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Old 12-06-2016, 12:56 PM
Me_Billy Me_Billy is offline
Join Date: Aug 2015
Posts: 1,420
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
This only happens to people who have no clue what they are doing. This is akin to telling people that conventional roofs will leak and rot away if they don't cover them with shingles.
That's interesting! Last time I checked, log homes were made out of logs - which come from trees - and as logs age, they will shrink. Has mother nature invented a new type of log?
Old 12-06-2016, 10:05 PM
Timbits Timbits is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 7
Originally Posted by Mr Quatro View Post
Where's the OP hpanderson? We are just talking to ourselves lol
He read the thread and skedaddled. Opted for trailer park life.
Old 12-06-2016, 10:19 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is offline
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: rhode island
Posts: 38,027
Originally Posted by Me_Billy View Post
That's interesting! Last time I checked, log homes were made out of logs - which come from trees - and as logs age, they will shrink. Has mother nature invented a new type of log?
In other words you still don't understand that you are telling people that water is wet.
Old 12-06-2016, 11:37 PM
watchwolf49 watchwolf49 is offline
Join Date: Dec 2009
Location: State of Jefferson
Posts: 7,945
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
To elaborate a bit, we have lived in a log home since 2000. (Pic.) It's been an f-ing nightmare. I spend my summers fixing wood rot, chinking, staining, etc. while perched on a ladder. Just... don't do it.
What a nice place you got there ... simply beautiful ... you should be proud of it, my friend, I'm sure that's the envy of your whole family !!!

The only mistake I see is you live where it snows ...
Old 12-07-2016, 03:05 AM
prongo prongo is offline
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 17
Originally Posted by Crafter_Man View Post
To elaborate a bit, we have lived in a log home since 2000. It's been an f-ing nightmare. I spend my summers fixing wood rot, chinking, staining, etc. while perched on a ladder. Just... don't do it.
My family and I live in a log home we built in the woods about 15 minutes drive up the side of a mountain. While I agree that it is indeed more hands-on maintenance than your typical suburban home, my experience has been generally pleasant. Ensuring a proper coat of stain, replacing the occasional piece of wood rot, re-applying chinking, and other sundry tasks really only need to be done once every ten years (at least, in my experience). It can be a pain, to be sure, but far from a constant one.

My advice would be to ensure that the insulation of the attic and between the floor joists is robust. Don't skimp on this part because otherwise it can become expensive to heat and rather drafty around the feet. We initially couldn't afford to insulate either very well and we paid for that over many years with cold tootsies and loads of wood to keep the stoves going.

Next, realize that you will be sharing your home with all manner of critters and bugs. That is, if you are planning to build somewhere more remote and wild, as people tend to do with log houses. I don't care how well you seal the place up, they will get in. We have loads of spiders, stinkbugs and paper wasps that all shelter inside for the winter and then come out of the woodwork in the spring. We also maintain a couple of cats to keep the rodent population at bay and we have to keep all our pantry stock in plastic tubs, jars, cans and other mouse-proof containers.

I have something living in my attic. Exactly what I am not sure as it sounds too much like some sort of small monster skittering around and I have decided not to tempt fate by poking my head in there. We just had a skunk decide to vacation in the crawlspace under the house and then sprayed one of the local stray cats that also thought the underside of the house looked inviting. We had to spend $500 on a Hydroxyl machine to get the smell out of the house and we never were able to catch the little stinker.

So yeah, in addition to Crafter_Man's warning about maintenance, be prepared to be your own animal control service too. Life in a log house is grand!

(Seriously, we really do love it. Despite some downsides, the privacy and beauty of the local nature is quite nice.)
Old 12-08-2016, 10:08 AM
MacLir MacLir is offline
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 584
Some "advice" from James William Buffett

High Cumberland Dilemma
Old 12-19-2016, 04:28 AM
Lionors Lionors is offline
Join Date: Jul 2000
Posts: 231
My parents and I actually committed this lunacy ourselves. We did it the hard way -- marking the trees, felling them, dragging them out of the woods with horse teams (there was no way to get a tractor back into the deep woods), skinning them, excavating the foundation, building the foundation, setting the I-beams for the floors, hauling the damn logs up, moving them into place and cutting the notches. We managed this with no more than one set of broken ribs, one set of second degree burns (from burning bark) and a few jammed fingers.

It took us three summers while I was in high school, while we camped on-site in a travel trailer, no telephone, no television, no air conditioning, no electricity except when we ran a generator (which was so loud you couldn't hear yourself think), and no running water -- we had a big 200 gallon tank we'd take down to the city water supply and fill. Showers were outdoors with plastic tubes and the cold tank water; we had a Porta-Potty for the bathroom. Joy.

For obvious reasons, I may have been the only teenager in America who couldn't wait for school to start again so we could go back home to our real house. For a good week after our return, it always felt as if I'd fallen into the lap of luxury. Indoor toilets! HOT WATER! This was pre-Internet days (early 90s), so at least I wasn't jonesing for my computer TOO badly.

The plans were to complete it ourselves, but my mother became terminally ill while we were finishing the insulation and chinking between the logs, so we had to engage a contractor for the rest of the chinking, the electricity, the plumbing and the roofing. My father and I were able to finish the drywall, painting and installing the appliances. That part took only a few months, however, and was by far the least labor-intensive part of the project.

We ended up with an approximately 3000 square foot house, shaped like a plus sign, with 5 equal-sized rooms (25x25). The center is the great room, with a cathedral ceiling and a double-sided fieldstone fireplace in the middle (and yes, we hauled those bastards, too.) The south room is a kitchen/dining room and has the front door, plus there's a small area partitioned off for a laundry room. The east and west rooms are bedrooms, with ten feet partitioned off into an attached bathroom and walk-in closet. The north room is the living room. There are bay windows in both bedrooms, the living room and a big picture window in the dining area. Between the cathedral ceiling, the big windows and the open spaces, it's surprisingly light and airy, if rustic (my dad wanted to keep as many natural log walls on the inside as possible.) There's an L-shaped porch across the wall with the front door and the wall of one bedroom, and another in back. Lots of ways to admire the scenery.

I have to admit, although I don't like log houses, it did come out beautifully compared to most log houses I've seen. It's not to my taste (quite probably because I hated the building experience so much) but if I had to live in a log house, that would be the only one I'd choose.

My dad designed the house himself, did all the research and cut every notch with a chain saw (thus the broken ribs - he fell off one of the top layers.) He loves antique farm equipment and had learned some old hand-working techniques from his grandfathers, who'd grown up on farms in the rural South. He's not an architect, but he did make a thorough study of antique log houses and he grew up in my great-great-grandfather's house (a log house which is still standing), so he had a fairly good idea of what would work.

So the very long answer to your question is: Yes, it can definitely be done, and well, even if you're an amateur.

However, we had some advantages that others don't have. Most people don't have access to the building materials we had, for one thing. We chose carefully to get logs of near-identical diameter, and each log is 24 inches thick. We were able to lift the topmost logs because we bought a tractor with a carry bucket, built sturdy scaffolding, and used pulleys and come-alongs to work the logs into place.

Also, the only reason we were able to build this from scratch is because we have property with a large stand of old growth yellow poplar, which a) is extremely hard, if not impossible, to come by now due to blight and overlogging b) termites won't touch, so it doesn't need treating with chemicals. Because of this, we were able to paint the logs with polyurethane. As a result, there was no creosote smell (which is one of the worst things about most log houses, IMO) and the areas with bare log walls are a lovely deep honey color. You can still see some of the areas we marked for the notches and the unique characteristics of each log. If you like that sort of thing, it's gorgeous.

That was twenty years ago. Twenty years in, I can tell you the pros and cons of this style of house, too.


1. The R factor (insulation) is INCREDIBLE. If you're building in a cold climate this is absolutely, hands-down, the best way to go. My dad, who (as you can tell from the building method) gets wild 'let's be authentic' hairs up his ass, decided that for the first winter, we'd heat the entire place ONLY with the fireplace. He did relent and let us get inserts with blowers for warm air. It turned out to be the coldest winter in 20 years (thanks, Dad.)

The result: You really didn't want to stay in the bathrooms for extended periods of time, but the pipes never froze (and we never had to let water drip) and while it wasn't toasty warm in the bedrooms, it was surprisingly livable.

After that winter, though, Dad relented (too many days having to go out and split wood in the bitter cold) and we got electric baseboard heaters to supplement the fireplace. However, it doesn't take much to heat the place, despite its size, and there's no drafts at all. His electric bill still runs about $80 a month, even in the worst weather -- and most of that's for appliances.

If he were doing it again, he says he'd consider a heated-water system for radiant heat in the floors, but the baseboard heaters weren't invasive or expensive to install and they're efficient.

2. Properly built, it's sturdy as hell. The house has survived in-line windstorms that have flattened brick houses in the vicinity. The biggest test was a massive old oak that crashed down on it thanks to a near-miss tornado. Got the roof hard, but the wall didn't even budge.

3. It's unusual, which is not a bad thing in the days of McMansions and cookie cutter prefabs.

4. You pick up unusual skillsets and you do get quite a sense of accomplishment even if (like me) you hated every minute of what you were doing. I appreciate the experience in retrospect FAR more than I did at the time. Besides, how many people even know what a peavey or an adze are, much less know how to use them skillfully?


1. It is hard work. Let me repeat. IT IS FUCKING HARD WORK AND IT IS NOT ONE BIT FUN. It took us nine months of intensive labor, and when I say 'intensive labor', I mean that for three months during the heat of summer, we worked 12 hour days, 7 days a week. If it was 100 degrees, we worked. If it was raining, we cleared brush, burned bark or other odd jobs. It was NOT a vacation.

2. Not only is it hard work, it's heavy work, and dangerous as hell. How my dad managed to cut all those notches and how we managed to move all those huge logs into place with no more injuries than we had is nothing short of a miracle, even though we were extremely careful. Those were bigass damn logs, and one slip meant someone could get killed. We were also lucky to get family members in from time to time to help when we hit the upper rounds.

3. You'll need uninterrupted months of time to accomplish the task, and most people don't have that. This is not a project you can manage in the odd weekend. You don't want your wood to rot, after all.

4. You'll likely have to get pretreated wood, and I, for one, can always smell the chemicals.

5. Leaving bare log walls means you really can't hang much of anything on them. There's no such thing as driving a nail and spackling the hole afterwards, after all.

6. You WILL have to get professionals to help you with the finishing unless one of the two of you are a) a certified electrician and b) a plumber. I can't stress the importance of a qualified electrician on this job. Because of the logs and because of the chemicals with which they are treated, you do NOT want to have a cut rate wiring job.

I would say that your goal is entirely feasible, but for the love of Og and the Holy Google, I'd say to buy a good kit and get a contractor. No, it won't be as unique as one built entirely from scratch, but it'll be less dangerous and easier on you in the long run.

Enjoy your house, and I wish you the best of luck.

Last edited by Lionors; 12-19-2016 at 04:30 AM.


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