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 of these things 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 should not 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 oak, a superior wood, 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 detail, like having logs around the subfloor, show our dedication to giving you the best log home possible.
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 ensure the home has been built in accordance with our construction standards and that you are satisfied with your home. In addition, our detailed and well thought out construction manual establishes our high standards and is 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 engineers: the engineers employ their extensive knowledge in our designs, but the actual builders explain the process. Another difference that sets us apart is our lifetime warranty on the caulking of the exterior joints of the logs (see Better Caulk Performance under Wall Styles)
Using solar kilns to dry our logs saves energy and reduces the production of carbons as well as dry the logs slowly and thoroughly.
At Gastineau Log Homes, our standard log width is 8″ thick. Most other log home companies use a 6″ thick log. And we guarantee that you will have enough materials to build your home the way that it is designed.
Simply put, we do things the way we think they 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 providing log home packages in 1977, making us one of the pioneers in the log home industry and one of the few in the Midwest. Since then 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 due to its density and strength. Oak cuts cleaner and doesn’t splinter or tear like pine and cedar. Oak is easier to maintain through the years. 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, but oak is much stronger. Cedar logs and floor beams can only span 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. In addition, many of the components included in our kit, such as windows, doors and shingles carry their own manufacturer’s warranty. Lastly, 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” cants. This process removes the sapwood and leaves a “heartwood only” log. The cants are then dried in our solar kilns for approximately 5 months. Our solar kiln process, developed after years of research, is environmentally friendly while providing a better, more stable end product. Since very little electricity is used, it is better for the environment than conventional kilns used by other log home companies which uses huge amounts of heating fuels. We consider our solar kilns as “Mother Nature’s Way” of drying the full logs with no negative impact to the wood, the air or the Earth. This months’ long 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. Our log wall openings are framed to allow logs to settle without interfering with the operation of windows or doors. We design settling spaces across the top of the interior partitions that are easily concealed behind trim boards. All vertical supports for beams 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. Milling of logs produces logs of uniform surfaces and sizes. This makes construction easier, more precise and more airtight. Our milled log shapes eliminate ledges which hold water and lead to decay. Our milling removes the outer “sapwood” which is the least durable part of the tree where the insects live. The remaining “heartwood” is the most durable part of the tree. Look at the end of any of our logs and you’ll see the middle of the tree!. A milled log also allows you to choose the profile that that want for your home. Lastly, 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 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 the interior space’s ambient temperatures, 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 air tightness 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. Planning for sufficient insulation in the roof system is critical. The standard GLH roof system allows for an R 40 using spray foam. GLH recommends using logs around the subfloor which is not only structurally better but is an energy saving feature. Air infiltration through at the subfloor perimeter is a major energy leak in most homes. Our log wall design provides a well insulated wall eginning at the top of the foundation wall up to the roof, eliminating 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 even 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 invited to come to any GLH Construction Seminar free of charge.
Q. Is a log home environmentally friendly?
A. Building an oak log home is good for the environment. First, the Missouri oak forests, where our logs are harvested, are increasing at a rate 35% compared to the amount being cut each year.
B. Second, we utilize small diameter trees. These logs come 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. The logs can also be cut from the tops of large trees where the trunk is much smaller in girth. 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. This also 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 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, sheathing, building wrap, insulation, drywall, manufactured siding or brick as used in frame construction. The transportation costs alone to produce these materials and get all of them 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 can last for hundreds of years which means you won’t have to replace it as often as a conventionally built home. This factor alone requires significantly less materials over time.