About Avalon Log Homes
Avalon Log Homes - Blending Luxury with Nature Avalon Log Homes is your Log Home connection all over the USA & Canada. Our expert team provides the finest quality log products and planning services to make your dream home become a reality. Log Homes, Custom Homes, Custom Design Services,
Avalon Log Homes was founded by industry veterans and seasoned business
Professionals with close to a century of collective experience and more than 1000
log & conventional homes built. While Avalon Log Homes is certainly not the oldest log home manufacturer in the business, or the biggest, we are absolutely committed to becoming one of the world’s premier log home manufacturers.
Since our inception, we've built our business and strong reputation on a few basic
Core Values that guide everything we do. These include Integrity, Pride, Service,
Stewardship and Quality. Operating in this fashion has helped us grow Avalon Log Homes to be one of the fastest growing, most well respected log home
manufactures in the business.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
This is 2500 square feet luxury log home is built in Mogollon Ranch, Arizona.
Martini Log Home plan features a 3 Bdrm, 2 Bath, Sunroom, two story. The Martini is a design masterpiece that speaks of sophisticated living. If you like wrap around covered porches this one has it. The dramatic front covered entry sets the theme for good things to come. The unique window theme continues into the family room, sunroom, and adjoining kitchen and dining areas resulting in a log home bathed in warm glow of sunlight. The gourmet kitchen and nook, featuring a wonderful layout is perfect for large-scale entertainment or intimate family gatherings. The large upstairs master bedroom suite is situated for extra privacy. The master suite offers everything you have always wanted. You will find this home loaded with all the latest design ideas. See photos of this home in our photo gallery.
This log home includes log accents & 10 inch log siding. See this Martini floor plan at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/floor-plans/martini-log-home
To view a video of this home go to:
Sunday, November 22, 2009
Check out our Log Home of the Month - Powers Log Home Plan at
To view a video of this home go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqkyg2bZdjY
This Powers Log Home features a great open design. Included is 4 Bdrm, 3 Bath two story with full wrap around porch. The gallery kitchen features lots of cabinets. This plan radiates a warm comfortable feeling through its bright open design. The kitchen, dining & living areas flow together which proves to be functional and elegant. The large master bedroom suite is situated for extra privacy and offers everything you have always wanted. Interesting gables accent the exterior of this great traditional family log home.
2578 square feet total.
Thursday, November 12, 2009
Saturday, October 31, 2009
Weather Considerations not Usually Considered in Log Home Design and Construction
Reblogged from LHOTI
By Kim Elmore, PhD.
Kim Elmore received his B.S., M.S., and PhD. in meteorology from the University of Oklahoma. He has done extensive research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO, and worked at NOAA's National Severe Storms Laboratory. See end of article for a better glimpse of our resident PhD.
As a research meteorologist who specializes in severe weather, I thought long and hard about severe weather as we designed our log home. A colleague once put the problems severe weather pose as follows: it’s not the odds, it’s the size of the bet! Most information about how weather affects homes details the problems of making the home weather-tight, insulation properties, heat loads, etc. These items mainly refer to HVAC considerations. But weather is much more than seasonal averages, or even seasonal extremes, such as the 90th percentile of low or high temperatures. My concern here is with severe weather: the stuff that gets your NOAA weather radio beeping, or your local TV meteorologist showing off their radar. Here I’ll discuss mainly wind survival. Note that I’m not a structural engineer: make sure you work with one who understands your concerns.
On 3 May 1999, a complex of tornadic storms traversed Oklahoma and Kansas, killing 49 people and leveling entire neighborhoods. In the Oklahoma City metropolitan area alone, thousands of homes were destroyed. Damage ranged from F3 (roofs and some walls torn off well-constructed houses; trains overturned; most trees in forests uprooted; heavy cars lifted off the ground and thrown) to F5 (strong frame houses leveled off foundations and swept away; automobile-sized missiles fly through the air in excess of 100 meters; trees debarked; incredible phenomena). FEMA commissioned a Building Performance Assessment Report to examine the nature of the damage. Their report is contained online at http://www.fema.gov/library/viewRecord.do?id=1423. At 200 pages, the report is thorough, covering both residential and commercial structures. In this brief write-up, I’ll cover only the highlights of what was learned in making that report and how it might affect your home design.
No log homes were mentioned in the report and I know of none that were in the damage path. However, the historic Tri-Cities tornado of March 18, 1925 did pass over many log homes. Subsequent research showed that these homes typically remained intact, losing only their roofs. All other homes were typically destroyed. Some of these log homes remain intact to this day. Local residents attributed log home survival to their spiked construction and heavy log walls.
What about safe rooms? A safe room is a structure that is built to be independent of the rest of the home. It is your last refuge in the event of a tornado. In most cases, a log wall at least 8” thick is as strong as the wall of a safe room, but the problem of missiles remains: they probably won’t penetrate the walls with any remaining energy, but they will come through the windows and, while not posing a structural issue, they do pose a survival issue. Safe rooms protect the occupants from wind-borne missiles. Without a safe room or storm cellar, you must find someplace in your home where you will be protected well. Yet, your home must also protect you from severe weather short of a strong tornado. This is where proper engineering and careful thought come into play.
In typical frame construction, the walls and roof form an integrated structure. In severe wind storms, the roof is usually separated from the walls, at which point the walls fail and the entire structure collapses. Log homes have self-supporting walls and so will probably remain intact should the roof be separated from the walls. However, there are things that every log home owner should do if they live anyplace where high winds might occur in severe weather (this includes wind storms such as Chinooks and boras). While your home is very unlikely to suffer a tornadic onslaught, it is likely to endure winds of up to 100 mph anywhere that thunderstorms occur. Along the Gulf and southeast coasts, hurricane winds are also a significant threat.
First and foremost: maintain a continuous load path from the roof joists/trusses/rafters all the way to the ground. And make sure that it terminates in something (like a stem wall) that will not be pulled out of the ground. You can accomplish this with hurricane clips, straps, or any number of other methods.
Simply keep in mind that the forces involved will tend to lift the roof, so you must use a method that will not fail under tension.
Nails and screws must not be prone to pull out: these attachment methods are strongest in shear and weakest in tension. One obvious exception to this are the long screws used to build up a log wall in a milled log home: by design, these are quite strong under tensile loads.
Regardless of building codes, the first course of all external log walls should be attached to the stem wall with J-type bolts set in the concrete, though there may be alternative fasteners such as continuous through-bolts. The next course should be attached to the bottom course with screws intended for log applications, and so on. Roof trusses, joists, or rafters must then be attached to the last course of logs such that they will not easily be pulled free. When more than one floor is involved, how the load path is maintained depends on the construction method. In our milled log home, the second floor is attached with large screws and specialized clips to the top course of logs, and all subsequent external framing is attached to this floor using hurricane clips.
Another important consideration is outbuildings: make sure your outbuildings are as wind-resistant as possible. Many structures fail under otherwise survivable winds because of wind-born missiles. Imagine how much damage a few 2x4 studs could do if hurled at 100-150 mph at your house. And in all cases, it’s best to have your home engineered with continuous load paths and wind survivability in mind.
Assuming you have succeeded in building your house with a continuous load path, the next consideration is siting. The most common roof failure mode in and around the Oklahoma City area was overpressure due to garage door collapse. In these cases, the garage door collapsed inward due to strong winds. This created a large opening that was pressurized by the wind. This pressurizes not only the garage but any attached structures and so lifts the roof off of the walls. Large garage doors, such as those used for single-door two-car garages, are particularly vulnerable. In addition to the door itself failing, the rails on which it runs are also subject to failure: these must be reinforced with wind survivability in mind. In our case, we have a detached two-car garage (a failed garage door will result in damage to only the roof of the garage) with two single doors that face north. Single doors have twice the fastening to the structure and are far less likely to buckle.
In most of North America, strong straight-line (non-tornadic) winds will typically have a south-westerly to westerly component. This is because the strongest thunderstorms tend to be associated with south west to west winds aloft and thunderstorms have the ability to bring these winds to the surface. Strong surface winds can occur from other directions (the Santa Ana winds of California are easterly and microburst winds can be from any direction) but the very strongest winds are routinely south westerly and westerly. Hurricanes are the exception: the strongest winds are always in the onshore flow. Along the Gulf coast, these winds will be southerly, but on the East coast they will be easterly.
So, avoid exposing any particularly vulnerable structural components to these winds. Vulnerable components include not only garage doors but also large windows.
A north-facing garage means that any ice accumulation will be slow to melt, because of the low sun angle in winter. A more winter-dominant climate would have to deal with ice and snow buildup on the north side of the garage. Yet, in the southern plains we are nearly assured of seeing 100 mph winds over a 20 yrs period. A slick driveway is far less inconvenient that a destroyed home.
Our home was built in an exposed area, well clear of any trees. However, our previous home (milled yellow pine logs fastened with spikes) was nestled in the trees, on the northeast side of a northwest-southeast ridge. We seldom experienced strong winds there. Trees will indeed lessen the damage wind can do to your home, as long as you are well within the trees. They may fall on your home, but they will also significantly lessen the strength of even tornadic winds and so protect you and your home to some extent.
Keep these ideas in mind as you plan and build your home. If in doubt, contact your local National Weather Service Forecast Office and learn about historical wind damage in your area.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Check out our Log Home of the Month- Springdale Plan at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/floor-plans/springdale
To view a video of this home go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6lV7P3Oi8Z8
This Springdale Model is one of our most popular log homes. This plan radiates a warm comfortable feeling through its bright open design. The kitchen, dining & living areas flow together which proves to be functional and elegant. This 3 bedroom 2.5 bath 1-1/2 story with optional basement plan offers all the extra special touches. The family room with a huge full glass prow is enhanced by a stunning fireplace. Inside, the well-integrated main living areas are geared for the views to the back patio, which is the perfect complement to the views beyond.
2280 square feet total.
Saturday, October 3, 2009
Borates for Custom Log Homes
By Greg Steckler
Let’s talk for a bit about borate treatments for your log home or cabin. If you’ve never heard of them, you are probably asking, why would I want it? Well, do you hate the thought of termites of all kinds eating at your house? How about Carpenter ants, Old House Borer beetles, powder beetles, and post beetles? Finally, how about Brown Rot, White Rot, mold, mildew and other wood decaying fungi? I didn’t think so. You know, borates can and do kill all the above insects and organisms. Sound a little more interesting now? Let’s get started.
What is borate? Disodium octaborate tetrahydrate, or DOT, (no not THAT DOT, this one
really works!) is a borate salt compound that is formed from a union of boric acid and borax. This is the most common form of borate used in log home treatments. Various name brands of water based borate solutions are available, such as Armor-Guard, Timbor, Penetreat, Board Guard, and others. There are also several glycol based solutions, such as Bora-Care and Shell Guard. Finally, there are oil based and solid forms of the product, sold as rods that can be inserted into logs in your log home and provide long term protection.
How do borates work? Borates are toxic to both insects and fungus species. One way the borate works is that it disrupts the enzyme system of the insect and destroys the
microflora in the stomach of the insect, thus disallowing food digestion. Borates also affect the enzyme system of fungi. Finally, the active ingredient is a contact toxicant to fungus.
How do I apply it? First of all, it’s important to realize that the borate needs to soak as far into the wood as possible. There can be no stain or other finish on the wood when the borate is applied. The best way to prep for borate is to cob blast the wood, making it even more porous. Every borate manufacturer has different methods of application and a special focus on what their product will do. Let’s look at them as groups, and not brand names.
First, you have your glycol based treatments. These are marketed more for termite and
other very long term applications. Check out www.Nisuscorp.com and
www.permachink.com for more info on each of these. Typically, these are mixed with warm or hot water and spray applied to saturation. The glycol is very good at pulling the active ingredients deep into the wood, where only saturation with water will remove them.
Second, there are water based solutions. You’ll buy these as a powder in some size pail. So many scoops to the gallon, and again, you are spray applying these onto the wood surfaces you want to protect. Protection is good near the surface, about a quarter inch or so. A hard rain will wash it off, which is why you need to coat the wood soon after with a stain/sealer.
Third, there are borate rods. Cobra Rods and Impel Rods are the most popular. These
rods are made for high risk areas of your log cabin, such as log ends that get a lot of
splashing water on them, or protrude out past the overhang. A hole is drilled, the rod inserted, and a plug tapped into place. If the log gets wet, the borate will diffuse into the surrounding wood, protecting it from rot.
Finally, taking into account that many borate treatments are applied specifically for the purpose of protection log homes, which will require a sealing stain treatment anyway to lock in the borate, there are a few companies working on a penetrating oil based application of borate, which will allow other ingredients such as base color pigments to be introduced deep into the wood as a conditioning step, after which a positive curing top coat is applied to “lock in” the borate.
While borate solutions are very good for pretreatments before staining the wood on your house, they only help prevent mold and mildew from forming UNDER the stain layer.
They do NOTHING about mold or mildew on the surface of the stain. Only a periodic
cleaning will remove that mold or mildew, and borate treatments should never be viewed or presented to a consumer by a restoration contractor as a way to avoid regular maintenance.
Originally appeared in the column, The Log Home Corner and reprinted here by
permission from the author, Rich Littlefield.
Rich Littlefield has been in the log home restoration industry for almost a decade. In addition to using almost every commercially available stain in the area, he has developed a stain system that addresses concerns found specifically in the Southeast geographic region. He has given restoration and maintenance seminars at various log home shows and manufacturer sponsored events. He also offers maintenance seminars and plans for Home Owners Associations, commercial complexes, and individuals. Finally he is fully involved in consulting, evaluations, and offering restoration services and supplies.
See this and other articles at http://www.avalonloghomes.com
Sunday, September 20, 2009
I found this fascinating quote today:
Log Cabins in America date back to the early 1600's when European settlers fashioned simple structures from the abundant virgin forest lands of the New World. Utilitarian in their design, these early Log Cabins were long on function and practicality but short on modern day habitability. Yet, over the years, these primitive Log Cabins and their decedents have managed to win a place in the hearts of millions of Americans.Avalonloghomes, Avalon Log Homes, Sep 2009
You should read the whole article.
Learning About Log Cabins
Log Cabins in America date back to the early 1600's when European settlers fashioned simple structures from the abundant virgin forest lands of the New World. Utilitarian in their design, these early Log Cabins were long on function and practicality but short on modern day habitability. Yet, over the years, these primitive Log Cabins and their decedents have managed to win a place in the hearts of millions of Americans.
Though, the premise of using logs to construct the cabin's shell remains the same today as it was in the Seventeenth Century, today's Log Cabins have evolved into highly efficient, structurally superior modern-day masterpieces.
Prospective log cabin owners will find there are two main types of log cabins to choose from-Milled and Handcrafted Log homes. Though most log home companies feature only one type of log cabin, Avalon Log Homes proudly offers both milled and handcrafted log cabins.
A milled log cabin is the product of an automated manufacturing process that converts raw logs into a precision milled product of exacting dimensions and profiles. Milled log cabins typically feature an interlocking mechanism that allows manufactured logs to fit snugly when stacked. Likewise, milled log cabins allow for several different corner styles and log lengths.
Unlike a milled log cabin, a handcrafted log cabin represents the time-honored art of logsmithing. These handmade homes are constructed using many of the same practices as those employed by early American and European logsmiths centuries ago. Using mostly hand tools, logsmiths cut and shape logs from carefully selected trees so that each log fits perfectly on top of each other. As such, the logs used in a handcrafted log cabin retain many of the individual characteristics of the tree they once were and are generally more rustic looking than milled logs.
Constructing a home using Log Siding has grown in popularity in recent years. Unlike milled or handcrafted log cabins, log siding is combined with conventional stud framing and insulation to create the look and feel of a log home without using full logs.
When setting out to purchase a log cabin, buyers often mistake a log home materials package for all the components required to construct a finished log home. The reality is that because there is no real standard within the log cabin industry, buyers may find it challenging to conduct an apples-to-apples comparison of competing companies' materials packages.
Avalon Log Homes offers two standard material packages for prospective homeowners to choose from. These include a Log Walls & Gables Package and a Standard Weathertight Shell. To simplify, this process, Avalon Log Homes has created an easy to follow Materials Package Matrix to help prospective homeowners understand and compare Avalon Log Home's materials packages with others.
Log cabins are constructed using a variety of tree species and no one is necessarily better than another. Several factors, including environmental conditions, structural requirements, homeowner preference, availability and cost of course, often combine to create a shortlist of most commonly used species. Avalon Log Homes offers its clients the ability to build using any species of wood, but mostly uses the following species: Douglas Fir, Engelmann Spruce, Hemlock, Larch, Lodgepole Pine, Ponderosa Pine and Western Red Cedar.
Common to all tree species is their susceptibility to shrink, once harvested. Shrinkage in wood occurs when its moisture content reduces to match the humidity of the surrounding environment. Though some species are thought to be less prone to shrinkage than others, all wood used in log home construction will experience some degree of shrinkage.
Though shrinkage is a natural process that often poses no structural concern to logs in their raw form, building with logs that contain high moisture content (or green logs) can present serious structural problems if shrinkage is not properly accounted for. Because shrinkage can cause log walls to settle over time (sometimes considerably), engineers and builders must take steps to manage this settling so that is does not compromise the structural integrity or functionality of the cabin.
As a proactive measure, Log cabin manufactures employ a variety of different methods of drying wood to accelerate the shrinkage process prior to building. Kiln-drying and dead standing are the most commonly used methods. Avalon Log Homes uses the dead standing drying method, which utilizing trees that have been killed but have not been cut down. Because the trees are generally standing dead for a number of years, much if not all of the shrinkage has already occurred and thus less is likely to occur in the constructed log cabin.
Also common to all tree species is their susceptibility to insects, weathering and decay. As organic material, wood in its original state is a product of nature and is subject to its laws. Once harvested, wood naturally begins to decay and without some form of preservation will steadily decompose until it is reduced to organic matter and is consumed by new plant growth.
Modern day wood preservatives allow us to slow this process to a near glacier pace and thus postpone wood's demise for a good century or so. Especially significant to log home owners whose exterior shell is exposed wood, the use of proper preservative treatments throughout the home's lifetime will mean the difference between a home that lasts for generations or a decaying mass of plant food.
Log cabins, if manufactured and built correctly, offer comparable to superior energy efficiency versus conventional framed homes. Numerous independent studies have proven that log walls possess especially high thermal mass which makes them as energy-efficient as any well insulated frame wall and superior to most. Unlike R-value, the traditional measure of energy efficiency, thermal mass is a material's capacity to conduct, store and release heat over time given significant variances in temperature. Most notable of these studies was over a decade long study conducted by Log Homes Council (a division of the National Association of Home Builders). This and other studies have confirmed what many log cabin owners have know for years; log cabin stays cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.
See this and other articles at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/custom-log-home-plans-cabins
Sunday, September 13, 2009
Dead Standing Timber for Stability in Luxury Log Homes
High in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, vast tracts of timber have been killed by periodic beetle epidemics. The beetles kill green trees, but do not harm the wood, leaving a tree dead but still standing and sound. There, at high altitudes, where the humidity is low and the precipitation is mostly snow, trees stand for years, sometimes decades. Over time, this dry climate and natural curing process thoroughly dries dead-standing trees.
Dry wood is necessary for dimensionally stable lumber and house logs. Wood used in conventional home construction is dried, usually by kiln or air drying. This process works fine for lumber and boards, but with sizable pieces of wood, such as house logs, the results are far from satisfactory. While kiln or air drying logs yields a certain degree of dryness, it's difficult to dry large house logs all the way to the center by duplicating the natural aging process.
All logs shrink, warp, and crack to some extent during the drying and aging process. With Avalon Log Homes “ALH” Logs, the shrinkage and warpage have already occurred before the logs are used in your house. Our house logs, made from dead-standing timber, are stable.
By building with ALH Logs, you get benefits in both in the long run with the stability of your home, and in the short run ‹ with labor and freight savings due to lighter weight.
House logs from dead-standing timber greatly simplify every phase of construction. Builders using green logs must take extraordinary precautions to allow for settling and shrinking. Openings for doors and windows are built oversized and with special designs so that over the years the settling logs do not press down on windows and doors. Hundreds of joints have to be routed and splined to prevent gaps as the house ages and to keep logs from splitting. Corner systems have to be engineered to keep corners from separating.
With ALH Logs made from dead-standing timber, we don't have to make these allowances for drying and aging wood because our logs have been thoroughly cured before they are ever used in a house. ALH Log Home construction is simple and straightforward, practical for do-it-yourself builders or professionals, and much less labor-intensive than green construction.
We are one of the few log manufacturers who qualify to use the word "dry" on our gradestamp, indicating moisture content of less than 19%. Fact is, most of the house logs we mill are less than 14% moisture content.
See this and other luxury log home articles at http://www.avalonloghomes.com
Thermal Mass Benefits of Luxury Log Homes
The nation's Model Energy Code finally recognizes the energy-conservation benefits of thermal mass. After 13 years, the LHC's claim a log wall's thermal mass makes it as energy efficient as a well-insulated frame wall has been acknowledged. The situation could be cause for adopting an "I told you so" attitude, but that won't happen. "The Log Homes Council (LHC) doesn't feel smug, it just feels vindicated," says Barbara Martin, LHC's executive director.
The situation in question is the fact the nation's Model Energy Code finally recognizes the energy-conservation benefits of thermal mass. This is a victory for the LHC. After 13 years, its claim a log wall's thermal mass makes it as energy efficient as a well-insulated frame wall has been acknowledged. Achieving this acceptance has been a major goal for the LHC, a part of the Building Systems Councils of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/thermal-mass
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Selecting Windows for Log Homes
Selecting windows for a log home is one of the most important decisions to be made.
Window locations should be selected based on the views that one needs to present. Some
window locations are required due to code requirements such as egress windows in
When planning a log home it is common for people to not put enough thought into selecting their windows. Choosing windows is an important task, because they will not only affect your home’s looks, they’ll play a major role in its energy efficiency.
See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/documents/Selecting%20Windows%20for%20Log%20Homes.pdf
Making Allowances for Settlement in Luxury Log Homes
By Jim Cooper of Log Homes Made Easy Online
For Luxury Log Homes, wood shrinkage and the resulting settlement and movement are not problems but characteristics of working with a natural material. Shrinkage only becomes a problem when the manufacturer, builder or home owner fails to recognize or respect it. I would much rather have a log home made from logs with 30 or even 40 percent moisture content, that is designed and built with full recognition of that fact, than a house made from logs at 20 percent moisture content, designed and constructed in denial that any more shrinkage or settlement will take place.
How much shrinkage or settlement are we actually talking about? I certainly hope that no one expects a log home to drop down around their ears from settlement. While it is important and under certain conditions even critical, most settlement and shrinkage concerns are more for energy efficiency, maintenance time and expense and construction quality than for structural integrity. The basic engineering of a log home makes for a strong house that can withstand a great deal of design and construction abuse.
See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/allowances-settlements
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Log Cabins and Termites
By Log Home Builders Association
Many people erroneously believe that log homes are very susceptible to termite infestation and damage. In reality one could argue that log homes are less susceptible to such damage than stick framed homes - especially if preventative measures are taken during the construction of your log home.
Let's first look at the real reason that termites can cause so much damage to a stick frame home. With a stick frame home they can enter into wall cavities undetected. A termite infestation unseen is a termite infestation untreated. Once in the cavity the termites remain unseen, nibbling, chewing, breeding, and generally ruining your home.
Over a 5 to 10 year span you might find many structural supports within an infected home to be significantly damaged and weakened. Often the first sign of such damage is when the homeowner goes to replace a piece of sheet rock during a small remodel - and that small remodel soon turns into a full scale renovation or even a demolition.
See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-termites
Pouring Concrete During Cold Weather for Log Cabins
By: Log Home Builders Association
Sometimes, out of necessity or eagerness, you may start working on the foundation of
your log home in the middle of winter. Pouring concrete during cold weather can be a
little tricky, because pouring concrete in freezing temperatures can cause serious
problems. If you really want to pour concrete in winter there are some easy precautions
you can take in order to help ensure that you’ll end up with a rock solid foundation.
First off, let’s talk about what can happen if you pour concrete in cold weather without
taking any precautions. Concrete cures through a chemical process that both creates and
requires heat. If it cools too rapidly, due to cold weather, it can be seriously weakened
(not desirable). You can also end up with fractures in your foundation caused by water
freezing within the concrete, or can have spalling problems.
Generally the kind of cold weather that can negatively impact freshly poured concrete is
3 consecutive days of 40 F or below (average temp). Even if the temp is bouncing
between the 40’s and 50’s you might still have problems. Effective communication with
your concrete supplier, and checking your local weather report, should give you the
definitive answer as to whether or not you’ll need to take extra precautions against cold
weather at the time of your pour.
If you do end up needing to pour concrete in cold weather, then there are several different
precautions you may want to take:
1) There are ‘anti-freeze like’ admixtures that can be effective at stopping the water
within concrete from freezing. Such an admixture will extend the temperature range in
which concrete can effectively cure.
2) Air-entrainment admixtures also help concrete deal with low temperatures by trapping
tiny air bubbles within the mix, which in theory gives the freezing water someplace to
gather without damaging your foundation.
3) A load of concrete can also be heated prior to leaving the yard. Starting out at a
higher temp means it’ll stay warmer longer and can resist the cooling action of the cold
weather long enough to form a good, solid set.
4) You can also request a mix of concrete that has extra cement added to it. That can
help the mix quickly develop the strength needed to handle freezing temperatures.
5) Order a ‘drier’ mix of concrete. Since there will be less moisture within the mix that
can freeze, the freezing effects of the temperatures will have less of an effect.
6) Use insulating blankets or insulated boxes to cover your foundation or pier blocks.
This will help trap in the heat of the concrete preventing it from cooling too quickly. You
can also use a ‘heated box’ of some sort if the weather is really cold.
When pouring in cold weather your concrete supplier will likely recommend one or more
of the above precautions. Pay attention to what the supplier recommends, because after
all they are the one who will be most familiar with what works best in your area – at the
time of year your doing your pour.
While waiting for spring or summer may make the construction process easier, working
on your foundation in winter is sometimes possible provided you take appropriate steps.
Be sure to talk with your concrete supplier about what precautions to take.
For additional information you can check out the following resources:
See this and more articles at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-information-news-technology
STAINING DO’S AND DON’TS FOR YOUR LUXURY LOG HOMES
By Michigan Wood Products
Proper preparation of your log siding product before staining, as well as the staining procedure itself, can ensure that your finished logs or log siding exceeds your expectations or the expectations of your client. Here are some valuable tips for the proper preparation of the wood, and application of wood staining products.
Log Quality is Critical: The sap-ring in log measures 2/3 the diameter of the tree trunk. .
Sap causes what is typically seen as a blued or black blotches on the wood -- even with
the very best of stain applications! ALL the sapwood should be pulled aside during the
drying and milling process. Simply stated, using inferior log siding products milled from
sapwood may be inexpensive to begin with, but in the long run will cost more time and
effort to maintain and will result in less satisfaction with the appearance of the home.
Prepare the Log Siding: Use a TSP wash (Tri Sodium Phosphate) to open up the
cellular structure of the wood so the stain will penetrate further into the grain.
Stain Quality: It’s always best to research the different stain qualities available at your
local stain store. Check online to make sure you are getting the quality you want for the
money you want to spend. There are a wide range of products, and of course, the best
products are the most expensive. Even a quality stain will not wear well if preparation is
inadequate or sun exposure is excessive. Look for guarantees and for stain life
expectancies as published by the manufacturer. Follow all manufacturers’
recommendations for product preparation and stain application.
Stain Application: Stain doesn’t go on like a coating of paint and doesn’t function like
paint in the protection of your log siding product. Unlike paint, stain is designed to soak
into the wood. Two healthy coats of stain back-brushed into the wood itself are much
better than one heavy coat of stain, which sits on the surface. If you apply your stain like
a thick coat of paint, the stain will ultimately chip, crack and peal.
Color Choice: The predominant enemy of stain is the UV rays of the sun. Lighter stain
colors will fail faster than darker stain colors because UV rays penetrate further into the
lighter colored product.
Limit Sun Exposure: If you are still designing your home, you might want to position
your home in relation to the sun in order to minimize sun exposure. It’s always good to
have an 18 – 24 inch overhanging soffit on your roof to keep your log siding out of the
sun as much as possible.
See this and more articles at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-information-news-technology
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
Landscaping Your New Log Home
The landscape of your home goes deeper than the roots of your plants. Proper drainage is essential to your landscape. Before you even begin to think about plants and flowers, your site will need to be graded for good drainage. Surfaces like driveways, patios and walkways should also slope away from your home to keep rainwater from running off into your foundation.
You'll need to handle rainwater on your site through downspouts that correctly funnel water away from your home.
In some areas, irrigation is a concern. If you live in one of these areas, you'll need to plan ahead for a system that waters your lawn and landscape, or use xeriscaping, a landscape system that employs plants with lower demands for water and fertilizer.
See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-landscaping
Decorating Your New Log Home
The overall livability of your new Avalon log home has as much to do, if not more, with how it's decorated as it does with its design and construction. Anyone who has ever built a new home can tell you that the demands of the design and building processes can easily result in decor planning taking an unfortunate back seat. In an effort to ensure that your Avalon log home is as cozy on the inside as it is impressive everywhere else, we've assembled the following information, courtesy of Log Home Living, to assist you with your decorating strategy. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-decor-decorating
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Finding Luxury Log Homes Builders
The relationship between you and builder should be one of trust & comfort. You must be able to trust your builder and feel comfortable with the choice you made.
Avalon Log Homes partners with only exceptional quality builders and holds them to strict standards of quality and conduct. Unlike most companies, Avalon's extensive network of authorized dealers is comprised of mostly seasoned builders. As an Avalon Log Homes homeowner, you can be assured that our builders are some of the finest in the business. Prospective log homeowners who are currently sourcing qualified builder should consider the following guide courtesy of Avalon Log Homes. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-builders-construction
Financing Options for New Luxury Log Homes
Though certainly no small task for most, securing the financing funds required to pay for your log home project is certainly not insurmountable thanks to the numerous log home financing options available today. In fact, log home financing options have greatly expanded over the last few years, despite the claims of naysayer's (see Log Home Myths). The following information, courtesy of The Log Home Council, discusses recent developments within the log home financing market. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-financing-cabins
Full Log Gables on Luxury Log Homes (Yes or No)
Full log gables on milled projects is a source of much debate in the log home industry.
Recently, Avalon Log Homes took up this issue and analyzed the pros and cons
of both options. Following much thought and research, Avalon Log Homes
has chosen to offer log sided gables as the standard and full log gables as
“The decision was based both on feedback we received from dealers
and our capability to mill siding product to match the wall logs” said Roy Williams, Production Manager of Avalon Log Homes. “By going with siding vs. full
logs, we’re able to reduce the settling concerns and allows us to be more competitive too” Williams added.
Clarence Pond, Avalon Log Homes Mgr. of Operations cautions that
builders take special care when framing gable-ends to ensure the installed
siding will be flush with the wall logs. Detailed instructions regarding the
installation of gable and dormer siding are included in Avalon Log Homes Construction Manual.
For more information regarding this and other luxury log homes information go to http://www.avalonloghomes.com
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Learning About Log Homes
Log Homes in America date back to the early 1600's when European settlers fashioned simple structures from the abundant virgin forest lands of the New World. Utilitarian in their design, these early Log Homes were long on function and practicality but short on modern day habitability. See rest of article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-home-guides
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Planning and Budgeting For Log Homes
The first step to building your dream home is to create a realistic construction budget based on what you can comfortably afford. In some cases, this may require modifying the floor plan or the overall design to meet your limitations. Keep in mind that this needs to be a realistic and attainable number (don't look at $500,000 projects if all you can afford is $150,000) and don't be afraid to be conservative with your estimate at first. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/planning-log-homes-budgeting
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Wood Species and Characteristics for Luxury Log Homes
At Avalon Log Homes, we offer several different styles of logs, including milled handcrafted and half-log siding. We most typically use standing dead timber that has been harvested high in the Rockies. This means that our logs have already been dried by Mother Nature. We predominantly use Douglas fir, Engelman spruce and lodge pole pine. Our logs are approximately 14 – 16% moisture content. This low moisture content greatly reduces checking (cracking) and settling. It is unlikely that our logs will develop unexpected twisting and deformities. Our wall log diameters measure 6”, 7”, 8”, 9”, 10”, and 12” (other diameters available upon request). We also offer milled or handcrafted beam length logs available for purlins, trusses, porch posts, and other such uses.
Following is a brief discussion about logs:
Wood Species and Characteristics as written in the ILBA Land to Lock up Manual
The log home: by definition, logs are the single most predominant characteristic of these log homes, and the very reason builders and owners alike, are drawn to this form of construction. What could be more natural? The appeal of logs is apparent to all log homebuilders and owners. Visitors to log structures are immediately drawn to touch the logs, soothed by their strength and character. (How often do you see people caress drywall?)
The longevity and strength of logs is evidenced in the well-built log structures of Norway and Russia, which are still standing proud and true after more than 800 years. The integrity of the structural design is essential to a long-lived legacy, and a careful look at structural components is critical. The choice of what logs to use is also an important consideration, and it is worth understanding the differences and characteristics of various species.
Different building styles can dictate what types of logs are used. Handcrafted log homebuilders select logs based on an extensive list of characteristics. Different species may be superior for certain joinery techniques, building design, and structural performance. Geographic location (where the logs are going to, or where they are coming from) might also be a consideration in wood selection. Weight bearing logs such as wall logs, floor joists, roof rafters, purlins and truss components usually require engineering and some species are better suited for these structural requirements.
The log builder, presented with the task of selecting appropriate wood for a project, needs to consider what lengths are required, what the average mid-span diameter is, what is the amount of taper the logs have and what maximum butt size and minimum top size are acceptable.
Midspan size of log diameter will contribute to the thermal performance; the larger the log, the greater the “R” value attributed to it, based on formulations attributed to various species of wood. Depending on climatic requirements and local building regulations, a minimum log diameter will be required. Based on an average R 1.5 per inch of log diameter, coupled with the extent and integrity of joinery between the log surfaces, a minimum 10” log is an acceptable norm for log diameters in colder climates.
One might, however, use logs of smaller diameter if the purpose of the building is, for example, a summer cottage.
No matter how dry the logs are, all log structures must be built to accommodate shrinkage and settling. Whether building with seasoned wood, dead standing, green, winter cut, or kiln dried, a knowledgeable log builder builds according to moisture content, anticipation and allowing for movement in response to the drying and seasoning process with allocations for shrinkage and settling of logs.
As wood fiber loses moisture, cell walls shrink and collapse, which can reduce the overall diameter of a log by as much as 6%. This factor, accumulated over the finished height of a log wall, as well as through door and window openings and structural support points, must be accommodated.
Moisture gain and loss can also be affected by roof overhangs, proper elevation from grade, and treatment to the wood surfaces with effective stains and preservatives. Controlling moisture content of the logs is important. A surface stain or preservative must allow the logs to breath and expel excess moisture; otherwise an environment for rot and decay is created. In some very arid areas, humidity should be introduced into a log home in order to stabilize wood fibers as well as to slow down the drying process and avoid radical checking.
In cold climates, logs react differently during the seasonal changes. Warm interior log walls may dry out. Meanwhile the outside surfaces remain frozen and do not continue losing moisture until the hot summer sun beats down. Unless the log building is constructed from dead standing or kiln dried logs, this see-saw process of moisture balancing can continue for a number of years before the wood stabilizes.
Most handcrafted log builders prefer to work with green wood, preferably winter-cut (when the sap is still down in the roots). Green logs are more easily crafted and a skilled builder will calculate moisture loss and its effects and will build to compensate for shrinkage and settling.
Since seasoned fire-killed, kiln-dried, or dead-standing timber is more difficult for handcrafters to work with, it is often preferred for use in chinked log wall structures where less work is required on the laterals. Dead standing and kiln-dried wood can also be used in full scribe work. While “dry” wood does settle less it will still lose moisture and the log builder must anticipate and build accordingly.
“A rose by any other name is still a rose.” One of the greatest discussions between builders, and perhaps, one of the questions we are most frequently asked by our clients; is what species of wood should be used. Cost plays a role in choosing wood species, but it is not the most important factor, since all species have their own desirable traits.
Geographic location and forest ecosystem bear the greatest influence on log selection. Primarily softwoods are chosen due to their superior “R” factor, ease of handling, straightness of grain, and availability. Cedars, Pine, Spruce, Fir, and Larch are all commonly used as building logs, and each has different qualities. Western Red Cedar contains turpentine’s within its resins thus rendering it more rot resistant, and it does not check or shrink as drastically as other species. Douglas fir is heralded for its superior density, if it lacks in simple “R” value, it is made up for in structural performance. Spruce is valued for its light color, and while it may not match the qualities of Douglas fir for structural loading, it is none the less an excellent choice of building log.
For more information please contact:
Avalon Log Homes (208) 463-8668 www.avalonloghomes.com
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
A Discussion of How Logs Are Graded for Luxury Log Homes
The following information is compiled from various articles courtesy of Avalon Log Homes (208) 463-8668 www.avalonloghomes.com:
**Avalon Log Homes uses Wall Log 40, or better.**
Logs are graded by visual inspection. All of the factors, such as knots, slope of grain, checks and splits, decay, holes, etc. that affect the strength of a log are taken into consideration when assigning the grade. These strength altering factors, or “defects,” found during visual inspection result in the assigned grade.
The list of defects include the following: burl, checks, compression wood, decay, edge, holes, knots, manufacturing imperfections, pitch, pitch streak, pockets, shake, slope of grain, splits, trim, wane, warp, and others.
Each grade has an “allowed design stress value,” which is used by engineers and architects to choose the appropriate species, size and grade of log for the application being considered. It is also used by local code officials to assure them that the logs meet the building code requirements.
WHAT ARE THE GRADES AND WHAT DO THEY MEAN ?
Timber Products Inspection is a national grading agency which has established a grading program. Their program establishes the grade restrictions for each grade for wall logs. The grades are, from highest to lowest: Premium, Select, Rustic, Wall Log 40, Wall Log 30 and Wall Log 27.
“Slope of Grain” is one of the restrictions used in determining grades. Slope of Grain is a measure of the degree of twist evident in the log. This is measured by the amount of grain twist in a given distance down the length of the log. For example, 1 in 12, means the grain moved away from the axis of the log one inch in a distance of twelve inches.
Using this factor as an example of the progressive relaxation of the restriction you will find the following pattern. In the Premium grade the restriction for Slope of Grain is 1 in 12; in the Select grade it is 1 in 10; in the Rustic grade it is 1 in 8; in the Wall Log 40 grade it is 1 in 6; in the Wall Log 30 grade it is 1 in 5.
Since Slope of Grain is measuring the twist that developed in the log while it was alive and growing, it is, in effect, predicting the risk that the log will “untwist” and the degree to which it will untwist. A Slope of Grain of 1 in 12 indicates a very low risk the log will untwist and if it does the movement will be very minimal. On the other hand, a Slope of Grain of 1 in 5 indicates a likeliness to untwist and to move considerably while doing so. If this log is in the middle of your living room wall and it moves significantly it is likely something unwanted will occur, such as a gap in the wall allowing air and water to penetrate.
In each of the restrictions affecting the grade of a log you will find a similar progressive relaxation of the restriction, thus allowing greater risk of potential unwanted results or performance of the log over time.
Although the grades and restrictions are technical and quantitative their importance to the homeowner are their usefulness in assessing the risk of unwanted results or performance. Simply stated the greater the restriction of any defect allowed in a log the greater the probability that the log will perform well, without unwanted results, over a long period of time. The lower the restriction, the greater the probability the log will develop unwanted results and poor performance over time.
Using graded logs not only assures you that you are building “legally” anywhere in the US, it gives you the knowledge of the likelihood of the performance of your logs over time. And, it gives you the ability to determine the value you are getting—the price versus quality comparison.
For more information please contact: Avalon Log Homes (208) 463-8668 www.avalonloghomes.com
Saturday, June 13, 2009
Securing Land for Your Log Home Investments
Perhaps the most critical step in building the log home of your dreams is securing the land that will serve as its backdrop. A magnificent log home deserves an equally magnificent location to complete the log home experience. However, not every picturesque property is well suited for your building needs. The following information, courtesy of Avalon Log Homes, will assist you in locating, securing and utilizing the perfect piece of land: See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/property-investments-log-homes-cabins
Monday, May 11, 2009
Proactive log home maintenance should be of supreme importance to any homeowner. When it comes to caring for a log home, many have been falsely led to believe that the requirements are so stringent that homeowners spend more time repairing their home than they do enjoying it (see Log Home Myths). Though this is entirely untrue, log homes, like any home, do require regular and timely maintenance. See the rest of this article at
Sunday, April 26, 2009
Avalon Log Homes-Log Homes Myths
Log homes are less expensive than a conventional home
This is a subject of great debate and high emotion within the log home industry. The truth is that while it is very possible to build a log home for less than a framed home, in most cases the cost to complete a log home for the average log home buyer will be more than a basic framed home. That said, many contend that comparing a modern day log home with a basic framed home is not a fair comparison and argue that when compared to a custom framed or brick home, the cost of a log home is very competitive. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/log-homes-cabins-myths
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Log Home Custom Design Planning
When it comes to designing your custom log home, it's easy to be blinded by the shear excitement and emotion of seeing your plans begin to take shape. However, you should always keep a healthy does of reality close by to ensure that you avoid potentially damaging situations that could quickly turn your excitement to frustration.
Fortunately, Avalon Log Homes offers complete custom design services created to navigate clients through the sometimes-treacherous waters of the design process. In addition, we've assembled the following information as a reference to our prospective log homeowners. See the rest of this article at http://www.avalonloghomes.com/custom-log-home-plans-cabins.