The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

Halloween, Trick or Treat and Appalachian Log Structures

Posted on Fri, Oct 26, 2012 @ 01:40 PM

Log HomesRemember the good old days - when you would put on your home made or store bought costume and walk the neighborhood with your friends trick-or-treating from door to door?  We used to use paper bags from the grocery store or pillow cases to hold all the goodies that were being handed out.

Some houses would have candy, some fruit (candied apples), some had home made treats like popcorn balls or cupcakes.  At some houses people put the treats in your bag but the ones we liked the MOST were the houses where you could pick and choose what you could take with you.

At Appalachian Log Structures we've taken a similar "pick what you want" approach with our pricing of log home building materials as well as our promotions that save you thousands of dollars.

Not only do we offer a choice of pre-cut or random length building materials but you can also choose what items you want to purchase.  Although we have 3 levels of packages (Log Wall, Log and Beam and PLUS) you can customize your own package and choose what materials you want.  If you want a pre-cut log wall with random length beams and rafters - it is not a problem.  If you want a PLUS package but want to remove the loft decking - it can be done!  You have the opportunity to take the materials you want for your project and your budget.  We make it as easy as possible for you.

In our current promotion you have the same opportunity to make some choices to save on your materials depending on when you are ready to start your dream log home.  By placing an order early on you will get the most savings on free options.  By taking delivery early in 2013 you can earn a nice rebate as well.

At Appalachian Log Structures it's all about choices and what we have to offer that will fit your price point.  Whether it is a full log and timber frame log home, a log wall with truss or conventional built roof, log siding and log siding corners for your conventional built home or modular/mobile home, decorative timbers for a hybrid home or log railing to finish out a re-model project - we offer it all.  Don't see a manufactured wood item on our list that you may be interested in?  Contact you Local Log Home Building Consultant and ask if we can custom mill something for you (custom log profiles, custom log siding profiles, hand peeled posts, etc.).  We've done PLENTY of that, so don't be shy about asking.

Oh - and by the way - HAPPY HALLOWEEN!  Hope you get everything you want in your trick-or-treat bag this year!

Tags: log homes, log home building consultant, log structures

The World Through the Windows of my Log Home.

Posted on Sun, Oct 7, 2012 @ 09:47 AM

Custom Log HomeThe weather is now cooler and I can work in my home office with the windows open and take advantage of the nice breezes and lower humidity.  I over look a small part of the back lawn and on in to the back 10 acres or so of woods.  Recently a clutch of turkey have been make their morning and evening tour of the back yard foraging for food as have the doe and her four fawns.  Just this morning as I was making some phone calls someone commented that they could hear the crows calling in the background.  I'm very blessed to have this to listen to and watch rather than the noise of the city or suburbs.  My wife is known to comment on our drive way as the "entrance to a beautiful State Park".

Soon enough the windows will need to be closed in order to retain the heat inside the office as the winter months approach.  Although it's nice to have windows to look through, I really like the fresh air.  A lot of folks building log cabin homes will design with lots of windows in order to "bring the out of doors, inside".  I know exactly what they mean!

Windows not only allow us to see what is going on outside, they also protect us and our belonging from weather and the sun outside.  When considering what type of windows you will use in your custom log home be sure to think not only how you will use them, but where you want to place them.

Most every window manufacturer has a broad range of offerings not only in the quality of the window but also in the operation of the window sashes.  For instance, one of the most popular windows is a double-hung window where BOTH the sashes are operable up/down.  Also popular are the casement windows that crank open and close and the sliding windows where the sashes slide back/forth.  The awning windows also crank open/close but are hinged at the top of the window where the sash will swing open from the bottom of the sash.

In addition to the types of windows offered, the quality that is available also needs to be considered.  Most log home manufacturers will offer just the basic window, usually a wood window unless you ask for a better window or are offered an "up-grade"  If you don't mind painting/staining wood windows frequently this type windows is suitable for you.  However, if you want to lower the amount of time and money you'll spend maintaining a wood window you probably should consider investing in a clad window.  At Appalachian Log Structures our Premier and Pioneer packages come with a Premium window that is all wood constructed but the exterior is clad with aluminum.  

The type of glass that is included with windows is also important.  If you've ever had your carpet or an area rug fade along with your curtains it probably because you have just plain glass in your windows.  The use of Low-E glass is more popular today than in years past.  This Low-E glass virtually eliminates the harsh UV sun rays and protects from fading.  The better window manufacturers also offer optional glazing to further reduce UV for those homes built in the south and are interested in reducing the heat transferred into the home through windows.  For more northern climates, triple pane glass may be an option to consider as well - keeping the heat inside the home during those long cold winters.

If you are planning to live in a high wind area (coastal areas where hurricanes need to be considered or mountain tops) you should consider a high DP-Rated window.  In most cases if you are building in an area like this the local building codes will require a higher DP-rated window anyway.  These windows are built to withstand the higher wind loads against the glass and sash that will occur in the area you are building.

One last item to put on your window check list - how easy are they to clean?  If you want to look through the windows, they'll need to be cleaned occasionally.  Do the double-hung windows offer the "tilt-sash" action where the windows are easily tilted in to allow easy cleaning of the exterior glass?  Nobody really wants to scale a ladder to clean windows anymore.  In some cases you can ask for a special glazing to the exterior glass where rain water or water from your garden hose will wash these special windows clean.  Its new technology but one that I would be happy to try out - especially on my fixed glass in the hard to reach gable ends!

As you can see there are lots of things to consider when choosing a window for your dream log home.  Be sure to take the time to do some research and decide for yourself what is going to be best for you.

When you are ready to start designing your log home be sure to visit or give your Local Log Home Building Consultant a call.  We're happy to share our insights and those of our more than 5000+ satisfied homeowners.

Click here for more photos of windows.

 

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

Cook up a Classic Kitchen in your Log Home

Posted on Thu, Sep 27, 2012 @ 12:09 PM

Log Home KitchenWith 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 menues 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 undercounter lighting is important in any kitchen.  Getting good overhead lighting on your workspace is imperative when trying to read lables, measuring cups/spoons or your Grandmothers handwritten reciepe cards.  We installed undercounter lighting since we knew that the countertops 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 (receipies), 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.

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

A Fireside Chat about Fireplaces in Log Homes

Posted on Thu, Sep 13, 2012 @ 12:45 PM

Log Home Fireplace

When speaking with folks about their dream log cabin home we often hear about 3 features of the home that they are most excited to talk about:

  • Master Bedroom/Bath
  • Porches
  • Fireplace

We had fireplaces in the homes I grew up in. Dad always put in the iron swing bar so we could cook over the hot coals from the fires he would build. I have wonderful memories of coming home on a Sunday afternoon after Sunday School and Church to a big iron pot of White beans with ham hocks that had been cooking all morning and afternoon in the fireplace. The smell of the fresh backed cornbread coming out of the oven to have with it makes me drool even today!

When Dad and Mom built their last log home they installed a vented, gas stove.  As we age it becomes harder and harder to swing an ax and haul wood.  Dad always said that wood will heat 3 times – once when you cut it, once when you haul it and once when you burn it!  Over the years I’ve come to understand what he meant and if you have a wood burning fireplace I’m sure you do too.

The other issue with a true, open hearth fireplace is that the heat you’ve paid so dearly for to heat your home with is being used to fuel the flames of the fire and then it’s going right up the chimney.  Although open hearth fire places are the most beautiful, they are also the most heat in-efficient.

Now days there are several energy efficient fireplace options to choose from – vented and non-vented fireplaces and gas stoves, wood pellet stoves, zero clearance fireplaces, inserts and wood burning stoves.  Each option has its own appeal for different reasons and you should chose and carefully research each when deciding what to put in your dream log home.

As we started to design our custom log home in 1992 we considered all of the fireplace options and decided upon a wood stove.  We live out in the country with only electricity to power our home.  In case of power outages we needed a source of heat in the winter as well as something to cook on.  Fortunately, the longest we’ve been without power (so far) is 4 days in a bad ice/snow storm.  When we know an ice or snow storm is coming, we usually cook some food in advance and use the wood stove to re-heat or to cook chili, fry eggs/bacon, etc. to keep ourselves going.  So it’s a multi-purpose unit that is nice to look at and such a comfort on a cold winter night to set by and watch the flames and listen to the crackle of the wood as it burns.

We positioned the wood stove in the center of the house so even with the power out the house never gets below 68 degrees.  During construction, I also consulted with the HVAC contractor and we put a cold air return up in the gable end where the stove pipe exits the roof.  This allows all of the heat up in the cathedral ceiling as well as the heat being generated from the stove pipe to be circulated when then heat pump is on.  By leaving the upstairs bedroom door open just a bit the upstairs HVAC  unit rarely comes on as the heat from the stove naturally rises.

The type of wood stove we chose also offered a catalytic converter that will burn the smoke coming off of the wood so that what goes up to stove pipe is 98% clean.  In essence we have a heat source that burns a natural renewing resource, it burns very clean and hot, can be used to cook on, was made in the USA and provides a source of exercise (have you ever chopped wood?) that is much needed in the Winter time!  Does it get any greener/better than that?

When you are ready to start planning you log home and deciding where to put your fireplace, wood stove or other heating feature be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant.  We’re here to help  “light the fire under you” to get you started on your Dream Log Home!

Click Here to view more photos of log home fireplaces!

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

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

Log Home Consultants - We're Here to Help!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Energy Performance of Log Homes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Are all Log Home Logs Created Equal?

Posted on Fri, Mar 23, 2012 @ 01:44 PM

log profilesThere 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.

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.

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.

TREATMENTS - What is the optimum way to protect my 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 log home building materials, not one of our homeowners have had to replace/repair any of their pressure treated materials we've provided.

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.

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.

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

Log Homes - Made in the USA?

Posted on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 @ 03:51 PM

log home made in usaMost of us today are PROUD to buy products that are made right here in America, supporting not only the local/regional businesses but also supporting the hard working people these businesses employ.  It's also a GREAT way to help grow our struggling economy.

Appalachian Log Structures is located in the heart of the West Virginia Appalachian Mountains.  We're a proud group of Mountaineers and stand committed behind our 35 years of manufacturing and pressure treating log homes for over 5000 homeowners.  In addition, all of our raw log and timber  materials come from right here in the good ole USA. 

These are some of reasons you'll start to see our emblem, "American Owned / Made in the USA", our our website and in our advertising in the near future.

If supporting our economy and businesses located here in America is important to you, be sure to ask where your log home materials are coming from, and who exactly owns the business.  You may be surprised at some of the answers you receive.

To learn more about the log home building products we make at our Princeton, West Virginia manufacturing facility, contact your local Log Home building consultant.  Keep your log home investment from leaving the USA!  Buy American made products from American owned businesses.

Tags: log homes, log home building consultant, log structures, log home building products, log and timber products