Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Log Home Living - Second Time's The Charm



True North Log Homes customers Keith and Ann Bares in Minnesota discuss the selection, planning, building and furnishing of their second log home, which acts as a waterfront vacation getaway for them and their extended family in the February 2013 Edition of Log Home Living. As the story goes, the Bares fell in love with a True North log home model as they were driving one day. They worked with Rakow Construction to choose a log home design, which would best suit their needs. They say as they dug deeper they were particularly impressed by True North's patented log wall joinery system and zero air infiltration guarantee as theirs would be a year-round vacation destination.  Rakow proceeded to build a spectacular 1,924 square foot home with a large, walk-out lower level, wrap-around cedar deck and even a three-car garage (a must for Minnesota winters).



Inside, the Bares created a fantastic, traditional log cabin retreat they and their family will no doubt enjoy for years to come.
 



























The full Log Home Living article can be found here on the True North Log Homes website or will be available on newsstands shortly.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Building Sustainable Green Log Homes



Robert Wrightman's True North Log Home was proudly featured on pages 46-51 of the October Edition of Green Builder Magazine as 75% of the lumber used to build the 3,300 square foot structure were locally sourced and FSC certified.  As the article states, this is both Wrightman's family home and a lasting example of the quality, workmanship and environmentally friendly display of True North's log home products.

This particular home is based on the Citadel design, one of many log home plans offered by True North and is indeed a model of sustainability and green building best practices, which includes radiant floor heating, spray-foam insulation and boosted soundproofing via sheep's wool stuffed in the interior walls.  Technology, in the form of a special log lock system developed by True North, also boosts the energy efficiency of the home.  Logs shrink as they dry and in many log homes this leads to gaps and air penetration; however, the patented log-lock compression system actually forces the logs of these homes closer together as they dry, thereby cutting down on potential heat loss. True North even offers the only 25-Year "Zero" Air Filtration Warranty in the log home industry. Other green building enhancements can include solar panels for electricity/heat and high-efficiency windows.

Each white pine log is specially cut in the factory to ensure an air-tight fit.
However, the truly sustainable component of this, or any log home, is the fact it has been built using relatively raw logs. Much less manufacturing and chemical treatment needs to go into a log home. Further, wood by its very nature is more insulative that many other building materials meaning less processed insulation needs to be added.


For those who are interested in building a unique and beautiful dream home, while also doing their part to help protect the environment, a log home is certainly worthy of consideration.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Rapid Log Home Building in the UK

A dealer in the UK, Ron Taylor, recently recalled a great story about one of the first True North log homes he and his team built for a customer on a tight schedule.

The project started when this customer Jim came up to me at an exhibition in London about eight years ago with a sketch he'd drawn and asked "Can you build this?".  "Of course we can!" was my reply and that started us on the road to building one of the first True North log homes in the UK.


At the time, Jim and his wife Jackie, had a home on a narrow strip of land beside the River Thames near Marlow in Buckinghamshire, England which had been made from the shell of an old Thames pleasure craft.  However, the river was prone to flooding and Jim decided the time had come to do something about it after he got up one morning and stepped into several inches of river water.  Government planners would only allow a replacement building on the site, so the old building would have to go and during consultations a sailing club complained he would be 'stealing their wind...".  However, apart from a few restrictions, like making a map of the layout of all his plants so they could be replaced,  a planning license was granted.  Then the Environment Agency stepped in to exercise its muscles.  "You have to build it at least 5 feet above ground" was the gist of their comments. They also had a bizarre restriction stating he couldn't build the proposed decking as they said it would interfere with the flow of the flood water.  The fact that the old building presented a much greater resistance didn't hold water (no pun intended).....so no front decking was allowed.

Once approved, True North got the log home plans for the new structure under way.


Jim had wanted a workroom upstairs, but due to council height restrictions and the Environment Agency's 5 foot rule, there was only room for storage in the attic.  Jim got busy organising the foundations and the piling, which was necessary for his location.  He intended to do a lot of the build work himself, but took our offer of four guys from True North to erect the shell package.

A couple of months later, two large 40 foot containers arrived.  Jim's site was about 150 yards along a narrow track from where we could unload the containers.  The team had started laying the sill plates and first logs within hours of the arrival of the trucks.  Eleven days later, the last of the windows and doors went in and the shell was watertight.



Just a few doors away down the lane, a similar-sized conventional, brick building was also just getting watertight......but that home had taken over six months to build!

Jim continued the with interior on his own, learning trades as he went and fitting it in when he could, while still doing his day job.













Today, Jim and Jackie have a beautiful home they can be proud of and which is keeping their feet nice and dry.



If you're interested in seeing a full gallery of the log home building process, visit the True North Log Homes Facebook page to see the story of Jim's home from start to finish. Or you can also check out a full range of log home designs on the True North website.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

True North Log Homes Winter Promotion

We've come up with what we believe is a fantastic Fall/Winter promotion to warm the spirit with a selection of four cost-saving options to help would be log home owners purchase and build their dream log home or cottage this winter or in the spring.  Now is the time to act, if you've been considering a purchase or shopping around for the best deal on a quality log home. True North has been manufacturing the best engineered log homes in the world for over 25 years backed by 17 (and 5 pending) patents on its construction technology.


You can find out more about our promotion here or start fueling your dream by simply perusing our log home design gallery or ordering our log home plan book. Time to make your dream a reality!

Friday, September 21, 2012

What are the Best Log Shapes and Sizes for a Log Home or Does It Even Matter?

The best log homes are typically built using top-grade North American softwood. Grown in the forests of Northern Ontario and Quebec, True North Log Homes’ preference is winter-cut, slow growth Northeastern White Pine.  Only the durable heartwood of the log is used to ensure the log is dimensionally stable. 

log cross section
The cross section of a typical log.

The sapwood section of the log, or soft layers between the heartwood and the bark is typically eliminated during the squaring process. This assures that settlement of the logs will be minimal -- not exceeding one inch in an eight-foot wall height.

Log homes built using hand-crafted round logs can be very attractive.  However, if you are looking for your log home to be efficient, properly weather-sealed and free of excessive settlement and maintenance problems, a squared log is certainly recommended.

Another important factor in the building of a solid, stable log home is the size of the logs used. The preferred best practice is to use full-dimensional logs to. This means, for example, that an 8"x 12" log actually measures 8”x 12", as opposed to 7 1/4" x 11 1/4" which can be found in use by some inferior log home manufacturers and builders.  Using a full-dimensional log adds thermal mass, which translates into improved insulative capabilities, higher energy efficiency and ultimately long-term cost savings.  All of these positives certainly trump any short-term cost savings realized in purchasing smaller/thinner logs.  Be sure to choose a log home manufacturer who focuses as much on quality as they do on price. After all, this will presumably be a long-term investment and you want it to last.



 A third and final consideration is the corner styles to be used in the building of your log home.  Generally available varieties include dovetail (or sculptured dovetail), saddlenotch (or sculptured saddlenotch) and post corner systems. Each of these corner styles have their aesthetic and functional differences.

Dovetail corners have unique water-shedding capabilities as all angles lead out of the corners so water will never have a place to collect in the joint.



Saddlenotch corners with interlocking logs create a very traditional log home look while adding structural strength.  



Penta-post cornering systems can be used to create irregular angles and unique log home designs without compromising the integrity of the structure.



So log sizes and shapes certainly can and will figure into the look, feel and long cost-effective life of your new log home.  Consult carefully with your log home builder and/or the manufacturer to ensure you are getting the right combination of design, stability and value.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Making Log Home Dreams Come True with a Little Help from Friends

True North customers Roma and Mark recently sent along a fantastic photo journal of the building of their dream home in Baie St. Paul, Quebec. This particular home, True North's Louisburg I model log home, is two floors, 1870 square feet with two master bedrooms, 2 baths, kitchen, living room, dining room, a wrap around porch and finished basement where two other guestrooms are planned. The logs used are 6" eastern white pine.  As you can see, these two DIYers put in a ton of work and had a lot of help from friends and family, but proved it can be done on your own. All you need is the dream, the right log home design and plenty of time to make it happen.


 

In full construction mode with a fantastic view up above the trees.



 Moving indoors with plenty of help from friends along the way.







And some very nice finishing touches inside.









The mostly finished product with two additional guest rooms in the basement still to come.  But, who is ever really finished?







Great job Roma and Mark.  We hope you and Lucy enjoy many wonderful years and memories in your new log home, which is certainly something you can be proud of.

Friday, August 17, 2012

A LEED Log Home with Many Firsts and Few Equals

Timeless Mountain Homes, an independent True North Log Homes representative in the United States, is a leader in building sustainable LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certified, HealthyBuilt and Energy Star homes. It's important for log home manufacturers and builders alike to acknowledge the importance sustainability and the role they play in maintaining it. The goals in building a LEED certified home are lower energy and maintenance costs coupled with an overall respect for the environment.



Among this partner's impressive accomplishments is an innovative project called Outaspace. Built to exacting standards; utilizing both age-old energy efficiency best practices, locally sourced building materials and the latest in log home technology from True North, Outaspace is an 8,000 square foot, environmentally-friendly Blue Ridge Mountain paradise. In fact, this particular structure has the following distinctions: 
  • Largest LEED certified log home in the USA 
  • First independently certified LEED log home in North Carolina 
  • First independently certified log home in the southeast and second in the entire USA
The unique three-level lodge boasts six bedrooms, each decorated with a mountain theme likewise incorporating locally obtained, sustainable furnishings. The lodge, with an expansive great room and eating area, will and has comfortably hosted up to 22 overnight guests.


Addressing the building's interior or exterior you are instantly struck by the way it blends into its natural environment, including some virtually untouched logs cleverly used as deck supports.



Additional photos and floor plans for this spectacular model along with several other custom log home designs are available on the True North Log Homes website.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Impressive True North Log Lodge Built Across the Pond

One of our dealers/builders in the UK took the time to put together a great time-lapse video of the construction of a custom log home which will act as a children's training and education centre in Derby, England.




The massive lodge is approximately 11,000 square feet (including the basement), boasts 17 bedrooms and required the use of an awful lot of scaffolding. It is truly an impressive structure based on our Alaskan model, which was aptly named after a similar True North log home was used for a home in Alaska some time ago. Started in January, windows are currently being installed and the lodge expects to house its first guests in October or November.  This project was made possible by the hard work and fundraising of a committed group of volunteers led by Jem Hudson. Further log buildings are planned for the site which also includes Jem's own 3,000 square foot log home, which you can catch a glimpse of to the left of the lodge and was also raised with the help of Jem's friends.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

A True North Thermo-Groove Six Seal Log Wall Installation

Doug Mason, of Log Project Management and a True North Log Home's technical assistant, demonstrates the use of our Thermo-Groove Six Seal log wall joinery system being used by one of our dealers, Joe Pattison and his crew of Lakeside Custom Carpentry to build a large 30-wall log home in northern Ontario.  Note how careful attention is paid to removing even the smallest wood chip to ensure an air-tight seal is created between the logs and to prevent any air infiltration issues. We believe it is this attention to detail which sets us and our log home builders in the UK, US and Canada apart from all others.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

The Thermo-Groove Six-Seal System: New Log Home Technology from True North Log Homes


True North Log Homes is the most technologically advanced custom log home manufacturer in the world, and is thus always looking for new advancements in log home technology. Our new Thermo-groove six-seal system further improves the True North Log joinery system by enhancing the thermal performance and sealing capabilities of the tongue and groove joints between the logs.

The original Three Seal System
The original three seal tongue and groove system, used with our 6" x 12" log construction, features butyl rubber tape sealant on the two outer tongues and asphalt impregnated foam gasket tape on the inner groove (pictured below).
­

Six Seals are Better than One

The new Thermo-groove six-seal system, available on our 8" x 12", 10" x 12" and 12" x 12" logs, is designed with six channels to better accommodate the butyl rubber tape sealant and asphalt-impregnated foam gasket tape. The outside channels are angled to accommodate the butyl tape, which improves installation, as the butyl tape is less likely to fall off while setting the log above. Also, by using the diagonal, the square butyl tape changes the seal from 1/4" to a 3/8" seal, thereby increasing performance without the added cost of a 3/8” seal.

The channels also prevent the sealant from being completely flattened out by the upper log, so when movement occurs in the logs, a sufficient amount of sealant is still able to flex.
The New Thermo-Groove Six-Seal System

The remaining four channels (no. 2, 3, 4 and 5) are designed to accommodate the asphalt-impregnated foam tape. In addition to providing insulation value, the foam tape is also waterproof when compressed by 50 percent. 

Much Like A Thermal Pane Window

The thermal performance of the six-seal system can be compared to a thermal pane window: if the six seals represent six panes of glass, the trapped air space between the glass will act as an insulator. Each section of dead air space between the tongue and groove seals reacts in the same way, thereby improving thermal performance and insulation capabilities.

For more information on log home technology or log home maintenance, visit True North Log Homes.