Remember that log cabin you had as a kid? The timeless beauty of a log home makes an elegant statement, especialy when situated in rural or semi-rural parts of New Jersey. Also known as timber homes, log homes can be custom homes or assembled from log home kits or log systems. Though custom log homes run a bit more expensive, many of these energy-efficient, natural log structures are comparable in price to a conventional home.
Are log homes built in a factory or on site?
It depends on where you get them from. Some log homes are prefabricated, home kits or log systems, other log home builders cut and build the entire house on-site.
What kind of wood is used for a log home?
Most popular woods used to build timber homes include pine (white pine, red pine, yellow pine, ponderosa pine), cedars (eastern red cedar, western red cedar), cypress, blue spruce, poplar, hemlock, walnut, oak, and poplar.
Does the wood shrink or warp?
The amount of moisture in the wood at the time the house is built determines how susceptible it will be to shrinkage and warping. Building plans are designed to take this into account.
What's the best kind of wood to use for a timber home?
The best wood for building a home comes from the heartwood of a tree, as this contains natural substances which repel insects. Western Red Cedar is a species that is superior to other woods in this respect. Sapwood not only is more prone to insect damage, but it contains more moisture which can cause shrinkage.
Most wood used in timber home construction is farmed, whch means the trees it comes from are relatively young. Dead standing timber (wood from trees that have been dead for 5-20 years) contains the least moisture - typically 11% or less. By comparison, kiln-dried logs contain up to 19% moisture. Moisture in excess of 11% makes a log suceptible to shrinking, warping and checking.
Are log homes energy-efficient?
Log homes are typically insulated as well or better than a traditional home. The thickness of the outer walls creates additional insulation and private studies show that these homes can be up to 33% more energy efficient than conventional homes.
How well do log homes appreciate in value, compared to conventional houses?
Historically, log homes have appreciated above the national average.
Are log homes difficult to maintain?
No, however they do need a little more maintenance than traditional homes to protect them from moisture and damaging insects (carpenter ants, termites, wood-boring beetles).
How do I maintain my new log home?
The most important aspect of maintaining a log home is to keep moisture out. It's crucial to keep keep the stain and sealing in good condition. This can be done with spot touch-ups or re-application of a topcoat annually as needed, and with a full re-staining every 7 years or so.
UV rays can also damage the wood - this is why many log homes are designed with deep overhangs. Pay special attention to the condition of the topcoat on parts which are exposed to the most direct sun and to the ends of the logs.
Keep tree branches and plants out of contact with the building as these can cause a buildup of humidity. Keeping tree branches trimmed will also keep squirrels away from your house!
Be vigilant for signs of insects. These are particularly attracted to dead, damp or rotting wood - store firewood well away from the house, remove dead trees in the vicinity and use gravel instead of wood mulch near your home.
Do log homes meet New Jersey state building codes?
Yes - all new homes in the state of New Jersey must meet the state building codes.
Will my new log home be covered by a warranty?
Yes. ALL new homes in New Jersey must be covered by the state New Home Warranty Program or a comparible private plan.
How can I finance a log home?
Depending on your situation, you will most likely need a construction loan (short term) while the home is being built, followed by a mortgage. Local lenders should be willing to finance your new home, if not there are national lenders who specialize in financing log homes.