THE small STUFF – Wisdom From the Trenches!
Snippets of experience from ourselves and our customers!
If you are serious about building a log home, please check this page occasionally because this is a growing list.
If you have a suggestion or experience you would like to share, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Always use sill seal between log walls & sub floor. 1/6/10
Properly applied, sill seal will restrict the flow of air under the log walls. Failure to use this product can cause problems.
Visit infrared log (Figure 4) to see a visible example of this “Small Stuff,”.
Make sure the home foundation extends at least 24″ above ground. 7/29/07
One of the more frequent problems with log Homes is water damaged bottom ls or siding. This happens when gutters over flow (or if no gutters,
runoff from the roof) and water splashes on the bottom ls or siding over a period of years. Repair or replacement of damaged ls is typically
accomplished by an experience log builder and can be expensive. Therefore, keep the bottom course of ls or siding at least 24″ above ground.
How important are is it to purchase quality windows? 2/14/07
The quality and the cost of windows runs the full spectrum – good to questionable, expensive to inexpensive.
If you are willing to pay top dollar then you cannot go wrong with Pella or Andersen windows. In the B&H model,
“Sandy’s Joy”, we purchased all wood, aluminum clad, double pane, lower cost Caradco windows. and we have been quite pleased with them.
Here is a link to an amazing photo of a Milgard, Tuscany series, double pane. Argon gas filled, vinyl window.
Where you are using manufactured roof trusses, consider specifying 2″x 6″ top cords. 12/19/05
Many residential roof trusses are delivered with 2″x 4″ top cords which in turn call for 1″x 6″ fascia boards where the top cord overhangs the log wall. True, the 2″x 4″ top cord will be cheaper than the 2″x 6″; however, the 2″x 6″ calls for a 1″x 8″ fascia board. The 1″x 8″ fascia board gives the appearance of a “thicker” roof which is more appealing to some homeowners.
For a graphic example of this suggestion, please visit roof trusses.
Plan for the location of towel racks and toilet paper dispensers.
(From a visitor.) 3/18/04 After the stud walls are up but before the wall covering is in place, determine where you want the towel racks and toilet paper dispensers located in your bath rooms. Nail 2×8’s between the studs (flush with the bath room face of the studs) in a location where the fixtures will be attached. Screws will now be firmly secured and dry wall anchors will not be necessary.
Small hot water heaters at the point of use. (From a visitor.) 2/9/03
Our hot water heater is a good distance from our kitchen so it takes a long time for the water to get hot, so to solve this problem we are installing
a instant hot water that uses the cold water line to recirculate the hot water keeping it warmer and ready to use when you need it. It will also work
on all bathroom faucets too. Cost is around $200 you can get it at Home Depot or lowes and install it yourself. I can’t stand to wash my hands in
cold water and I hate to just let the water run until it gets warm. Where we live our water is twice as much as it is in the city so I feel it will
pay for it self in the long run. Though you may want to add this to your site.
Skylights and ceiling fans. (From a visitor.) 5/6/02
A great suggestion from Roy in Tennessee:
Everyone loves skylights and everyone loves ceiling fans but in my sisters chalet style home near Pigeon Forge the two don’t seem to mix very well.
The fans hang well below the skylights and the spinning blades cause a “flicker” effect, much like a bad computer monitor, on everything in the room.
The problem is much worse in low light or overcast conditions when you don’t see the distinct shadows but your brain still “sees” the flicker.
After a few hours of this strobe light going off in your face you want to run out on the deck with a 30’06 and start picking off the tourists as
they turn into Dollywood.
Hot air ducts vented through cabinet toe spaces. 11/26/00
Hot air ducts vented in the floors of bath rooms and kitchens are unattractive and can be a nuisance when mopping the floors. Whenever possible,
a duct should penetrate the floor under a cabinet, make a 90 degree turn and vent into the room through the cabinet toe space. This must require a
little extra work for the subcontractor because there are at least a few that will vent through the toe space only when instructed to do so.
Yes, there will be situations where floor vents will be necessary; however, always go for the toe space first.
An electrical outlet in a walk-in closet? 11/26/00
I never heard of such a thing until it was suggested by a friend when our model home (and personal residence) was under construction. He was right.
It is a great place to charge camcorder and cell phone batteries. Plus, that is where we keep a rechargeable flash light plugged in at all times.
Plan for Future Wiring 9/14/00
No matter how much we plan for the future, we know that sooner or later we will be adding additional computer cables, TV cables, phone lines and/or
electric service. In anticipation of this expansion, consider installing at least one 1″ PVC pipe that connects the crawl space or basement with attic
spaces. This pipe could be installed in a stud wall or in the corner of a closet. This pipe will greatly simplify the process of passing wires
from the crawl space or basement to the attic spaces. It will probably be wise to devise a plug for one end of the pipe, especially when
connecting a crawl space with the attic spaces.
Outside Flood lights 9/14/00
It is quite common to have flood lights mounted in the soffits of homes for both routine illumination and security. Why not have flood light switches
installed in the master bedroom? These switches might provide an additional comfort factor for the wife when something “goes bump in the night.”
8/15/00 When selecting your window dressings, ask about “top down, bottom up” shades. The really neat feature here is that they open from both the bottom
(which we all understand) and/or the top. Opening from the top puts light into the room but maintains privacy. We saw them for the first time in 1995,
even though they were available for years before. Fewer than 10% of the visitors to our model home have seen these shades. Visit window shades to see a
picture (17k) of the shades; close the pop open window to return.
Pick your skylights carefully. You do not want to spend that money and then have to deal with leaks. I am no expert on the subject so I’ll stick
my neck out and quote a local builder who says, “I refuse to install a skylight unless it is a Velux.” We have a Velux in our home and have
not experienced a leak since we moved in back in 1995. Neat features include: remote operation of the skylight and shade, automatic closing
if it rains. When deciding whether to install skylights or not, remember, they significantly increase the air conditioning loads.
Collar Ties or Beam Trusses? 7/10/00
Beam trusses over great rooms are the traditional option. Today, the more contemporary log Homes are being built with collar ties.
Collar ties are placed higher in the ceiling, thus opening up more “free space.” Visit here for photos of both beam trusses and collar ties.
Use Only the Best Caulking. 7/10/00
Cheap caulking is a BAD investment – use only the best. While there are probably several acceptable brands, B&H highly recommends SikaFlex caulking.
Fixed Glass 6/28/00
Fixed glass is available in virtually any shape and size. You have the option of purchasing the fixed glass from any of the many window manufacturers
or you may purchase from a local glass shop. Compare prices and you should find that your local glass shop is cheaper. And, yes, the local shop can
fabricate double pane and tinted fixed glass.
Custom Shower Enclosures 6/28/00
When you talk to your local glass shop about fixed glass, be sure to ask them about custom shower enclosures. A wide variety of custom enclosures
is available. After the shower tile is set, call the local glass shop and they will come to the job, take their measurements, fabricate the enclosure
in their shop, then return to the job and install the enclosure.
Chimney Options 6/28/00
A full masonry fireplace and chimney can cost $14,000 and more. Consider the option of “sticking” stone to plywood and stud construction. No one
can see through the stone and pass judgment on your short cut, and you will save really big bucks. Any stone mason can advise you on this decision.
Masonry Fireplace, Stove, or Insert? 6/28/00
Wood burning fireplaces and log Homes go together like a horse and cart. However, we now have many options in addition to the wood burning, masonry
fireplaces. Visit your local stove shops and you may be amazed at the beautiful designs available today. Ask about fireplace inserts. Ask about gas
ls in both inserts and stoves. Stoves and inserts will save money but if your heart is set on the masonry fireplace, by all means, go for it.
Hair Dryers and Dim lights6/28/00
If your bathrooms are a good distance from your breaker box (68′ in the B&H model), tell your builder or electrician that you do not want the bathroom
lights to dim when a hair dryer is turned on. It may be necessary to run a larger wire between the breaker box and bathrooms.
Double vanities and electrical outlets. 6/28/00
With electric tooth brushes, shavers, hair dryers, curling irons, etc. a duplex outlet is not enough. Go for a duplex outlet at each end of the vanity
or a quad outlet in the center.
Ceiling heights greater than 8 feet.6/28/00
Contemporary designed log Homes are as popular as the traditional log “cabins.” More and more log home shoppers are asking for lots of glass, open
floor plans and ceiling heights of 8 1/2 to 10′. With B&H’s post and beam construction the higher ceilings are no problem. In fact, only one sale
in 10 is for an 8 foot ceiling.
Man made stone or the real thing 6/28/00
It takes a really good eye to tell the difference. Investigate and price the choices before making a final decision.