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.

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

Almost Heaven Log Home

Posted on Fri, Aug 2, 2013 @ 12:08 PM

custom log home

No 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!

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

Cook up a Classic Kitchen in Your Log Home

Posted on Fri, Jul 26, 2013 @ 02:08 PM

custom log cabin kitchen

With all of the cooking shows on TV and the inspiration and creativity they inspire it's a wonder anyone eats out anymore!  However if you've been to a restaurant lately, you may wonder who is cooking at home!  I think the shows are just making us food snobs so we can intelligently criticize the meals that are served to us and either praise the chef or have him "Chopped"!

Either way, at some point in the design of your own custom log cabin home you will need to decide a few things about the design and layout of your own kitchen.

There are several on-line services that can help and seemingly unlimited web pages with suggestions and tips on how to design a well functioning kitchen.  Local building supply stores have LOTS of kitchen displays and most cities and towns have kitchen specialty stores with in-house design.  There's lots of information out there to assist you.

The first question to ask may be "How much time am I really going to spend in the kitchen preparing food?"  If you are one of the creative folks who love cooking for family and friends you may want to consider a larger kitchen area than someone who keeps all the take-out menus by the kitchen telephone for quick and easy meals.  Your personal lifestyle should dictate the size and layout of the workspace needed for your individual cooking purposes. 

To get started, look in your cabinets and pantry today and take an inventory of the pots, pans, mixers, blenders, food processors, etc. that you have on hand AND that you plan to take with you.  If you are considering a larger kitchen than you have today, think of the appliances that you may want to add to your kitchen and where they will fit. 

Don't forget things like electrical outlets and lighting.  Plan on having one of those corner cabinet "garages" for storage of appliances?  It would be a good idea to have an outlet or two inside this garage to plug these appliances in to.  If you are considering an island in your log home kitchen, think and plan how you will use it.  We put electrical outlets on the island as well so when we're using any of the appliances, the cords are not draped in the walkways surrounding the island.

Both overhead and under counter lighting is important in any kitchen.  Getting good overhead lighting on your workspace is imperative when trying to read labels, measuring cups/spoons or your Grandmothers handwritten recipe cards.  We installed under counter lighting since we knew that the counter tops underneath the wall cabinets can get pretty dark at times.

Take a close look at how you prefer to do dishes and which side of the sink you like to work on.  Many professional kitchen designers will put the dishwasher on the right hand side of the sink - is this where YOU want it?  Although right-handed, I prefer to do dishes in the left hand side of the sink with the dishwasher beside it so that is how we designed our kitchen.

If you do a lot of entertaining you can make the living/great room as large as you want, but we all know where people wind up - in the kitchen.  We built our kitchen large enough for folks to stand around and help, to talk or just be part of the creative process that is taking place when preparing a meal.  If you have kids, a place for them to do homework while meals are being assembled and have easy access to you when they have questions.  The kitchen is also a great place for kids to learn reading (recipies), math (liquid and solid measurements), science (how baking powder and salt make dough rise) and all kinds of other neat stuff.

Desingning our kitchen was probably the most fun we had in the process of designing our log home floor plan.  It was exciting to see it come to life as we had it installed and finally to cook our first meal together.

Be sure to contact your Local Log Home Building Consultant when you are ready to get started on your home.  We're here to help and hope you will invite us to one of the first meals prepared after you get moved in to your dream log home!

Click here for more log home kitchen photos.

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

How Log Homes Meet GREEN Building Guidelines

Posted on Fri, Jul 19, 2013 @ 12:19 PM

lake log homeHere is an article from the Log Homes Council website that reviews the GREEN advantages of log home living.  Although I've been in my log home for 20+ years and have been telling folks about these advantages,  it's GREAT to see the Log Homes Council put these in a concise list that pretty much covers it all!

It's also a GREAT article to run during National Log Home month!  We're celebrating all month with special pricing on ALL of our Pre-Designed homes!  Visit our web page or call your Local Log Home Building Consultant or 1-866-LOG-HOME for more information

"Whether the goal is to save money, fuel, the planet or all of the above, American homeowners are increasingly going green. And while the average household spends $1,900 a year on energy, log home owners typically report that they spend far less than their neighbors on heating, air conditioning, hot water and lighting.

Energy efficiency is among several ways modern log homes qualify as “Green”-- an approach to building that started in 1993 with the belief that we can all pitch in to make the places where we live, work and play more environmentally friendly. The hallmark of “green” is to use less energy, renewable resources, limit C02 or “greenhouse gas” emissions and create indoor environments free of mold, formaldehyde, carcinogens, and other allergens.

The most obvious factor that makes engineered log homes “green” is their building material -- solid timbers grown from trees -- a renewable resource. During the milling process, manufacturers utilize all portions of the log, from bark and other sources for mulch, scrap from cut-offs for raw material used in carvings and other home products, sawdust used by farmers as bedding material, etc. The homes are sold as kits or “packages” with the bulk of the building materials delivered at one time. These packages consolidate delivery and generally travel shorter distances conserving fuel, says the Log Homes Council, which represents nearly 60 of North America’s leading manufacturers and promulgates industry and product standards. And, logs require less energy and man-made materials than stick-built construction. With the completion of a log home, you have walls that serve both the structural and insulative needs of a home, as opposed to using many products from siding, house wrap, plywood, dimensional lumber, insulation, drywall, and paints in traditional homes.

Heating and Air Conditioning
The massiveness of the logs plays a vital role in conserving energy. According to studies by the University of Maine at Orono, the logs absorb heat energy during the day and radiate it at night to even out the temperature, which makes the occupants feel more comfortable while using less energy.

In addition to the benefits of solid timber construction, Log Homes Council member companies engineer their log wall joinery and roof systems to eliminate air infiltration and moisture, conserve energy and increase comfort. This engineered approach continues with every product included in a log home package such as brand-name, double-paned windows and patio doors with low-e glass, proper venting and subflooring structures.

Engineered for Energy Conservation and Safety
Companies that belong to the Log Homes Council are up on latest developments in building technology and safety and maintain relationships with suppliers of roofing materials, heating systems, windows and other components. Council members constantly test and evaluate newer components to make sure they contribute to energy efficient, safe and trouble-free homes. Even the interior and exterior stains and finishes are evaluated for their suitability as solid timber coatings and to make sure they meet low Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) clean air standards, in their quest for the ultimate green home.

The Builder
While a green philosophy begins with the log home manufacturer at the design stage, it has to continue with the builder who erects the home. The Log Homes Council’s parent organization, the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), has been getting local builders on board by providing them with the knowledge they need to build green. As part of its effort, NAHB has partnered with the International Code Council to develop a consensus committee based Green Building Standard that provides a practical, nationally recognized baseline for resource-efficient, cost-effective home building.

The NAHB Green Building Standard and Certification Program addresses seven key green construction areas including site, resource efficiency, energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, homeowner education, and global impact. Direct ways log home owners can reduce their footprint include less impact on natural features and vegetation during building site preparation, choosing environmentally friendly components for subflooring, trusses and other conventional materials that go into a log home, choosing energy-efficient appliances, conserving water with low-flow plumbing fixtures and taking steps to increase occupant comfort and indoor environmental quality.

Homeowners
Log homeowners play a big part in going green too. These individuals embrace nature and consider their homes permanent dream homes where they are willing to invest in energy efficiency upfront to reap savings over the years. Their design preferences lean toward open flooorplans that allow for the flow of warmth throughout the home – in many cases, a wood-burning stove is the principal heat source.
From the manufacturer, to the builder to the homeowner, log homes are doing their part for a greener planet. Thankfully, log home construction is and always has been green. With new technologies and products available, log home owners can go the extra step to make their homes even greener."

When you are ready to start your dream log home and realize all of the benefits of eco-friendly living, give one of our Local Log Home Building Consultants a call to set an appointment.

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

Test Drive A Log Home This Summer!

Posted on Mon, Jul 15, 2013 @ 12:52 PM

log cabin homeWe're well in to summer and hopefully you've had a chance to have some fun with friends and family so far.  If you are still in the planning stages for a wonderful weekend or a short escape to some beautiful parts of this country here are some ideas that will include some rental log cabin homes.

West Virginia has been known as the best kept secret for those looking for some great outdoor activities while being close by and affordable.  If you are also looking to test drive a log home before you invest in one, there are numerous sites throughout the state that offer a chance to rent a log cabin while you enjoy exploring the local surroundings.

Country Roads Cabins in Hico, WV has been offering log cabin rentals since 1996 and is located in the heart of West Virginia's most sought after outdoor activities.  The New and Gauley rivers are close by if you would like to do some of the BEST whitewater rafting on the East Coast of the US.  Zip line and Timber Trek tours are also available close by and offer a unique view of the local natural resources.  Choose from 18 log cabins that are available for rent - or choose the newest addition to their rental program - a LOG YURT!  It should be completed soon.  For groups, skiers, rafters, families or couples - you'll find a peaceful respite in the midst of Wild, Wonderful, West Virginia.

If your next get a way includes hauling your ATV to explore some pretty unique trails, try Twin Hollow Campground and Cabins.  Located in Gilbert, WV these 11 cabins are located on the Nationally recognized Hatfield and McCoy trail system.  All guests enjoy DIRECT ACCESS to the trail system from the property.  Twin Hollow is situated on a mountain that provides a panoramic view overlooking beautiful valleys and majestic mountaintops.  One glance from your cabin and it becomes clear why West Virginia is called "Almost Heaven".

For a more upscale adventure Harman's Luxury Log Cabins has LOTS to offer.  If trout fishing is more your style - then this is THE place.  The log cabins are located on the banks of a private access trophy trout stream in Hopeville Canyon.  Within the Monongahela National Forest you are steps away from breathtaking sites like Seneca Rocks and Smoke Hole Caverns in the heart of the Spruce Knob-Seneca Rocks National Recreation Area.  You'll have access to outdoor activities like hiking, horseback riding, mountain biking, canoeing, rock climbing golfing, hunting and wildlife viewing!

If a Log cabin Inn is more to your liking then the North Fork Mountain Inn may be for you.  Offering rooms, suites or a cabin - North Fork is a quaint Inn located in Smoke Hole, WV.  This location also is great for Corporate Retreats and offers nearby activities like rock climbing, hiking, snow skiing, train rides on the Cass Scenic Railroad, golf, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory and paragliding! 

Ever thought of a destination wedding?  Now you can rent a luxury log cabin, get married on site AND enjoy all the activities that Hot Springs, Arkansas has to offer.  Country Charm Log Cabins is situated in Bismarck, AR and has several log cabins to offer.  One of the owners is licensed to perform marriages and the whole reception can be arranged right on property.  If you are eloping or bringing the whole family - this wonderful log cabin rental retreat is certainly a place to consider.  Kick back and enjoy the quiet surroundings or take a 20 minute drive to downtown Hot Springs to "take the waters", enjoy some fine dining or do some sightseeing.  If you have a boat - bring it along.  Lake DeGray is just down the road and offers some wonderful skiing opportunities.

How about a golfing and gambling excursion?  Then consider renting a cabin close to French Lick Resort and Casino in Indiana.  Turkey Hill Cabin Rentals is close by to all kinds of adult or family fun.  Big Splash Adventure Indoor Park, French Lick Scenic Railway, French Lick Winery and the West Baden Indoor Karting (offering a 1250 ft indoor road course) are all close by.  Just 15 miles away is Patoka Lake for those wanting to wet a line or take a dip.

If visiting Virginia is on your vacation planning list then be sure Lydia Mountain Lodge & Log Cabins is included.  Located in Standardsville, VA, Lydia Mountain offers Romance Packages, Getaway Packages and Spa Services in addition to all types of outdoor activities.  With Charlottesville, VA so close by, there are numerous sightseeing opportunities to take advantage of.  If you are planning a wedding, Lydia Mountain can also offer their pavilion as well as cabin rentals for the entire wedding party!

These are just a few of the log cabin home rentals that Appalachian Log Structures has been involved in over the past few years.  Please keep these businesses in mind should your travels take you through one of these charming towns and explore a bit of log home living for yourself.  If you are considering starting a log cabin rental program yourself, please be sure to keep us in mind and speak with your Local Log Home Building Consultant or to one of the proprietors listed above.

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

Log Home Living - Safe in ANY Storm!

Posted on Fri, Jun 14, 2013 @ 01:15 PM

custom log home

People 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.

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

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.

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

How to Properly Compare Log Home Packages.

Posted on Fri, Apr 5, 2013 @ 09:48 AM

log homeIf you’ve done any research at all comparing log home companies one of the first things you realized is that they all offer different types of packages or materials. When trying to compare “apples to apples” you soon learn that it is a virtually impossible task since the material packages are different as well as the quality and type of materials.

Some examples:

  • Log wall material is pre-cut or linear foot?
  • Roof system - 2x convention frame, pre-manufactured truss or heavy timber?
  • Thickness of log, nominal or actual?
  • 2nd floor system - 2x, conventional frame, pre-manufactures truss or heavy timber.
  • Quality of windows/doors – wood, vinyl or clad?
  • Quality of sealants/fasteners?
  • Written warranty against wood digesting insects and decay?
  • Engineered for settling?

Assuming that each manufacturer offers the same products is incorrect. It is not uncommon to discover that you have requested pricing from a producer that supplies only log and beam materials that are supplied to you in random length and pricing from another that includes materials that are extensively pre-cut and ready to assemble and supply materials to complete a dried-in structural shell. With the pricing between the two log home producers being several thousands of dollars apart, we often find that folks think the lower priced estimate is better – until they discover the difference. Sometime folks don’t “discover” the difference until it is too late!  It's best to remember to compare MATERIAL LISTS before you compare pricing.

When asking log home producers to provide an estimate for a certain floor plan it will be in your best interest to also provide the list of materials you would like included as well as the type and quality of materials you are expecting. This will get you as close as possible to that “apples to apples” comparison you are looking for.

To help you along, here is our Request for Estimate Checklist. In addition our Packages and Pricing flyer is linked so you may see both the material list and pricing for our pre-cut and random-length materials. For more detailed information please call on your local Independent Log Home Sales Consultant. They are a GREAT resource for you to use throughout your log home building project.

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

Not All Log Home Logs Are Created Equal!

Posted on Fri, Mar 22, 2013 @ 08:08 AM

Dovetail LogD-log

 

There are some that think the logs used in log homes are created equal. That's why many potential consumers think all logs should all be priced the same. As with any product, there are differences in quality, thus differences in price. Let's take a look at a few of these differences.

 THICKNESS - Most log home companies will advertise 6", 8" or 10" thick logs. When you go and actually MEASURE these logs you'll find they are 5.5", 7.5" or 9.5" thick. Appalachian produces FULL THICKNESS logs for our log cabin homes, thus more wood AND more insulation.  Using full thickness logs will typically add between 15% and 20% more wood product to your home - stronger, safer, added insulation - a lot more benefits for the same price!

GRADE STAMPED - Know the difference between a graded log and a grade stamped log? A grade stamped log guarantees that your log home building materials are structurally sound and approved to meet building codes. Building inspectors will be looking for this stamp on each of your logs to verify that they meet the ASTM specifications. Many log home companies talk about "graded logs" - BEWARE - these are NOT GRADE STAMPED logs. Graded could mean a visual grade (not structural) or just that the guy running the mill thinks it looks good so he gave it a good grade. Quality is the difference - you'll pay less (and get less) with a non-grade stamped log.  We've heard from folks who purchased from other log home companies who did not grade stamp their logs and were surprised when the local building inspectors arrived at the job site and stopped their project.  They had to hire a specialist to come and grade stamp their logs before they could continue.  This not only added more time to the project but also more money!

SPECIES - Still believe there is one wood species better than the rest? Do some research and you'll find that besides some color and grain difference they are all about the same. Think cedar or cypress is impervious to rot/decay or wood digesting insects? Think again and start doing some research for yourself. You'll soon discover that these species, just like all the rest of the wood species, need to be protected with preservatives for great looks and longevity.  Remember - if there were a perfect wood species to build log homes with - ALL of the log home industry would be using it.  We use White Pine because it is a wood species that is abundent in our area, easy to work with and takes our borate pressure treatment easily and completely.  You'll find most manufacturers using a wood species that is close by to their manufacturing facilities.

TREATMENTS - What is the optimum way to protect a log wall? Research pressure treatment and see why it is the only way to go. Research Borates and you'll soon learn why we pressure treat with this organic (non-chemical) product. In the 35+ years we've been providing pressure treated log home building materials, not one of our homeowners have had to replace/repair any of their pressure treated materials we've provided.  Once again, you can save LOTS of time and money by investing in good quality products upfront and not spending LOTS of time/money on maintenance over the years taking care of your log home.

Now that you begin to understand that not all logs are created equal, you'll start to understand some of the differences in QUALITY and pricing. When creating your dream log home think about the type of products you want surrounding you and your loved ones as well as the quality of materials you plan to use in one of the largest investments you'll be making in your lifetime!

Don't forget to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant to discover more about our log home building components and how they can save you time and money not only today, but for the lifetime of your log home.

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Tags: log home, log home building consultant, log home building materials, log home components, log home companies

Build Your Log Home NOW - and save $$

Posted on Fri, Feb 1, 2013 @ 10:28 AM

log cabin homeYou probably have heard it before from one of our Log Home Building Consultants - "Now is the Time to Buy" or "It won't cost any less than today".  I'm sure there are those of you who thought it a marketing ploy or a way to stir up some business.  There are several of you who listened and have already made the commitment to build your dream log home either last or this year - and you'll be happy you did.

Although the housing industry has been hit hard by the recent downturn in the economy, the past few months have seen a turn towards the positive.  With this up tick in building permits, residential construction loan approvals and other new residential home building activities, the lumber yards and other building supply companies are starting to see shortages in inventory as well as an increase in pricing to replace their inventories.  The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) reports that since October of 2012 the price for framing lumber (per 1000 board feet) has risen from $319 per thousand to over $400 per thousand in January 2013.  In addition the Wood Markets web page (www.woodmarkets.com) also is predicting an increase in lumber prices through 2015 due to several factors including the reduction of available lumber for production and the increase in demand. 

The re-building that is currently taking place in the Northeast due to Hurricane Sandy also places a heavy demand on framing lumber and other building materials that are in short supply making for higher prices.  With some lumber being in short supply already, the immediate need for building supplies to replace or repair damaged homes placed a burden on the supply chain causing some prices to increase already.  Remember Economics 101 - Supply and Demand?

We've also heard from several builders who will insert an "escalation clause" in their building contracts to take in to account the cost of materials from the date their contract is signed to the actual prices for materials on the date they are purchased.  In the past when building supply prices were volatile these escalation clauses were used quite often and in most cases were a permanent part of the contract.  So it should be something you could expect to see in a building contract this year.  Although this is a log cabin home blog for log home buyers, the same increases will be seen in all sectors of residential home construction (frame home, brick homes, modular, panelized, etc.) during 2013 and beyond. 

The purpose of the article is to educate and inform people who are looking to build this year of the possibilities in future pricing so they can plan and budget accordingly.  Better decisions are made with good and timely information.  If you want to do some investigating of your own, make a visit to your local lumber yard and ask what they are seeing as far a lumber prices are concerned and what they expect to happen in 2013.  While you're there also get an idea if other building supplies are expected to do the same (plumbing, electrical, flooring, etc.). 

Take all of this in consideration as you continue to plan and budget for your dream log home.  When you are ready to take the next step - give your Local Log Home Building Consultant a call and we'll be happy to help you get started!

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