Frequently Asked Questions


Below you will find some of the questions that are most often asked.

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Questions that are most often asked:

Q - We like the “D” style log, however what’s the most popular profile sold?
A - Nationally the “D” style profile covers 70% of the market.
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Q - How often does the outside of a log home need to be re-finished?
A - A lot depends on the quality of your stain choice, design of home, surroundings, style and type of log and climate. A typical log home up-keep is very similar to that of other homes in your particular area.
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Q - We’ve heard that it may be difficult to finance a log home, is this true in your opinion?
A - Historically that statement was true, however financial institutions now have a better understanding of the product and its quality. Consequently financing with a reputable bank or mortgage company is no different than financing a wood-framed structure.
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Q - People say that you cannot get insurance coverage for a log home, is this true?
A - Much as with financing, insurance companies are much better educated, and there is no problem obtaining the necessary insurance coverage.
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Q - We are interested about the energy efficiency of a log home. What’s the typical “R” value of your log packages?
A - With logs you don’t only calculate the R- factor but you must factor in something called “Thermal Mass” which is the ability of an object to hold in heat or cold. You could think of log walls as a giant battery absorbing the sun in the deep winter and putting off that heat for hours after the sun is gone. This gives log walls the ability to perform as well or better than fiberglass insulation filled walls with a higher R- Value. According to tests done by the U.S. Department of Housing in the early 1980’s a log structure compared with a stud framed wall structure with a 17% higher R- Value measured favorably better. An annual average of about 20% to 30% savings is commonly achieved. Not only are log homes efficient but they also are a fail-safe insulation as you can have many common errors with fiberglass installation such as; too much compression, reducing the effective R-Value, or gaps especially around plumbing or wiring, causing drafts. Finally, if fiberglass insulation is not installed with a moisture proof barrier you could end up with mold or mildew. Log walls insulation value are unaffected by moisture. The thermal mass also has a wonderful side benefit of being a very high sound barrier. Log homes are very quiet and peaceful deadening the noise of the outside world and letting you enjoy what matters inside. It is nice to have such a beautiful home made up of Nature’s natural building materials to create a simply superior and healthier product.
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Q - How do you control water problems when a log checks right through?
A - American Log And Lumber pride themselves in having the heart of the tree in the milled log, therefore the check can only travel as far as the heart and no further.
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Q - How do you address the shrinkage of their logs, and how much can I expect to see?
A - The shrinkage is controlled by a combination of the drying process and quality of log material. An allowance of 3/4 inch is made above all window and doors; this far exceeds expected shrinkage (given all construction directions are complied with).
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Q - I plan to have a contractor build my home to a weather tight finish then do the interior myself. How long can I expect the weather tight process to take?
A - Generally speaking a contractor should have your home weather tight within 12 weeks.
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Q - I understand that there is more exterior maintenance required on a log home as opposed to a regular wood framed structure, is this true?
A - Exterior maintenance will depend very much on the location and positioning of your home as well as overall design, however assuming you use one of the reputable stain products on the market, maintenance is no greater than a regular home.
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Q - Can I build on a daylight basement?
A - Homes can be stacked on any foundation including but not limited to, daylight basements.
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Q - You have some wonderful floor plans, however, none meet our requirements.
A - American Log And Lumber specializes in custom design and can re-design an existing plan or start from scratch to give you that perfect one of a kind plan.
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Q - I live out of state so when I move to your area how do I find contractors that can help build my dream home?
A - As a Log Home company we have experience with many builders across the United States and have built up a network of contractors/subs and trade specialists to guide you through this process.
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Q - I worry about running the electrical wiring for my home, can you explain how you do this?
A - During the construction process, logs are drilled and outlets cut for all the electrical requirements in the log walls.  Wiring for a log  home while requiring a little more time and consideration, is no different then wiring a typical conventional style home.
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Q - Is it more, or less expensive, to build a log home with a second story or loft compared to one on a single level?
A - If you're talking about a structure with exactly the same amount of square feet of floor space, then the lofted or two story home would be slightly less expensive. Limitations on building area may necessitate incorporating a second story to achieve the desired size. Cost difference between one and two story log homes generally isn't much - a single story requires a larger "footprint" (the amount of land covered by the house), more roof structure and roofing while a two story typically incurs a slightly larger engineering fee, the cost of stairs, railings, and upper floor support. Keep in mind that all of this is predicated on the use of dry, milled logs like American Log And Lumbers.
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Q - What determines log prices?
A - Supply and demand has a lot to do with the price of logs for home building. If the supply of dead standing timber is high, but the demand is lower than normal, as it is right now, then prices drop. However, when demand remains lower than normal, then the amount of wood harvested and milled is reduced which may cause prices to rise. Should the supply be low, with rapidly rising demand, then prices tend to jump up quickly. Other factors involved in log pricing are the costs associated with cutting trees and transporting to the mill, as well as labor and general business costs.
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Q - There's a home design we love, but it isn't built of logs. Can you convert the design into a log home?
A - In most cases, we can convert a conventionally framed, or "stick-built" design, into a log structure. This can be achieved in a couple of ways. The design can be reworked into a true log home, with supporting exterior log walls, or the conventional framing can be retained with log siding added, either with saddle-notched corners or butted ends, to make the home or cabin look like a true log structure from the outside.
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Q - We're interested in building a cabin ourselves. I've had building experience, but not a log cabin. How difficult is it for the owner to build one of your log cabins?
A - Its quite common for owners to build their own cabin even without prior experience working with logs. The important thing is to take your time and, if possible, enlist the help of family and friends. Extra 'strong backs' definitely help with the work load involved with "stacking" logs. A word of caution in these economic times - if you intend to borrow funds for construction, make sure the lender allows that the structure be totally built without the aid of a licensed contractor who essentially guarantees that the home or cabin will be completed to a designated degree of "livability." Some lenders are hesitant to finance 'do-it-yourself' projects. Owners often choose to have a professional contractor build the structure to a dried-in state, including electrical and plumbing, as specified by the lender, then finish the home or cabin themselves.
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Q - My wife and I try hard to be conscientious about the environment. We'd love to have a log home, but are concerned about the amount of trees that have to be cut down. Are homes constructed of logs damaging to the environment?
A - Keep in mind that there are two basic types of log homes - those built from live timber, and those built from dead standing timber. American log and Lumber typically utilize trees that have died due to "bark beetle kill" or other causes. This means that the timber is dead, but still standing in the forest; because the membrane just below the outer bark has been compromised by beetle larvae as they mature and leave the tree. The affected trees often die and, unless quickly harvested, simply rot over time. Healthy seedlings are then planted to replace those cut down. Therefore, our milled logs from dead standing timber, with membrane and bark removed, are very environmentally friendly.
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Q - With the economy the way it is, how have log home package prices been affected?
A - American Log And Lumber pricing is based on a wholesale cost; therefore pricing is greatly affected by the supply. Because we operate as a wholesale company we can assure you top quality materials at below retail cost. The economy and the current interest rates certainly play a vital role in the affordability of a new custom log or timber home. 
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Q - What factors play big roles in determining the cost of a particular log home?
A - Prices can vary substantially depending on a number of factors including size and style of log to be utilized, , roof support system (log roof support is most expensive), amount of porches, whether or not a loft is to be included, type of roof, whether or not the home has dormers, etc. Until all elements of the design are known, and the structure is engineered to required specifications of the location where it is to be built, costs can easily fluctuate 10% or more. And, of course, personal tastes and requirements can certainly impact any given log home's cost.
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Q - We're just getting started in the process.  What should we do first - decide on a house or buy property?
A - The most important first step is to find property.  Your log home needs to have a design that not only fits on your lot or building site, but that compliments it.  Aside from getting some general ideas of what you want in the structure, it is often wasted effort to become overly specific until property is purchased. Keep in mind that the topography of the building site can play a major role in the cost of construction.
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Q - How long does it take for a typical log home to be completed from initial contact to moving in?
A - We're not totally sure if the word "typical" applies to log home construction (or to any type of construction, for that matter). Assuming that property has been purchased and financing is in place if necessary, it takes about 4-6 weeks to pick a design, have it drawn, and make changes to the plan. If a state licensed engineer's stamp is required (most require it), then it usually takes three to six weeks to finish calculations and draw details. Once the engineering is completed, the building permit process extends four to twelve weeks depending on the location. During that time, takeoffs are completed, the logs are cut and notched at the mill, and the package is delivered to the site. Once the building permit is issued, then construction can begin. Depending on the complexity and size of the structure, the log shell is erected to a dried-in state in three to six weeks. Beyond that, the completion usually depends on subcontractors' schedules and the home's interior design and can take anywhere from three months to ten months in most cases. However, keep in mind that contractors' schedules often have a great deal of influence on the actual amount of time it takes to complete the home.
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Q - Colors of the houses on the web site vary quite a lot.  Is it because of the different kinds of trees used?
A - The specie of tree used in log construction usually doesn't affect the color of a home because of modern stains that have pigmentation mixed into them.  It is quite similar to selecting a stain or paint color for a conventional 'stick built' structure.  Color choices typically range from almost white to a chocolate hue.  The color of a log structure is essentially a matter of personal preference.
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Q - What are the benefits of a log home?
A - Besides the warmth and comfort afforded by a log style home, the esthetic beauty, log homes are very energy efficient. Because of the typical heavy construction of log homes they are better prepared to handle the natural elements associated with certain areas. Log Homes are a symbol of green construction.
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Q - Are log homes more flammable?
A - No, quite the opposite actually. According to tests done, Log homes are actually quite fire resistant. The test conducted with 10” spruce logs stacked 12 high with a chinkless scribe fit method and mineral wool insulation proved to be quite eye opening. The wall was constructed to 10’ high and was tested in temperature and load bearing capabilities during a fire. With one side being exposed to a furnace the wall was exposed to 2,000 deg. F. and even at three hours the cool side never exceeded 118 deg. F!  No Smoke or flames ever penetrated the wall.
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Q - How is the resale value of log homes?
A - Log homes are generally built to a much higher standard and have superior craftsmanship with a lot of custom touches and finishing accents to really set them apart. Because of this, they time and time again regularly appraise higher than comparably sized conventional homes and are more desirable. Square foot for square foot they are historically a better investment and will sell for more money, every time.
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Q - How long will a log home last?
A - Log homes are incredibly sturdy and stand up extremely well to the elements. There are many stories of these homes surviving Hurricane Katrina and Rita. This seems perfectly normal considering normal homes are just a frame wall covered with insulation and drywall where a log home is solid wood. There is “still-standing” and “still-occupied” log homes in Europe dating back over 800 years! You can’t say that about your great grandfather’s ranch house. Log homes are more than a residence, they are a legacy left for generations to come to enjoy over and over again.
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