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Log Homes Not Just for Lincoln

Popular myths don't die easily. Mention log home and most of us think of Abe Lincoln, dark and smoky interiors or shivering around the wood stove. But, Abe Lincoln aside, today's log home certainly doesn't deserve that stereotype. Far from crude or primitive, modern log homes can be spacious, inviting and attractive, and more lenders are offering loans for them. Can you find a log homebuilder in your area? Probably yes. Are there special considerations for log home construction? Yes again, but it's worthwhile exploring if a log home's rustic, natural ambiance appeals to you.

Segmentation is a major characteristic of the log home building industry. Some builders provide only the shell as a package, including walls, roof system, purlins, trusses, and exterior doors and windows. You would have to contract with another company to handle floor systems and interior partitions. Others provide a full menu of services, from exterior shell right down to the interior finish. Some companies are full service design-build firms while others contract with outside companies for custom home designs. Your design fees might be included in the cost of the log shell. In shopping around, you'll have to make sure you're comparing apples to apples, and that you're getting a good price for the same package of services. As always, check warranty terms and conditions carefully for what's covered and what isn't.

Look for a builder just as you would search for a traditional homebuilder, by checking with your local homebuilders association, or talking to log homeowners. Or type log home into your web browser.

As with conventional builders, be sure to ask for customer references, preferably from buyers with similar designs who have lived in their homes for a few years. Ask them about the quality of the shell. Did it provide a tight seal? The notching and joining of logs, as well as proper installation of expandable foam installation in the V-grooves, will greatly affect the quality of the shell--discuss these matters with the builder. Also be sure to ask about caulking around door and window openings, as well as chinking on the exterior between logs. Proper foundation design and grading, and a quality roof system will keep the elements out and your wood safe from rot or decay.

Make sure your contractors know when and where to install wiring or plumbing. Plumbing should be installed in the interior wall frame because the log walls have a tendency to shrink, and repairs would otherwise require sawing into the wall. Your electrical contractor should have no problem installing wiring, so long as the wiring design is properly incorporated into your building design and schedule.

Energy efficiency and high insulation values are major advantages to log homes. Log walls store heat in the winter and cool air in the summer more efficiently than a conventional stick-built home. So factor in a higher R-value when adding insulation materials.

Sources used to create this article include writer Dena Amoruso and Realty Times.

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