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.
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