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Thread: 3 Sided log walls - ?

  1. #1
    Member AK_Trekker's Avatar
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    Default 3 Sided log walls - ?

    I'm working on plans for house in the McCarthy area. I was considering 3-sided logs (6-8") on the 1st floor and frame construction on 2nd.

    I would love to hear from folks who have lived in log homes. I realize that logs have a low R value but that's not the whole story. The mass and heat storage capacity of the logs is a factor. I would super-inslulate the floor and the entire 2nd floor, walls and roof.

    Tell me about your personal experiences with log walls - pros, cons. Advice and recommendations welcome.

    Thanks
    ___________________________________________

    Guided Alaskan Backpacking Adventures

    Author of Hiking Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
    published by Falcon Guides

  2. #2

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    an 8 inch log will have more "flat to flat" there for better for insulation purposes.

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    Member CaptNemo's Avatar
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    We didn't plan on frame construction for the second floor but by putting up 6' pony walls it really expanded usable floor space in the loft. Went with the 6" logs, easier and lighter to put in the boat and carry up the hill, firred out w/ 2x4 on edge to cover wiring and add more insulation. We are nice and cozy even at -35. Good Luck. CN

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    Member byrd_hntr's Avatar
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    What ever you decided there is a local saw mill in McCarthy that does fine work. If you want to buy locally they would be a good choice and save you shipping costs. I believe the young mans name is Daniel Rowland.

    His number is 907 554 4498

    Good luck.
    I'm going to ctrl-alt-delete you so hard your mama's computer is going to reboot.

  5. #5
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    Another option is Regal Enterprises at Kenny Lake. I know nothing about the quality of their work personally, but I do know they will make just about anything to your specs as I have obtained price quotes from them in the past.

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    Member Yellowknife's Avatar
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    I can comment a bit on living in log homes. I've done it off and on for a couple decades and built the one I'm currently in.

    If you do any amount of internet research on log homes, especially milled log, you will hear about the "thermal mass" properties of log walls. As you probably know, that is the ability of the log wall to "even out" the heat cycles experienced during the day and to help "store" the solar gain. In the lower 48 they talk about how it will reduce your heating and cooling bills. That's true... In the L48. Generally however in Alaska the winter temperatures are cold enough and the sun is low enough that it's not going to help you. The listed R value is pretty much what you get.

    I used to have a study that drew a line at about where you lost any heating advantage from the thermal mass. I can't find it anymore, but it was about 50 or 55 degrees Lat.

    That said, all is not lost. That thermal mass is GREAT in the summer, especially here in Fairbanks where we get big temp swings between day and night. Many times our house will be 15-20 degrees cooler on a hot July afternoon than the neighboring 2x6 framed houses. It also helps by absorbing the thermal spikes from using a wood stove. I find wood heat in a log home to be more "comfortable" than in most frame houses. My logs are fairly massive (average 13" at the midspan), so I see more of an advantage than you would, but you will see some.

    I'll also put in my two cents for Daniel Rowland, but I might be biased...


    Yk

  7. #7
    Member AK_Trekker's Avatar
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    Default Thermal Mass

    Here is a link to site that references a study that compares log walls to standard insulated walls in cold climates.

    http://www.moonstonetimberframe.com/thermal-mass.html

    What Yellowknife said about smoothing out temperature fluctuations with wood heat makes sense to me.

    A lot of my desire to use logs on the first floor is aesthetic, but I don't want to pay for it with a huge increase in the amount of firewood needed.

    Here is an interesting approach to wall construction for cold climates that I was planning to use on the second floor. It addresses twin issues of insulation and moisture management.

    http://www.cchrc.org/remote-walls

    Seems like the ideal on the first floor would be thermal mass with external insulation. But building a log wall then covering the outside with insulation would be pretty pricey and just plain dumb.

    Hmmm.
    ___________________________________________

    Guided Alaskan Backpacking Adventures

    Author of Hiking Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park
    published by Falcon Guides

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