set of your log home floor plans to submit with the rest of your documents, but your construction estimates as well.  If you have chosen to have your home professionally built by a general contractor, they will provide to you the estimated construction costs. 

If you plan on being your own General Contractor or building the log cabin kit yourself, our Cost Estimating Worksheet will be of great assistance.  When I built my log home 22 years ago, we used this very form to gather our costs and budget our money accordingly.  Not only did we come in on time (we developed and executed a realistic construction time line) but we came in on budget as well thanks to this form.

Be sure to add in about 10% in cost overruns for unanticipated expenses, price increases, or in case you forgot to include an item you REALLY wanted in your new dream log home.  Don't forget to contact your local Log Home Consultant and use their experience as a great resource tool for your building project.

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Next up – Step #8 Choosing a General Contractor.

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

Purchase Log Home Floor Plans - Step #6 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, May 22, 2014 @ 12:45 PM

custom log home floor plans

Assuming that you have progressed through the first 5 steps in the Successful Planning series you have now completed your research, set a realistic budget, know where you are going to build your log cabin home, sketched some log home floor plan ideas on paper and are within the building/move in timeline you have set for yourself, it's now time to have your preferred log home manufacturer start drawing your dream log home design.  Whether it is a floor plan that the log home manufacturer already has pre-designed, there are some slight modifications you want made to that plan or if you have your own custom log home design, gather your ideas, sketches and other information and get with your Log Home Consultant to get underway.

For folks wanting one of our pre-designed plans we offer a Study Set of plans that will help you gather building costs and/or provide to your lending institution for appraisal purposes.  For those wanting to modify a pre-designed plan or customize their own plan we have a Preliminary Plan option that provides the same type of information as the Study Set of plans include.  Contact your local Log Home Consultant for more information and pricing on the Preliminary Plan option.

Over the year's we have found that those homeowners who start working on their log home floor plans early are the most confident and well prepared when construction actually begins.  You should be very relaxed and not rushed through this step as it is your dream log cabin home.  Both your log home manufacturer and your Log Home Consultant are very interested in assisting you through this process.

Coming soon - Step #7 Obtaining Construction Estimate.

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

Timelines for Your New Log Home - Step #5 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, May 8, 2014 @ 02:45 PM

custom log cabin homeSome folks will set a date that they want to be moved in to their new log home like Christmas, Thanksgiving or a special anniversary or birthday.  Setting goals is a great idea but they need to be matched with realistic expectations.  If you’ve never had a custom home built before, now may be the time to investigate a bit further.

There are several factors that will affect how long a log home building project will take.  Here are just a few:

  • Complexity and size of the house plan
  • Location of the building site
  • Availability of building supplies
  • Weather
  • Size/experience of construction crew

On average our homeowners have told us that from the time they started clearing their lot until the time they moved in, it took them approximately 12 months to complete.  Remember, this is an “average” so some folks building smaller, simpler designs may have spent fewer than 6 months and some with very large (7000+ sq ft) complex houses on difficult building sites may have spent 18 months or longer.

If you have a move-in date selected be sure to keep the time lines and what can effect them in mind so you know when you have to start.  To help you along, click here for a sample time line to help you along in planning.  For further assistance, use your local Log Home Consultant as a wonderful resource for insights in to the time line planning process.

Our next topic is Step #6 – Ordering Blueprints

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