Q. How much does it cost to build a log home?
A. You are the one that controls the cost to build your home. You make the decisions that determine the cost. The design, the size, the amenities, the difficulty of the site, the cost of the finishes you choose, all determine the price. In addition, construction costs vary greatly throughout the United States. A log home should cost approximately the same as a well-built conventionally framed custom home with the same features in the same location. If all you change are the outside walls, the cost cannot change by very much.
Q. What distinguishes Gastineau from other log home companies?
A. Lots of things! First and foremost is that we can provide a superior wood, Oak, at a reasonable price. (See our page on Why Oak?) But we are more than just an Oak log home company. Our engineered building system is easy to build yet proven to perform. Our attention to details, like having logs around the subfloor, show our dedication to giving you the best log home possible. Using solar kilns to dry our logs saves energy and reduces the production of carbons as well as dry the logs slowly and thoroughly. We are the only log home company to come to your job site during the construction process (Quality Assurance Visit) as well as after the home is completed (Customer Satisfaction Visit) to make sure the home is built in accordance with our construction manual and details and that you are satisfied with your home. And speaking of the construction manual, it is superb. Filled with details, tips and plain English instructions on how to build your log home. It was written by people who build log homes, not an engineer. How about the fact that our standard log width is 8″ thick compared to a 6″ wide log used by most log home companies. Or the fact that we guarantee that you will have enough materials to build your home the way that it is designed. Another way we are different is that there is a lifetime warranty on the caulking on the exterior joint of the logs. Simply put, we do things the way we think the should be done, not just the way everyone else does it.
Q. How long has Gastineau Log Homes been in the log home business?
A. We started manufacturing log homes in 1977, making us one of the pioneers in the log home industry and one of the few in the Midwest. Since that time we have shipped houses to all 50 states and over a dozen countries. Gastineau Lumber Company, a wholesale sawmilling operation, was owned by Lynn Gastineau’s Father from 1952 until he retired in 1987.
Q. How does oak compare with pine and cedar as a log home wood?
A. Oak has many advantages over pine in log home construction: Oak is naturally durable and insect resistant without chemicals. It is much stronger, allowing header logs and floor beams to span greater lengths. Oak does not season check as severely as pine. Screws or fasteners will not pull through an Oak log. Oak cuts cleaner and won’t splinter or tear when it is cut like Pine and Cedar. Oak is easier to maintain. Oak has a very narrow sap wood ring. This assures that your logs are solid heartwood and there is no sap wood exposed to the elements.
Oak and cedar are both very insect resistant, however oak is much stronger. Cedar logs and floor beams cannot span but short distances. Also, the cedar logs sold today are predominantly sap wood. Cedar sap wood is no more decay or insect resistant than Pine.
And lastly, Oak is recognized throughout the world to be one of the most beautiful woods available.
Q. Do Gastineau Log Home packages come with any warranties?
A. Your Gastineau log home includes several types of warranty. First, we guarantee that there are sufficient materials included in your package to build the home as it is designed and quoted, provided that your construction methods are consistent with your blueprints. We also offer a unique limited lifetime warranty on the Gastineau components in your package. If you sell your log home, this warranty is transferable as a 10-year warranty to the first subsequent owner. Also, many of the components included in our kit, such as windows and shingles carry their own manufacturer’s warranty. Last, our logs are milled with a caulk channel on the exterior joint. This allows for the proper placement of backer rod and a bead of caulking. With this design, the caulking manufacturer, Sashco Caulking, provides a life time warranty on the caulking.
Q. How do you dry your logs?
A. Logs of 12″ – 15″ diameter are cut into a 6″ X 8″ or 8” X 8” cant. This process removes the sapwood and leaves a “heartwood only” log. The cants are then kiln-dried in our solar forced air kilns for approximately 5 months. This process, which was developed after years of research, is environmentally friendly while providing a better, more stable end product. Since no fossil fuels are used, it is better for the environment than a conventional kiln used by other log home companies. It is “Mother Nature’s Way” of drying but much faster and with no negative impact to the wood or the Earth. This slower process minimizes checking and shrinkage because it dries the log to the center of the log rather than just baking the exterior of the log.
Q. Do you allow for settlement?
A. We engineer our structures to allow for the maximum possible shrinkage and settlement as required by the International Residential Code. Log wall openings are framed to allow logs to settle without interfering with the operation of windows or doors. Interior partitions include settling spaces concealed behind oak trim (included in the kits). All vertical supports have adjusters that can be lowered as needed. Our log profile is designed so that two years after you move into your home, your logs will be tighter than they were when the home was built.
Q. What are the advantages of a milled log?
A. Machining the logs produces a log of uniform surface and size. It makes construction easier, more precise and more airtight. It also eliminates ledges which can catch water and cause decay. Milling removes the outer “sapwood” which is the least durable part of the tree along with any insects which may be living under the bark. The remaining “heartwood” is the most durable part of the tree. A milled log also allows the customer to choose the profile that they want for their home. Round, flat, flat with bevels are available on a milled log but not on a handcrafted home. Last, a milled log is less expensive to build than a handcrafted log home.
Q. Are log homes energy efficient?
A. Log homes have been proven many times to be energy efficient and are recognized as so by energy codes throughout the U.S. The logs and heavy beams provide thermal mass which retains heat, reducing energy costs. When looking for an energy efficient log home, pay particular attention to the width of the joint where the logs stack. A 12” log with a 5” joint is no more energy efficient than a 5” wide log. Also, the sealants used between the logs is critical to the performance.
The design and construction details are very important to the amount of energy it will take to heat and cool your log home. Allowing for sufficient insulation in the roof system if critical. The standard GLH roof systems allows for an R 40. GLH uses logs around the subfloor which is an energy saving feature. Air infiltration through the subfloor is a major energy leak in most homes. The logs serve as a continual insulated wall around the subfloor to eliminate this source of air infiltration. GLH also provides custom profile gaskets to provide another seal behind the door and window trim. These gaskets fill in the space created by the curvature of the round logs to prevent air infiltration around the doors and windows.
Q. What shipping methods do you use?
A. We use several different common carrier companies. This way we can keep freight costs as low as possible. Most people prefer to have “split deliveries” so that all the materials are not delivered at once. We use GLH trucks for small deliveries that may be needed. We have shipped by rail and by overseas containers as well. Our location provides us with easy accessibility to all of the U.S. and to exporting ports. We are very close to Interstate Highways, railways and also the Mississippi River.
Q. Do you offer on-site assistance?
A. On-site help is available at a daily rate. Since most customers do not require this service, we don’t include it in our package prices. Our Building Smart Construction Seminar is offered free of charge to our customers and provides training for the techniques required to build a Gastineau Log Home. Builders are allowed to come to any GLH Construction Seminars free of charge.
Q. Is a log home environmentally friendly?
A. Building an Oak log home is very good for the environment. First, the Oak trees in the Missouri forests, where our logs are harvested, are growing at a rate 35% higher than the amount being cut each year.
B. Second, we utilize a small diameter tree. These logs come from either a tree top or from thinnings that are done to improve the health of the forest. There is really not a profitable market for this diameter tree, except for our log homes. We have created this market. This is very important as it fully utilizes more of each tree that is harvested. In the wood products industry today, there is no waste in the manufacturing process. The area where waste is still an issue is in the forest. By providing a market for these smaller diameter trees, they are being brought to market and used in homes rather than being left as waste in the forest. Also, this makes it profitable to go into a forest and thin the smaller trees, which makes a healthier forest. Without the market we provide, it is difficult to make this process economically feasible.
C. Third, our logs are dried in solar forced air kilns over a period of approximately five months. Our process does not use fossil fuels like other kilns. As well as being a better drying process for the logs.
D. Fourth, log construction does not require the energy, chemicals or fossil fuels that are required to produce framing lumber, insulation, drywall, and vinyl siding or brick as used in frame construction. The transportation costs alone to produce these materials and get all of the to the job site is staggering.
E. Last, a factor that should be considered is the longevity of the final home. A log home will last longer and maintain it’s energy efficiency forever. Most insulation products and siding products will have to be replaced and/or lose their insulating qualities over time. A log home will last for hundreds of years and require less maintenance than a frame home.