The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

Sevier Rebuild? Learn While Saving Time and Money at the Log and Timber Home Show

Posted on Wed, Mar 15, 2017 @ 03:56 PM

 

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If you’re rebuilding or remodeling, do you know all of your choices?  Exhibits and workshops at the upcoming Log and Timber Home Show in Gatlinburg, TN will teach you what you need to know, whether you're unsure about where to start, looking for expert advice on home maintenance or anywhere in between. It's a great opportunity to meet builders and contractors, ask questions, view floor plans, search for bargains and gather ideas. You can also examine siding, cabinetry, flooring, furniture, stairways, interior décor, windows and doors and exterior coatings and finishes, up close, all in one place. And we'll be there! New Call-to-action

The Details

What: The Log and Cabin Home Show
When: March 24 (11am - 7pm) and 25 (10am - 6pm)
Where: Sevierville Convention Center, Booth 215
Tickets: $15 online/$20 at show/free for wildfire victims (email Samantha Watters for more information)

Additional information, including a full list of exhibitors, is available on the Log and Timber Show website.

If you're ready for more advanced log home information, educate yourself at the Log and Timber University. This half-day course goes beyond the basics of log and timber home construction and gives you a chance to meet and question experts in the field. Topics include budgeting and financing, floor plan design and room layout, log vs. timber construction, building foundation considerations and care and maintenance of finished structures.

5 Ways to Get the Most from Your Show Visit

It’s your home and your future, so it pays to have a strategy for the show (especially if you're stressed out about a home rebuild). Follow these tips to ensure you leave the show with what you need. 

  1. Before the show, make a list of exactly what you want to see or questions you have. Try to be specific. Good questions might include the following.
    1. Is a timber frame kit or custom design better?
    2. How and when do I apply stains or sealants to my home?
    3. Can I save money by cutting and notching the logs myself?
    4. How can I maximize my home’s energy efficiency?
  2. If you already own land, bring site photos and a list of property basics with you. Include things like lot size and features (think trees, wells, existing or planned outbuildings, etc.), the orientation of the property to driveways and roads and your budget. Keep this information in hand as you talk to builders and make decisions.
  3. When you arrive at the show, pick up a floor plan and spend a few minutes going over the layout (including restrooms and seating areas). Circle the exhibits you don’t want to miss (including Booth 215) and map out your path. It’s easy to get sidetracked, so refer back to your map often and mark the exhibits you want to visit a second time.
  4. Bring your camera or smartphone. You might think that you’ll remember which vendor had the cabinets you liked, but why not snap a quick picture of them to be sure? Take a picture of the company’s business card or brochure while you’re at it. Keep track of ideas with a note taking app on your phone, or bring a notepad and pencil to take notes as you tour the exhibits.
  5. Dress for success. You’ll do a lot of walking and standing at the show, so be prepared with comfortable shoes. Dress in layers for comfort and remember to stay hydrated. Consider carrying belongings in a backpack to leave both hands free (and as a place to collect brochures, business cards and other materials).

For more smart tips, check out eLocal.com’s suggestions for making the most of a home show visit (be sure to read the comments section too), and this Home Show Survival Guide.

 

 

Tags: log home shows, log home rebuild

9 Critical Considerations when Rebuilding

Posted on Mon, Mar 6, 2017 @ 01:47 PM

Contrast in tornado recovery Foreground of abandonment with broken debris by concrete steps of blasted foundation in contrast with reconstruction of single-family house across the street.jpeg

Rebuilding, whether due to a natural disaster, a need for more space or something else, leads to countless questions and many big decisions. If you built a home years ago, the construction world (and zoning law) has likely changed. If you purchased your home, you may be wondering where to start. No matter what your level of experience is, consider these nine points as you rebuild.

1. Insurance

Secure your property, document your losses and file your claim immediately after a disaster. FindLaw’s tips for fire insurance claims states, “Prompt action is...important if there were many other homeowners affected by the fire [or other disaster]. If you don't act immediately, you could fall to the bottom of the list of policyholders who have...insurance claims, and it could be a long time before the adjuster reaches you."  In addition to your insurance company’s adjuster, consider hiring an independent expert to create a “scope of loss” package. Wildfire survivor Kerri Olivier recommends your package contain “documents, diagrams, photographs and itemized listings that explain what it will cost to put your property back in its pre-loss condition.”

If you have a mortgage, payout checks are written jointly to you and your lender. The money is held in an account and only released when rebuilding starts. Funds are usually disbursed in “progress payments,” for example, one-third up front, one-third at 50 percent complete and the final one-third at 100 percent complete. See United Policyholders’ article, “Getting your mortgage company to release insurance proceeds,” for tips.

2. Contractors

No one intends to pick a bad contractor, but you need to know who you can trust, who might be peddling a scam and who has the most experience. Always do your homework. Start with our tips.

3. Weather

You can break ground, pour a concrete foundation and begin construction in winter thanks to portable ground heaters, insulated concrete forms and concrete additives. However, “it takes an experienced crew and one with the proper equipment to protect the concrete so it can cure enough to resist freeze damage,” says Tim Carter of askthebuilder.com. You must decide if it’s worth the extra expense.

In rainy weather, wet building materials, flooded work areas and muddy roads make it difficult to transport supplies. Conditions can be hazardous for the crew too. Strong winds make it dangerous to lift larger materials and can blow dust and debris around the site causing additional delays. An organized contractor may make alternate plans, but try to be realistic about site condition and worker safety.

4. Timelines

Expect a minimum of six months for custom log home construction; longer in challenging locations, bad weather or complex designs. Construction time does not include time spent filing and collecting insurance claims, designing the structure and obtaining permits. Understanding possible delays will help you stay realistic about the timeline.

Your contractor should provide a schedule. “If you’re using a general contractor, the schedule may show only site preparation, foundation work, completion of dried-in shell and mechanical rough-ins, and finish work,” according to Log Home Living Magazine. The authors recommend you ask about “alternate suppliers and subcontractors in case the main sources are delayed or unavailable.”

5. Foundations

Your home’s foundation transfers its weight and loading through the ground. It also keeps logs and timbers off the soil, protecting them from insects and moisture. “The foundation you decide to build for your cabin will be influenced by: your site’s rock and soil type (rock, chalk, gravel, sand, clay or peat), the size of your log cabin, water tables, rock and gravel contours, drainage design, site ground (topography), [and] construction budget,” according to Log Cabin Hub.

Depending on local building codes, a shallow foundation (e.g. raft or strip foundation) may suffice, or it may need to reach below the frost line. It may be worth the expense to create a full basement (think rec room, storage or HVAC hub). Common types of basement construction are cement block, poured concrete and precast concrete.

6. Maintenance

Design with maintenance in mind whenever possible. Dry logs and sealed gaps make a solid house, so pay attention to the height of your foundation, water runoff, gutters and downspouts and the slope of the ground. According to the US Department of Energy, logs still absorb moisture once they are dried, so you must apply proper sealants and stains. Use caulk and chinking to fill gaps that result from building settlement over time. Roof overhangs and covered porches further protect the logs and can add beauty to your home.

7. Materials

A good contractor uses plans and past experience to estimate material quantities, but many variables affect the actual amounts needed. Building materials are subject to availability. The log profile or imported marble you love may be backordered or discontinued, so have a backup plan. Your budget should include reasonable allowances to buy extra quantities due to breakage, detail cutting and imperfections in natural materials. Some products only come in standard sizes or quantities, resulting in surplus. For example, if you need 53 feet of deck railing but it comes in ten-foot lengths, buy extra and make cuts.

8. Energy Efficiency

Even without conventional framing, insulation and waterproofing methods, you can maximize energy efficiency in log homes. For example, “cool roofs” are made of materials that reflect sunlight and aid cooling in summer. Passive solar design is another example: This careful window placement lets in warm sunlight in winter and extended overhangs create shade in summer. Check out the US Department of Energy website for more strategies.

You can save energy inside your home, too: A properly sized furnace, SIPs (structural insulated panels) in the ceiling, programmable thermostats and tankless hot water heaters are all energy savers.

9. Universal Design and Your Lifestyle

Universal design often means ramps, low countertops and wide doorways to accommodate wheelchairs; but, if you’ve fumbled with a round doorknob while carrying an armload of groceries, you might appreciate additional universal design features. Things like lever-style door handles, easy-access showers with grab-bars and open-concept floor plans make getting around easier for everyone. Consider whether your needs have changed or will change. Would a full bath on the main floor be more practical than upstairs?  If you're looking ahead to aging-in-place strategies, think about incorporating universal design elements.

Rebuilding is also an opportunity to add or change amenities that complement your current lifestyle. For example, it’s easier to include a dedicated pool table area in your floor plan now than to convert a seldom-used bedroom later. Likewise, if you never filled up the walk-in closets in your former bedroom, build smaller ones and reclaim the space for the master bedroom.

Good luck on your project, and thanks for reading. Questions? Call 1-877-LOG-HOME (877-564-4663).

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Tags: log home, log home rebuild, home rebuild, disaster relief