Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What are the advantages of a log home?
A: The major advantage of a log home is the energy efficiency. The biggest reason people buy log homes is because they’re unique and the appearance is aesthetically pleasing.
Q: How does the cost of a log home compare to the cost of a frame home?
A: The cost of a log home and frame home will be very close to the same if they are constructed in a similar manner.
Q: What is “R” value of a log wall?
A: The actual “R” value of a 7″ log is about an R-10. This is a bit deceiving because the “thermal” value of the log wall is about 20-25% better than a 2×6 stud partition with R-19 fiberglass insulation. When “R” value is determined, no consideration of absorption of heat into the material is taken. Because of the compression of the wood fibers, a log will absorb heat or cold for the first 1″ or so and will not allow it to transfer through the wall. Get more information about log wall energy efficiency by downloading a copy of the National Bureau of Standards study in PDF format.
Q: Do we have financing available?
A: Yes. Financing through local banks and mortgage companies is available the same as what a conventional house would be. This is basically for a turn-key construction, as the lending institutions require a finished product as well as a general contractor being involved. We have a list of a few mortgage companies that people buying log homes have had good luck with.
Q: Does it cost more to heat and cool a log home?
A: Solid log walls offer excellent resistance to the passage of heat. In fact, solid logs actually absorb heat and retain it. This is due to the cellular structure of logs. We use pine or spruce which contains millions of insulating air spaces created from the evaporation of sap and moisture in the drying of the logs. Because of the insulated air spaces, your home is refreshingly cool in the summer and easily heated in the winter. A 28 week test was conducted by the National Bureau of Standards to determine the effects of thermal mass (the insulating effect of air trapped within a log) on a building’s energy consumption. The tests, conducted in Washington, D.C. used six different homes, identical except for the exterior walls.
The research team found the log structure walls “…did exhibit a thermal mass effect and thus save significant amounts of energy….both in the summer cooling season and the intermediate heating season.”
Solid log walls are natural insulators, store heat and don’t lose their coolness as quickly as frame construction. The natural R-value factors of the logs combined with thermal mass creates an insulation barrier that’s warmer in cold weather and cooler in hot, clearly representing an energy-conserving feature in residential construction. Another plus for the solid wood homes: The R-factor (resistance to heat transfer through a material) of wood does not decrease as the material ages.
Download a copy of the study in PDF format.
Q: What is the moisture content of the logs?
A: The moisture content of our logs is between 8% and 16%. Kiln dried lumber is graded to 19% maximum moisture content.
Q: Will the logs shrink?
A: Yes, logs are lumber and all lumber moves. Lumber will expand when it is wet and shrink when it dries. If someone tells you their logs don’t shrink…they’re lying. The shrinkage of the log will be minimal if you get dry logs to begin with, and, keep them from getting wet before and during construction.
Q: Do logs have a problem with termites?
A: No. Log homes do not differ from frame homes in this concern. The termites have no additional desire for a log home over what they would for a frame home. The primary way to deter termite infestation is to treat the ground, and the foundation system, prior to the construction of the home. Pre-treating is normally done on frame houses as well as log homes.
Q: Will cracks on logs get bigger over time?
A: Generally the checking (cracking) is all done by the time we mill the logs. The checking comes from drying and shrinking, the checks are a good indication the log is fairly dry.
Q: What type of wood are the logs?
A: Our standard log is lodge pole pine cut from dead standing timber. This timber is normally killed by fire or beetles. Pine beetles burrow just under the bark and eat the sap wood, killing the tree. Once the tree has died, the beetle either dies or leaves the tree for new food. The tree then loses its bark which allows it to dry without rotting.
Q: Where do the logs come from?
A: Our Swedish Cope and D-Shaped logs come from Northern Utah. Other logs we handle may come from various locations throughout the west.
Q: What style of logs do you supply?
A: We can supply just about any style, shape, smoothness, size and material you prefer. The Swedish Cope is our standard and other logs may be ordered with the cost being quoted on individual request. The delivery time may be longer than normal on special requests.
Q: What is the delivery time?
A: Normally four to six weeks. Many times we may be able to make delivery sooner. Special order logs may take longer.
Q: Is delivery included in the material package quote?
A: Delivery to the Contemporary Log Homes closest office or yard is included. Freight to the building site is normally included if the site is accessible to our trucks and the materials are prepaid prior to shipment from our mills.
Q: Is unloading of materials at the site included?
A: No. If the materials are shipped directly to the job site, the customer is responsible to coordinate a forklift to unload the materials.
Q: What if we have bad materials delivered?
A: All materials are guaranteed to comply with industry standards. If for any reason the materials are sub-standard, a Contemporary Log Home representative will be sent to the job site to inspect the materials. If the material is found to be defective, new material will be shipped at no additional cost, as soon as possible. Inspection of the materials is suggested at the time of delivery to help prevent any time delay in your construction.
Q: What happens if I run out of logs?
A: We intentionally ship 5% overage to assure you won’t run out of logs. If the shipment is short or we’ve calculated the quantity required incorrectly, we’ll provide any shorted material at no additional cost to you. Conversely, any overage is the property of Contemporary Log Homes and we may choose to pick up the extra material.
Q: Can you provide only logs versus a complete package?
A: Yes. We prefer to provide a complete material package as this permits us to ensure you are getting the right materials required for the job.
Q: Are windows and doors included in the package?
A: No. The reason we don’t include windows and doors in our material package quotes is because of the wide selection and price variance as well as individual customer preference. Window and door quotes are available from Contemporary Log Homes if you know the type of doors and windows you’d prefer to use in your construction. In some cases, doors and windows can be purchased from a local glazier at a price equal to or less expensive than we could provide them due to our shipping costs.
Q: Can we modify a standard plan or design a custom home plan?
A: The owner of the company is a registered architect and has staff available to modify or re-design any of the standard models to the configuration you desire. Minor modifications (not structural or extremely involved) are normally provided at no charge. The cost for custom plans vary depending on the amount of time required for the design. For a custom design, a portion of the architectural fees from Design Professionals is credited toward the purchase of the log material package.
Q: Is it possible for us to construct our own log home?
A: Yes. If you have basic construction experience you should be able to put up the log walls. You may however want to hire some help to do your roof framing if the roof system is complex or other than a simple truss system.
Q: Do you provide any supervision during construction?
A: Once your floor system is completed, we will, at your request and provided you’ve given us advance notice, send our construction coordinator to your job site to help you get the log walls started in the right manner. We will be available for any further assistance you may require during the course of construction.
Q: Do you have a construction manual?
A: Yes. A construction manual will be provided with the purchase of a material package. This construction manual is well detailed and has proven to be a great help to owner/builders and contractors as well.
Q: How are the logs secured to each other?
A: We use a double rim joist at the floor system. The first course of logs are screwed to the the double rim joist using Blue Ox Log Fasteners. A system using 3′ anchor bolt, 3′ all thread, and rod couplings is used to fasten the log wall together giving you a similar type of structure as a continuous glu-lam beam.
Q: What is used between each course of logs?
A: We use a construction adhesive between each course of logs. After the home is constructed, “chinking” (a special type of caulking used in final weather sealing of log homes) is applied between each course of logs and on all of the exterior log joints on the exterior of the house. It is recommended to apply chinking to the interior log joints as well. Sashco chinking products are available through Contemporary Log Homes and included in all of our standard package pricing.
Q: How do you seal the outside and inside of the logs?
A: We are distributors for Sashco finish products and provide stains, clear coats and chinking in our standard material packages.
Q: What is used to finish the interior walls within a log home?
A: Drywall, or 1×6 t&g pine, or a combination of both, at interior stud partitions and ceilings are our most popular finishes.
Q: How is the electrical and plumbing done in a log home?
A: The electrical outlets are done by drilling holes vertically through the first three courses of logs, the location of these outlets are then marked on the floor for future reference by the electrician. The electrician will cut in electrical boxes at these locations and pull the electrical wiring through the interior walls. If this is not possible, wires are run up the backside of the door jams to accommodate the electrical wiring. The plumbing is all run in the interior partition walls.
Q: What type of roofing materials are available?
A: Our standard roofing material is asphalt shingles. Popular alternatives have been cedar shakes and pre-formed metal roofing.
Q: Can you provide other materials we may need?
A: We’ll be happy to provide any of the materials you require. The materials you want can be added to your log delivery or shipped separately depending on the situation. For instance, the floor system may be shipped before your logs are due, to allow you to finish the floor system before the logs arrive.
Q: Are your logs pre-cut to length?
A: No. Logs are supplied in lineal footage, Swedish Cope logs are pre-notched for the corners.
Q: Do you have any models available to look at?
A: Yes. Our model homes in Pinetop, AZ and Edinboro, PA are shown by appointment. Other structures may be available for viewing.
Q: What if my question wasn’t answered here?
A: Contact any representative at one of our two locations. We’ll be happy to respond to any additional or specific questions. Thank you for considering Contemporary Log Homes.