A guide to building your log or Timber Home

Guidance
A log or timber frame home depends on two essential factors:
A high quality product and outstanding customer service. You need both to successfully achieve the home of your dreams.
Duncanwoods and Footprint Log Homes is comprised of a group of highly experienced professionals who have valuable experience in the log home industry and are focused on providing a high quality product. Along with the excellent customer service, you have a winning combination.
Our team not only designs and engineers your home to meet your aesthetic and practical needs but also deals with site-specific issues such at seismic conditions, snow loads, wind velocity, energy requirements, local building codes and much more.
Question?
‘What would we want from a log home company?
Answer!
Quality, Advice and Guidance.
You will find answers in our Log and Timber home PDF download that has been designed to guide you along the way!

2 cost saving tips

Are you wasting water waiting for the water to get hot before you can take a shower In the morning? On Demand water heaters also know as tank less water heaters are gaining popularity with new home owners.

Geo thermalGeothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the earth. Geo thermal can be expensive to install but will give you a good return on your investment in your energy bills in the years to come.

Controlling the temperature in your home

hot and cold

While logs are an excellent insulator, your home will need a little help to keep it at and ideal temperature in both summer and winter.

Cooling in the summer:

  • Ceiling fans are still a good option but it seems that summers are getting hotter and they don’t always have the desired effect, especially if your bedroom is in the loft.. heat rises! A window fan or air conditioner can be noisy.
  • Are you heating/cooling the whole house when you are only using one or two rooms? Think about a mini split ducted heating and cooling system rather than one for the whole house.
  • Extend your roof line to protect the logs. This does two things, it helps to  keep the summer sun at bay and allows the sun in to the room in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky.
  • Ceiling fans in the loft if turned to reverse will bring the hot air down thus cooling the upstairs. this can work in reverse in the winter taking some of the warm air up.

Heating in the winter:

  • A popular heating system is Radiant floor, this heats evenly and does not blow air and dust around the house as with a forced air system.
  • Wood stove V fireplace. while a fire place insert looks lovely it is not as efficient (in my opinion) as the cosier looking woodstove.
  • Windows and doors are common places for heat loss; make sure you have no air infiltration there.
  • Electric boxes on external walls are also areas that need to be sealed properly during construction.
  • Orient your house to take advantage of the sun in winter.
  • Window screens are a necessity in the summer to keep bugs out but often darken the room to a degree; taking them out in the winter when we don’t open the windows often will let more light in during those grey days of winter. I would however, recommend leaving a couple in, incase you do need to open a window.

Planning your Dream Home

planningFrom the time you make your initial contact with us, we are working with you to achieve your dream home in the most efficient and cost effective manner possible.

When it comes to designing the perfect home, most of us need a little help.

  • Think about your lifestyle and personal requirements.
    • Do you have hobbies that would need their own space?
  • Do you need an attached garage or one that is connected by a covered breezeway?
    • This could be large enough to accommodate the pantry and laundry.
  • How about a mud room to throw off your dirty boots in the winter, or even wash the dog!
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms. Consider building on a walkout basement and put an extra bedroom and bath down there thereby reducing the need for a larger footprint to accommodate the extra bed and bath on the main floor.
  • Think about separating the master bedroom from the guest bedrooms with the living/great room in between, giving you separation from other family members or guests.
  • How much storage do you need? It seems we never have enough and don’t forget the laundry and  broom closets!!

Imagine walking through your house, What would you add to improve the quality of life? If this is your retirement home, think about eliminating stairs by building a single story ranch style home. If you need wheelchair accessibility we will draw plans to meet ADA compliance! These are all things to think about during the design phase.

Lastly, get the outside of the house the way you want it to look and compromise on the inside furnishings if budget is an issue, these can be upgraded at a later date, it will be more costly and difficult to change the outside appearance.

 

 

Choosing your Contractor

GCSelecting the log home producer who will supply your home is one thing; however a good quality product is only as good as the team that builds it. Research thoroughly for the skilled team who will handle the job to complete your “Dream Home”. Here are a few tips to guide you along the way:

  • Your local log home dealer will offer you a list of General Contractors and Subs that have been used before.
  • Make sure that those recommended are familiar with the log profile you have chosen; someone who only does “hand scribed log” may not be the person to erect a milled log and visa versa.
  • Customer recommendations – Even more valuable than the dealer recommendations are the names of their previous customers. They will tell you how the job was handled and express any concerns/praises they experienced.
  • Visit contractors current job sites, if he’s not currently erecting a home you may ask why!!
  • Check out references; ask homeowners if there were any hidden extra costs.
  • Ask for details of workman’s compensation insurance including that of the subs. The local building authority will advise on local licenses that are required.
  • Consider being your own General Contactor (GC) – first ask yourself do you have the time, knowledge and experience to manage the project. Beware also that some banks may not fund a project without a formal qualified GC.

Finding the right GC and Subs, is one of the most important element of the home. No matter how good the log producer’s product is it will only be as good as the efforts put in by the contractors to erect it. Choose wisely; interview at least two GC’s, make sure that these are people who you are able to communicate and work with for the coming months. Remember it’s not all down to cost, if a GC claims to be considerably cheaper than another ask your self WHY!!. Similarly most contractors are booked for months ahead, if you find one with a hole in his schedule you may see a “Red Flag” Ask why!!

Finally timing is of the essence – if you go to the bother of organizing your home supplier months before delivery of the home, why wait until the last-minute to lock in a GC, you may then only get what’s left and not the “cream of the crop”. The two processes should be done in tandem to avoid pitfalls. liaise with your log home dealer right from the start; if they are good in their business they know the quality of what’s out there.

History of the Log Home

log home

Historically log cabin construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Although their origin is uncertain, the first log structures were probably being built in Northern Europe in the Bronze Age (about 3500 BC) The European log construction has undergone an evolutionary process from the crude small gable roof cabin of round logs with an opening in the roof to vent the smoke, to the more sophisticated squared logs with interlocking double notch joints with timber extending out beyond the corners. Log saunas or bath houses of this type are still to be found in rural Finland. By stacking tree trunks one on top of another and overlapping the logs at the corners, people made the ‘Log Cabin’. they developed interlocking corners by notching the logs at the ends, resulting in strong structures that were easier to make weather-tight by inserting moss or other soft material into the joints. As the original coniferous forest extended over the coldest parts of the world there was a prime need to keep these cabins warm. The insulated properties of solid wood were a great advantage over a timber frame construction that was covered with animal skins, boards or shingles. Over the decades, increasingly complex joints were developed to ensure more weather-tight joints between the logs but the profiles were still largely based on the round log. Log construction was especially suited to Scandinavia, where tall tree trunks (Pine and Spruce) are readily available. With suitable tools, a log cabin could be erected from scratch by the family in a few days. As no chemical reaction was involved, such as the hardening of  mortar, a log cabin could be erected in any weather or season. The earliest recorded North American log home was built by the Swedes who settled in Pennsylvania in 1638. Subsequently. log home building techniques were improved by German settlers. As the West was settled, log homes were erected all over as symbols of the frontier spirit. Along with the refugees produced by the War of Independence, the log home spread to Canada and there the abundance of building material and severe cold made them spread quickly to become scattered all over wooded areas. Along with the industrialization of society in the 19th Century, logs were, to a large extent, replaced by building materials that could be massed produced in sawmills and towns took on a different appearance. However, log homes remain strongly associated with the North American identity and now they are undergoing a kind of revival in the form of country residences and mountain cabins. Today, construction of modern log cabins and leisure homes is a fully developed industry.

Courtesy of Wikipedia.

 

Going Green

Green construction is becoming more and more popular. If your goal is to save energy, create a healthy home environment, be it Eco-friendly or all of the above, here is a  guide to your Green design and building options to meet your individual requirements.

By selecting a log or timber frame home you are already on the path to Green building. Footprints engineered log or timber frame home already uses timbers from renewable sources with our manufacturer using trees from sustainably managed forests. However, Green design building has many more facets than just the logs. Here are some of the elements we use when working with our clients to develop a Green building agenda.

Green Building Goals.We’ll work with you to help define your Green building goals and offer recommendations from home design to material selections and more, while keeping your budget in mind.

Design with Green Building in mind. It all starts with the design of your custom home. Incorporating your Green goals into your custom floor plan, we’ll offer recommendations for site placement, window size and location, HVAC options, ceiling heights, lighting and much more.

Site Planning. We’ll offer ideas to help you to create a design that not only takes advantage of your site but keeps the surrounding environment in mind through a detailed site plan.

Develop an Energy Efficient Plan. We’ll suggest options to help you create an energy efficient custom home, from positioning your home to take advantage of passive solar, working with your mechanical contractor to select an energy efficient HVAC system to selecting ENERGY STAR appliances. We’ll help you design and energy efficiency plans that fits. We will work with you and your builder to review Eco-friendly building materials, choices, building waste disposal methods, lighting systems, indoor quality, water efficiency and much more.

Geothermal is the most energy and environmentally friendly system available today. This heating and cooling system uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to maintain an even temperature in the home, winter or summer

In Floor Radiant heat generates an even heat throughout the home and will not distribute dust like forced air thereby creating a more healthy environment.

Cozy Cabin in Idaho

The Sportsman is a log cabin that makes the most of available space. At 840 sq. ft., this cabin floor plan incorporates a separate bedroom and full bath. The cleverly designed kitchen includes bar seating, plus a separate dining area. The second story loft can be used for many different purposes — from relaxing to socializing to providing additional sleeping space.

The logs for this cabin were erected in less than 2 days. Our ‘Country Cut’ milled log is fully pre-cut and pre-drilled for electrical and the electric boxes cut in which means a lot less work on the job site when erecting the logs.

This cabin was customized slightly from the Sportsman Cabin and once finished will provide many years of happy memories for the homeowner and family.

You and Your Budget

Who does not have a budget when it comes to building your dream log home?

Here are 10 handy tips to help you save money!

  1. Building up instead of out reduces cost of concrete on a large foundation.
  2. Keep roof lines simple.. fancy roofs cost money!
  3. Keep corners to a minimum.. Corners are costly to construct.
  4. Add a ‘Shed Dormer’ in the loft to gain more headroom thereby creating more usable square footage.
  5. Consider a log burning stove instead of a fireplace, the stove is more energy efficient.
  6. Consider the positioning of your home to take advantage of the sun in winter when the sun is lower in the sky.
  7. Use a laminate counter top instead of granite, carpet and tile instead of wood, stainless steel appliances will add a big cost to your budget and these are things that can be upgraded later.
  8. Milled double tongue and groove logs are more budget friendly than Handcrafted, timber Frame Swedish Cope or Post and Beam.
  9. Double Hung windows are more cost effective than Casement (wind out) windows.
  10. And lastly, your Sweat Equity is where you can really save the $$ – anything you can do be it laying tiles, painting, staining the logs etc. will reduce your overall costs.

Difference between a Timber Frame, Post and Beam or a Hybrid home

Timber Framing is the ancient art of framing where skilled craftsmen joined timbers by: Mortise – a wooden hole  and Tenon – a wooden peg. Nowadays nails screws and bolts are used.

Post and Beam is similar in design configuration to Timber Frame, this construction system uses metal fasteners between timbers which can include plates, screws and through bolts.

A Hybrid design which is becoming more and more popular is a combination of conventional construction be it Log, Timber Frame or Post and Beam using accents of Timber or Post and Beam. Timbers are typically used in the Great Room, entry and Kitchen/Dining areas and log posts used on decks a porches for a more rustic appearance.

Trusses are the focal point of the design in Timber homes. They are what draws our attention upwards when we enter these majestic spaces. The Truss is not merely decorative, it can also be structural to  carry the weight of the second floor or roof support system to the walls without any support from below. Trusses and their individual components go by dozens of names and configurations.