Author Archives: admin

Log Home Porch Repair

Our construction crew recently rebuilt the front porch of a Real Log Home originally constructed back in 1967. Aging porches can be a problem area for log homes.

VLUU L200  / Samsung L200There are a couple of common issues with log home porches, both caused by moisture. First of all, porches are usually built close to the ground where they can easily absorb dampness. And dampness is the arch enemy of wood. Exterior wood needs to be kept dry, which is why paint and stain are used for long term protection.

Secondly, without rain gutters, water running off the porch roof can splash back onto the porch framing, shortening its usable life. Because this home was built before the accepted use of pressure treated material, moisture from the ground had rotted the bottom log sill material. Over time, the decay had migrated into the flooring (also not pressure treated) and the lower part of the porch posts.

To correct thiVLUU L200  / Samsung L200s problem, we removed the porch sills, outer decking and posts and replaced them with new material. To do this, we supported the porch plate log using timbers anchored at the ground level. The timbers attached to planks which were kept in place by stakes driven into the ground. This allowed us to remove all of the damaged material while VLUU L200  / Samsung L200keeping the porch roof stable.

We used pressure treated 6″x8″ timbers for the replacement sill material. Since some of the existing posts and sills were rough and still covered with bark, there is no question that this porch repair had been attempted before. To fix the outer deck boards, we installed pressure treated 2×10 material.

The new log porch posts were machine peeled, 8” diameter logs, similar to the ones used back when the home was built. However, these new posts were pre-treated with TimBor wood preservative which has excellent decay VLUU L200  / Samsung L200resistance qualities. This same TimBor solution is commonly used in today’s log homes to protect them from wood-boring insects and decay.

With the untreated material removed and replaced, the result is a new porch that should provide years of shelter and recreational use.

Log Home Financing

I would love to state, flat out, that banks love to finance log homes. To those of us in the industry, that would make our lives a lot easier. After all, most of our customers cannot build without a reliable source of construction funding.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUnfortunately that is not always the case. Financing the sale or construction of a log home requires a bit more flexibility on the part of the lender. While many banks will provide the financing needed, the process requires a good relationship with the loan officer and good communication throughout the process. The key is finding the right bank, ideally close to your building site, which is willing to work closely with the buyer to make the project go forward. Here are a few things to consider when it comes to financing a log home.

Log Home Construction Loans

A construction loan describes the type of loan given by a bank to finance a home building project. Before receiving a log home construction loan, the buyer and builder must first cost out the entire project and present those estimates to the bank for their approval. Funds released from a construction loan are not given out all at once. Instead, the bank pays money from a construction loan a little bit at a time as work on the project is completed.

A construction loan works for the buyer because he pays interest on only the money that has been drawn from the loan, and not on the entire amount to be borrowed. The builder likes it because he gets paid regularly as his work is done. And the bank is satisfied knowing that the money it has paid out is not greater than the value of what has been completed so far.

Market Value

Before a bank will finance the purchase or construction of a log home, it must first determine the home’s market value. The bank will hire a professional appraiser to evaluate the home and determine its worth based on the real estate market in your area. To do this, the bank will consider the size of the home as well as the unique features. A 2500 square foot home with cathedral ceilings, hardwood floors and a custom kitchen will bring a different value than a smaller home with more standard features.

Comps

Next the bank appraiser will review recent home sales in the area to find the home’s potential resale value. To do this, he will be looking for homes with similar features knowing that the market value of the purchased home should be comparable to the value of those homes which have recently sold. This will give him the most accurate and up to date snapshot of the home’s current worth.

Comps can be a problem for log homes. True, it may not be difficult to find homes with comparable features. However, finding them in a log home can be next to impossible. Especially a log home that may have sold within the past few months.

Part of the problem with this is that people tend to keep their log homes for a longer period of time. For many people that build log homes, it won’t be their first home, but it hopefully will be their last. Because the log home is so unique, instead of being a transitional home, it is more likely the final home. Therefore there are fewer log home re-sales for the appraiser to use for comparison.

Not having a recent log home resale makes the appraisal process more difficult. It’s not a deal breaker. Generally appraisers will do their best to compare with whatever home re-sales are available to him. However, another log home is preferred.

Curbside Payment

1 Log trucks arriveFor new home construction, another difficulty with log home financing is the need for what is known as a curbside payment. When the ready-to-assemble log home package is delivered to the building site, the log home producer would like to be paid for the full value of the materials. The bank doesn’t like this. It would prefer to wait until after assembly. To them it is simply a pile of logs, windows and other material until it is erected by the builder.

The problem is this. The bank wants the money that it has paid into a home construction project to be no more than the home would be worth if something were to happen to stop construction. Plus, they want to be sure that the log home package does in fact get built. For this reason, it much safer for them to pay after the package is constructed.

There are a few ways to get past this. If the customer can raise the funds on his own, he can pay for the delivered package and have the bank reimburse him after the kit is assembled.

A more common solution is to use preexisting equity in the property. If the building site is owned outright, the buyer’s equity in the land should be enough to cover the cost of the log home package. The bank can pay for the log home package as a way of reimbursing the customer for the value of his land.

Finally, if the bank has a good relationship with the log home builder, it may have the confidence to make the log home payment upon delivery, knowing that the builder’s history of reliability. This is a good reason to use a log home builder with local experience and a good reputation.

Start your Research Early

Here are a few other points to consider. Be sure to meet with the banker as early as possible in the process. Get prequalified and educate yourself as to how the entire process works. Get together a checklist of exactly what the bank needs to move forward with the application and closing process.

If you are building a home, make sure you borrow enough money, and then some. There are always unexpected costs. And it is better to have money to spare than to have to go back for more. Construction money left over can be used to pay down the total loan amount before the final closing.

Log homes are right now as popular as ever. And many banks recognize that log home financing can be a good niche for their business. Our experience is that log home customers are generally high equity, low debt buyers, especially if they own a building site. For the bank, this is the ideal customer!

Log Home Dormers

Board & Batten Shed DormerAdd a shed dormer or a gable dormer to your log home and gain more headspace for your rooms upstairs. Despite the heavy timber roof systems, log home dormers are a realistic option for the experienced log home builder. Log home dormers are also a way to add light and ventilation.

Because many log homes use a “built-up” roof system, it helps to know what you need to remove to get to the roof framing timbers. After the shingles come off, you will generally find: plywood, insulation (rigid or fiberglass) and roof decking, which can be either 1×8 or 2×6. There may also be 2x material used to create space between the insulation and plywood in order to ventilate the roof.

Once you get down to the timber rafters, they can be detached from the eave wall and the ridge using a reciprocating saw to cut the timber fasteners. If removal is done with care, these timbers can be reused as primary framing for the dormer roof.

When framing the dormer wall, always keep in mind how the exterior and interior finishing material will align with the log wall below. My preference is locate the dormer wall so that your exterior finish will blend with the exterior wall of the house. Then adjust the interior trim as needed to create the best look.

Log Home Dormer InteriorBecause shed dormer rafters are shorter than main house rafters, you may be able to reuse this material when framing the dormer roof. And since the roof pitch will be different, expect to remake the cuts at the ridge and eave walls.

Once the dormer wall is constructed and roof timbers are installed reapply the built-up roof as it was originally taken apart. If the original roof used fiberglass insulation, switching to rigid foam will give you a higher insulating value within the same built-up space.

Because of the amount of labor involved, log home dormers are not inexpensive. Any time you take apart something as extensive as your roof, costs add up quickly. However, when compared to building a complete room addition, the overall cost of adding a dormer to your log home is usually far less.