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Log Homes In Pennsylvania

Updated on February 2, 2013

When looking through different types of construction there are always the standard stick frame homes, brick homes, and even cedar homes to choose from. But in the mists of all the choices log homes are also very popular. Let’s focus for a minute on log homes in Pennsylvania.

If someone is nearing the stage of building their new home there are seems to always be about four kinds of homeowner perspectives towards log homes. The first is those who don’t care about log homes. The second would have to be those who like them but do not want to spend the money to build one. The third type of homeowner is one who desires a log home but is misinformed about things such as energy efficiency and upkeep. And the fourth perspective is composed of those who love log homes and no matter what plan to build one.

Handcrafted Log Home

Pennsylvania Log Home Builders

Log home construction and selecting a contractor from available Pennsylvania log home builders go hand in hand. To locate competent builders who specialize in log homes it is sometimes better to start with a log home supplier than looking for the builder. Even when working with a log home company in another state, your representative should be able to help you locate a builder who will be competent. Of course no log home dealer can be familiar with all the available builders nationwide, but they usually have two assets that a homeowner does not have. The first asset is the representative may have a log home crew that they have worked with in the past that is willing to travel just about anywhere. Log homes, especially handcrafted log homes, are a specialty type of construction. Those who focus on only building them almost have to be willing to travel if they want to work exclusively with log homes.

Log Home In Pittsburgh

The second asset a dealer should possess is the ability and desire to locate a local builder for you. A log home dealer should know what questions to ask builders in order to weed out those who are too expensive or not experienced enough. Many reps will be able to give their customers a list of two or three builders that they have spoken with at length and feel good about. Then it is up to the homeowner to interview each on their own and select the one they would have to build their home. For log homes in Pittsburgh there were many to choose from but not very many I would have hired.

Log Home Kitchen

Log Home Maintenance

For those who are disillusioned about log home building and maintenance, let me put some first hand experiences before you. The first log home we purchased was very inexpensive. The logs were green. The package was fully precut, which was a huge benefit to us since we were building it ourselves, but there were many problems and lessons in store for us. The first thing we learned was that cheap logs are cheap for a reason. These logs sat tarped for a few weeks before we were able to get a group of friends to help us stack it. In that short amount of time the logs actually molded. The mold was not from rain water. The mold was caused by an excessive amount of moisture content in the logs themselves. So that was our first lesson. The second lesson we were taught by our log school master was green logs not only can mold, but they also SHRINK! And shrink they did. A log home is always going to settle some, but our log home shrunk until the tongues and grooves between the logs were beginning to show in places. This is heart wrenching for any homeowner. After about 12 months all of the shrinkage took place, but still our rustic home looked even more rustic.

The very best advice we can offer is to understand that with a log home you will either pay now or pay later. If a log home is cheap, there is a reason it is thousands of dollars less than another supplier. It is best to choose only premium logs. When you talk with a log home company that only supplies top of the line logs they will literally tell you that the ‘cabin grade’ logs that others sell are made out of the lumber that this company either turns into firewood or passes over and will not even purchase.

Log Home Maintenance Long Term

For log home maintenance two things make it much easier than anyone many will tell you it is. The first is also related to cost. If you purchase a good name brand with a good warrantee and apply it according to the directions you should get the estimated life span out of it. Our first log home in Pennsylvania that I mentioned above was a perfect example of this. First the logs were very rough because the log home mill had not hand sanded the log surfaces before shipping the logs. So the logs took the stain very unevenly. The logs, due to the roughness, also soaked up the stain on the interior walls like it was a sponge. I remember choosing a very light Mini-wax stain and going to work first on closet and bathroom walls. Very soon I came to realize that stain which looked great on pine furniture looked 1,000 times darker on rough logs.

Two Story Log Home with Garage

Log Home Exterior

The second thing we learned related to the exterior of the home. Being low on funds as we neared the end of the project I simply went to the local hardware store and bought the cheapest stain I could find. I at least this time stained it on a log scrap to check for darkening before I began staining the home. The color worked out nicely. What I didn’t realize was that the stain would only last 10 months. Admittedly the outside of the gallon jugs did read “12 month sealant”, but as many thrifty homeowners I thought they must be exaggerating. Surely it would last longer than that! But no, after 10 months the logs looked as though they didn’t have any sealant on them. So it pays to purchase good quality stain. It saves massive amounts of time and labor and cost when you only have to stain the home every 5-7 years instead of every 10 months.

Pennsylvania Log Homes

For long term log home maintenance, log homes sealed correctly only take about an hour each year for the homeowner to walk around and visually inspect for any bug, insect, or water damage. Then every 5-7 years the log home will need a day or so of your time to paint another layer of log sealant on the exterior.

So if you are planning to build a log home in Pennsylvania these are a few things to consider before purchasing a log home package or making a deposit with a builder. It is best to take the time to research before making the huge step of buying.


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      Johnette 2 years ago

      That hits the target dead certne! Great answer!