Exploring the World of Log Home Styles and Construction Methods

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Log Home Style

Log home styles and construction methods are not necessarily too complicated. They can be built in a variety of styles, from traditional to modern. The construction process is relatively straightforward and can be completed with basic tools and materials. Furthermore, log homes are more energy efficient than traditional homes, making them a great choice for eco-friendly living.

They exude a timeless charm that has captured the hearts of many. These dwellings, built with one of humanity’s oldest construction materials, embody rustic beauty and offer a warm haven away from the hustle and bustle of modern life. There are a wide variety of log home styles that you can choose from.

In this article, we will explore the different types of log homes all over the world. But first, let’s look at some of the most frequently asked questions regarding the construction of log homes:

Are log homes cheaper than regular homes?

Generally speaking, yes. However, there are a lot of factors that need to be taken into consideration such as different log home styles. Furthermore, where you are building it and the type of logs (hardwood or softwood) you intend to use. As with all construction projects, your quality determine your cost.

An important thing to note regarding log home styles is, the amount of labour it takes to construct. When building with traditional brick and mortar, a lot of your expenses will go towards labour. However, with a log home, you reduce your labour costs significantly since it is easier and faster to construct than the counterpart.

How much does it cost to build a log home in South Africa?

Again, it all depends on the quality, area, and type of wood you use for your log home. However, generally speaking, it can cost anything between R6000/ m²  to R14 000/ m² 

These are the general pricing guidelines for the year 2020. Prices vary from log home to log home due to factors out of the manufacturer’s control like delivery fees etc.

How do you build a Log home?

There is a lot of planning that goes into log homes. Firstly, there are a few things that you need to decide on before you make your first purchase:

  • What is your budget?
  • Where will you build your timber log home?
  • Decide on which log home style you like.
  • Choose blueprint/plan that will fit your designated area and budget.
  • Decide which type of wood you want to use.

Once you have answered all of these questions, you can begin looking for suppliers for your timber. As soon as the raw material is delivered, you can start on the basic steps to build your log home. It does not matter which blueprint you have, most log homes will follow the same basic steps:

1.Lay a solid foundation

Whether you have decided on only flattening the ground or laying a concrete foundation. Ensure that it is level, stable and ready to be built on.

2. Lay down your first logs (Still first four logs)

These four logs will be the walls of your cabin. Ensure that they are your best (largest in diameter logs) to ensure stability and quality. These logs should be kept in place with rebar at each end.

3. Install your floor

Once you have your four perimeter logs installed, you can go ahead and lay your flooring (whichever method you have chosen to use). Not sure which flooring you need? Read our “how to choose the right flooring” post on the topic to help you decide.

4. Start building walls

Now, you can start building the log cabin walls. A brief explanation of this is given by Log Cabin Hub:
“Build your log cabin as if it doesn’t have doors, windows or openings. Using your selected notch technique, keep stacking your logs and erecting all four walls.

For each layer of your log cabin, rotate the direction of each log (i.e. alternate between the log’s butt and tip). This is an old trick to ensure the wall is kept roughly level due to the natural tapering of the log.

Use short rebar fixings (assuming you are using a butt and pass notch) to fix each log. Alternatively, scribe each notch and stack them.”

5. Cut in doors and windows

Simply cut the doors and windows where you would like them to go with a chainsaw.

6. Attach roof

Now that you have installed windows, doors and, flooring, you can go ahead and start attaching your roof.

This project can be completed in record time if you have a few people to help you! The labour that goes into these log homes is well worth it when you see the magnificent outcome. That’s why there are so many different styles. Let’s take a closer look at the two different main styles.

Log home style 1: Handcrafted Logs

Handcrafted log homes are homes built with wood that are most generally straight from the forest. They have not been manufactured, cut or specially sanded down in any way. They are rough and most resemble the rustic, classic style of log homes you see in forests and other quaint places.

This is the preferred method for home builders that are far from a lumber mill and other timber merchants. Therefore, they make use of what they have around them. However, it takes a lot of labour, planning and time to get this design to work.

Hand crafted Log home style

It involves handpicking each log, and hand carving a tongue-and-groove type of design into each log to enable them to fit perfectly on top of each other. If this is not done, there may be open spaces where dust can gather. Additionally, it can also allow the outside temperature to come in, as well as any insects and bugs that are small enough to fit into the crevices.

These logs are typically not CCA Treated, therefore, crevices can be problematic as they can be weak points where rot, decay, and termite attacks can stem from. However, if you are making use of CCA Treated Tanalith Logs, you will not have to worry about these issues.

Log home style 2: Milled Logs or Slabbed Bearers

Slabbed bearers or Milled Logs are timber logs that have been in a pole yard to be refined. They are either specially cut to be:

  • Square
  • Round with two flat edges to allow effortless stacking
  • Various tongue-and-groove designs

These are just a few designs that a mill can produce. Building your log home with slabbed bearers are ideal, they can still give that charming feeling of a log home without all the hassle of fitting each log perfectly together.

Slabbed bearers are all run through a machine to make them even. They can be stacked and built-in anyway, with no need for meticulous planning.

Contact your local timber merchant for pricing on their slabbed bearers. At Sabie Poles, we manufacture CCA Tanalised pressure treated timber logs (Eucalyptus / Gum Poles) ideal for log homes all over South Africa. We also export to Mozambique, Botswana, and all other SADC countries.

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