Friday, January 5, 2018

Myths & Truth About Log Homes

For those who may be thinking about building or buying a log home, take a look at this list of myth and truth about living in a totally natural environment:

Log homes are a fire hazard - NOT TRUE
In order for a wall assembly to be considered a fire hazard, the fire resistance rating must be below 30 minutes.  An 8-inch thick solid log wall performance is rated at 60 minutes - while wood frame exterior wall construction with drywall on one side is only able to perform just at this 30-minute rating - half the performance.  Why?  Solid logs are an extremely poor conductor of heat.  The char formed on the outer surface of the log prevents oxygen from reaching the rest of the log which results in no more fuel for the fire.

Log homes require extensive maintenance - NOT TRUE
In order to maintain the look of any house, there is maintenance.  For the log house, a clear UV coat every 5-10 years.  For the conventional house, it means cleaning of siding, re-grouting brick veneer, etc.  Logs as with many other building materials (even vinyl siding) have 2 main enemies: sun and water.  The trick to eliminating maintenance is the smart design.  With a proper roof overhang & elevation to protect the logs from the elements, maintenance is kept to a minimum!

Insects are attracted to log homes - NOT TRUE
When the logs are set on your foundation, they dry to the relative moisture content of the area.  Insects are not attracted to dry wood, they are attracted to the moisture in wood of fallen trees outdoors in direct contact with the ground is where they call home.

Log homes are difficult to insure - NOT TRUE
Compared to conventional construction, log homes are not a fire hazard, actually, less of one due to there is low flame spread rating.  Logs are also able to be restored back to their original condition if a fire does so happen by removing the char formed during the fire.  Insurance companies are, well aware of the benefits of log construction, they are happy to insure your home, just find out for yourself, any reputable company will be thankful for your call.

Log homes are significantly more expensive to build - NOT TRUE
The cost of building a log house is actually gone down compared to conventional construction.  Dimensional lumber has more than doubled during the past 10 years due to increased manufacturing costs (fuel to run the mill, transport, etc).  The raw material, the log has been relatively the same price for the past ten years.

Log homes do not last - NOT TRUE
Some of the oldest standing structures in the world are made of logs.  The key to longevity, as with any house is to protect it from the elements (rain, wind, sun, & snow) With proper design a log house will last forever.  Design principal should include elevating the foundation above the ground, at least 12-24” and with a sufficient roof over-hang

Logs are not good insulators - NOT TRUE
Most log homes constructed have an insulation value that is 25-50% higher than standard conventional construction. Wood is comprised of tiny air pockets which help resist the flow of heat. The heat flow through a log is very slow which gives logs thermal mass benefits. Thermal mass means the ability of a substance to store heat and radiation.

The Many Benefits of Log Homes 

Preservation of Nature
A log house preserves nature instead of hiding it.  Logs provide the structural and finish (exposed) material, complementing nature’s real beauty and heritage.

Log Homes are Energy Efficient
The Softwood Log is among the best natural insulators known to man.  Why?  As wood dries, its cellular structure changes from holding water to tiny air pockets.  These air pockets act as resistance to heat flow through the log, and therefore an excellent insulator.  In addition, logs also act as a thermal mass when heated, meaning they are able to radiate heat back to the inside or outside of the building, whichever is the warmer side of the log.  Less pressure is placed on your heating system during the winter and a cooling system in most locations is not required any time of the year.

Higher Air Quality
The more manufactured materials in a home the higher the air pollution, mainly due to the glues and adhesives used commonly in conventional house construction.  Materials include OSB, tar paper, fiberglass insulation, paints, carpets, linoleum, varnishes etc.   People with severe allergies who live in standard wood-frame houses usually require some form of the air-purification system.  Log home builders use minimal manufactured material, therefore low toxins and healthy indoor air quality actually exist.


Log homes were permanent shelters of our early pioneers and settlers.  It is authentic, it binds us to our heritage.  Some of the oldest structures in the world are constructed with logs.  A properly designed log house should last a lifetime or longer.  Just visit pioneer homes from the last three hundred years!

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