Friday, August 15, 2014

8 Things to Look for When Buying a Log Home



 

1) Low Foundations

                The foundation of your log home, like any other building, is fundamental to its construction. Check to make sure that the logs along the bottom exterior wall of the home aren't too close to the ground. Logs in contact with the ground are often subject to extra environmental wear from moisture rot and insect damage.

2) Sloping Floors

                Over time, log homes settle as moisture evaporates from their timbers. This moisture loss results in a cycle of shrinking and settling that can sometimes lead to uneven, sloping floor surfaces. Uneven floors are an indication that the timbers were not adequately seasoned and dried prior to construction. Be on the look out and bear in mind that sloping floors might also signal other issues in the foundation.

3) Roof Overhangs

                Many log homes feature roofs with large, overhangs and deep, broad eaves. This type of roof design doesn't just serve an aesthetic purpose. It also helps to protect the exterior walls of the home from the effects of weathering. This will help to keep your log home looking newer, longer. In general, the bigger the overhang the better.

4) Porches

                Porches can work in conjunction with those long roof overhangs to keep moisture well away from the exterior walls of a home. Likewise, many log homes are constructed with porch space in mind. Consider these porches an added bonus when looking for a log home, both in terms of comfort and utility.

5) Gutters and Drainage

                Your log home will likely need more than a few large roof overhangs to effectively divert moisture. A well designed gutter and drainage system is of vital importance to the longevity of your home. Make sure downspouts are directed away from the foundation, and always consider the influence that the grade of your land will have on drainage.

6)  Carpenter Bees

                Insects are some of the foremost enemies of log homes, and carpenter bees are perhaps the worst offenders. Carpenter bees burrow into the exterior of log homes in order to incubate larvae. Wood peckers, in turn, are drawn to the larvae and will soon proceed to peck their little brains out all over your home. Keep an eye out, both for the cavities drilled by the bees, and for damage from wood peckers. Both are tell-tale indicators of carpenter bee activity.

7) Do-It-Yourself Work

                Back in the second half of the 20th century, when log homes were especially “in vogue,” a number of manufacturers produced do-it-yourself kits for ambitious folks who wanted to build their own log homes. Unfortunately, many of these enterprising souls were unfamiliar with the finer points of home building, and so they wound up with finished products of rather questionable quality. Watch out for haphazard utility installation and substandard finishing work that might suggest unprofessional construction.

8) Flame Retardants

                Sometimes, log homes are treated with flame retardant products that help to reduce the risk of fire. Be sure to ask about these products when shopping around for a log home. Not only will they keep you safe, they can also help to lower your homeowner's insurance premiums.

These are just a few things to look out for when buying a log home. For more information about log homes, please feel free to call our toll free number, visit our website, or come in to Schroeder Log Home Supply today!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Summer Checklist for Your Log Home




The summer months are a perfect time to catch up on all that maintenance work around the house that we've been putting off since, well, last summer. Log homes, in spite of their general steadfastness, do require a bit of regular maintenance in order to keep them looking their very best. Most of this maintenance focuses on ensuring the long-term health of the wood. So where should we start? How about with a bath.

Pressure Washing

                No doubt your log home is a sight to behold, but all that dirt and mildew is obscuring its beautifully hewn spruce timbers. Unfortunately, log homes are magnets for all sorts of unsavory grime and grit. A pressure washer will make quick work of all manner of exterior filth. We believe that there are few things in life more satisfying than watching last year's dirt disappear under a 2000 PSI jet of water. Don't own a pressure washer? Check with your local hardware or appliance dealer to inquire about rental options.

Mold Control

                Now that you've removed all that loose dirt, you'll want to go back and check for areas with mold and mildew. Scrub these spots with a gentle cleaning solution – start with soap and water – in order to stave of further mold growth. A solution of bleach diluted in water (roughly 4 parts water to 1 part bleach) can also aid in mildew removal. Beware of caustic chemical cleansers as they can affect the PH levels in the wood, resulting in discoloration. If you're still having trouble removing mold and mildew from your home's exterior, you can speak with one of our experts at our toll free number for further assistance.

Insecticide Treatment

                Insects will do their very best to prey on the wood of your log home. Overtime, the cavities created by burrowing insects can lead to dry rot and structural weaknesses in the exterior walls. Fortunately, there are a number of products on the market that can help to control insect activity. Shell Guard is a particularly popular option. This borate based treatment is rated against a number of burrowing insects such as termites and carpenter ants, and also protects against fungal decay. We carry this, and a number of other similar products in our online shop.

Preservative Treatment

                Treating the wood of your log home with a preservative is essential to its longevity. These treatments prevent water and insect intrusion, and help to promote healthy, even settling in the logs. By periodically treating the wood with preservatives, you can add decades to the life of your home. Again, be sure to check out our online shop. We carry a number of treatment options to help keep your log home healthy and moisture free.

Take these four easy steps and rest easy knowing your home is well cared for and fortified for the future. For more tips on how to keep your log home in showroom shape, don't hesitate to contact us at our toll free number anytime Monday through Friday from 8:00am till 4:30pm.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Why We Love Log Homes (& You Should Too!)





Do you ever feel that life lacks a certain ineffable richness? Do you long to partake in the seasoned, austere integrity of our forefathers? Have your presidential aspirations, much to your own chagrin, all but withered away? Has your old Pioneer dug a rut straight through your Hank Williams records?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, it might be time to cast off your cold chains of sheet rock and two-by-fours in exchange for the singularly intimate ambiance of a log home.

Picture yourself in a cabin on a hill. You are greeted each dawn by a low, gauzy fog outside your window and the gentle cooing of a mourning dove. There is work to be done, but none so important as to interfere with your ritual bacon and egg breakfast. You are a family on the frontier. You are warm, and you are home.

Not sure if you're ready to sign up for a mortgage on a backwoods camping adventure? Well, you won't have to! Today's log homes might share the rustic aesthetic of their 18th century counterparts, but they also come packed with all the amenities that us 21st century folks have come to know and love.

So fear not! Little Jimbo won't be fending off bobcats on his way out to the latrine every night at 4am. You and your kin can fall asleep tucked in to the cool breeze of your HVAC and wake up the next morning to a hot shower and the local news station.

At Schroeder Log Home Supply, it's no secret that we care an awful lot about the proud tradition of log construction. Every once in a great while, some unfortunate soul who has no doubt lived out their formative years in a brick and vinyl sided townhouse will come along and ask us why we love log homes so much. Once we take a moment to recover from the breathless shock of being asked such a silly question, we tend to reply in the following manner.

“ Well Sir (or Madam), there are all sorts of reasons to love log homes. What we love most about log homes though, is the dual nature that they embody (bear with us here). You see, log homes harmonize almost seamlessly with natural settings, and yet they are instantly identifiable by virtue of their unique construction. They are immensely strong, but they invite us inside with a warm, familiar tenderness. They remind us of an earlier, simpler time, but they look every bit as fashion-forward as contemporary style homes. We seek solitude in them in them one day, and we just can't wait to have company over the next.”

by this point our brave log home initiate is usually in tears, felling an oak tree with a hand axe and dreaming of their future cabin in the woods.

Quite simply, we just can't imagine why anyone would think twice about the opportunity to live in a log home. We believe there's a little part in all of us, a part we've held onto since childhood, that is devoted to the dream of living in a log home. We keep it close to dreams of light houses and space ships, cowboys and castles.

It's time to indulge your inner dreamer and find yourself in a log home.

Call Schroeder Log Home Supply today and let us help you embark on a new adventure that begins at your front door.

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Questions you Should Ask Before Constructing Your Log Home





You've spent years thinking about the possibility of owning your own log home. After a great deal of deliberation and contemplation, you've finally decided to take the great leap and join the scores of other happy homeowners who have chosen to live by the great law of the log. Congratulations are in order!

But before you reach for that spokeshave, there are a few important questions you'll want to consider to ensure that your log home is the perfect fit for you and your family.

What is my budget?


The alpha and the omega of financial considerations. Your budget should be carefully outlined before the axe ever hits the trunk, so to speak. Log construction is, in and of itself, a fairly economical mode of building. If, however, you are the sort of person who values things like heated floors and granite counter tops, you can expect the cost of construction to go up significantly. Have a clear idea of what amenities are must-haves and what can wait for later upgrades. Be sure to include the cost of utilities in your calculations (do you want copper piping or PEX, a gas fired boiler or a heat pump?) as these can also have a measurable impact on the overall cost.

Who will be my manufacturer?


This question will require a bit of research leg work. The good news is that there are loads of log home manufacturers out there, and at least one of them should be able to build you a lovely home to suit your needs and wants.  The bad news is that there are loads of log home manufacturers out there, and not all are created equal. Shop around. Speak to builders face-to-face. Look over examples of their previous work. Be cautious, and go with your gut. If you like a builder's portfolio, but you're still not sure if you want them building your house, then you probably don't want them building your house. Take your time, and wait to find a builder you trust. Your home is an enormous investment in the future, and it should be treated as such.

Where should I build?


This question is tangentially related to our first question. Location choice will also influence the cost of construction. In addition to land value and property tax considerations, be sure to look into the price and accessibility of building permits in the county where you want to build your home. Many people want to build their log homes in remote, secluded areas. This can make for a beautiful pastoral setting , however it can also negatively impact your homeowner's insurance premiums. The further you are from a fire department, the harder it will be to find an affordable insurance policy. Above all though, look for a place that already feels like home. You're going to be spending a whole lot of time at this place, so you'd better darn well love it.

What kind of home do I want?


The obvious, albeit no less important question. These days, log homes come in all shapes and sizes, so it's a good idea to have a clear picture of what you want before you start shopping around. Do you envision yourself in a cabin on the frontier, or a ski chalet in the Swiss Alps? Different manufacturers have designs to suit different tastes; be sure to find one whose portfolio aligns with your vision.

Once you've done the research and tackled the hard questions, call us at our toll free number or come-in to take the next steps toward owning your very own log home.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Cleaning Your Woodwork





One of the most alluring quality of log cabin homes is the beautiful exposed woodwork. Before the summer months come to a close, make it a goal to deep clean your home's woodwork. Here are some tips for keeping your home's wood in the best shape:

Standard Wood Cleaners

When cleaning the interior of your log cabin home, you can simply scrub the walls with a sponge or cloth using Murphy’s Oil Soap and/or a citrus-based cleanser. You can also use a mixture of water and color-safe bleach (NOT regular bleach) to scrub out dust and stains. 

Polish

You’re welcome to use a coat of wood polish a day or two later to restore the wood’s shine if you so choose. Keep in mind that you should try scrubbing in an inconspicuous place first, to test and see how your logs react to various products. If you bought the home from a previous owner, ask them for tips on what they used to clean and maintain the wood. 


For Strong Stains


If you need a stronger stain remover, you can mix a cup of a powdered detergent known as “TSP” (tri-sodium phosphate) with one quart of plain liquid bleach and three quarts of warm water. Use a hand-pump garden sprayer to apply this mixture to the wood, and then, after five minutes, rinse it off. Wear rubber gloves and a mask over your nose and mouth since you don’t want to get this mixture on your hands or the fumes in your lungs. In addition, make sure the area is well-ventilated.

Sanding


A last resort is to sand the wood, which is hard work. Sanding, however, will help restore the logs to their original color.


Exterior Cleaning


As for the log cabin home’s exterior, you can use a power washer to remove dirt and grime. Two guiding principles for power washing are: don’t stay on one spot too long and don’t use too much pressure. Remember, it’s good to test a little spot to determine what works best before you go and tackle an entire wall or house.