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Commercial Log Buildings

Updated on February 2, 2013

Log homes belong in out of the way places, rural settings, and mountainous locations. The towns located in and around these regions of the country are equally suited for commercial log buildings and timber frame structures.

The incorporation of logs and timbers into a place of business can be subtle accents or envelop the whole project. At times chain stores such as Staples, or Home Depot wish to retain the general look of their stores, but want to also adapt somewhat to the rustic surroundings that the town or region is known for.

Log Siding

Billings, Montana is the largest city in the state. With over 100,000 residents it is far from a small rural community. Yet, when you visit the local Wal-mart the characteristic colors greet your eyes, with the addition of gabled roofs with timber trusses and metal plating shelter the entrances. Some national businesses also include stonework around support pillars.

The next step towards more rustic would be the a standard constructed building covered with log or wood siding. Wood siding is either ship lap or chinking style. Ship lap siding is flat boards with the bottom of each row overlapping the top of the row below it. It provides a textured and rougher look. The chinking style is designed to mimic a square cut log home. The siding boards are flat, sometimes with hand hewn marks. Then between each row of boards a wide channel of chinking is applied. Often the color of chinking is chosen to contrast with the siding, giving a light color chinking with rose or walnut colored wood.

Great Room Lodge

Milled Log Home

Some business owners, especially lodges, prefer to build with stacked log walls. In this case all of the exterior and many of the interior walls are solid log. Either handcrafted logs or milled logs can be used. For the more budget conscience the milled log is preferred. The most economical log buildings are the ones built from a 6x8 or 8x8 inch stacked logs for the walls and standard trusses for the ceilings. A covered porch with square timbers can also be added. This style is very common for more serviceable structures such as gas stations and motels.

Handcrafted Log Lodge

Hybrid Log Home

For the company that wishes to make their store more attractive a hybrid log home is sometimes used. For this style the milled logs of an 8x8 or 6x8 inch are stacked for the walls. Then a vaulted ceiling with log or timber trusses and tongue and groove pine is installed. Irregular windows, or trapezoidal in shape, are added into the gables to give more light and openness to the building. The roof system can be either made from square wood timbers, round logs, or glu-laminate beams.

Log Siding with Log Accents

Handcrafted Log Homes

The handcrafted log homes are chosen for the most rugged look. Hand peeled logs with various diameters are hand scribed to fit into the log shell. At times gnarly twisted character logs are used for handrails, mantles and other decorative locations. Smaller handcrafted cabins are often seen coffee shops or gift shops. Larger handcrafted log homes are built for or converted into restaurants, doctors offices, or realty offices.

Log Lodges

The largest of handcrafted log structures are the lodges. The very biggest commercial log building is Le Chateau Montebello in Quebec, Canada. It was built in the early 1900's out of 100,000 Western Red Cedar logs which were imported from British Columbia. This 211 room giant has a six sided main hub building with four wings that radiate out from the center.

Another world renowned handcrafted log structure is the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park. Just celebrating its 100th year anniversary recently, this building was constructed from native Lodge Pole Pine and rock. Stretching some six or seven stories into the air, the crows nest sits on the very top with eight flag poles.

Timber Frame Buildings

And finally the timber structures. While stacked logs is one of the oldest forms of construction, timber is also an ancient art. European buildings from the 16th century still display the mortise and tenon joints with wood pegs. Dovetails and other traditional joinery methods have endured through centuries. Traditional timber framing is also called 'heavy timber framing'.

Not all timber framers are the same. The two main schools are those that provide the traditional 100% handmade timbers and joints while the newer style incorporates glu-lam beams with metal plating. Both are structurally sound when done correctly, so it simply depends on what the business owner wishes to invest in.

Comercial Log Structuers

Commercial log buildings offer a wide range of options and styles to the owners. Timber framers, stacked logs, and log siding with accents are the three most common styles for businesses. Of all I believe the handcrafted log homes look, no matter what size, is my personal favorite.


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