The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

A Company's Legacy of Log Homes

Posted on Thu, May 2, 2013 @ 02:50 PM

log cabin home

Looking back 21 years ago, my wife and I were putting the finishing touches on our log home and preparing to move in. Over the previous 18 months, we planned, sketched, met with banks, met with builders, scheduled the work to be done and prepared for our journey in to the building process. We started construction in March of 1992 and by mid-September were moved in. Building a log cabin home in South Carolina during the summer months is NOT the best of planning but we successfully pulled it off.

Along the way we learned quite a few things about building a log home and the construction business in general. Over the past 21 years I’ve been willing to share these experiences and assist several hundred homeowners to successfully move in to their log home.

There are several employees, including myself, at Appalachian Log Structures Inc. that live in log homes and have done so for quite a few years – over 200 years combined in total. My father, the founder of Appalachian Log Structures, who passed away in 2010, lived in two log homes (my mother still does), the President of Appalachian personally built both of his log homes (lots of sweat equity there!), our VP of Marketing has built and lived in two log homes, our VP Sales lives in #13, the 13th log home to roll off our line over 33 years ago (see photo above). The Manager of both our production facilities in Princeton, WV built his home in 1992 as did my oldest sister and her husband who since has moved in to my Grandmothers log home and remodeled it. Over the years we’ve had other employees and family members build log homes and they are still living in them today.

In addition to employees most all of our Independent Representatives either live in or work from a log model home (or sometimes both!).  Several of these Independent Representatives are also experienced builders who have become expert log home builders.

So you see, when you contact someone at Appalachian Log Structures you have the opportunity to speak with someone that has first hand experience of building and maintaining a log home – experience that is valuable to someone just starting the process. In addition, all of us are willing to share our knowledge and experience so that you too can have the opportunity to live the log home life like so many us have been blessed to do.

When you are ready to start your log home, we’re here and waiting to assist you. We’re only a phone call or a short drive away so come on by for a visit and let’s get you started on your dream log cabin home. Contact your Local Sales Representative today!

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Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, log home manufacturer, log construction, log cabins log cabin kits

It's Not Easy Being Green - Log Homes & the Environment

Posted on Fri, Feb 22, 2013 @ 09:00 AM

green log home For those of us log home enthusiasts who remember Kermit the Frog, we’ll also remember his song “It’s not easy being green”.  Of course back then he was singing about something other than saving the environment.  In today’s world of marketing, the word green has taken on a whole different meaning. Google search “environmentally green” and you get over 41 million hits – everyone from the National Geographic, the EPA and even Wikipedia have pages of information on green.  Seems everyone has their own idea, definition and interpretation of what “green” really is.  We’re marketed on a daily basis about green products from dishwashing liquid to clothing and sometimes it gets to be more of a joke rather than a cause.

It may not be easy being green since it can also be rather expensive.  Take housing for example.  By using a lot of newgen or nextgen products in your home you may wind up investing a lot more in your log home project than expected.  You’ll need to ask yourself a few questions – is this product really green (did it ship from overseas or was it made locally?) and will it really help save the environment (was it made from products that are not green?).

Common sense will come in to play here.  I’ve lived in a log home now for over 18 years, a home that used natures only renewable building resource – wood – as the main structural elements.  The logs were local to my area, were pressure treated with Borates to inhibit decay and attack from wood digesting insects and will help the home be around for generations.  Borate is a natural/organic preservative and insecticide.  How much greener a home can you get?

By having a well and septic system we use and recycle water naturally without chemicals.  We compost some of our food waste, use the recycle bins at our local garbage facility and keep our thermostats at temperatures that ease the use of the heat pumps in summer and winter.  I don’t consider myself an environmentalist.  I just use common sense to make every day decisions about leaving a minimal foot print on this wonderful and beautiful planet we call earth.  So really – it’s not that difficult being green when you live in a log home.

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

Construction Loan Application - Step #9 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 09:44 AM

log cabin homeThis step can take some time to complete and will take some patience.  There are several items that most financial institutions require you provide when you apply for your loan.  Listed below are just a few:

  • Last 3-4 years of tax returns and/or W-2’s

  • Last 3-4 pay stubs

  • Your address for the last 2+ years

  • Current statements from checking, savings, portfolios, etc

  • Employment addres for last 2 years

  • Copy of deed/title to the land you are building on or being purchased.

  • Set of floor plans and builder contracts/estimates

There is a lot more information that will be requested before the loan is closed so be prepared to keep digging through your files and have patience.  Our Log Home Sales Consultants assist folks everyday who are going through this process, and believe me, you are not the only ones who feel like they are going through the hoops as this process takes place.

At some point in the application process an appraisal will be ordered for your log cabin home building project.  The appraiser will take your log home floor plans along with the contractors contract/estimates and will determine a value of your home setting on the lot you have chosen.  This value will become part of the basis for the amount of funds the lending institution will loan towards your log cabin home.  Once this amount is determined, the draw schedule can be completed, papers can be signed and you can begin building your dream log home.

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Our next and final blog in this series is Step #10 – Placing your Log Home Package order.

Tags: log homes, log cabin home, dream log home, dream log cabin, log home floor plans

Choosing a General Contractor - Step #8 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Jan 3, 2013 @ 09:07 AM

log home contractor

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Tags: log home, log homes, log cabin home, dream log cabin, log home manufacturer, log home design

Purchase log home floor plans - Step #6 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Dec 20, 2012 @ 02:00 PM

log home floor plans

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

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

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

Coming soon - Step #7 Obtaining Construction Estimate.

$ave on Plans

 

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Tags: log homes, log cabin homes, log home design, log home floor plans

Timeline for a New Log Home - Step #5 in Planning for Success

Posted on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 @ 02:25 PM

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

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

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

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

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

Our next topic is Step #6 – Ordering Blueprints

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Tags: log homes, log home consultant, log home design

Log Home Building Budget - Step #2 in Planning for Success

Posted on Fri, Nov 23, 2012 @ 10:34 AM

fair oaks log homePlanning is the KEY to a successful log home building project.  Last time we reviewed the first of ten important steps when planning your dream log home - RESEARCH. 

Step #2 – Prequalify and Establish your Budget.  Even if you are in a cash equity situation and do not have to have a lending institution involved in your building project it is recommended that you set a budget for the project.  Be realistic when setting your budget and like any goal you set for yourself – write it down.

If you decide to use a lending institution, start the prequalification process early.  Keep in mind that “prequalified” means that the dollar amount determined by the lending institution is their best guess loan amout based on un-verified information that you have provided to them (income, debt, liabilities, etc).  Once you choose a lender and submit a loan application fee along with all of the other documentation required (Taxes, pay stubs, bank accounts, portfolios, floor plan, cost estimates, etc) they can determine an exact loan amount.

Once you have been prequalified and have set a realistic budget it will be easier to start investigating the size of log home or log home kit you can build for the amount determined.  We suggest not getting your heart set on a floor plan before being prequalified and setting a budget.  Knowing how much you can borrow will help you budget accordingly and to properly size your log home floor plan. 

Your local Log Home Building Consultants have assisted thousands of homeowners through this process so when you have questions, contact one of them.

 Next time – Step #3 – Selecting Your building site.

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Tags: log home, log homes, log home kits, build a log cabin

We're More Than a Producer of Log Homes!

Posted on Thu, Nov 1, 2012 @ 01:40 PM

Log AccentsMost people think of Appalachian Log Structures as a producer of log cabin homes, but we're SO much more than that.

In the past few years there has been a resurgence of remodel, repair and restoration of existing homes and log homes.  In addition, there has been an increasing interest in hybrid homes which are those structures built using different building techniques like log walls with timber frame roof components or a conventional frame home with timber frame accents. 

As a mill that produces wood items, we've been busy making these types of products (not necessarily log walls) for just such projects for years. 

Recently we had a client interested in using some of our timber frame materials for his conventional framed house.  They liked the look of the heavy timbers for the 2nd floor framing as well as the exposed heavy timber rafters and tongue and groove in the roof and dormers of the home even though they were not building a log home.  In addition, they also like the heavy timber look for the exterior porches.  Our porch railings were used on the wrap around porches to finish off the project and tie all of the wood features, both inside and out, together.  It's a wonderful combination of both conventional framing and timber framing.  Visit our facebook page to view a photo album of this "hybrid home".

Along with some considerations of placing timber framing on a conventional frame structure, the builder also had to be in on the design to make sure that a good understanding on how certain construction techniques would be accomplished when marrying these two construction types together.  Good communication and understanding is key when building not only a hybrid home, but any type of construction project.

We've also milled custom log siding profiles for some clients who had a certain look they were going for.  In addition there are folks who have had log siding on their home for years and are now putting an addition on to their existing home.  They don't know where the original siding came from so they brought a piece to us and we custom cut their siding for them. 

How about a custom log profile?  This past year some high winds in Virginia did some damage to a cedar log cabin home.  Not only was it a profile/shape that was unusual, but they needed it in Western Red Cedar species to match the rest of the house.  With the dimensions and a sketch of the existing log profile, we purchased the Western Red Cedar raw materials and custom milled the logs for their repair job.

So although not everyone may be looking for a log home, if you are looking for wood components in your new (or existing) home consider Appalachian Log Structures as a resource for your project.  We offer structural as well as decorative beams/rafters/timbers, exterior and interior log siding as well as log siding corners.  If you are looking for a smaller log to use for a storage shed, camping cabin, man room, hobby room or a back yard get-a-way we also produce a 3"x7" Sportsman log. Need some hardware to put your timber framing together? Give us a call - we may have what you need in stock.

If you need a finish for your exterior wood items we offer a line of water or oil based products in addition to additives that help repel carpenter bees and other insects as well as a mildewcide additive. 

Trim lumber, board & batten and various other wood products are also offered and all it takes is a quick phone call to your Local Log Home Building Consultant or a visit to our website www.applog.com to find out more.  To help you get started, click here to view our Component Price list that will show you just a few of the items we do everyday!

 

Tags: log homes, log home manufacturer, log cabin homes, 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 New FRONTIER-TRS Log Home Package from Appalachian

Posted on Mon, Jul 9, 2012 @ 03:42 PM

log home packageIntroducing our newest log home package – the FRONTIER TRS.  Just in time for the National Log Home Month being celebrated in July, our FRONTIER TRS series is being launched with 10 single story plans and special pricing.

Our FRONTIER series will feature a choice of either our Premier (pre-cut) or Pioneer (Linear Foot) materials for the log wall and include cost saving features like pre-manufactured trusses for the main roof and porch roof and Jeld-Wen Builder Series aluminum clad windows.  As always, there are numerous options to add to your custom package should you choose.

The 10 floor plans (including 2 garage plans) are all ranch style and have been the top choices our homeowners have looked towards when choosing to build their single-story log homes over the past 30+ years.  From contemporary to rustic designs ranging between 1300 and 2000 square feet, these plans have lots to offer the discerning log home buyer.  Whether it’s a starter home for a younger couple with a growing family, an empty-nester wanting to “right-size” in preparation for retirement or a summer home by the lake or in the mountains, these floor plans offer something for everyone!

Since we’re introducing this new FRONTIER series in July – National Log Home Month – we’re also offering introductory LOW pricing. 

Don’t forget to call or stop by your local Log Home Sales Consultant when you are ready to get started.  We’re here to assist you with every aspect of your project and look forward to seeing you soon!

Tags: log home, log homes, log home package, log wall, log home building consultatt