Elk Lake Michigan Log Cabin (C) Daniel Friedman Home Buyers/Owners Guide to Log Homes

  • LOG HOME GUIDE - CONTENTS: Guide to Diagnosing & Repairing Leaks & Other Problems on Modern Kit Log Homes. Guide to Identifying, Diagnosing & Repairing Older & Antique Log Homes. Window & Door Installation Details for Log Homes can prevent later leaks & Damage. Log caulk, spline, gasket, and coating product guide for log houses. Log checking, cracking, shrinkage, & Leaks in log houses and log siding. R-Values of log home walls
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about log homes: construction, inspection, troubleshooting, maintenance and repair guides for log homes and log home troubles

InspectAPedia tolerates no conflicts of interest. We have no relationship with advertisers, products, or services discussed at this website.

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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Log Home Inspection, Diagnosis, Repairs

Modern kit log home on the Susquehanna in PA

This series of log home construction & troubleshooting 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 (in our article on building age determination) for a brief description of this building construction method and see LOG HOME DESIGNB, [PDF] 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 AGElog 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 the "More Reading" links at the bottom of this article provide a series of log home diagnosis and repair articles.

Quick Guide to Log Sealants, Log Chinking Products & Log Home Log Wall Coatings

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.

Sample of Perma Chink log chinking material (C) Daniel Friedman

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.


Continue reading at ANTIQUE & OLD LOG CABINS or select a topic from closely-related articles below, or see our complete INDEX to RELATED ARTICLES below.


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