Does This Home Come With a Manual?
When you set out to build the getaway of your dreams and purchase a log home package, what exactly is included?
Seems like the answer should be obvious, but when you arrange to have a log home built you’ll have to decide what type of log home package to purchase. These packages, just like the manufacturers that provide them, are diverse. Does the package include on-site consulting? What grade of logs are included? Will you get a roof?
To assist you in a smoother process, here are some details which shouldn’t be overlooked before you select a package.
Any builder can call up a local sawmill and order pre-cut logs for a new home. Log home manufacturers, however, offer a wide range of services to help make your log construction process smooth from start to finish. Some of these services are:
- Architectural & Engineering Services:
There are sawmills and companies that provide only building materials for homes designed by others. But log home manufacturers often provide a set of detailed blueprints specific to your package and engineering services to help pre-cut the logs to fit your home design. Designers then guide you through the development of your custom plan so you get the most from your log home dollars.
Because location always matters, they also will pay attention to the engineering, building and energy code requirements for your building location. Additional design services may be provided to satisfy other requirements specific to your project.
No matter the menu of construction services a manufacturer may offer, all manufacturers should have a construction manual available. This resource is a step-by-step guide on how to properly construct the log home using the package. In fact, organizations such as the Log Homes Council require a construction manual from the home manufacturer as a prerequisite to membership. Beyond the manual, some manufacturers offer on-site consulting or have relationships with construction companies to assist in constructing your home.
Chances are, you’re not a wood scientist. And, even if you are, you still want your manufacturer to be enrolled in a certified, third-party log grading program. Log grading is the only assurance you have that the logs used in your home are of high quality and structural integrity, complying with industry standards for engineering and design. Log grading organizations include one administered by the Log Homes Council, Timber Products Inspection, Inc. and VTT (a technical research center in Finland). Ask your manufacturer about the grading of the logs you are buying.
Though not technically part of a log home package, some manufacturers have pre-existing relationships with log home finance companies. Other times, log home finance companies will give lower rates to home buyers purchasing a log home package that includes any or all of the above services, as opposed to home buyers constructing a home with materials only.
Consult your log home manufacturer and your log home financier to make sure you know the details before purchase.
But I Need Doors and Windows!
Beyond the consultation, architectural, engineering and other services offered by log home manufacturers, the tangible components of the package are the raw materials.
Manufacturers offer a variety of materials packages, but the packages can be broken down into three categories of material offerings:
Included in the basic package are materials unique to log homes: log wall timbers, heavy timber roof components, second-floor heavy timber joist systems, heavy timber porch roof materials, hardware, wood treatment products and sealants.
The dry-in package includes all materials needed to create a weather-proof log home shell. In addition to materials in the basic package, this includes framing materials for dormers and gables, roofing materials and windows and doors.
Not to be confused with a turn-key package (such a package is usually offered by a local dealer or builder, not a manufacturer) the complete package includes all materials the manufacturer feels are sensible to ship. In addition to the dry-in package materials, you may receive sub-floor materials, exterior and interior siding, shingles, heavy timber stair materials, heavy timber rail materials and porch/deck materials.
When you set out to research your new log home – in addition to considering what species of wood, log profile style and corner systems to select – be sure to consult with log home manufacturers about what is included in their packages.
A successful log home construction project requires more than logs. In many cases the services provided by your manufacturer can be the difference between a smooth log home project and a headache. Cortney Klein, of the Log Homes Council, works and lives in Washington, D.C. But her favorite getaway is a cabin in the mountains of W. Va.