Does a Log home cost more than a conventional home? Why?
Short answer, yes, but not by as much as you might expect. Working with logs is of course more complex than using dimensional lumber. Post and Beam homes on average cost about 15%-30% more and Handcrafted log homes (full scribe) about 30% more. However, bear in mind that in many cases, due to the style of the home, owners will incorporate special features such as rock fireplaces, solid hardwood flooring and solid wood doors and windows. As Handcrafted log homes are much faster to build there is a lower labor cost involved.
Approximately what is the cost per square foot:
Determining the cost of a custom home is always a challenge. Each and every home we build has it’s own unique design and associated costs. Just dealing with the log shell the more complex the structure is the more expensive it will be. When looking at budgets it is important to stay realistic and always keep a final budget in mind. It is the designers job to ensure that the home design will fit within the proposed budget.
The costs of construction also vary greatly depending on local building costs. In some areas it is simply more expensive to build than others. The single most important part of predicting costs and budgets is a good set of plans. Even preliminary concepts can help in estimating costs.
Does a log home take longer to build than a conventional home?
Post and Beam: Yes, about 15% longer. It takes more time to interface between conventional construction and logs. Of greatest concern is insulation, weather proofing and water penetration
Handcrafted Log: No, about twice as fast. It is much faster to build because the exterior is already done. There is no exterior siding, insulation to do and much of the interior is complete.
Fusion of styles: Yes, about 20% longer. Due largely to the increased complexity of interface.
Construction time can be greatly reduced by using offsite framing, SIP’s, and other time saving
techniques. Also the single most important factor is having good plans to speed up construction.
How structurally safe is a log home compared to a conventional home?
All structures should be designed and constructed to local codes & to local engineering standards.
Being a log home should not be an issue since the structural safety of a house should not depend on the type of construction but how it is designed and engineered.
Why is do you use only Western Red Cedar as a building material?
We uses only Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) for many reasons.
- Natural oils in the wood (Thujic acid) act as a preservative preventing decay and inhibiting
invasion by insects.
- High in-place dimensional stability and comparative strength. Resists splitting. Cedar has a
tight, straight grain and does not warp and twist as much as other woods.
- Western Red Cedar handles moisture very well. One reason why it is used in saunas all over the
- Logged in managed forests ensuring protection of the species and guaranteed harvest.
- Exceptional acoustic properties. High sound transmission loss and absorption coefficient.
- Exceptional insulation properties. Delivers a higher insulation value than most woods and
considerably greater than that of brick or concrete. Buildings stay cooler in the summer and
warmer in the winter.
- Energy efficiency. As determined by the Canadian National Research Council, western red
cedar log homes are the most energy efficient for all Canadian climates - regardless of home
- Naturally aromatic. A fragrance much used for environmental enhancement, containing natural
aromatics that repel moths and other damaging insects. Plus it eliminates unwelcome odors and
mustiness of stored fabrics, linens, clothing, rugs, etc.
- A lightweight wood easy to handle and cost effective to transport.
- Undisputed beauty. A range of warm and natural color tones, a depth of luster and richly
- Cedar is free of pitch and resins and accepts finishes such as transparent or full-bodied stains
and paints readily.
FEATURES OF WESTERN RED CEDAR
Acoustic properties: Cedar tends to dampen sound transmission
Density (oven-dry): 22 lb/ft3
Specific Gravity (oven dry): 0.35
Durability: Durable species
Fasteners: Corrosion resistant only (aluminum, hot-dipped galvanized, brass, etc.)
Finishing: Paints, stains, varnishes, oils and waxes all work well
Smoke developed classification: 98
Flame spread rating: 69(class II)
k value (12% mc) 0.74 BTU in. per square ft.h degrees F
R value: 1.35 in. of thickness
Stability: Cedar is the most stable softwood species
Workability: Easy to cut, saw, nail and glue
Is there a limit to the length of beam that can be used?
The interior length dimension of the container in which logs are shipped, usually about 40 feet, often determines the limit of beam length. Structurally it is not reasonable to span more than 25 – 30 feet. Of course, using knee braces increases span length by the distance from brace to post. Working with truss systems will also dramatically increase span length. It is also possible to splice log beams providing they are supported at the splice.
Do the logs need special care and attention, like cedar shakes on the roof?
Care and attention of the logs have to take place at various stages. An Antifungus protector is applied to the logs prior to being shipped to the site. Once on site one must be careful not to cause abrasions to the logs during the construction process. Abrasions can be touched up by using a wood stain “cedar” color as this color most closely resembles the actual naturally seasoned log color. Do not protect the logs with poly as it will build up moisture and stain the log. Form a barrier with plywood or cardboard. When preparing to stain make sure log surfaces are clean and if there is a lot of discoloration due to excessive moisture i.e.. downspouts draining directly onto untreated log surface, should be treated with a wood conditioner. A low phoxillic acid(wood bleach)works well. Then stain as directed and follow up with desired topcoat.
Can the product be delivered anywhere?
We can ship our product anywhere in the world.
How long does it take to build a log home?
Depending on the size of the home…..average is 8 – 12 weeks.
What kind of warranty do you offer?
Standard for our industry. Two years parts and labor.
Is there any after sales support?
Absolutely. RCCH stands firmly behind it’s products and is always prepared to help.
Will my contractor know what to do with a log home construction?
There is a learning curve involved but any competent builder will be able to adapt. RCCH offers
short training courses for general and specific construction if required.
Are there special requirements for trades to work in a log home?
Yes. Plans are needed for plumbing and electrical chases.
Post and Beam: Not much problem as the walls are conventional frame.
Hand Crafted Log: More complicated getting pipes from floor to floor and through the walls.
Electrical outlets and lighting fixtures and ventilation (AC and FAG) all need special planning.
Fusion: Same considerations as with Hand Crafted Log.
Do log homes insulate better than conventional?
Wood itself is a good insulator. Western Red Cedar specifically has a cellular structure of interior air spaces that delivers a higher insulation value than most woods and considerably greater than that of brick or concrete. It is important that a log home is built to high standards of fit and allowances made for the shrinkage of the logs or a log home that initially is quite weather tight would over time become drafty. RCCH use a precision-engineered diamond notch and lateral gaskets to ensure weatherproofing as the house settles. Other special features such as wall board slots, drip sills and drainage slopes maintain a tight fit around doors and windows.
How high can you build a log home?
Generally speaking there are pre existing building codes that govern the height of your home for
your region. The height constraints are obtained from your local planning office.
In the case of a handcrafted log home (full scribe) the recommended wall height limit is 10-12
feet. Logs stacked on top of each other will exhibit excessive compression if stacked higher.
Multiple floors can be built as long as there is bearing support every 10 vertical feet. This means
that a log home can be many stories high, built in much the same way as an apartment building.
This facilitates the builder to capitalize on the look and feel of a log building whilst optimizing the
use of space.In the case of Post and Beam the physical height limits are considerably greater.
Our experience has shown that posts extending 40-50 feet floor to ceiling can easily be achieved.
For Export the dimension of the container limits the length of a log. This is typically 40 feet.
Are there any size constraints when building a log home?
The length of a wall varies with species of log used. We at RCCH use only Western Red Cedar. This will yield a maximum continuous length of approximately 40 feet. Wall length can be dramatically increased by splicing (butting) logs together. Alternatively walls can be offset slightly. Either method allows for wall length limited only by your property line and imagination.
Are there much more engineering problems or complications with log homes?
This depends on design. Here in BC they are required to be engineered. There are usually
different types of details required between standard construction and log home construction but
not necessarily more complicated.
How long will a log home last?
A well-constructed log home has remarkable durability. It is likely that your great, great, great, great etc. grand children will inherit. There are many log homes still standing after more than 1000 years. This does not mean that a poorly built house will last any time at all or that there is no care and maintenance required.
Are there interface problems with log to conventional materials?
Yes. Matching drywall to log and flooring to log takes some more care and skill.
Can the logs be stained to a color of our choice?
Their are many colors to chose from depending on the manufacturer. As far as custom colors go, anyone can intermix stock colors. Be very careful to choose the right product. A sample of the color should be tried on the same wood that is being finished.