timber log house

The Beauty of a Timber Log House

timber log house

Log homes are extremely energy efficient. They cost less to heat and cool and require fewer load bearing walls, leaving the space open for windows and doors.

While both log cabins and timber frame log homes are made from wood, the latter is more flexible in design. Here’s why.

1. Aesthetics

There’s something about a timber log house that just oozes beauty. It’s a look that can be both rustic and modern, with the thick logs adding a level of natural elegance to a home. And when the logs are properly maintained, they can last for generations.

The style of a log house can vary, from the classic Scandinavian full-scribe method with hand-carved, smooth-peeled, and matched logs to a more milled interlocking system. Some systems do not require Chinking (the space between the logs) while others require a minimal amount of it.

Both timber frame and log homes have a natural and rustic appeal that many people love, but the difference is in how the walls are constructed. In a log home, the timbers form the entire structure’s interior and exterior walls. While a timber frame home uses the timbers as structural support, it then builds conventionally framed walls in between the timbers that can be finished with log siding, Hardie Board or other types of siding.

While building a log home requires a lot of care and attention to detail, a timber frame home is much easier to maintain. That’s because the logs are not exposed to the elements as they are in a traditional log home, meaning less damage. However, it’s still important to check the integrity of your logs regularly and ensure that snow, water, ice and shrubs are not getting too close to them.

It’s also essential to make sure that the timber used for your log cabin is kiln or air dried to the proper moisture content. Wet timber can cause problems during the construction process and lead to warping or twisting of the logs, while dry timber can crack and split.

2. Energy Efficiency

The thermal mass of log walls makes them able to store heat during the day and slowly release it throughout the night, lowering energy costs. This makes log homes more energy efficient than concrete or steel-frame structures and is a major benefit in any climate.

Wood is a natural insulator, with millions of tiny cellulose air pockets that insulate the home. This is why it’s important to use only quality kiln-dried and handcrafted logs. In addition, properly insulated wall systems are important for energy efficiency. Golden Eagle uses the Energy-Smart Core insulated log system to ensure the structure is air-tight, eliminating drafts and saving money on heating and cooling bills.

A timber frame or log home can be designed to fit a variety of architectural styles. They can be rustic, modern or a combination of both. However, many people believe that solid log houses are too frontier in appearance and lack artistic details.

When a log house is constructed using the butt and pass method, for example, the logs are not glued together or notched and are pinned with tight load-bearing steel pins. This method of construction allows you to visually inspect the logs for damage and pest infestation. With this visual inspection, you can immediately spot problems — mold, mildew and insect infestation — and remedy them before they become a more costly issue to repair.

It is important to work with a builder who understands the unique characteristics of a log and timber frame home, and can create a system of reinforcement that will allow it to resist the natural settling that will occur throughout the years. A professional will also help you establish a maintenance program that will include seasonal caulking to protect the integrity of the logs and timbers.

3. Flexibility

The building process of a custom crafted log home is exciting, enjoyable and highly personalized. Our experienced building consultants, engineers and craftsmen work closely with our customers through each step of the build process to deliver an exceptional customer experience.

A timber frame can take less time to construct than a traditional stick-built house. It also allows more flexibility with the floor plan of your home. This is due to the fact that a log home has less load bearing walls. This gives you more options when placing windows and doors, as well as a more open layout.

In a typical home, 2×4 or 2×6 lumber is hidden behind drywall and plaster to form wall studs and floor and roof joists that support the structure of the house. In a log house, whole logs are stacked together to simultaneously form both interior and exterior walls. These logs are often notched where they overlap at the corners. The type of notch used is a personal choice, depending on the style and size of your home. For example, handcrafted full-scribe homes feature a saddle notch where the notch surface slopes in two directions at once. In contrast, milled log homes feature a tongue-and-groove system where the groove of one log fits into the groove of the next log.

Like any house, a timber frame needs regular maintenance to protect it from the elements. However, unlike a standard stick-built house where the wood components are hidden behind drywall, log homes are exposed to the elements, making it easier to spot problems and fix them before they become costly repairs. Keeping the logs dry with proper roof overhangs and elevation, keeping weeds away from the foundation, and regular inspections can prevent moisture issues that damage the home.

4. Durability

When built correctly, a log house can be as energy efficient as other types of houses. This is due to the natural insulation of logs. They retain heat in the winter and release it at night, and this translates into lower heating and cooling costs. Logs also provide superior noise control.

In addition to being more energy efficient, timber frame log homes are generally safer and more stable than stick framed houses. A well-built timber framed home is less likely to twist or crack, and the use of large logs reduces the number of load bearing walls, which makes for more flexible floor plans.

The logs used in a custom timber frame log home are often kiln-dried, which ensures that the moisture content is consistent throughout the structure. This allows the wood to shrink and expand in a way that doesn’t cause damage to the home. The process of drying causes small cracks in the logs, known as checks, to open up. This is a normal part of the construction process.

Depending on the type of wood used and the building method, log homes can be very durable. Cedar is a great choice, as it resists moisture and insect damage. Other options that are less expensive but just as sturdy include spruce and pine. However, spruce and pine are more susceptible to splitting, so they need to be chinked or caulked regularly.

As with all types of homes, a log cabin needs to be maintained in order to protect it from the elements. It should be washed and re-stained or re-caulked once every year in order to remove pollen, dust and other debris from the exterior of the home, as well as to check for signs of mildew or mold and re-caulk any areas that are leaking. Additionally, a log home should be inspected annually for areas where snow, water or shrubs collect on the roof or near the foundation. If any problem areas are found, they can be addressed before they become a serious issue.

5. Low Maintenance

Many people think a log or timber home is high maintenance, but it doesn’t have to be. It comes down to smart upfront design and building decisions plus annual upkeep.

A key piece is choosing low-moisture logs up front. Confederation trees are grown in Canada’s frigid northern climate, which results in tighter rings and minimal shrinkage. They are also kiln-dried to 8% or less moisture. This minimizes the number of fissures that can allow moisture to penetrate and cause rot.

Another key factor is the use of a high-quality exterior protective sealant. This is applied annually to protect against sun’s UV rays and rain, ice, wind and extreme temperature changes. It also helps prevent the dreaded mold stains.

Proper landscaping is important, too. Plants that are too close to log walls trap moisture against the logs and impede the natural drying process. This leads to rotting, premature sealant wear and insect infestations.

Insulation is also important. A properly insulated log home can be 15 to 20% more energy efficient than a conventional one. The high insulation value enables the house to warm up quickly and maintain a steady temperature throughout the year.

Pests are an issue, too, but they can be managed with regular sprucing and treating with insecticides. It’s important to have a good pest control program in place before you start building, and to have a qualified pest control expert on your team. These professionals can help you create a pest management plan that will keep your family, pets and plants safe. As with any new home, there’s always some maintenance involved, but the right approach can minimize it. Smart upfront design and building decisions plus annual upkeep will help your log or timber home look like new for generations to come.