Myth #1: Log homes require extensive maintenance
Log homes do require maintenance as does any other house, but they do not necessarily require more maintenance. In order to maintain the “new” look with any house, there is maintenance. For the log house, a clear UV coat every 5-10 years. For the conventional house, cleaning of siding, re-grouting brick veneer, etc. Logs as with many other building materials (even vinyl siding) have 2 main enemies: sun and water. The trick to eliminating maintenance is smart design. With a proper roof overhang & elevation to protect the logs from the elements, maintenance is kept to a minimum!
Myth #2: Insects are attracted to log homes
Contrary to popular belief. Insects are not attracted to your log home. Why? When the logs are set on your foundation, they dry to the relative moisture content of the area. Insects are not attracted to dry wood, they are attracted to the moisture in wood…fallen trees outdoors in direct contact with the ground is where they call home. If insects needed dry wood to survive, they would be in the exterior wall of most people’s wood-framed home
Myth #3: Log homes are difficult to insure
After a few phone calls one will discover a log home is as easy to insure as any other house construction method & for relatively the same price. Why? Compared to conventional construction, log homes are not a fire hazard, actually less of one due to there low flame spread rating. Logs are also able to be restored back to their original condition if a fire does so happen. (see links, log home council) How? By removing the char formed during the fire. The char formed on the outer surface of the log prevents oxygen from reaching the rest of the log which results in no more fuel for the fire. Insurance companies are, today, well aware of the benefits of log construction, they are happy to insure your home, just pick up the phone and find out for yourself, any reputable company will be thankful for your call.
Myth #4: Log homes are a fire hazard
In order for a wall assembly to be considered a fire hazard, the fire resistance rating must be below 30 minutes. Wood frame exterior wall construction with drywall on one side is able to perform at this 30 minute rating. An 8” thick solid log wall performance is rated at 60 minutes (see Canadian Wood Council, Wood Design Manual), double the performance. Why? The properties of solid wood & fire. Logs are an extremely poor conductor of heat and fire starts upon off-gassing of the material present. In order for off-gassing to begin with respect to solid wood greater than 8”, an enormous amount of heat has to be generated. Just think of it? When was the last time you heard of a log home fire? What about a wood frame house fire?
Myth #5: Log homes are significantly more expensive to build
The cost of building a log house is actually gone down compared to conventional construction. Dimensional lumber has more than doubled during the past 10 years due to increased manufacturing costs (fuel to run the mill, transport, etc). The raw material (being the log) has been relatively the same price for the past ten years. Just think of it, how much did a 2”x4”x8’ cost in the 90’s? How much does it cost today? Log homes used to be 30 – 35% more costly to build. Now, with smart design, they are relatively the same cost.
Myth #6: Log homes do not last
Some of the oldest standing structures in the world are made of logs. The key to longevity, as with any house is to protect it from the elements (rain, wind, sun, & snow). With proper design a log house will last forever. Design principal should include elevating the foundation above the ground (at least 12-24” (300-600mm) and with a sufficient roof over-hang.
Myth #7: Logs are not good insulators
Most log homes constructed have an insulative value 25-50% higher than standard conventional construction. Wood is comprised of tiny air pockets which help resist the flow of heat. R value is the measurement of insulative performance of various materials. (The larger the number the higher the performance). R –value when tested is based on the resistance to heat transfer. Logs do not have an R-value since they don’t resist the transfer of heat. Logs have a U –value which measures the rate of heat flow through a substance. The heat flow through a log is very slow which gives logs thermal mass benefits. Thermal mass means the ability of a substance to store heat and radiate the heat back through the path of least resistance, which is towards the inside during the winter and towards the outside during the summer.