The Log Blog by Appalachian Log Structures

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

Learn More about your Log Home Manufacturer

Posted on Sat, Sep 1, 2012 @ 01:50 PM

Log Home Plant TourWhat better way to learn more about the log home manufacturer you are considering doing business with than to make a personal visit to their manufacturing facility.

By doing this you accomplish two important things; (1) Making sure that they actually own and operate the mill (not just brokering your log home materials from another manufacturer) and (2) Meeting face to face with your Log Home Consultant and/or other Senior Staff.

At Appalachian Log Structures we encourage clients to attend one of our Plant/Tour Seminars that are held in Princeton, WV four times a year.  These Saturday events have been well received and attended over the past 15+ years.  The feed back we get from the folks that visited with us has been very positive and that they learned a lot more about the project they were about to undertake. 

The workbook and information that is shared during the day is valueable and the hands-on experience for those considering building their own log home is very insightful.  Even those folks who are hiring someone else to install their log home building materials get a better understanding of the process that will be taking place.

In addition to learning more about Appalachian Log Structures, the materials we have to choose from and the advantages of building a borate pressure treated log home, you also get to share your hopes, dreams and ideas with other folks just like yourself!

This fall we are offering these events on Saturday September 29 and Saturday November 3.  A lot of attendees plan to combine a trip to our Headquarters in Ripley, WV on Friday afternoon then travel to Princeton and spend the night in preparation for the Saturday seminar/tour.

Since there are a limited number of seats please be sure to call us (800-280-2574) to register as far in advance as possible.  You may also contact your Local Sales Consultant to find out more about these events.

We hope to see you at one of these events in the near future and look forward to working with you to accomplish your dream log home!

Tags: log home, log home manufacturer, log home sales consultant

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

Is your Log Cabin Home Manufacturer a Log Home Council Member?

Posted on Mon, Aug 6, 2012 @ 11:34 AM

 

custom log home

Building your dream log home is likely one of the largest investments you will make in your lifetime. But you’re not the only stakeholder in this project. Your local building department requires the log cabin home be constructed to code. Your lender wants the log home to be valued correctly. The builder wants to earn more business through word-of-mouth, as does the log home manufacturer.

With so much riding on this decision, who do you trust? We suggest limiting your choices to members of the Log Homes Council like Appalachian Log Structures. Why? Because for decades now, new log homes buyers have trusted members of the Log Homes Council to make their dream home a reality. That’s because all council members must:

  • Abide by a strict code of ethics
  • Grade their logs and timbers by third party agencies to ensure quality
  • Provide construction manuals to ensure correct construction techniques
  • Sponsor scientific studies that advance log building technologies
  • Provide information to help consumers make smart choices


"This means when you buy from a Log Homes Council member, you are getting quality building materials that will stand the test of time," says Nicole Robinson, Chair of the Log Homes Council.

But those aren't the only advantages in choosing a company that belongs to the Log Homes Council. While member companies compete fairly for your dream home while adhering to the membership requirements, they are united in their passion for their work.

"When was the last time you bought anything from anyone who not only harvests the raw materials, but also designs and crafts the finished product?," asks Robinson. "You will find everyone from the sales rep to the owner of the company have something in common with you: They share the same passion for living in a log home as you do."

Learn More About the Council
The Log Homes Council is a national organization with membership comprised of manufacturers of log homes. The council is part of the National Association of Home Builders.  Appalachian Log Structures is proud to be one of the companies that first formed this organization and throughout the years have had two of our employees being Chair of the Council as well as serving on numerous advisory boards and committies.  We proud of our association with the Log Home Council and their efforts to promote and support our industry.

 

Information above is taken in part from the Log Home Council's web page.

Tags: log home, log cabin home, Log Home Council

A Company’s Legacy of Log Home Living

Posted on Fri, Jul 27, 2012 @ 09:44 AM

custom log homeLooking back 20 years ago next month, 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 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 20 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 lived in two log homes, our VP Sales lives in #13, the 13th log home to roll off our line over 32 years ago (see photo above).  The Manager of both our production facilities in Princeton, WV built his home in 1992 as did my 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!).

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!

Tags: log home, log cabin home, log structures, dream log cabin home

Log Home Logs offers Unique Commercial Applications too!

Posted on Thu, Jul 19, 2012 @ 09:05 AM

custom log restaurant

Thought building with logs was for residential use only?  Well think again.  Over the past 35+ years we’ve supplied our quality, pressure treated log home building products for countless commercial projects.

Whether it is for rental cabins, hotels, restaurants, office buildings or a small back yard office, our log wall building materials are perfect for these applications.  Folks using log construction for their businesses report that clients that are coming in to their place of business ask lots of questions about the building itself and enjoy the warm, comfortable surroundings which adds to the purpose of their visit.

Aside from being unique, you find log construction hard to beat when it comes to the sturdiness of construction.  With thru-bolt technology (we were the first in North America to use these), solid log walls, timber framing 2nd floor and roof construction all add to how solid these buildings are in all types of adverse weather and other mother nature induced events.  For those buildings located close to an interstate or busy roads, the sound proofing that the log wall offers makes the working environment extremely quiet and very pleasant.

And once you are moved in to your commercial property you’ll be delighted how easy it is for clients to find you.  EVERYONE knows when a log structure is going up in the community and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when the locals start using your location when giving directions!  What better FREE advertisement could you ask for?

If you are considering using logs or timbers for your next commercial project please contact your local Log Home Consultant to get their input and expertise to assist you with the design and layout.  You may want to visit our web page (www.applog.com) to see some photos from just a few of the commercial projects we’ve been involved with.

Tags: log home, log home consultant, log home building products, log wall, log construction

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

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