Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Handcrafted log homes vs. Milled log homes

This title usually gets a lot of attention from log home builders because each of us is sure that our way is the best way. The truth is that “the best way” depends entirely on what the future homeowners are looking for.

At Sitka Log Homes our specialty is handcrafted log homes, meaning, we can only explain handcrafted log homes to you. We have displayed at many log home shows where other companies have displayed their manufactured/milled log homes beside us and there is no denying that there is a huge difference to the look of each log home. Ultimately though, it is up to the customer to decide which look they prefer.

Basically, a manufactured log home consists of logs that have been milled to uniform size and profile.

Here is a brief account of what to goes into the making of a handcrafted log home.

First, the bark is hand peeled off of each log with a tool known as a draw-knife.

The average log is 30 to 35 feet long and weighs about 700lb. There are generally about 60 or 70 of these logs in an average home.

Each log is scribed to the log beneath it by using a scribe tool which resembles a large compass, like the ones found in our high school geometry kits.

A pencil mark draws the contour of the log below it onto the one above which is then cut precisely along that line so that it will fit snugly against the log it lies on top of.
A chain saw is used to cut along the line on an angle.
The same is done on both sides of the log so that when both lines are cut you end up with a V groove through the lateral length of each log.
A chisel is also used to tidy the line and ensure accuracy.
The corners are scribed and cut similarly. The corner method we use is called the a saddle notch.
Doors and windows are cut according to each home’s blueprints.
Roof components are generally pre-built on the ground and then erected on the house to ensure a proper fit.
At this point the home is sanded with buffing pads before each log is numbered tagged and then the log home is loaded piece by piece onto a truck for transportation to the home owners lot, where a Sitka Log Homes rep will meet it and assist with the re-erection.
From start to finish, a 1,000 – 1,500 square foot log home generally takes about 10 weeks to complete at our construction yard before it is transported to the home owners site.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Hybrid Log Homes

What is a hybrid home? Simply put, it is a house made of different kinds of building styles or materials. In the case of a hybrid log home or timber frame home, it is usually a mix of regular 2 by 4 framing and log or timber accents. It may be a regular framed home with timber trusses and posts incorporated. Wood accent pieces can be built into the design of your new home or they can be added to an existing home that you would like to update.
Log and timber frame accent pieces can include structural and/or non-structural log trusses, posts, rafters, floor joists, log siding, stairs, purlins, structural decks, handrails, mantles...and the list goes on.
Sitka Log Homes has provided the wood accents for various renovations of older tired looking homes that are transformed with amazing results after adding the log or timber accent pieces.

Existing buildings with log and timber accents added
Recently there has been a noticeable trend towards incorporating log or timber accents into the design of new homes. In this way people can enjoy the rustic feel of log and timber in their home without having a full log home. The contrast between regular frame walls and the wood pieces is usually dramatic. Often a home finished with log siding looks to most people like a full log home…until they go in and see the inside walls are drywall.

Log siding on outside of regular framed home with log accents
The home featured on the cover of Log Home Living (October 2008 issue) is a hybrid log home that Sitka Log Homes provided the log work for. It was designed by AllenGuerra Design Build of Colorado.

Click here for more pictures of this home.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Small Log Cabins

The romantic vision of a cozy log cabin in the woods is what inspired many people to dream of owning their own log home. Cozy log cabins as vacation homes are often found around lakes and at the base of ski resorts, but they are not so small anymore and aren’t always just vacation homes. Large elaborate log homes began to replace the simple plans.
More and more architects are designing really large complicated designs for log homes now. This has often been exciting for us. It has pushed us to expand and learn new techniques. Building some of these complicated designs has been challenging but invigorating. The end results are always something to be proud of and they show very well. This is why most of our projects on our web site are of large custom homes. They simply photograph well.
Those homes are great, but the small cozy log cabin has not been forgotten and is still very popular. Small designs often incorporate clever ways to get the most out of a small space.
This is the case with the 14 small cabins that we built in Whistler, BC for the Riverside RV Resort and Campground. A Kitchen, living room, bathroom, bedroom and even a loft for the kids to sleep in, all amazingly fit into only 400 sq.ft.
This is one example of a very small cabin, but as custom builders we are able to accommodate any design that will work best for you.
Click here to download the floor plan for the Whistler cabin.
Email us if you are interested in pricing or if you would like us to offer you a quote on your own small log cabin design.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Do It Yourself Log Homes

A few years ago we had a call from a woman named Karen in Georgia wanting us to quote on a log home plan. She explained that she and her husband had decided they would build their dream log home themselves with all of the timber they had on their large tract of land. They began harvesting the timber and hand peeling it all themselves. Her husband had found a video on how to scribe and notch the logs and he studied it carefully. They began building the large home one log at a time and, after many months, had gotten only a few rounds up in one section of the home when they began to run into problems. Their logs all had various degrees of taper to them and the grain wasn’t always straight. They just weren’t fitting together very well and they realized they had a long way to go before they got to the roof components. At this stage, because of all the hard work they had already put in, they weren’t too keen on the idea of giving up but Karen was curious to see what we would charge to do all of this hard labour for them.
We quoted on their plan and it wasn’t too long before Karen and her husband Mike called us back to say “Yes! Please build our log home for us!”

These people are two of the hardest working people we’ve met and their building knowledge is great. Although they both had full time jobs and toddlers, they still wanted to do most of the work on the home themselves. They realized that it would be far better to have us handcraft their log shell and then they could carry on with all the finishing themselves…which is still a lot of work.

We were able to build their log home shell within a few months and helped them re-erect it on their home site in Georgia. If they had continued on the way they were going they may have had some serious structural issues and been years away from a finished log home.

Mike has since become a good friend and champions our company. He has volunteered at about four of our set ups since his own log house has been built and he’s even come along to a home show to help promote our company; such is his love of log homes.

Many people over the years have built their own log home from scratch from the timber they have on their own property…it is definitely doable. This is, however, a huge undertaking so make sure you really are up to the challenge.

We have the right equipment, the skilled labour and a huge inventory of different species of wood to choose from which is already dried and ready for building.

If you decide you are not up for the job. We would love to build your log shell for you!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Log Homes and our Olympic Games Connection

The Olympic Games are all about pride for us. Pride in our country and pride in our elite athletes. There is nothing like the feeling of seeing your fellow countrymen and women standing on the podium while your national anthem plays. I’ve always loved watching the Olympic Games; in fact I remember watching one entire summer Olympics dressed in my gymnastic leotard when I was about 12 or so. While I watched I worked at the perfect dismount - arched back and arms up pose.

So you can imagine the thrill I felt when Sitka Log Homes was awarded the contract to build 3 log lodges for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics in 2002 and then when the BC Government hired us to build a log house, BC Canada Place, for the Torino Winter Olympics in 2006.
Both projects began with a true sense of Olympic competition as we were bidding against other qualified builders. BC Canada Place began as a design/build competition through an RFP (Request for Proposal) and had certain criteria (read: hurdles) and a time deadline to make. Both Olympic projects could not be late…the Games have a start date and nothing can change that.
Our 3 lodges for the Salt Lake Games were on Snowbasin Resort where the Men’s downhill and Super G events were held. The 45,000 sq.ft main day lodge was followed by one 11,000 sq.ft and one 19,000 sq.ft lodge located at about 9,000 ft on the steep side of a mountain. The 3 lodges required 38 semi-loads of large diameter logs delivered to the base of the mountain and then D-7 Caterpillars pulled the logs on a wagon up the steep incline to where the buildings were constructed. Making the job work in such limited space and with a limited time frame was a real challenge.

BC Canada Place faced even greater challenges, the least of which was working in a distant country where the language is foreign. Throw in a truckers strike and rail strike around the time the logs were due to travel across Canada to Montreal where the ship awaited them, further delays with paper work to release the logs in the Italian port of Genoa and that was just beginning of our Olympic building marathon.

Each race was won however, and the rewards were great. We may not have a real Olympic gold medal to show for our efforts but the pride we feel for being a small part of the events makes me feel like arching my back and throwing my arms up.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Log Home Floor Plans

We are “customhandcrafted log home builders.
“Custom” as an adjective means “made specially for individual customers” or “doing work to order”.
There are many who come to us with sketches and plans, sometimes even full working blue prints, understanding that we can build according to their own log home plans.
Then there are many more that come to our site looking for a huge book of plans. We have struggled for years about whether to offer generic log home plans or not.

One of the biggest reasons that we resist doing so is because we don’t want to be confused with the many milled log home companies out there that offer “log home kits”. These companies usually offer a large inventory of stock house plans that their milled components will work in.
Our log homes are all handcrafted. There are no pre-milled components that will fit within a variety of log homes from an assortment of different log home plans.
Each log placed in one of our handcrafted log homes is unique in shape and size and so, once positioned and fit, can only ever be used for that specific spot in that specific home. We simply rarely, if ever, build the same design twice.

However, we also realize that most people need somewhere to start…somewhere to get ideas and get their creative juices flowing. Many start with log home magazines for ideas and plans or by searching online. There are thousands of log home and non log home plans out there that can be used to get you started. Once you have a basic idea of what you would like, then you can start tweaking any plan to suit you.
With this in mind we have placed a few log house plans on our web site to help get you started. These plans are also a great way of illustrating what we offer and how our log packages are priced.

We also offer a blue print service which, after all revisions are made, will get you a full set (5 copies) of working plans which include the following:

Foundation Plan: (Typical Scale: 1/4" = 1’)
Drawing showing the layout of footings, stem walls, posts & beams, etc.

Detailed Floor Plans: (Typical Scale: 1/4" = 1’)
Drawings showing the log wall layout of each floor in your log home. As well as detailed information regarding the placement of such things as interior partition walls, windows & doors, appliances, roof lines, etc. The floor plans clearly show necessary dimensions and specifications.

Exterior Elevations: (Typical Scale: 1/4" = 1’)
Drawings showing the exterior views of your log home (typically four). As well as exterior materials such as roofing, log species, windows & doors, stone, trim, etc.

Cross-Sections: (Typical Scale: 1/4"-1/2” = 1’)
Elevation drawings showing the log home as if it were sliced from the foundation to the roof. Typically three sections are provided, but it depends on the size and complexity of the building. These sections are placed at locations that display how various parts of the log home are put together.

Details: (Typical Scales: 1/2"-1” = 1’)
These drawings generally include necessary log to framing connections, settling details, window & door details, a detailed section of a log wall, etc.

All plans will begin with a detailed quotation including the base price of the finished set of plans.

For more information or if you have sketches you would like us to quote on, email or call us at 250-791-6683 or fax your sketch to 250-791-6650.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Log Homes Cost Per Square Foot

Cost per square foot question

The first question most people ask us at Sitka Log Homes is how much do your handcrafted log homes cost per square foot?

The reason this is so difficult to answer is because our log homes are not priced by square foot, but rather by the type of wood used, the amount of notches cut, the complexity of the design, the height of the walls, how many interior walls are log, the complexity of the roof system, etc. There are many different components to be considered when pricing your handcrafted log shell.

When it comes to the price per square foot for a finished log home, the variables grow even more. Do you want a Bosch dishwasher or a Sears Kenmore? They are the same square footage, yet the price is remarkably different. Do you plan on high end finishes (flooring, appliances, built in sound systems, alarm system, wood burning stove, chandeliers, etc.) or will you choose moderately priced finishes? These are all considered when figuring out a “price per square foot”.
It would be like going into a car dealership and asking how much their cars cost per square foot.

I know your heads are going up and down, but you still want an idea of the price of a log home per square foot. When asked all we can do is offer you an estimate based on homes we have built in the past with a range from moderately priced to very high end.

Another option is to look at the prices of our sample plans which can be downloaded at:
Drop us an email asking for the price quotes and we’ll email them right away so you can get an idea of our pricing and what is included in our log shell packages.
Better yet, if you have a sketch or a plan already, we are happy to offer you a price quote on it. We’ll show a complete breakdown of everything we include. This way you can get comparative quotes and know that you are indeed comparing apples to apples.
4,000 sq.ft log house

1643 sq.ft log house
The 4000 sq. ft home is less per square foot than this 1643 sq.ft home which is a more complicated design.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Do we hire dealers to sell our log homes?

No we don’t…let me explain why.

Our company name, Sitka Log Homes, is also our reputation. We have a great deal of pride in how we have built our reputation as a quality handcrafted log home builder. We have been striving for years to make sure that when people see or hear our name that they recognize it as a trustworthy company, one that offers only high quality workmanship. It has always been important to ensure that clear communication between us and our clients is a priority. Adding a third party to the mix can result in mistakes made in this vital communication. We prefer to contract directly with the home owner.

We also believe that nobody can know our business practices as well as we do ourselves. We want to ensure that a potential client is given only precise information about our log or timber frame homes. Even clients with a good basic understanding of construction and house building will still have important questions about the process.

We prefer that we, directly, are your contact to make certain the information you receive is accurate.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Log Home Industry Competition

Our town, 100 Mile House, BC is known officially as the “Handcrafted Log Home Capital of North America”. We are very proud of this title because we know it is partly due to our own contribution of building log homes here since 1969.
It also implies, rightly so, that there are many log home builders in 100 Mile House. Our small town has about 13 log home builders and produces approximately 400 handcrafted log homes a year.
Sitka Log Homes recently featured a full log house display in two log home shows in Alberta. Most of the other exhibitors were from our area and were people we knew well. It was so interesting to see how everyone interacted with each other. If one company needed a certain tool they’d forgotten, another company was quick to lend it. After the shows we’d share a meal with each other, have some laughs and swap stories.
These old friends are also our competition.
This got me thinking about “competition” and the log home building industry. Our industry has seen a slump recently with the US housing market all but disappearing, and yet even in tougher times like these everyone is co-operating and practicing healthy competition. Most don’t compromise ethical standards in order to gain an advantage over others. I think this is due to respect. We all respect the hard work and dedication that it takes to remain in this business and so we prefer to compete in a co-operative manner. This is good for the whole log home building industry and what is good for the industry is good for each of us.
Healthy competition allows incentives for self-improvement. You can’t help but want to look for new ways to improve what you do when you aren’t the only guy in town offering a service or product. This in itself is helping our whole log home industry evolve.
Competition helps to stimulate innovation, encourages efficiency and can help drive down prices so that both the manufacturer and the consumer win.
Here’s to an ever evolving log home building industry and all of the hard workers behind it!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Log Home Maintenance

When building a log home it is important to think of preventative maintenance from the beginning design stages. You want to protect your logs against water, insects, decay and damage from the suns UV rays. When you are in the design stage you will want to consider your roof over-hangs to ensure the log walls do not have areas where any rain water will drain along them constantly. When the log shell is complete and erected on your home site, we recommend that the logs are washed to remove any dirt, sawdust or mud splats that can appear after leaving our construction yard. People usually use a pressure washer to rinse the logs at this point. When they are dry you would then apply your preservative wood treatment. This treatment would contain a water repellent with some pigment and UV inhibitor. There are many on the market and they are improving them every year. You are able to get good UV protection now without having to stain your logs with much colour if you prefer a more natural log look. As for the inside, that depends on the look you like. You can oil, stain, varnish or leave them as they are. Consider dusting the logs when you make this choice though. Sealed logs may also reduce some of the checking.
If you do a proper job of caring for your logs when your log house is first built you will save yourself extra work for the future. You should follow the recommendations of the exterior treatment manufacturer for re-applying.

Regarding insects, this issue is dependent on your area and specific to your home site. It is the same concern whether you live in a regular frame house or a log house, if termite nests were all around your property you would want to speak to a pest control specialist. An exterminator can recommend a selection of treatments if you have concerns about insects in your area.

There is more maintenance involved with a handcrafted log home compared to a vinyl sided home, but we think the effort is worth it.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Your Handcrafted Log Home Shell is Arriving: How to Prepare

Typically while we, at Sitka Log Homes, have been working away on your log work you have been clearing land, building roads, excavating and having your foundation and sub floor prepared. The following are some important things to consider before your handcrafted log home arrives.

When your driveway is being laid out with your excavator you must allow ample width for large trucks and other machinery.
The loaded trucks with your logs are very long and heavy and do not maneuver well on soft narrow winding roads.
A hard pack gravel access to your home is something you will need anyway so if this is done at the beginning while machinery is present it will save money in the end.
Any under brush or tree limbs hanging out into the driveway must be removed so as not to scratch the truck or hang up on the logs as they pass by.
It is equally important to have the back fill complete around the house. Ditches must be filled in and mounds of dirt or gravel should be flattened. It is important to have a work site free of debris to avoid the delay of the set up crew having to do it when it is time to start setting up the logs. Keep in mind that the more trees left close to the house in the area the crane may be working, the more time it will take to move each log. The position of the crane to the proximity of the log trailer and the log house is very important.

Before the first log is placed
Your sub-floor is complete and should have all the sheathing applied to the top. Any fireplace opening or open stairwells should be covered temporarily during the log set up to avoid anyone falling through. The floor should be free of material and waste.

The homeowner usually organizes the crane. The size of the crane is determined by its proximity to the sub floor, the weight of the heaviest lift and the distance to the farthest wall.
It is important to have an experienced crane operator.

A good work crew is as important to you as it is to the Sitka supervisor that will be instructing them to put your home together. Five workers are usually enough. A good mix is your Sitka rep, at least two carpenters with tools and who are not afraid of heights, and two strong helpers.
Often, the contractor supplies the set up crew, as he is familiar with the job and has any tools required to see it through.

Material, Equipment, etc
Most homes have log roof systems that require a lot of temporary bracing. It is important to have long lengths of 2X4 or 2X6 on hand to secure the roof components until the framing is complete.
You cannot have too many extension ladders and step ladders.

Typical List of Tools:
½" or ¾" electric drill.
2 - 3/8" electric drill with 5/16" hex head driver bits.
1 1/8" auger bit 24" long +/-
2 step ladders 5-6'.
1 extension ladder 20' +.
2 large utility knives to slice insulation.
1 large sledge hammer.
1 staple gun c/w ½" or 9/16" staples.
1 tool pouch c/w 25' tape, hammer and chalkline.
3" or 3 ¼" double headed nails ( 5-10 lbs.).
1 decent sized chainsaw c/w files, gas and chain oil.
½" drive ratchet (3/4" is better).
1 1/8" and 15/16" sockets for above ratchet.
If you could supply a ½" drive electric impact, it would save a lot of manpower bolting the log trusses together (if applicable) with ¾" lag bolts.

Gable ends should be built and sheeted before the logs arrive.
Your contractor will build your gables on your sub floor. They can be lifted away temporarily by the crane just before the logs are placed on the sub floor.
You will have received gable plans from Sitka that have details and dimensions tailored to your home.
The height, width and pocket sizes must be followed carefully.

 In all likelihood electricity has been put into the property, but if not it is required that you provide temporary power. Drills are used to drill through bottom logs into the sub floor and often a skill saw is used as the house goes up.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Building Your Log Home - Watch Each Step

You have your final log home plans submitted to Sitka Log Homes and your handcrafted log house is ready to be built. This is an exciting time…it’s finally happening. The trouble is you live in New Zealand (or the US, or Europe, or Australia, or Asia…) and your log home is being built in 100 Mile House, BC Canada. Each day you are curious to see how it is coming together and you wish you could pop in and watch the process.
We understand this and so we have developed a web page for your new log house project.
It is a separate page just for your viewing, and anyone else you would like to share the address with. Friends and family are always anxious to see what your new log house will look like too.
Every few days Sitka Log Homes will take some photos of your log house under construction and post them on your site. This way you will always know what stage your log home is at and can follow its growth.

To view an example, here is a link to one customer’s page:
Customer Web Page

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Log Homes built with Mountain Pine Beetle Effected Timber

Timber that has died from natural sources and remains standing after it has died is referred to as “dead standing” or “standing dead” timber.
Dead standing timber is very popular with those concerned with the environment. It is selectively logged, often by helicopter logging. This method of logging is much easier on the environment. Logging the dead standing timber decreases the risks of forest fires and of massive areas of blow-down with increased environmental disturbances.

Much of our forests here in British Columbia are being devastated by the Mountain Pine beetles, which bore through the bark of the living trees to the cambial area. There they mate and then leave their larvae to hatch. The beetles interfere with the nutrient and sap flow of the tree and it eventually dies. Once the beetles have hatched, they leave. Nature's most effective population control for the beetles is cold weather, which kills beetle larvae. Sudden cold snaps of - 25 degrees C in the early fall or late spring, or sustained winter temperatures less than - 40 degrees C are required in order to curtail infestations. Since 1994, mild winters have decreased the winter mortality rate of beetle larvae from the usual 80 per cent mortality to less than 10 per cent mortality.
Consequently, our forests are greatly effected.

Fortunately, this timber can be retrieved and used for building handcrafted log homes.
Building with timber which has been drying naturally before it is harvested greatly reduces the shrinkage problems encountered when building with green logs. There is no need to be concerned about the beetles living in the logs of your new log home as they only live under the bark of live trees and so are long gone by the time your home is built.
Sitka Log Homes has been promoting the use of this great resource for years now. It has been a popular choice of customers looking to leave a more gentle impact on our environment over the last ten years or so. Our now famous “BC Canada Place” log house built for the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy was built using Mountain Pine Beetle effected timber. BC Canada Place promoted the beauty and integrity of this environmentally conscious choice to the world.

A handcrafted log home built of Mountain Pine Beetle effected timber built by Sitka Log Homes. The beetle leaves behind a blue streak in the wood which is very pleasing.

For more information on the Mountain Pine Beetle:
Mountain Pine Beetle - Ministry of Forests and Range - Province of British Columbia - 22 Apr 2008
Ministry of Forests information about the mountain pine beetle in BC, including: reports, photos, brochures, fact sheets, question & answers, maps, news releases, and regulations.

Photo by Lorraine Maclauchlan, Ministry of Forests, Southern Interior Forest Region

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Log Homes and Insulation Values

The insulation values of log homes has been a subject of great debate among building professionals for decades. And indeed, it is a topic that will be debated for quite some time. But perhaps the best evaluation of the insulation properties of a log home must be understood through the properties of wood as an insulator as well as a conductor of thermal heat and cooling.

Perhaps one of the most classic examples is having a piece of ice covered in sawdust for an extended period of time. You would find that that although the ambient temperature may be around room temperature or higher, the ice completely surrounded by sawdust may last several weeks or months before melting. We witness this effect every spring in our log yard and still find pieces of ice and snow well into June when we remove some of our peelings and shavings for co-generation fuel.
Although wood has a generic R-value of about 1.5 per inch of thickness, consideration must be given to the thermal mass properties of the log work. For instance, once a heat source has been eliminated from a house during cold weather conditions, a log home takes much longer to cool down than one consisting of drywall. Conversely, a log home takes much longer to heat up in the summer therefore reducing the consumption of energy used for air conditioning. Due to the stability of the temperature of wood during heating and cooling periods, less energy is used to heat and cool log homes due to the thermal mass of the logs themselves.

There are several technical study reports available that fully elaborate on the subject of energy efficiency of log homes and all conclude that log homes are more energy efficient than conventionally constructed homes.
To read more download "The Energy Performance of Log Homes" report prepared by the Technical Committee of the Log Home Council, Building Systems Councils and the National Association of Home Builders

By Walter Bramsleven
General Manager/Director of Sitka Log Homes
President of The BC Log & Timber Building Industry Association

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Green Building Practices and Log Homes

The latest buzz words not only in the log home building industry but for every business these days are: green practices, environmentally sensitive, sustainable, renewable resources, energy efficient etc. We all want to stop global climate change and conserve our valuable resources. To many businesses these words represent new concepts bringing about much needed and long overdue changes. For the log home building industry it means a greater awareness of the many ways in which we’ve already been doing this in business for a long time now, particularly for the log home handcrafters.

Handcrafted Log Homes in General
Energy EfficientDue to a logs natural thermal mass, test results have shown that log walls are significantly better than walls in conventional homes for retention of heat in the winter and coolness in the summer. One such test on a log wall constructed with 10" diameter logs exposed one side to temperatures of 1100 ° C for 3 hours and the opposite side never achieved a temperature higher than 48° C. (International Log Builders Association News, Issue 35, September 2001).
Handcrafted log homes are built essentially by hand. The logs are hand-peeled, the notches and laterals chiseled and then cut by hand, not milled. Large full length logs are used and, due to their great lengths, they are air dried rather than the energy intensive kiln dried method.

Environmentally Sustainable
If planned and maintained properly, log homes can last for many many years. When the time comes to dismantle a log house, the wood from those logs can still be used in a variety of ways. In fact in our own business we had a customer who bought property with a log home already on it. They wanted a larger, more complex design and opted to build another log home on the same spot. The original log home, which had been built in the 70’s, was dismantled and re-erected on another couples lot who had re-purchased the original log shell. Now that’s recycling!

Environmentally SensitiveAlmost the entire log is used to build a handcrafted log home, so there is very little waste material produced.
Cedar logs have a natural resilience to insects and moisture so there is not the need to use harmful or toxic finishes over the logs.
For other species there are now many enviro-stains on the market.

Log home construction lowers the use of high emission producing materials such as gypsum, fiberglass insulation, exterior sheeting and vinyl or metal siding.

Sitka Log Homes in Particular – How we stand out

In addition to all of the above, Sitka Log Homes also offers the following green building practices.

For years we have been participating in our own renewable forestry program. Our personal foresters are committed to promptly re-planting after any harvesting. In addition, we have also been leading the way in the use of “dead standing” timber. Timber which has died of natural causes and has remained standing in the forest, thereby drying naturally before it is even harvested. The harvesting of this particular timber has for many years been heli-logged which is kinder on the environment as it requires less impact to harvest.
Due to the devastation of our local BC forests by the Mountain Pine Beetle, Sitka Log Homes has, for several years, utilized these naturally seasoned trees and have successfully marketed the Mountain Pine logs worldwide to educate clients about the strength, sustainability and natural beauty of this wood. This resource does not require extensive extracting and processing techniques.

We source our wood locally and pre-build efficiently in our construction yard thereby cutting down on high fuel consumption and high emissions caused by long hauling.

Our solid waste, such as log ends and lateral cuttings, is used by locals for firewood as well as shipped to a local meat packing facility to be used to heat their hot water system. At other times, it is shipped as hog fuel for co-generation heating at a local mill or for electricity at a nearby electrical co-generation plant.Our waste wood is only 10% of our total wood consumption and only consists of bark peelings and log ends. Logs that are not suitable as house logs are sawn into timbers and log siding.

In a report for the Ecoforestry Institute, Cam Brewer states
. . . Local manufacturers that create high-value wood products are able to reduce the pressure for unsustainable levels of timber extraction. By carefully valuing each log, by developing markets for under-utilized species, and by incorporating 'character' wood (with knots, bug stain, or other 'flaws'), higher value can be extracted from a lower volume of cut. This will help create employment, diversity, and stability in local communities, and break the dependency on single-product commodity mills."
At Sitka we often use flared ends of logs and logs with interesting curves and markings for character logs. Also, we frequently use the root portion of some trees for features within our homes. Therefore we use many logs that otherwise would have been left to rot or burn in the forest.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Log Home Design - Before you begin

The property you will build on very often determines what your design layout will be. The size of the lot, the grade, if there is a view you want to take advantage of, etc, all of these aspects effect what your design will be in the end. This is where you should begin.

Realistic budgets are your next step. Be sure you do your homework regarding your expected costs. We can give you a cost estimate on the log work that we will supply for your log home, but that price is only for the log package. Sitka Log Homes can supply door and window packages as well as some roof packages with the log work if you require that service.

Be prepared by having a few general contractors supply estimates with break-downs on the finishing of your home.

Will you hire an architect or use our in house design service?

Either way we will work closely with everyone involved in the exchanging of ideas resulting in a unique log home as well as ensuring a design that will work.

Sample plans are offered as a starting point for you, as well as something for you to obtain a price on to help give you an idea of the costs involved.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Spring Log Home Shows

Recent Shows
Sitka Log Homes recently displayed at the BC Log Home Timber Frame & Country Living Show in Abbotsford, BC. Representing Sitka Log Homes was our general manager, Walter Bramsleven, who presented seminars on “Planning the Perfect Log Home”. Walter was impressed by the number of people who came to visit our booth. He estimates about 8,000 visitors to the show.
Thank you to all who came by to speak with Walter.
If you have any follow up questions just call or drop us an email.

Upcoming Shows

We will also be attending two log home shows in Alberta next month where we will be displaying a full log house for sale during the log home shows. Last year in Vancouver, BC we sold our display house within 10 minutes of the doors opening.
View pictures and the plans of our handcrafted log house display. It could be yours!

For details on the log home shows visit:
Calgary Log and Cottage Show 08 - April 18th - 20th
Edmonton Log and Cottage Show 08 - April 25th - 27th

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Welcome to the Sitka Log Homes Blog!

This blog is intended for people interested in log homes, timber frame homes, and hybrid log and timber homes.

Regularly we will post valuable information regarding the log home industry. Topics will include, types of wood used, log home maintenance, milled log homes versus handcrafted log homes, insulation value of log homes, green building practices, using the pine beetle wood of British Columbia, log and timber detail/accent work, log home shows, choosing a log home design, our Olympic ties, etc.
Projects that we are working on will also be listed in this blog.

We hope you find our blog useful and that you will return often to learn something new and leave your comments.