How do I design my log home for lower maintenance?
Most of the time, that dream home picture in your mind’s eye doesn’t include details like a three-foot foundation, or vegetation that is at least five feet away from the home. But if you’re going to keep your log or timber home looking the same in year six as it did in year one, while also reducing the amount of maintenance it needs overall, you’ll want to keep these design tips in mind:
1.) Wider = Better
Wide eaves and overhangs will protect the walls from weather and sun better. UV damage is the “gateway drug” to deteriorated wood. It will break down your stain, exposing the bare wood to insect and moisture infiltration. Protect the walls from UV and you extend the life of your stain, lower your overall maintenance costs, and prevent potentially costly (and ugly) damage down the line. (Bonus points for a wrap-around porch!
2.) Keep 'em off the ground
We’ve all seen those rotten logs on the forest floor. They’re rotten for a reason: they’ve been sitting in everything a log needs to make it rot. Don’t allow that to happen to your wood. These days, 18” off the ground is a bare minimum for any wood structure. Three feet is even better! If water can run off the roof or splash back off the ground, it’s at risk.
3.) Landscaping is beautiful - from a distance
Keep all vegetation at least three feet from the home. This includes bushes, flowers, or other natural plant elements. They attract moisture, bugs, and a host of other things that love to damage wood. Cut trees back to prevent them from dripping (both moisture and bugs) onto the home. And speaking of vegetation, feel free to water your plants, but avoid watering your logs at the same time. Make sure sprinkler heads are pointed away from the logs and keep hose bibs well away from the wood, as well, in case of leaks.
4.) Gutters are NOT optional
You wouldn’t skip gutters and downspouts on a conventional home. They’re even more important on a wood home. Channeling water way from the wood is the name of the game. And don’t stop at gutters and downspouts! Flashing is important, too. Protect logs on a second story from sitting snow or cascading rain with proper flashing.
5.) Proper finishing of your home IS part of design
Sure, you know exactly what color you want your log home to be. But how do you get there, do it right so it lasts, and ensure you budget for it? By including it in the design phase. Too often, granite counter tops and copper sinks win out over a proper finishing job, which leaves you choosing the stain that is not made for logs and isn’t as durable. Researching the right stain – both the product itself and the way to apply it – should start early on.
For more information on proper finishing, download Sashco’s Keeping the Dream Alive
book. It takes you through the steps of finishing a log home from beginning to end to help you know how to achieve that picture in your mind’s eye.
Published on: August 27th, 2018
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