Milled, Swedish Cope, Timber Frame and Handcrafted Log Homes: What the Right Choice for You?

Footprint Log and Timber Homes
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.

Swedish Cope
…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.

Have questions? Contact us! We’re happy to help.

How to Compare Different Log Home Packages

Footprint Log and Timber Homes

Comparing Apples to Apples

apples to orangesYou 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.

Photo of log joint
Ask how the logs are joined
Click on the picture for a breakdown of our log package.
Click image for a breakdown of our log package

Tips for the Log Home Planning & Construction Process

Footprint Log and Timber Homes
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.

  • Excavation/footings/basement/sub floor: Allow 4-6 weeks
  • 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.

Featured Floor Plan: McKinley
Click for details

Bedrooms: 4 + loft
Bathrooms: 3.5
Square Footage: 4,878

The 4,878 sq. ft. McKinley offers luxurious living on a grand scale. An open floor plan takes advantage of cathedral ceilings and expansive views.

The ground level includes a kitchen, open living area and separate master bedroom with en-suite bathroom. Optional decks extend the living space around the home.

The second floor offers loft space, plus two more bedrooms. An attached two-car garage also offers the option of a separate apartment on the second floor.

As with any of our plans, this is just a concept and we can customize to suit your needs.

Come and visit us at the Log and Timber Home Show in Denver, Colorado where we can discuss your plans for the home of your dreams.

September 29-Oct 1st at the Denver Mart
Booth number 127

Planning for Retirement in Your Dream Log Home

Sequoia Log Home
Sleeping in hammockThe 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.

Contact us to find out more.