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Montana Log Homes

Updated on January 24, 2013

There are many reasons that people fall in love with the state of Montana. It is a place unto itself. Unlike many, and more unique than most, the Big Sky Country attracts many different kinds of people. But above all each one who chooses to settle here have one thing in common, there is just about no other place they would rather live. Part of the back drop of this majestic state is Montana log homes.

From the earliest settlers log homes were a quick means of constructing shelter. Small 10x10 homestead cabins can still be found.  Many were constructed with ax and draw knife. Today log homes can take several months to construct, but they still have that rustic charm that no other form of construction has to offer.

Montana Log Home

Log Home Quality

In the Madison Valley surrounding the town of Ennis, MT an estimated 30% of all residences are log homes. This percentage did not even include hybrid or timber frame homes. Some homeowners choose to invest in a log cabin because they have always dreamed of owning one. Others choose this style of house because it fits so closely into the fabric of the setting.

Another fact the holds true when building log homes is the quality. Some log homes are constructed with price as the only focus. Some reason that since it is only a 'cabin' then quality is not a concern. The result is a drafty home made from logs which shrink and are full of large checks, bug holes, and chatter marks.

Handcrafted Log Cabin

Log Cabins

For those who instead see a log cabin, regardless of the size, as something to be prized and treasured, then quality becomes much more of a focus. Instead of cabin grade logs, premium logs are only used. Instead of the cheapest log home package in town, the homeowner seeks out suppliers who take pride in their products. Higher quality homes mean that the log home package is fully pre-cut and pre-numbered, log end joints are finished with finger joinery, and logs stack with a double tongue and groove with full saddle notch corners. All of these things help to make the finished home look much more professional.

Handcrafted Log Homes

Another style of log homes which find prevalence here are the handcrafted log homes. A common misconception with the term handcrafted is that all cabins are made in this way. Since the structure is made out of wood instead of standard framing and siding, then it must be hand made. This is not true. When log homes are discussed it is understood that the milled log homes are the ones being highlighted. A milled log is processed so that it is the same dimensions down the length of the entire log. With a handcrafted log home the logs are left much closer to their original state. Only the bark is hand peeled off of the logs. The wider butt ends and the narrower tops of the trees are left intact. Then the logs are each chosen for particular placement within a log wall and cut to fit. No logs are interchangeable. Each is individual and unique. The Scandinavian Full Scribe method is used to make the logs fit together.

Manufactured Log Homes

A milled log home is also referred to as a manufactured log homes. These can be processed by a manufacturer in a matter of a few days. A handcrafted log home shell of the same size can take three or four months to craft depending on the complexity of the floor plan and owner upgrades. A hand craft home also produces much less waste. Only about 9% of the log itself is peeled away, where as a milling a log to symmetry consumes up to 50% of the log.

On average across the United States a recent article I read said that handcrafted log homes only account for about 10% of all log homes sold. That might be the case in some areas, but not here. Handcrafted log homes in Montana account for closer to 30-50% of the log home market. In our neighborhood 60% of the log homes are handcrafted.

Log Home Maintenance

Log Home Maintenance

One of the most popular questions we are always asked is log home maintenance. This is probably the most misunderstood topic of all concerning log homes. If a log home has high quality exterior sealant applied, then a log home only requires about two hours of the owners time each year to visually check for any insect or water damage and make minor corrections. It is a good idea to walk around the home in the spring and fall and check to be sure all the gutters are up and working and trim bushes back from the house. There may be a few small places that need a check caulked and a little exterior sealant applied.

Then after 5-7 years the outside of the home will need a new coat of sealant. After living in several log homes in Montana that is in fact what we have found to be true. Some of the worst damage we have seen to log homes is when sprinklers are left running and the over spray hits the home repeatedly. This does washout the sealants much faster than normal use. Also keeping bushes and plants right against the home attracts bugs and the bushes themselves rub against the logs and can cause damage.

Log Homes In Montana

Montana log homes are a joy to own. A feeling of the natural backdrop, reflecting the essence of this mountain state, and also owning a jewel instead of just a shelter are all aspects that log home owners understand. So if you decide to move to Montana, be sure to consider building a log cabin or home.


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