The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

A Happy Log Home New Year

Posted on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 @ 04:29 PM

log home christmasThis greeting comes with heartfelt thanks to all of you who took time from your life to call us, visit us, or write us an email about the dream of living in a log home of your own. Having experienced owning, building and living in a log home for over 20 years, I understand the overwhelming desire to live in a quiet, warm, and comforting environment that leads one back to a simpler time of living. Log homes provide this ambiance. Appalachian Log Structures looks forward to it's continued mission of providing not only the highest quality log home building material components, but also timely, educational and important information concerning the numerous choices to be made during the log home buying and building process. We hope our blog has helped you explore some of these important choices, and we have given practical and logical information to be used in making the best choice for you. We will continue to bring you the best information and suggestions concerning log homes, and look forward to hearing from you for input on topics for discussion.

As we say goodbye to 2011 and welcome the New Year of 2012 our wish for you and yours is a healthy and prosperous New Year, and that we may help you realize your dream of owning a log home in the near future.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, log cabin kits, dream log cabin

Part 4 of 4 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built Homes

Posted on Fri, Dec 23, 2011 @ 12:53 PM

log home interior

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are 3 more advantages...

10) The Eyes Have It
If you’re worried about mold, mildew or insect infestation, then a log home offers clear advantages since you’ll be able to see anything untoward, just by taking a stroll around your home and visually inspecting the logs. This quick detection leads to a less costly remedy. In contrast to a conventional home, the sealed wall cavities can be a hidden refuge for mold, mildew and insect infestation, which can cause far more damage before its detected.

11) Superior Craftsmanship
Conventional custom homes can have their fair share of beautiful carpentry, but this is typically limited to trim and millwork. In log homes, examples of fine craftsmanship are at every turn, in the handcrafted staircase with its branch-like spindles and balustrade, in the hand-scribed large timbers overhead in the cathedral ceiling, in the one-of-a-kind light fixtures.

12) Peace & Quiet
Log homes are often quieter than stick built homes, thanks to the same thermal mass that provides energy efficiency and the sound deadening affects of wood walls, according to a white paper produced by the National Association of Home Builders Log Homes Council. “The acoustical benefits of a log wall, therefore, are the reduced transmission provided by its solid mass and the sound deflection provided by the profile of the log (the angle, shape, and texture of the log surface),” the paper concludes.

 

This article is reprinted from a Log Home Council webpage.

Tags: log home, log and timber home, logs, thermal mass, wood walls, Log Homes Council

Part 3 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built Homes

Posted on Fri, Dec 9, 2011 @ 02:44 PM

custom log  home

12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are three more reasons to consider a log cabin home.

7) Super Energy Efficient

Provided the home is sealed properly (between the foundation and the first course of logs, between log-to-log connections and where the roof system meets the log wall), you can have a super energy efficient home. Indeed, some builders routinely build log homes to meet the DOE’s “Energy Star” standards. This means it will be 30% more efficient than what building codes call for, saving you serious coin over the life of the home. “Today we can build a log home to be 15 to 20 percent more energy efficient than a conventional home,” says builder Mike Gingras, owner of Seven North Log Homes in New Haven, Vermont, who has designed and built Energy Star-rated log homes for the past 18 years.

8) A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words

Hanging a picture in a home with drywall is a big ordeal, involving a stud finder, a hammer or drill and bruised fingers—maybe even a bruised ego, since your spouse may tell you to move the picture, requiring patch work. Homeowners report the simplicity of hanging a picture is one the simple joys of living in a log home.

9) Rustic Doesn’t Mean It Isn’t High Tech

While rugged is appealing, roughing it is definitely out. That’s why today’s log homeowners increasingly want a hideaway that’s connected, automated and secure. Many log homeowners are adding backup generators (in case of power outages), security system and a CAT 5 wiring system that can accommodate high speed video, voice and data, as well as a host of new communication technologies on the horizon.

 

Watch for Part 4 of this 4 part series coming soon!

 

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, log and timber homes, log wall, log homeowners

Part 2 - Log Homes are Better than Conventional Built homes.

Posted on Wed, Nov 30, 2011 @ 01:19 PM

log cabin home

                12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors.  Here are three more reasons to consider a log cabin home.

4) Fit the Land
Since this organic building material comes from nature, the resulting structures blend into the topography like a 10-point buck on opening day. Log homes naturally integrate right into the landscape, rather than being awkwardly imposed on it.

5) Fast Framing
If you choose to use a precut and pre-drilled log system or a handcrafted home, the shell of your home can be framed on site faster than conventional stick framing, which will reduce the likelihood of weather-related damages or mold and mildew issues. With the right crew and building system, it can be weather tight in as little as two weeks—for an average sized home. In conventional construction, your home is exposed to the elements for far longer, which could lead to mold issues within framing of the home, where it can thrive undetected for years.

6) Warmth of Wood
Warm to the touch (as opposed to the always chilly sheetrock), wood has something called “thermal mass,” a natural property in the logs that helps keep inside temperatures of homes comfortable in all seasons. This allows log walls to collect and store energy, then radiate it back into the home.

Watch for part 3 of this 4 part series soon!

 

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, log and timber homes, log walls, log system

Log Homes are better than Conventional built homes - 4 part series

Posted on Fri, Nov 25, 2011 @ 09:04 AM

log cabin home

 

12 Advantages Log Homes Have Over Stick & Brick Construction

Part 1 of 4

Beyond a steady stream of visitors seeking to soak up some rustic ambiance and connect with Mother Nature, there are other advantages for owning a log home over more conventional construction. Longtime homeowners say log and timber homes offer rich rewards over the stick and brick homes of their neighbors. The benefits start with the building materials.

1) Trees are Renewable Resource
Since trees are a renewable resource, log homes come with a solid green pedigree. When a home is made from solid logs, you are effectively taking the carbon contained in those logs out of environmental circulation over the entire life of the home. Moreover, some log home producers harvest standing dead timber (done in by pesky insects) or purchase logs from forests certified as sustainable. Some builders are constructing log homes to green building standards as well.

2) Long Lasting
Got a know-it-all in the neighborhood who thinks his brick home is durable? Inform him that log homes still in use in Europe routinely date back more than 800 years. And one log-constructed church in Russia is reportedly more than 1,700 years young.

3) Withstand Mother Nature’s Wrath
The log home industry has countless stories of these homes successfully weathering the worst weather Mother Nature can dish out, including the 2005 Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. When Rita’s winds caused a giant oak tree to crash through the roof of Menlo Klingman and his wife Mickey’s 1,700 square foot log home in Eastern Texas, the home’s solid log walls withstood the weight of the toppled tree and prevented more damage “There is no doubt in my mind that this log home saved our lives,” says Mickey.

Watch for Part 2 next week!

 

This article is re-printed from a Log Home Council white paper.

Tags: log home, log and timber homes, log home industry, solid logs, log home producers, solid log walls

$aving Money on your Log Home Package

Posted on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 @ 12:36 PM

log home savingsSeems everyone is in to saving money these days, especially those who are planning on building a new log home. Not only are there ways to design your log cabin home to help keep costs down, but also the materials you choose to have included in your log home package will impact your costs.  In response to those who are looking for a great opportunity to save, Appalachian Log Structures is offering purchase incentives to "inspire" you to take the plunge and join the rest of us that live in our own dream log home.

In the log home building business you'll often hear that the most cost effective way to build any structure is to design a square or rectangle house (only 4 corners) with 1 straight roof line.  You'll also hear it is most cost effective to build "up" and not "out" - meaning a two story home or a home setting on a basement contains more living space under roof that a ranch style home (single story) with the same foundation foot print.  Although not always desirable (or practical) there are ways to enhance a basic square/rectangle floor plan with dormers, porches, and other unique architectural features.  And for those who don't want to climb stairs in their retirement home, ways to keep all of your living space on one level and let guests/family take the stairs to a loft or basement level.

As for another way to save - watch for sales or incentives being offered by your favorite log home manufacturer.  Discounts, options credits and rebates are just some of the ways log home companies will inspire you stop thinking about building a log home and actually DO something about it.  Click here to learn more about how Appalachian Log Structures can save you thousands of dollars if you plan to build in 2012.

None of us are getting any younger and if living in a log home is on your bucket list, then let us help get you started today.  Be sure to contact your local Log Home Building Consultant for more help.  They will be a great resource throughout the entire project and offer invalueable insight.

Tags: log home, dream log home, log home manufacturer, log home packages

Modifying Pre-Designed Log Home Plans to fit your Lifestyle

Posted on Fri, Nov 11, 2011 @ 10:48 AM

log home floor plan       dream log home




    VS






Although Appalachian Log Structures offers over 60 pre-designed log home floor plans, the majority of our homeowners have chosen to either modify or fully customize a floor plan to suite their lifestyle.  In over 32 years of manufacturing log home packages we've rarely cut the same log house twice!

Take for instance the Fair Oaks floor plan above (left).  In 1999/2000 we modified the Fair Oaks floor plan (above right) to take advantage of a beautiful lake front view.  We reversed the kitchen/dining area on the left hand side of the plan so the dining room could flow out on to a covered porch through beautiful sliding glass doors (with sliding screens).  This offers wonderful opportunities for entertaining family and friends with traffic flowing easily from the kitchen and dining room to the specatular views from the porch and deck beyond. 

The first floor 1/2 bath and utility area was re-designed to make easier access to the kitchen from the front door and to add a nice pantry to the kitchen area.

Upstairs, the two doghouse dormers on the front of the original plan were moved to the back of the house in order for both of the upstairs bedroom to have views of the lake and mountains beyond.

To take advantage of the sloping lot, a drive under two-car garage was designed for the basement and included another full bath and large gathering area with access to another deck below the 1st floor deck.

The modifications were done keeping in mind where the views would be, how the traffic would flow through the home and to take advantage of the wonderful weather in Eastern Tennessee and access to the lake from the home itself.

When viewing our pre-designed log floor plans, keep in mind that these are just a "starting place" from which your ideas can flow.  Based on the building site, slope of land, the directional orientation, lifestyle, want/needs and especially your BUDGET, our experienced Log Home Sales Consultants are ready to help you modify or customize a floor plan to suite you.  Let us help make your dream log home become reality!

View the two log home magazine articles that featured this Modified Fair Oaks by clicking on the links below:

Mail Order Log Home and Coming Together in Tennessee

Tags: log home, dream log home, log home packages, log home plans

Comparing Log Home packages

Posted on Thu, Nov 3, 2011 @ 04:27 PM

price is right log home

 

If 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.  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 random length and pricing from another that includes materials that are extensively pre-cut and supply 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!

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.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, log home kits, log cabin

Why invest in an Appalachian Log Structures log home?

Posted on Thu, Oct 27, 2011 @ 07:19 PM

Happy Log Home Owners

One of the most frequently asked questions we get is “why should I buy a log home from Appalachian Log Structures Inc.?  It’s a GREAT question and one that we easily address. 

After we deliver a log home package we survey our homeowners to ask not only this question but several others as well.  Just like yourselves – our homeowners have done the research, read magazines, hit the web sites, visited model homes, toured log home manufacturing facilities, attended seminars, gone to the log home shows and basically shopped around.  In the end they tell us they chose Appalachian Log Structures Inc. for these 5 reasons:

  1. Product Quality

  2. 25-year Warranty against wood ingesting insects and decay/rot

  3. Borate Pressure treated materials

  4. Extensively Pre-cut building system

  5. Engineered for settling

 Some of the other reasons they’ve mentioned are:

  • Full 6 inch or 8 inch thick logs

  • Sales Consultant’s help

  • Excellent reputation in the industry

Start the process to join the thousands of satisfied Appalachian Log Structures log home owners by giving us a call today or scheduling a time to stop by and visit your local sales consultant and view one of our model log homes.  After doing all your research, you’ll come to the same conclusion as our other homeowners – Appalachian Log Structures is THE right choice!

Tags: log home, log home owners, log home package, log home manufacturing, log home shows

Log Home Construction bids - How do builders charge?

Posted on Thu, Oct 20, 2011 @ 02:03 PM

log house under construction

Sorting out the differences between ‘fixed bid’ and ‘cost plus’.

Even if you plan on doing some or all of the work on your log home yourself, you will still need specialty contractors, including plumbers, electricians and HVAC installers. This is why you need to understand how these trade professionals charge for their services.

You will be contracting with a builder or subcontractors to provide labor and materials in one of three ways.

1) Fixed bid
2) Cost plus (also known as time and materials or an hourly rate)
3) Combination of the above two

Which is better? Read on to discover what to expect when you are making that dream log home a reality. This information is provided by the Log Homes Council, an association of log home manufacturers. Their goal is to enable you to make the most informed decisions when buying and building your log home.

Fixed Bid

Builder or subcontractor furnishes you with a bid that tells you exactly how much you will pay to have a finished home by such and such date. Sounds straight forward, right? You get what you want, the contractor gets what they want and everyone goes home happy. Just like the rest of life, it’s more complicated than you might think.

Fixed Bid Advantages:

• If there’s no surprises, fixed bid can be a good option
• To keep their bid competitive, contractor will be looking for the best deal on all materials
• The contractor will try to get the job done as fast as possible, so he can move on to the next job
• Fixed bid employed by trade contractors, such as electricians, HVAC installers and plumbers
• Common contract clause is “per the plans, in place and to code”
• Once it passes inspection, the trade contractor expects to be paid
 
Fixed Bid Disadvantages:
• The contractor has to ensure he or she doesn’t lose money on a wide range of challenges that may—or may not—come up
• Example scenario: Mountainous terrain.
The builder may need to factor in the blasting of bedrock and excavation to install the basement. This can increase yours costs by thousands of dollars—and that’s all before concrete is poured for the basement.
• You may not get the most competitive price with a fixed bid, because the contractor will have to add in contingency funds for what-if situations

Cost Plus

• A contractor will base their estimate on the amount of time and labor it will take to construct your home, plus a percentage markup on all material that goes into your home
• This tactic is used on projects where costs are harder to predict
• Many log home builders use this formula, largely because there are so many unknowns in log home construction

Cost Plus Advantages:

• If you and your builder keep track of your budget and avoid change orders, this can be the most competitively priced way to get your home built

Cost Plus Disadvantages:

• No incentive to do the job as fast as possible
• No incentive to wisely purchase materials, since everything that goes into the home is marked up

Combo Deal

A combination of these two is increasingly common in log home construction. Some parts of the house are done on a fixed bid, some on an hourly rate and other parts on a time and materials basis, plus a percentage.

Combination Advantages:

• If you invest your time in choosing cabinets, why should a builder take a percentage for ordering them
• A combination bid can help make the process easier for both builder and buyer, while building trust

Combination Disadvantages:

• Not all builders will offer this
• Log home builders are specialists
• If you find a reputable one who is available, you may need to compensate them for their expertise in whatever manner they see fit 

This is a re-printed article from the Log Homes Council library (http://loghomes.org).


Tags: log home, log homes, log home construction, log home manufacturers, log home builders