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Log Home Care and Maintenance

Everything You Need to Know to Buy,
Maintain, and Enjoy Your Log Home

Log Home Care and Maintenance
Everything You Need to Know to Buy, 
Maintain, and Enjoy Your Log Home
by Jim Olsen Davis 
The Lyons Press, 2004

Until recently, most log homes were either self-built or constructed by contractors affiliated with a local sawmill. Consequently, most were vacation homes built in or near a forest; only a few were built for year-round residence.

Much has changed in the last 20 years and the log home industry has matured considerably. The advent of new caulks and sealants coupled with improved designs and components has made the log home a more practical and affordable residence almost anywhere in the country.

This book explains how and why log homes are worth considering for year-round residence. It describes the properties of various types of wood and how they respond to changes in temperature and humidity, and it details a maintenance plan that will help log home owners avoid costly repairs.

"I have been involved in just about every facet of log home manufacturing, buildings, and restoring," notes the author, Jim Olsen Davis. "Consequently, what really upsets me is driving past a log home that has fallen into disrepair. The reason for this is simple: neglect. Neglect comes from misunderstanding or being misled or just plain idleness."

To counter such neglect, Davis aims to arm readers of this book with a working knowledge of some of the common problems found in log homes and how to avoid or fix them. Idaho State Building at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893
Idaho State Building at the Columbian Exposition in Chicago, 1893
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Log Home Care and Maintenance
Site Condition

"The type of soil is not a big issue, but it is an indicator of how well the site drains after a rainstorm or in the spring as the snow melts. You want to make sure the soil is graded away from your house. The steeper the better,but you do not want pockets (or puddles) of moisture restaing agaist your foundation.  That can lead to cracks in the foundation walls and water seepage, which in turn can lead to insect infestations and foundation failure. Vegetation against your log walls does not allow for adequate airflow, which is vital when the logs get wet. Your logs need to dry out after they get wet or they become an invitation to fungi and insects. Cut the vegetation back to the height of the foundation wall and 2 feet from the wall. I don't advocate getting rid of it altogether, because some vegetation lessens splash back on log walls from a rainstorm.

"Insect infestations usually start somewhere outside the house. Look for signs and areas where insects lie in wait. You may spot tunnels of mud leading up the foundation wall or mounds in the soil. If you find these signs, consider treating the soil with a fungicide or insecticide injection. You will definitely fund insects in woodpiles leaning against the house. Destroy the tunnels and mounds and move the woodpil at least 15 to 20 feet away from the house..."

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