Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What are dead-standing dry logs and why do you use them?

A: Dead standing logs are the highest quality logs you can get.  These are logs that have been standing dead in a forest for possibly 5 years or more before harvest.  They have been killed by insects or flash forest fire, but the structural and aesthetic integrity remains intact.  Sap and moisture are progressively drained from the tree throughout the drying period since the log seasons in an upright position.
Most other types of logs are generally green; another way of saying they have a high moisture content.  When wet wood dries out rapidly it can shrink too fast causing cracking, turning, and twisting.  That’s a big issue when the main ingredient in a log home is the logs.  You won’t have any of those problems with our logs as you enjoy your new home.

Q: How much do logs shrink?

A: Shrinkage is one of the most important considerations when deciding upon a log home.  In a 20’ high wall there might be ¾” to 1” of settling in a dry log home.  We can easily accommodate this by proper design and construction techniques like settling spaces above windows and doors and other methods.  With minimal shrinkage like this we can offer full log gables.  A green log home might settle as much as 1” per foot or 10% of each log.

Q: Where do your logs come from? Do you have your own log yard?

A: Our logs come from Idaho, Montana, or just to the North in British Columbia.  That region has the highest quality logs that your home can be built with due to the dryness of material.

Q: Do you allow owner participation?

A: We will allow you to do as much or as little as you would like to do to save costs as long as your involvement does not impair our efforts.

Q: How does a log home perform in a fire?

A: Typically, all that is seen after a fire is smoke damage and possibly some surface charring where sustained exposure to fire has occurred.  This is because of the mass of logs.  The same home, conventionally framed might be consumed or experience total structural failure.  Our company has experience in restoring log homes that have smoke or fire damage.

Q: Is it difficult to get log home plans approved? 

A: Log homes are treated like any other home as far as permits are concerned.  We can facilitate design services when requested.

Q: What type of R-value do logs have?

A: The Washington State Energy Code essentially provides us with an equivalent R-value of R-19 when the primary heat source is other than electric resistance.  In a log home, R-value is actually not the most important measure of thermal retention.  “Thermal mass” is the ability of a material to retain heat within it and release it slowly over a period of time.  Traditional adobe structures in the American Southwest utilize this property.  During the extreme heat of the day, the interior of these homes remain cool as heat builds up in the thick walls.  As evening approaches and the air temperature cools, the heat energy finally overtakes the heat capacity of the wall and begins to be slowly released into the room, warming it.  As such, interior room temperature remains relatively constant.  The same is true with log homes.

Q: Do log homes need to be engineered?

A: Yes.  Almost every structure is required to be engineered today, even conventional framed homes.  Our engineer has years of experience engineering log homes.

Q: Where does the wiring and plumbing go in a log home?

A: We frame almost all interior walls, allowing these systems to be incorporated as usual.  When wiring is required to be in an exterior log wall, such as required receptacle outlets and wall switches at doors, we run our wiring up behind door bucks (the boards that create a rough-frame for a door to attach to in a log
wall) or pre-drilled holes in the logs.  We cut boxes into the logs at the appropriate locations for the electrical boxes.  The end product is well detailed and no exposed conduit is involved anywhere.  All plumbing is routed within framed partition walls.

Q: What do you use for a foundation?

A: Our foundations are similar to a conventional two-story home.

Q: How are the logs secured together? 

A: Our handcrafted log homes are fastened with “spikes” that have a size and spacing determined by structural engineering and is unique to each home.  Our milled log homes are similar except that specially designed screws replace spikes.  The intent is to snug the copes together as tight as possible, where this is impossible with handcrafted logs.

Q: What is chinking?  What type do you use?  Is it concrete?

A: Chinking is the material that is placed between courses of logs in a handcrafted home.  We use a product which is an acrylic, highly elastic and adhesive
chinking material, manufactured by Permachink, one of the most respected companies in the industry.  It is applied over a foam backer rod and “slicked” with specialized tools so it bonds with the logs.  It is not concrete.  Milled logs, because of the tight tolerance of the machined profiles, do not require chinking but are recommended to have joints sealed with a thin, unobtrusive sealant known as EnergySeal.

Q: What type of roofing do you use?

A: Roofing is based on owner preference.  We do typically see, however, 80-90% of our clients using metal roofing in a green or blue color.  Factors to consider are initial cost, expected life, municipal fire-rating requirements, and effects on insurance.

Q: How do you treat the logs?

A: We prefer to use "Log Finisher" by Forrest Paint Co. which is an oil- based preservative.  Our special formulation has a warm, rich color and has proved it's durability through the years.

Q: How long will it take to complete a home, start-to-finish?

A: Time varies on building design and jurisdiction.  Design can take from 2-4 months, the permit process can take 1-4 months or more depending upon
jurisdiction, and construction usually takes 6-9 months for a turnkey package (depending upon size, complexity, etc).

Q: Do you have kit packages that you offer?

A: All of our homes are one-of-a-kind.  We have started to develop a series of kit cabin packages, however.  Please call for information.