Facts and Discussion
Why do banks call log homes, Luxury Homes?
First and foremost the cost of the large, full length logs that we use are more expensive than framing and siding. The exposed log roof systems are very expensive as compared to standard manufactured 2×4 trusses. The hand scribed methods of building require a considerable amount of hand labor, and these craftsman are more expensive than a standard framer required to put up a 2×4 wall.
Secondly, the large decks and porches, and the way the decks are built are found no where else in the home market. The decks can cost upwards and over $20 a sq ft as compared to $6 a sq ft on standard decks on a normal home. There is no comparison!
Thirdly, the amenity levels in these homes can run to the extremely high levels, from flooring, HVAC, trim out, appliances. These homes are what is called “STAIN GRADE”, and this by itself is a much higher quality. The level of craftsman we have on our crews to finish these homes is much higher than you will find in standard home building, and therefore we have to pay these “craftsman” more. It is not unusual to see the finish packages on some of these homes go well over $200 a sq ft.
In conclusion, when we say handcrafted, that is what you get with an Aspen log home.
What are the types of log homes that you build?
We build with four styles. The first is what is called a full scribed. This is when all logs are scribed to fit the log they are joined to, and this includes all of the scribes where trusses are joined together. This is the most expensive of all of the methods.
The 2nd is what is called hand scribed, Scandinavian cope, where all of the wall logs are scribed to each other. This can also be called the “Canadian Method” where the log connections are connected to each other with a “Blaze Cut”.
The third is what is called “Chinker” style. This is where the logs are laid on top of each other “round on round” and the joints are then filled with a backer rod, and then chinking compounds.
The fourth is a hi-bred combination using a milled log, that is hand peeled, a Swedish cope cut for joining the wall logs. The corners are all cut by hand, and the joinery can either be blazed, or scribed. As with the other styles, we use only full length logs for a no butt-joint format.
What is chinking and is it necessary?
Chinking is a caulking material made for log homes to fill in between the logs and and around windows and trim. The material is made to look like the materials of old.
We recommend that all homes be chinked at least on one side. Log are a living product and through the years expand and contract with the weather. By proper chinking, you will keep out the bugs, and elements. You may color the chink to any hue you like, so if you like, it disappears.
General Discussion of Financing
In most areas, you will have no problem at all getting mortgage or construction financing from your local lenders. However, in some areas where log homes are not that common and lenders are not as familiar with them, the lenders may have questions or hesitations. These can usually be answered quickly and easily by examining the fast growth of the log home industry nationwide. According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Home Builders, log homes, on the average, are worth more than the average conventional home, and they appreciate in value faster and so are an excellent investment for mortgage lenders.
Can an owner builder get financing for a log home?
Yes. Most lenders will finance owner builders. In the state of Utah most lenders require a contractors signature.
Do all banks loan on log homes?
No. Most do.
Will the VA loan on a log home?
Yes. When built by a contractor.
How long is the normal construction loan?
Six to nine months, with extensions to twelve. Check with your lender.
How do logs stand up to the elements?
Properly sealed and treated, they will hold up for hundreds of years.
How do logs stand up to fire?
While wood will burn, the larger sizes of wood products, such as heavy timber and large logs, burn more slowly than smaller size dimension lumber.
Heavy Timber Construction
Heavy timber construction has long been recognized by the model building codes as fire resistant. To receive building code acceptance as “heavy timber,” limitations are placed upon size and thickness or composition of all load carrying wood members. Heavy timber also avoids concealed spaces under floors in walls and roofs.
The performance of heavy timber construction under fire conditions is markedly superior to most unprotected non-combustible structures. Fire fighting is simpler and safer due to elimination of concealed spaces and the inherent structural integrity of large timbers.
Most are surprised when Heavy Timber construction is compared with other structural building materials’ fire resistant properties. Unprotected metals lose their strength quickly and collapse suddenly under extreme heat. Steel weakens dramatically as its temperature climbs above 450 degrees Fahrenheit, retaining only 10% of its strength at about 1380’F (average building fire temperatures range from 1290’F to 1650’F). Wood retains a significantly higher percentage of its original strength for a longer period of time, losing strength only as material is lost through surface charring. The charred outer material acts as an insulator during fire, reducing the rate at which the inner material will burn.
How do logs stand up in an earthquake?
Because the corners are interlocked and the building elements are frequently and thoroughly fastened together, the risk of collapse is very low. Building jurisdictions in areas with seismic conditions all require log homes be engineered, thereby assuring proper seismic performance.
Will my logs shrink and crack?
Some checking (cracking), twisting and shrinking will naturally occur in log timbers. These conditions are not considered defects. Some caulking may be necessary over time.
What about logs and energy efficiency?
Wood is an excellent insulator. Many tests have shown that properly installed solid log wall systems are among the most efficient wall systems in use today.
Where will my logs come from?
Depending on the profile (shape) they will come from, Canada, Oregon, Idaho or Montana. Because of quality, and size, almost all of our logs now come from Canada.
What species of logs are available?
Pine, Spruce, Cedar, Oak, Douglas Fir
Your Home will last for generations if given Proper Care and Maintenance
Logs: Treatment and Preservation provides additional detailed finish and weather related information.