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The Oak Leaf – January 2012

By January 1, 2012April 26th, 2024Newsletter

Welcome to the January 2012 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at

Trivia Question: What were the top 5 natural disasters in 2011?

The living room of the home above. Behind the fireplace is the kitchen and dining room, and there is a sunroom in the rear of the home. A loft looks down into the living room and into the sunroom. Two bedrooms and two bathrooms complete the second floor.

Gastineau Oak Log Homes in the News AGAIN! On Christmas Eve we were on and on Christmas Day the same story was on the Yahoo home page! Click here to read the story! In addition, on Christmas Day we had a feature story in the Kansas City Star! During the week of January 15th we will be featured in also.

How long will an Oak log home last? We often hear that question. I like to point out that the majority of the historical log homes remaining in the US were built from Oak. This was prior to chemicals, so it truly shows the natural ability of the wood to withstand the elements in all climates. For example, in 1829, Sequoyah, inventor of the Cherokee alphabet, built a one-room log cabin of Oak logs which today is the oldest surviving log cabin in present day Oklahoma. He left Oak logs to the Blair family (after his death in 1843) who used them to add a room to the original cabin. These logs were then dismantled and used to build a park rangers cabin in 1936. (Logs that were almost 100 years old!) The Cole cabin, built in 1890 of Oak logs, was lived in until 1952 and is now part of the Chisholm Trail Museum. If you visit with any of the builders who buy/dismantle/rebuild older log homes, they will tell you that there are more Oak log homes that can be used for new structures than any other type of wood. To me, this is the best proof there is that Oak is the best wood species to use for your log home.

The sunroom in the back of the home has a cathedral ceiling that looks up into the loft, it opens onto a large covered porch to the rear, features trapezoid custom windows in the gable, plus you see here a pass through into the kitchen.

Do you need to drill a well on your property? There are over 15 million homes in the United States with their own water well. Few people give much thought to who drills the well, what thought and planning goes into it, physically how they are drilled and constructed, and the maintenance considerations. Many of our customers do not have access to a municipal water source and a well is the best choice. If you are going to need to drill a well, here are some basic considerations and some resources are at the end.

The average household uses 200 to 400 gallons of water per day. For a family of four, this means that you will need well that can supply a dependable 10 to 25 gallons per minute. Before you drill, you should find out water can be produced from the aquifers in your area, the quality of the water and the depth that is typically required. Perhaps the most important step is selecting your well contractor. Go to your local county health department, lending institutions, your state DNR offices or web sites, or local well owners who can give you references. You want to make sure your well is located at least 50 feet from any septic tanks or lines and at least 100 feet from the drain field. You want the well close enough to the house site to minimize the cost of the supply line but provide easy access to the well for maintenance. Make sure the supply lines are far below frost line. And do not put any patios, decks or driveways over your buried supply lines. Some Do’s and Don’ts:
DO make sure you will have adequate ground water before you construct your home.
DO contact your local and/or state health department before your well is installed for any requirements or permits.
DO consider your neighbors present well and septic system before you begin construction.
DO hire an experienced well pump installer and completely understand your agreement.
DO get your well water analyzed.
DON’T ask your installer to put in a well that does not meet minimum standards.
DON’T purchase your pump prior to well construction.
DON’T have your well installed prior to developing a site plan for your home, driveways and septic system.

There are lots of resources on line for more information. Check out these: Drilling A Well on Your Land, How Wells are Drilled and Well Drilling for the Prospective Well Owner.

  • These two photos show how you can design your entry when your building site slopes down toward the house. At this home near Sacramento, CA, the road is about 25 feet above the elevation of the front door.

  • This is a side shot of the same home. The lower (basement) level was covered with log siding. Rock could have been used also. The bridge entry way creates a beautiful feature to the entrance. A creative way to turn a “not so good” building site into a masterpiece!

How much does it cost to build a log home? You can find the answer to this (and more!) questions on our web site FAQ page. But the answer is: 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.

A personal note: I had to take this opportunity to say Congratulations to my Mom and Dad. They celebrated their 60th Wedding Anniversary on December 31st. They are an amazingly loving, fun and hard working couple and I love them both dearly. Not many couples make it 60 years together but as my Mom says, if you can just get through the first 30 years, it gets a lot easier!

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2012:

Feb 18 April 14 May 19 July 14 Sept 15 Oct 13

The one day construction seminars are held at our model home center on I70 on the southwest outer road of Exit 144 in Central Missouri. Call to register!

See GLH at these log home shows:

Nashville, TN at the Williamson County Ag Expo Park – March 2 to 4, 2012
Greater Philadelphia, PA Expo at Oaks – March 16 to 18, 2012

Answer to the Trivia Question: 1. The Earthquake in Japan 2. Drought in East Africa 3. Floods in Thailand 4. Typhoon in the Philippines and 5. Storms in the United States. For details on these tragedies, go to Disasters.

Quote of the Month: “Be always at War with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each New Year find you a better person.” – Benjamin Franklin