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Thread: Log Homes Vs. Stick Built Vs Commercial

  1. #1
    Member DoubleSHOVEL85's Avatar
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    Default Log Homes Vs. Stick Built Vs Commercial

    Ok guys,

    Just wondering, I know it all comes down to personal preference. But comparing all the data (Heat, Elec, Cost of building, quality, Insul, etc.), what do you think is the way to go when it comes to building a home. The reason I ask is. I've got my mind made up that I'm building a Hand Log Cabin, this summer but was just wondering what you guys had mulled over before either you built one of had a house built. What are some PROS/CONS?

    Rob

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    Wink Log homes...

    Rob,I have to tell you, I have been in construction for a long time.As I mentioned in another post, it would depend on your age.If you are young,lots of energy, and acres of wood(or a pocket full of money to pay power costs) Build a log home.They are pretty, and nostalgic.If you want to set the stage for your older years(which you will see)I'd build stick frame.Your labor is worth something.Even if you have logs on your land,I'd say the cheaper route in a long run would be stick.You'll have to work less to pay high power bills, and can spend more time enjoying the outdoors.Our PUD just had a meeting and raised our rates 9%My average bill for 2 meters may be around 35 total(we don't even use the min of 1000 kws with 2 meters)I have a guest cabin as well as my home.****...my bill will go up 3 bucks next month.If I had a log place I'd look forward to maybe 30-40 dollar increase.Thats just my opinion.I built a 2500 sq ft log home the last two years, and his one gripe is his power bills.GR

  3. #3
    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Timber frame with SIP's.

    I'm going to build something that will last, and with the sips they are very efficient.

    I can't stand stick built, it's fast and cheap, but if you want fast and cheap just get an already built home. If you are going to trouble of building a house, build a quality structure.

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    Talking Fast and cheap...

    Right on, my 970 sq ft cost me about 40,000, and that was pretty reasonable.Could have went with all the bells and whistles, but not my style.Cost was a factor.I would venture to say it will last a couple life times...but really, I could care less.Just one will be fine.I have built using SIP panels, and would say they are nice.I would spend the extra money and get rid of the OSB and fire proof the structure,what the heck, we don't want to look like we're cutting corners.As far as timbers...by the time he imports quality timbers to Anchor Point ,he'll be wishing he won the lottery or the ice classic.Then again, maybe he already has.GR

  5. #5
    Member DoubleSHOVEL85's Avatar
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    Default cost eh...

    Well I'm not too worried about the cost. Plus there is plenty of good timber in AP. People are just too selective these days. You know beggars can't be choosers. That's just my thought. Now a days, everyone is just way too selective. There is plenty of good timber on the KP but for some reason people think that Beetle kill or Fire kill is a bad thing. Hopefully there won't have to be any importing. Thanks for the the concern thought

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    Talking Timber?

    Maybe I mis judged what you guys call timber.To me...SE Alaska has timber.Much further north has pecker poles.As far as beetle kill, I love that stuff.Comes bone dry.Not like the beetles damage the wood.GR

  7. #7

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    I have built a large timber frame, three stick framed and one log home that I currently live in. By far the timberframe with stress skin insulation panels was the most energy efficient. Stick framed houses are as energy efficient as you make them. The log home has the great "feel" of the Northwoods. If you use the expanding sealing tape and a coved design, the log home can be tight and better in efficiency. You really need to know the area you are building upon. Carpenter ants can be BIG problem near the water areas.I chose to use cedar logs from BC. They have proven to be a good investment. I think the advice given by the others regarding value in aging (house and your own aging) are good points. I can see by your reply that you are set on logs, so go for it, youth will triumph.

    One last piece of advice. Check your ability to insure the structure. You will be limited in the number of carriers.

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    Default Cedar logs...

    Windy, the last log home I heped assemble was from Chilliwack BC.I visited them as they pre built the cabin, and some of the cedar structures were top of the line.Cascade hand crafted log homes.GR

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    Member power drifter's Avatar
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    Default SIP panels

    First off I have built many homes stick frame and not log,but I have been around the log places. Hanging out some times at a friends lodge down in iliamna the one thing I noticed was that if you wanted it clean inside you had to do a lot of dusting. The tops of every round log held dust and it was always dirty looking to me. Tall open timber frame look nice but unless you like to rope climb they are a spiders dream. If you have ever been in a place like this with the sun shine coming in and see all the webs that are made every day, no thanks.
    As for bettle kill logs you are right that the bugs didn't hurt the wood,but most of that kill down in the KP happen a few years back and a friend with his saw mill use to use some of this wood but stopped as it is now starting to rot standing. If you notice that big pile of wood chips are no longer being done down on the Homer spit,and think that the trees where getting to rotten for that. Of corse there are still plenty of good trees left to build a nice place,but would not start off using punky wood.
    As for sips panels. I think they are a nice fill in for timber frame and they insulate well. The thing that I know about them I learned from taking the state of alaska home building class. As we know they are osb with foam in the middle. They are made square and we all know that no matter how good you think you are nothing always stays the way it should. So if your floor is at all off from level than you may have a crack in the edge of the panel. bring them together then you have a crack on the floor. You get the idea. In that class they showed some great photos of a apt complex down in Juneau. They had used these SIP panels in the roof. The manufacture says you don't need vapor berrier with these. Over time and it wasn't very much time moisture worked up thru the seams and the osb was roted out 18 ins both ways from the seams.This wasn't on just a seam but all of them. Once osb starts to go its not pretty. This was a multi million dollar problem that I'm glad was not my problem. So even though many people rave about how great they are Time will tell and I know that I'm not using them. 1/2 in ext plywood at lowes righ now for 10.88 a sheet sounds good to me. Andrew

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    Default

    I'm going over to Seldovia in a few days to get started on my own cabin project, and I'm having this same dilemma-log or stick frame? I have the timber(and Roving Archer, this is big timber- I could easily mill 18" x18"s for days), but I'm leaning towards stick frame for several reasons. Ease of construction, lots of insulation, choice of finishes, ease of adding on to down the road, and it's what I'm used to. I've done some work is SIP structures and was not impressed-anything that bills OSB as structural I would run away from! Rob, how big a cabin are you building, what is the foundation, what's the access like, any utilities? These are the questions that pop up for me.

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    Default 18x18 timbers....

    Just curious....what kind of trees.GR

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    So for those that know, how about 8" "D" (or three sided) logs?

    These would solve some of the aforementioned problems with dust etc. Also would seal better and the use of sill seal and timber-lock would solve a lot of problems. They are not excessively expensive.

    I have pretty much made up my mind to use these for a 24x32 with a half loft.

    However, I am curious about two things - would any of you fir out or insulate the interior and then panel. I saw one log cabin like this that had blue board over the interior walls then tongue and grove knotty pine over that. I always thought that the thermal mass factor of the logs would be circumvented by using blue board or insulation and paneling on the inside? It would be tighter and easier to bring up to temp but in the long run might take more fuel as the thermal mass of the logs would be insulated from the heat source. Anyone have any ideas?

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    I'm just going to chime in here.

    I'm going with the D-Logs for a 24x32 and was thinking of furring out the walls of the kitchen to install the elec. being is that is where most of the wiring is done.

    As far as the rest of the cabin, its small enough, I don't think heat will be a problem. A small mon. and woodstove for heat.

    ( 8"- 3 sided milled logs with the chanfer on the inside)

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    Wink D Logs...

    I've never used the D logs, but watched as the Whites built with them in Nenana.I have not talked with them to get the "Now that you've used them" story.I also have never built where it stays -40 for weeks at a time.I always feel the moisture has to go somewhere.In a small cabin, as mentioned above, the doors would be opened enough to exchange the air, and the right wood stove would heat it back up quickly.I do wonder though, that if you insulated the interior of the logs,something has to prevent moisture from condensing inside the walls and ceilings.I guess that is why we have the university of Fairbanks to give some tried perspectives huh? GR

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    Member Matt S's Avatar
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    I had a 3 sided log home for several years. It was great, pretty efficient, forced air NG and the bill was around $50 a month for 1200 sqft home. The only real downside was that without the cove type construction the gaps would widen or change over time and you had to keep up with the chinking. We used to block out all the windows, turn off the lights and go looking for light poking through. Even where there was no actual gap you could see where chinking was getting thin and add some more. We never had moisture issues, and there is something to be said for feeling like your coming home to the ski lodge every night. I miss it.

    All the logs were beetle kill and had done most of their shrinking before construction.

    Also there is something to be said for living in a bullet proof house !
    Thanks, Matt


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    Since noone has mentioned it expect to get R1 per inch of wood. So if you average an 8" log you will get an R8 out of the wall. But as mentioned before. If this is a daily home them the heater warmth will use the mass of the wood to stabalize the temperature. If this is a cabin that you will visit ocassionaly then it will not feel comfortable untill the air and all of the objects in the house, including the logs, are brought up to temperature.

    As far as OSB and moisture, don't trust it. OSB manufacturers will sell you a bill of goods about better glues, but the wood will still swell and it will eventualy fall apart.

    Stick frame, is quick and easy. A 6" wall gets R19 insulation, which sounds good until you find out that in labratory conditions it only provides R13. This is due to the thermal bridging of studs and screws/nails as well as gaps around the insulation. As it is typicaly installed in the field you will loose an additional R1-3.

    Good luck.
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    Talking Lets assume...

    We went with R-21 in a 5.5 wall, and lose 3...still not bad.Now consider an 8" log(round).By the time we would do a full scribe on an 8" log would we be lucky enough to get a full 4" of wood?Most outfits put a small piece of fiberglass between the logs to "Insulate", but I'm not sure I like that either.If I lived in a log cabin in alaska, I'd have to chink the logs,in and out.That would have to help ten fold.On a D log,I have no experience, but if it were built with coil rods (or all thread)every so often so you could keep tension on the logs and keep from any twist,you will maybe get the full R-value of an 8" log.Didn't most of the state have severe cold this winter...-40?Maybe I'd spend the money and frame for R-30 in the walls.

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    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    One method that is working very well around here is something that we call "outsulation". Essentially it's a 2x4 wall built on 16" centers, sheeted in 7/16 OSB and completely covered on the outside in bituthane membrane. They then apply 2 layers of 2" of polystyrene foam sheet insulation outside of that membrane on the outside of the house. Furring strips of 1x4 are fastened to hold the foam to the wall and give a nailer for siding of your choice. Once the wiring is run on the inside it is insulated with R11 fiberglass batts. You end up with an R30 wall that has zero thermal bridging from the outside and has penciled out cheaper than stress skins in our area. The bituthane vapor barrier rolls up and over the top of the stud wall. The ceiling vapor barrier, 10 mil visqueen, ties into this. The projects I have supplied have used trusses for the roof.

    There is not a vapor barrier on the inside of the studs. Since 2/3 of the insulation is outside the bituthane vapor barrier there is not a condensation issue. Yes, you end up with an 9" thick wall, but it's VERY tight.
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    Doug,
    By "bituthane membrane" do you mean like ice water shield. If not do you have a brand name or manufacturer name...just something I can do some research on. This looks to be a very effective way to do it. I have been concerned about thermal bridging and this sounds like it will stop it.

    If it is ice water shield type...I assume you install in starting from the bottom and work your way up so as the laps are all on the down side for water flow, like it would be installed on the roof.

    Thanks for the info,
    James

  20. #20
    Member AKDoug's Avatar
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    James- Grace or IKO products are what we sell. Any self sticking bituthane membrane will work. Grace makes Ice and Water Shield and a low temp Bituthane for foundations. The IKO ice and water shield can be significantly cheaper than either of the Grace products.

    Application is done by running it from the top plate down and the laps are vertical. Trying to apply self sticking membranes like this in a horizontal fashion on a vertical wall is nearly impossible. Since it seals to itself there is no real concern with water penetration.
    Bunny Boots and Bearcats: Utility Sled Mayhem

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