What is the difference between a handcrafted
and a machined log home?
In a handcrafted building, the log is still a natural log,
the only alteration being that it has undergone removal of
the outer bark and part or all of the "cambium"
or inner bark layer. The uniqueness and character that nature
intended, is still visible in the finished home. Logs that
have been altered from their natural profile, either by hand,
machine, or a combination of both, but still “joined”
in a process that involves the custom hand-fitting of these
components is also still considered to be handcrafted. A good
example of this would be a “hewn” log wall profile,
where the logs have been flattened on their sides, and then
either scribed or chinked together involving the use of scribed
interlocking notches, or perhaps incorporated into a pièce
en pièce system of logwork. The machined or milled
log home is a mechanically profiled log, and is designed to
beidentical in dimension to every other piece in the building.
It is no longer a “log”, but a factory run piece
of lumber that”used to be” a log. The aesthetic
advantage of a handcrafted log building is that it is unique
and distinctly different from every other - creating a unique
building every time. Prices will vary depending on design,
however, the handcrafted log home is much more labour intensive
and this is reflected in the price. In the case of machined
logs, the costs are amortized into the capital cost of milling
and profiling equipment, whose cost recovery factor is based
on volume of production, and not so much on labour and skill
Typically you will find larger diameter and
length of log in handcrafted homes versus the machined log
home. This larger diameter is beneficial in thermal performance
as well as fire resistance values and studies have proven
that provided the home is well built, the insulation values
are high. There are studies available on the fire resistance
of log homes, as well as lateral load testing of log walls
How much does a log home cost?
There are many variables to the price of a log home, the design,
species, style, size, roof structure and finish materials
are just a few of the many factors. There is no average price
for log homes. A quick rule of thumb is the simpler the design,
the lower the cost. Determining your budget and working with
an experienced designer or architect and builder will be helpful
to future home owners. The ILBA also retails a
Land to Lock up manual ($24CDN), which is a great starting
place for those considering a log home, and choosing a log
Are log homes energy efficient?
Yes, if they are built properly log homes are very efficient
because of the thermal mass of the logs. A well built log
home is typically cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
There are Log Building Standards to use as guidelines for
log home construction and each home owner and professionals
associated with the building process should be aware of these.
(The standards are also included with the Land to Lock up
manual mentioned above.)
Do I buy my land or design my house first?
It is recommended that your land is purchased first, before
you spend money designing a home that may not take advantage
of the special features your property provides. Keeping copies
of plans that interest you is good and provides a starting
point when you enter into design. Some designer experts also
recommend a scrap book, where you post clips and photos of
features you’d like to incorporate into the design of
your dream home. By looking for design ideas ahead of time,
the process should be quicker once you locate that perfect
Where is the best place to get ideas for my log home?
There are some great
magazines in our Member Directory specific to this industry.
Many of the log home builders also offer great brochures and
information packages, you will also find a complete list of
company members on the ILBA
Membership Directory found on the left hand side of each
page of the ILBA website.
What do I look for in a log home builder?
Take the time to find someone you are comfortable with, check
current and past references and visit his or her building
site and finished homes. You can also use the ILBA
‘Log Builder Interview form (28Kb PDF).
How do I protect my log home from nature’s elements?
Adequate roof overhangs and eaves troughs will help, as insects
and fungi prefer damp wood. Log finishes should be a high-quality
product and allow the wood to breath while serving as a water
repellent. There are a variety of products on the market.
For a list of stain and sealant companies who are members
of the ILBA go to the Stains,
Sealants & Finishes section of our Member Directory.
How often will I have to reapply finishes?
To preserve the natural beauty of a log home, routine maintenance
is essential. The natural elements (rain, wind, sun) where
your home is located will determine how often you will need
to refinish or reseal, as well as the quality of product used.
Regular exterior maintenance, inspecting logs for large cracks
that catch water, etc. will assist in avoiding costly repairs.
Are agreements necessary?
We highly recommend a signed contract, with specific details
on every aspect of your log construction project. The ILBA
has a Log Shell Contract, which it retails at a discounted
price to all ILBA company members, and the general public
can also purchase this agreement. A contract is essential
as it defines the expectations of all parties and provides
security to both the homeowner and builder.