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STRUCTURAL INSPECTIONS & DEFECTS
ARCHITECTURE & BUILDING COMPONENT ID
CHIMNEY INSPECTION DIAGNOSIS REPAIR
COLUMNS & POSTS, DEFECTS
CONNECTORS, FASTENERS, TIES
DECK & PORCH CONSTRUCTION
DEFINITIONS of Mobile Home, Doublewide, Modular, Panelized
DEFINITIONS of ENGINEERED WOOD OSB LVL etc
DISASTER BUILDING INSPECTION & REPAIR
EARTHQUAKE DAMAGED FOUNDATIONS
FIRE DAMAGE vs MOLD DAMAGE
FLOOD DAMAGE ASSESSMENT, SAFETY & CLEANUP
FOOTING & FOUNDATION DRAINS
FOUNDATION CRACKS & DAMAGE GUIDE
FRAMING DAMAGE, INSPECTION, REPAIR
GRADING, DRAINAGE & SITE WORK
HOUSE PARTS, DEFINITIONS
INSECT INFESTATION / DAMAGE
KIT HOMES, Aladdin, Sears, Wards, Others
LOG HOME GUIDE
MOBILE HOMES, DOUBLEWIDES, TRAILERS
MODULAR HOME CONSTRUCTION
MOISTURE CONTROL in BUILDINGS
PORCH CONSTRUCTION & SCREENING
PRE-CUT & KIT HOMES
RETAINING WALL DESIGNS, TYPES, DAMAGE
ROT, FUNGUS, INSECT DAMAGE
SINKHOLES, WARNING SIGNS
STAIRS, RAILINGS, LANDINGS, RAMPS
STRAW BALE CONSTRUCTION
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
STRUCTURAL WOOD ASSESSMENT
TIMBER FRAMING, ROT
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
WATER ENTRY in BUILDINGS
Log Home Guide: here we provide a detailed buyers' and owners' guide to log home construction, inspection, diagnosis, and maintenance or repair. If you are buying a log constructed building or if you already own one, here you will find important information about the construction, maintenance, and energy costs or savings in log construction. We illustrate log buildings from around the world and both new and antique or historic structures.
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This series of articles provides information on the inspection and diagnosis of damage to new and older log homes and includes description of log house and log siding insulation values and alternatives, and also a description of the characteristics of slab-sided log homes as well as all other types of log home construction. We include illustrations of log structures from several very different areas and climates in both the United States and Norway.
Our page top photo shows an antique log cabin located at Elk Lake Michigan, was constructed by the Church family about 50 years ago using local materials.
Our log cabin photo at left is a modern kit log home constructed in New York State.
For modern kit and factory-sourced log structures we include details of common construction and building defects that cause water and air leaks and ultimately rot damage and we point to key problem areas that need to be inspected carefully when buying or maintaining a log home. Also see Log Home Construction for a brief description of this building construction method and see Log Home Design, a U.S. Department of Energy guide to log homes and energy savings.
Precision in manufacturing and assembly, combined with new sealants, gasket materials, and special wiring and other fixtures have reduced many of the complications present in traditional rough-hewn log homes. However even using the most carefully-engineered kit-type long construction methods, care and detailing during construction are important for durability and comfort in these structures.
Log homes sold as kits may have been constructed with varying levels of expert supervision. Examination by an inspector who is experienced in log construction can find some (not all) indications of the care that was taken during construction.
A Brief Catalog of Types of Log Homes and Log House Construction Methods for Modern & Antique Log Homes
As we introduced in our discussion of log house framing methods at Framing Methods as Indicators of Building Age log building construction is a very old construction method that remains in popular use today in the form of both traditional rough log house construction and in the use of manufactured log and kit log homes. Recent substitutes for solid rough logs and manufactured logs even include "logless" log homes made of concrete logs and fiberglass logs.
As InspectAPedia focuses on the diagnosis and repair of buildings we refrain from aesthetic remarks about these alternative materials, though there are certainly practical considerations of cost, weight, durability, ecology, and availability of alternative log house and meta-log houses.
The author's opinions in this series of articles on the inspection, diagnosis, and repair of log homes, both antique and new, comes from having constructed, demolished, and repaired both antique log homes and new kit homes as well as from having inspected and diagnosed log home leaks, window installation, and structural concerns for owners and builders. We love log homes, but because these articles are designed to find and reduce problems in log buildings, our focus is on issues, not on the beauty, aesthetics, and comfort that can be found in log construction.
Each of these design approaches has its fans and its detractors, and each approach has its own unique aesthetic, practical, cost, and maintenance qualities. We are collecting material for a table comparing the cost, weight, materials, durability, insulation R-values, and other considerations for each of these materials. Contact Us with any suggestions.
Our log home article links listed at Related Topics provide a series of log home diagnosis and repair articles.
For details about log home chinking, coating, and sealant products, please see Sealants, Caulks, & Coatings for Log Homes.
A traditional log home constructed of individually-cut rough (and varying-in size and shape) logs is shown in our photo at left. Concrete chinking was used, here painted white, to fill in the irregularities between the mating horizontal logs to stop drafts and water from entering the structure. Some of the really unfortunate disasters we've seen on log home exteriors were caused by use of a log coating or sealant which was not recommended by the log manufacturer. Use of the wrong sealant can lead to peeling and ugly surfaces that can be very costly to correct.
Here are some Log Home special sealants and caulking or chinking products. But before applying anything to the logs on your home, inside or out, find out what products your log manufacturer recommends.
Producers of products for the construction, maintenance, repair or protection of log homes are welcome to submit product data for inclusion; there is no fee; our website has no financial relationship with any of the products or materials discussed here. Contact Us with any suggestions.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about log home construction, energy efficiency, leaks, insulation values, inspection, troubleshooting & repair
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.
Log Home Design, Inspection, Maintenance, Repair References & Product Sources