Missed the “Ask Me Anything” interview with Ken Sekley, 2019 chair of the NAHB Log and Timber Homes Council, during Log Homes Month? We’ve got a recap for you:
Last month, as part of 2019's National Log Homes Month, Ken Sekley, chair of the NAHB Log and Timber Homes Council and CEO of Southland Log Homes, answered readers’ questions live on Reddit. This gave log home admirers a chance to learn more about the building process directly, and get their most burning questions answered. And everyone sure did have some good questions. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of the questions and answers we found particularly illuminating during this educational interview. Or, to read the whole conversation, view the “Ask Me Anything” thread here.
Do log and timber homes meet green building guidelines, such as NAHB's guidelines or LEED?
“In general, log and timber homes are well-positioned to meet green building guidelines. For example, independent testing confirmed that log homes supplied by my company can exceed Energy Star rating requirements and receive a five-star rating under the Home Energy Rating System (HERS). The “thermal mass” of the solid logs is a key element in providing this energy efficiency.
In addition to energy savings, the green construction advantages of a log home include the use of a greater percentage of renewable building materials than conventionally constructed homes. Logs and timbers can be sourced from managed, renewable forests. Because the logs provide both the structural and the primary decorative components of a log home, the result is a high percentage of renewable materials in the final construction.
Further, solid logs have been shown to sequester carbon, preventing it from moving into the atmosphere, further reducing the carbon footprint of a log home.”
Is building a log home similar to the way I built Lincoln Log houses as a kid? If not, what are the differences? Additionally, how does a log home roof differ from a non-log home?
“Well, for starters, it would take a lot of Lincoln Logs to build a home large enough to live in. But it is a good example of how the logs fit together.
As with Lincoln Logs, the logs are notched (particularly at the corners) to ensure a tight, durable fit. But beyond this, the logs are fastened to one another at multiple points for their entire length, which adds further structural strength. Also, foam gaskets are used with caulking / chinking between the logs to ensure no air infiltration. (The foam gasket is invisible once the logs are stacked.)
Of course, you can incorporate other design features into your real log home that I don’t think were available in the Lincoln Log set. Materials like stone, glass panels/windows, metal roofs, etc.
Speaking of the roof, the same approaches can be taken as with a conventional home: roofs can be supported with standard framing, or trusses can be used for the structural support.”
I’m debating between a milled or handcrafted log home. Is one better than the other?
“Milled log homes and handcrafted log homes are constructed differently, but you can’t say that one is better than the other.
Milled log homes generally offer both the efficiencies and quality control that can be gained in the controlled manufacturing facility where they are milled, and often kiln-dried. Because the logs arrive at the job site already milled, and often cut to length and notched, the stacking of the logs can often be done smoothly and in a very timely manner.
As the name implies, handcrafted log homes generally require that the logs be crafted at the job site as they are stacked, although they may be pre-assembled offsite. The logs will be less uniform, and may have a more rustic, hand-hewn appearance. Handcrafted log homes are generally more expensive and take longer to build.”