How to Appraise Log Homes: Types of Log Homes
Hand-Crafted Log Homes
These are one-of-a-kind homes built by a log and timber home specialist known as a hand-crafter. Working with raw logs, which he has either purchased or cut himself, the hand-crafter prepares logs individually using powered or manually operated hand tools. Corner joints are measured, marked, and cut individually. Logs are cut to length and numbered. Usually, the shell of the house is pre-assembled without seals or fasteners at the hand crafter’s log yard, individual pieces are numbered, and the shell disassembled for shipment to its final destination. There it is re-assembled and finished.
Handcrafted homes are usually distinguished by the large logs used and the chinking (one-inch or larger bands of white or colored grout) that fills and seals spaces between logs. Handcrafters
often include other custom features such as hand-cut timber framed trusses, stairs, and railings. Sometimes hand crafters embellish timber components with decorative carving.
Hand crafters may be responsible for erection of the log structure only or they may finish the house entirely. The quality of the structure is dependent on the skills of the hand crafter and the design chosen by the home buyer.
The cost of a hand-crafted log and timber home ranges from moderately to substantially more expensive when compared to a conventionally framed home. A great deal more hand work, requiring time and specialized skill, goes into the construction of a hand-crafted log house.
Manufactured or Milled Log Homes
Manufactured log and timber homes are based on logs that have been shaped with milling machinery. The manufacturing process varies from simply removing bark to milling the log into a variety of profiles that may include interlocking tongues and grooves, corner notches and slots from splines. Some manufacturing processes include manual operations similar to handcrafting.
Log home manufacturers sell their product as “packages” or “kits.” Minimally, a kit consists of logs, fasteners and sealants that form the log wall system. Many manufacturers also include other components of the house structure, including windows, doors, shingles, dimensional lumber, porch and deck material, stairs and trim. Often manufacturers offer their packages in several levels of completeness.
Log home manufacturers are often further distinguished according to whether they offer pre-cut or random length logs in their packages. Pre-cut logs are cut to length and numbered according to a master “cut sheet” that is used to guide assembly of the wall system. Random length logs are supplied in bundles that have not been cut to a specific length.
Milled logs are offered in a variety of profiles depending on customer preference and manufacturer capability. Some profiles result in log walls that are not even recognizable as solid log at a distance. For example, “clapboard” styled milled logs are sometimes used in subdivisions with covenants that restrict exterior appearance of the homes. Clapboard logs give the appearance of wood siding.
By mechanizing some of the processes involved in shaping logs and making joints, manufactured log systems offer potential cost advantages over hand-crafted homes. The greater uniformity possible using machine shaped logs can also reduce labor costs on the job site by reducing construction time and skill level of workers. However, high quality still requires the guidance of someone skilled in log construction. (This Article courtesy of NAHB Log and Timber Homes Council)
As you considering buying, restoring or building a log home, make sure you understand these differences and the nuances with each. If you have any questions on the best option for you, please give us a call and we will be happy to help you better understand.