Choosing a Log Home Kit

Choosing a log home kit. Log homes are attractive, versatile and relatively energy-efficient and range from summer-cottage-simple to palatial. Here's your guide to finding the best one for your needs and budget.

| September/October 1985

Log homes are attractive, versatile, and relatively energy, efficient, and they range from summer-cottage-simple to palatial. You can own one for far less than an equivalent "standard" dwelling . . . even if you don't have the time or skills to start with a chain saw and a stand of trees. But to get the best deal, you have to understand the many options available when choosing a log home kit. 

With the price of the average new home in America soaring over the $100,000 mark in 1985, more and more people are entering the ranks of owner-builders in their search for affordable housing. Of course, constructing a home from the ground up requires talents and time that most of us simply don't have. A kit log home, on the other hand, allows its owner to participate in the building to whatever extent he or she is able, and to effectively save money with every job tackled.

However, to really get the most from your investment when purchasing a log home kit, it's best to put in some effort before construction begins. By looking into the many types of packages available, and knowing which features will be best fitted to your budget, needs, and skills, you can soon be sleeping in your dream home without suffering the nightmare of an unbearable mortgage.

Log Home Woods and Preservatives

The first choice you'll encounter when "shopping" through the free brochures offered by most log home kit manufacturers is the type of wood that'll make up the walls of your home-to-be. Pine, cedar, cypress, and aspen (among others) are all available . . . and, in the opinion of Ken Myer of American Lincoln Homes (which offers several varieties of wood), cedar is the Cadillac of log home materials. "Cedar is naturally insect-repellent," Ken points out, "and more resistant to internal decay and shrinkage than pine." On the other hand, depending upon the total wall space involved, a cedar home kit can be from $1,000 to $10,000 more expensive than its pine counterpart.

Of course, shrinkage shouldn't threaten the structural integrity of a well-designed log home, but it can necessitate early recaulking. In attempting to eliminate this problem, manufacturers of non-cedar kits turn to careful drying and—in some cases—to modern wood preservatives.

Rocky Mountain Log Homes and Yellowstone Log Homes both tackle the problem by cutting their lodgepole pine from standing deadwood. Such timbers have experienced much of their shrinking and warping before being harvested, and are therefore quite stable. Many kit manufacturers in the eastern states accomplish pretty much the same goal by air- or kiln-drying their logs to a specified moisture content before delivery.

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