Financing your log home is one of the most important parts of your research. While most people initially concentrate on choosing a log or timber frame manufacturer, the next most important step is how to fund their dream home.
What’s Your Budget?
Most of us have a budget irrespective of size. Therefore it is important right from the start to work with your log home dealer to establish an initial budget to build that home. Delays in choosing the right mortgage lender can cause the project to take much longer and in the end will drive up costs.
Tips on Financing Your Log Home
Here are some useful tips to guide you on financing your log home.
Shop for a loan before committing to a log home package. At least get pre-qualified.
Choose a combination loan. Basically you need two types of financing — a short-term construction loan and a permanent mortgage. By choosing a lender who will merge both, you only have one closing cost, saving you money!
Check the terms of the construction loan. Typically financial institutions will allow a 12 month loan and others will go to 18 months.
Will the lender allow ‘home owner builds’? If so there may be additional charges and/or time frames.
Most importantly — Once you are pre-qualified and have ordered your home package DON’T just sit on the fence awaiting the next call. Follow through with the lender and establish what paperwork they need next to keep the ball rolling. Delays will cost you money.
Have more questions? Contact us. We’re happy to help you find the answers.
Don’t know where to start? Get our free guide with valuable information about building a custom log home and our most popular log home floor plans.
Footprint Log Homes works closely with our customers to help them build the custom log home of their dreams.
Looking for a log home? While logs are an excellent natural insulator, your home will need a little help to keep your home at the ideal temperature in both winter and summer.
Tips for Cooling a Log Home in the Summer
Ceiling fans are still a good option but it seems that summers are getting hotter and they don’t always have the desired effect, especially if your bedroom is in the loft. Heat rises! A window fan or air conditioner can be noisy!
Are you heating/cooling the whole house when you are only using one or two rooms? Think about a mini split ducted heating and cooling system rather than a whole house system.
Extend you roof line to protect the logs. This does two things, in the winter when the sun is lower in the sky, it allows the sun in to warm your room and in the summer when the sun is higher it helps to keep the sun at bay.
Ceiling fans in the loft if turned to reverse will bring the hot air down, thus cooling the air upstairs. This can work in reverse in the winter taking some of the warm air up.
Heating a Log Home in the Winter
A popular heating system is Radiant floor, as it heats evenly and does not blow air and dust around the house as with a forced air system.
Wood stove vs. fireplace. While a fireplace insert looks lovely it is not as efficient as the cosier (in my opinion) looking wood stove.
Windows and doors are common places for heat loss; make sure you have no air infiltration there.
Electric boxes on external walls are also areas that need to be sealed properly during construction.
Orient your house to take advantage of the sun in the winter.
Window screens are a necessity in the summer to keep bugs out but often darken the room to a degree; taking them out in the winter when we don’t often open the windows will let more light in during those grey days of winter. I would however recommend keeping a couple, in case you do need to open a window.
Cost Saving Tips
Are you wasting water waiting for the water to get hot before you can take a shower in the morning? On demand water heaters also known as tank less water heaters are gaining popularity with new home owners.
Geothermal energy is thermal energy generated and stored in the Earth. Geothermal can be expensive to install but will give a good return on your investment in the your energy bills in the years to come.
When planning your log home, Footprint uses your specific requirements to create your future dream home. Customized does not mean more money!
When it comes to designing the perfect home, most of us need a little guidance. Footprint’s design service can help.
The Planning Process
Our design team will work with you to design your home through this phase of floor plan and elevations. Once we’re done, we roll it over into the formal purchase agreement. So, the deposit you paid for this service will become part of the 10% needed for full construction drawings.
Planning Your Log Home
There are many different ways to communicate your ideas, requirements and dreams of the perfect home, be it log, timber, post and beam or hybrid. A few points to ponder
The Log Home has a long history with the oldest log home said to date from the year 30 BC.
Here are a brief history and some interesting facts.
Historically, log cabin construction has its roots in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Although their origin is uncertain, the first log structures were probably being built in Northern Europe in the Bronze Age (about 3500 BC). The European log construction has undergone an evolutionary process from the crude small gable roof cabin of round logs with an opening in the roof to vent the smoke, to the more sophisticated squared logs with interlocking double notch joints with the timber extending out beyond the corners. Log saunas or bathhouses of this type are still to be found in rural Finland.
By stacking tree trunks one on top of another and overlapping the logs at the corners, people made the ‘Log Cabin’. They developed interlocking corners by notching the logs at the ends, resulting in strong structures that were easier to make weather-tight by inserting moss or other soft material into the joints. As the original coniferous forest extended over the coldest pasts of the world, there was a prime need to keep these cabins warm. The insulated properties of solid wood were a great advantage over a timber frame construction that was covered with animal skin, boards or shingles. Over the decades, increasingly complex joints were developed to ensure more weather tight joints between the logs but the profiles were still largely based on the round log.
Log construction was especially suited to Scandinavia, where straight tall tree trunks (Pine and Spruce) are readily available. With suitable tools, a log cabin could be erected from scratch by the family in a few days. As no chemical reaction was involved, such as hardening of mortar, a log cabin could be erected in any weather or season.
The earliest recorded North American log home was built by the Swedes who settled in Pennsylvania in 1638. Subsequently, log home building techniques were improved by German settlers. As the West was settled, log homes were erected all over as symbols of the frontier spirit. Along with the refugees produced by the War of Independence, the log home spread to Canada and there, the abundance of building materials and severe cold made them spread quickly to become scattered all over wooded areas.
Along with the industrialization of society in the 19th century, logs were, to a large extent, replaced by building materials which could be massed produced in sawmills, and towns took on a different appearance. However, log homes remain strongly associated with the North American identity and now they are undergoing a kind of revival in the form of country residences and mountain cabins.
Today, construction of modern log cabins and leisure homes is a fully developed industry.
As Green Construction is becoming more and more popular, Footprint Log Homes is committed to helping you achieve your Green Building goals. If that goal is to save energy, create a healthy home environment, be it Eco-friendly or all of the above, we can guide you through the Green design and building options to meet your individual requirements.
By selecting a log or timber frame home you are already on the path to Green building. Footprints engineered log or timber frame home already uses timbers from renewable sources with our manufacturer using trees from sustainably managed forests. However, Green design building has many more facets than just the logs.
Here are some of the elements we use when working with our clients to develop a Green building agenda:
Green Building Goals We’ll work with you to help define your Green building goals and offer recommendations from home design to material selections and more, while keeping your budget in mind.
Design with Green Building in mind It all starts with the design of your custom home. Incorporating your Green goals into your custom floor plan, we’ll offer recommendations for site placement, window size and location, HVAC options, ceiling heights, lighting and much more.
Site Planning We’ll offer ideas to help you to create a design that not only takes advantage of your site but keeps the surrounding environment in mind through a detailed site plan.
Develop an Energy Efficient Plan We’ll suggest options to help you create an energy efficient custom home, from positioning your home to take advantage of passive solar, working with your mechanical contractor to select an energy efficient HVAC system to selecting ENERGY STAR appliances. We’ll help you design and energy efficiency plans that fits. We will work with you and your builder to review Eco-friendly building materials, choices, building waste disposal methods, lighting systems, indoor quality, water efficiency and much more.
is the most energy and environmentally friendly system available today. this heating and cooling system uses the relatively constant temperature of the earth to maintain an even temperature in the home in winter or summer.
In Floor Radiant heat
generates an even heat throughout the home and will not distribute dust like forced air thereby creating a more healthy environment.
is one of our more popular models. At 2,519 Sq. ft. with 3 bedrooms and 3 bathroom makes this an ideal family home.
Click on the house to view the floor plan on our site.
What is the difference between Milled Log, Swedish Cope, Timber Frame, and Hand Crafted homes? Here we will endeavor to make this a little clearer!
Milled Log Homes
…use logs that are cut by a machine to a uniform diameter. A milled log has been put through a saw mill, lathe or planer. these machines cut the logs into the desired shape or profile. When you look at a milled log home all the logs will be a uniform size and shape. Milled log homes are one of the most popular types of log homes because of the appeal of the logs’ uniformity and consistency.
…is also a milled log but is a full round log that has been coped at the bottom and milled to a uniform size as opposed to the Hand Crafted log that is tapered and crafted by hand.
Timber Frame Homes
…visually are very dramatic, often described as cathedral-like. the beauty and warmth of the wood is the key element of the interior design. A timber frame home is built from large timber components that form the structure of the home requiring no interior load bearing walls. A timber frame home is composed of vertical posts and horizontal beams. these beams then connect the posts to form the frame work of the house.
Hand Crafted Log Homes
…have a more traditional, rustic look. Each log is hand-peeled with a draw knife, hand scribed, chiseled and cut with chain saws to form a perfect fit to the log below. During the assemble at the manufacturing facility. The expert wood workers ensure the log walls will remain tight throughout the natural seasoning and settling process. The logs are inspected according to strict quality standards. the logs are marked carefully according to the construction plan then disassembled and shipped directly to your location for reassembly. the result is a natural rustic look that is very appealing to those interested in a very traditional home.
Lastly, the Hybrid home …which is becoming more and more popular, can be a combination of styles. Typically this is a stick built structure with Timber or Log elements, particularly in the Great Room.
You have been researching log and timber homes and maybe you have been to a log & timber home show and even attended the university; you now have all the information you need to make an educated decision on what style home you want, who will supply the package and when you plan to build your dream home…maybe! Hopefully you are not more confused than when you started on this journey! There is a lot of information to process before you can make that final decision.
Points to ponder when you are trying to decide between different Log or Timber home packages.
Is the log element of the package pre-cut or random length? Pre-cut log walls will save time during construction. If a company offers pre-cut, establish what that means – corners, window/door openings ready for external trim, electrical chases drilled through and boxes cut out.
What size and species are the logs? Footprint’s Douglas Fir 8″ double tongue and groove logs give greater contact than a 10″ Swedish cope log, which is important for energy.
Are the windows and external doors included, and if so, are the windows wood/clad or vinyl?
Is there a warranty against the logs themselves? Most companies will warranty the logs, then the window manufacturers warranty covers the windows and doors.
Does the package include soffit and fascia material/exterior trim for around the windows and doors?
Is the 2nd floor system included or an option?
Stairs – included or option?
Do they include all of the necessary fasteners etc. to construct the package? Typically nails for nail guns are not included.
Is the material for all of the interior framed walls included?
Does the package include ‘site specific’ engineered plans or are they just engineered for the State/Province of build? If so, this would mean going back to a local engineer to have them approved for your specific property, an additional cost to you!
Do the plans include the foundation and sub floor drafting, even if the company does not provide the materials for this?
Is the tongue and groove for the cathedral ceiling included or optional?
How are the logs joined on a long wall…spline, glue or dove tail joint?
We are committed to customer service before, during, and after your build.
If you are planning to build a log or timber frame home you will find that much of the work starts before construction ever begins. It is important to do your research beforehand to prevent problems and confusion down the road. We offer the following suggestions for prospective log or timber frame home owners.
The planning process assuming you already have your property
Do your homework so that when you decide on the company that will provide your log or timber frame home it is an educated decision based on sound research.
Initiate contact with each company; this should be followed up by a visit to their model home or show room to discuss your project in detail. If this is not possible this can be remedied with phone calls and emails.
After discussing options and reviewing plans ask for a free no-obligation quote. Typically you should have a quote within 10 business days.
Once you finalize the company that will provide your home package initiate contract actions. At this point you are beginning to plan site visits, meets with contractors and arrange for the infrastructure (Well, Road, and Septic)
Approximately 2 weeks after ordering the home you should receive the first set on preliminary drawings. At this point you will see your home scaled out on paper for the first time. Plans need to be reviewed and resubmited for changes (if needed). Remember,this is why you are building a custom home – to meet your specific needs/desires!
Approximately 2 weeks later, revised plans should be back for review. If you like what you see you will sign off to go to full construction/engineered drawings.( note: this process could take longer if you need more changes/revisions)
About 6 weeks later you will receive stamped/engineered plans. You and/or your builder will then apply for building permits.
This process will get you to the point in design where you are ready to start the construction of the home; this time-frame is typically around 4 months on an average. However, it can be much faster if you choose a standard plan that does not need much, if any, alteration. Obviously it can also take longer if your require several rounds of plan changes.
The construction process
Once your home package has been delivered the construction time-frame will depend on many issues. For our purpose of providing a simple estimate, lets use the typical purchase of a 2,000 sq. ft. log home built on a daylight (walkout) basement where the builder was hired to complete the home to a turnkey finish.
Typically construction of a non pre-cut weather-tight package takes between 10-12 weeks
With the Footprint 100% pre-cut log wall system the construction time-frame to complete the weather-tight shell is reduced to 6-8 weeks, depending on the size of the house thereby saving 2-4 weeks of construction costs.
Completion of the interior – utilities/drywall/trim/floor coverings, allow 3-4 months.
The overall time-frame for the average project is between 6-8 months.
None of these time estimates however, are set in stone. Each one depends on many factors such as weather conditions, size of crew, unforeseen obstacles etc. These are things that you and your builder must work through together.
The majority of those who are considering a log home purchase typically do so with two thoughts in mind.. the ‘dream cabin in the woods’ and ‘retirement’. If retiring in your new home is the aim, then careful planning will make your life easier as you age.
So think ahead; below are few tips to follow:
Accessibility: Keep the structure close to the ground, limit the number of stairs and either build or make provisions in the design for approach ramps should wheelchair access becomes an issue.
Building design: Give serious consideration to building a single level home, eliminate stairs altogether and make hallway at least 4 ft wide (5′ is better) to enable a wheelchair to be turned around. Eliminate floor level changes and if you do plan any then ensure a change in floor covering in this area to assist when failing eyesight becomes a problem.
ADA Compliance: Plan the whole house with ADA features in mind, seek advise on this. Consider bathrooms and kitchen areas in particular.
Lighting: Provide more light than you currently think you need; ensure there are plenty of windows to bring in the natural light. This is particularly important for the long winter evenings. Install nightlights and adequate lighting at external entryways and make sure that the switches can be reached from a sitting position.
Heating: Choose wisely; whilst a wood stove may be your first choice for the looks and the comfort feeling, it may not be practical. You may not be able to collect/cut and haul the wood as you get older.
Emergencies: Install a back up generator that comes on automatically when there is a power outage. Plan for a security system for the ‘unwelcome visitors!!”
Maintenance: Keep things simple, single level structures not only have no stairs but are easier to maintain. Good quality wood windows, with a maintenance free exterior metal clad (Footprint includes Pella windows as standard in our package) double pane with low E glass for maximum heat retention. Consider composite decking material to reduce maintenance issues on decks and porches.
In our opinion a log or timber home is one of the most peaceful and attractive types of housing available.
Some of the above comments may seem to be daunting but with careful planning and design work and with our help your dream home will be more enjoyable and easier to care for in later years.
It’s important to maintain your log home. It’s likely your biggest investment, so you need to protect it.
Let’s talk about what to maintain, when and how things need to be done.
Exterior Stain Protection
You spent a considerable sum of money on your dream home. So, don’t skimp on one of the most important areas — the exterior!
You can choose from numerous products on the market to protect the exterior of your home. But choose wisely. The top end of the product range will give you 3-5 years before you have to reapply a maintenance coat, depending on where you build and the weather exposure. However the least expensive product will cost you more in the end as you will be reapplying stain every couple of years.
Remember also that the stain is designed to protect against Ultra Violet (UV). Therefore, the lighter the color you choose, the less UV protection, and the more frequently you will reapply.
When to Reapply Stain
Why do it? UV rays are woods worst enemy. As stain ages it breaks down letting in the UV rays that penetrate and attack wood fibre and inviting water damage.
If your stain is intact it will help counter those effects. Fresh stain not only looks good but it is a relatively inexpensive way of protecting your investment.
The simple answer is to use a garden hose ( not a power washer) and hose down your logs 2 or 3 times a summer, this keeps them clean and relatively dust free, dust attracts the UV rays which in turn breaks down the stain. . When the water is applied if the droplets bead up much like polish on a car the ‘All is well’. If the water runs off then you know it is time to reapply your stain!
What to Do about Cracks in the Exterior Walls
If cracks are on the underside of the rounded profile of the log, you don’t need to do much from a maintenance standpoint. But you may wish to fill those for cosmetics.
If, however, they are on the upper side of the log, you’ll need to fill the cracks to stop water and dust infiltration.
Run a bead of ‘Log Builder’ (made by Sashco) into the crack to seal it from the elements. If the crack is really big, put in a strip of ‘Backer Rod’ (a round foam strip that you can find in most hardware stores) to take up most of the space, and then apply the log builder.
Here are a few product suggestions:
Sikkens Oil Based
Permachink Water Based
Sashco Water Based
By following these simple steps you will keep your home looking beautiful for years to come.
Contact us for more tips on the best ways to maintain your log home investment.
One difference between log homes and traditional construction is the concept of thermal mass.
One of the first questions we are asked when customers visit a model home or our booth ant a Log Home Show is “What is the ‘R’ value of your logs?”! We then spend many minutes explaining that the method by which the energy of logs are measured is ‘Thermal Mass’ and not ‘R’ Value.
In this months newsletter we would like to share some of that and give you references so that you can delve deeper in to the subject.
R Value vs. Thermal Mass
‘R’ – value measures a material’s resistance to the transfer of heat from one side to another. Logs have a relatively low resistance to heat transfer as they actually absorb and store heat in their cellular structure. Thus taking a longer period of time to transfer through the material.
Thermal Mass is a material’s capacity to absorb, store and slowly release heat over time.
Back in the early 90’s the Log Home Council (LHC) set out to prove two things.
First, logs have a thermal mass because of their cellular structure , bulk and thickness.
Second, this thermal mass provides significant energy saving benefits because it releases heat back into the house when temperatures drop.
The first study focused on heat loss through the log wall compacted to a conventional framed wall. The finding was that leakage occurred in the same places as a framed house, at the peak of cathedral ceilings, around window and door frames and at tops of walls. It concluded that the leakage was not due to the log walls.
The second study concluded that the thermal mass of log walls does significantly reduce energy use for heating in cold climates.
Therefore, after 13 years the Nations Model Energy Code finally recognized the energy conservation benefits of ‘Thermal Mass’. This recognition was the goal of the LHC a part of the Building Systems Council of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
The homeowner wanted the guest home on his estate to be built from natural wood products, high quality, articulately finished and reasonably priced. AAA Coordinated the entire project and designed the home using a combination of a machined log shell, handcrafted and specialty cut timbers. AAA sourced the rest of the products such as windows, door, hardware, HVAC system, and built in vacuum system from suppliers in B.C.
The owner has found the house conditions so comforting that he has chosen to move into his guest house and has strong testimonies that his health has improved significantly since (asthma improved and allergies reduced). AAA looks forward to working together with this team on a subdivision in the area where up to 50 homes have been preliminarily designed.