Comfort and Economy
Wood is nature’s perfect natural insulating quality of just 4” of wood. Wood insulates six times better than brick and over 15 times greater than stone or masonry. Maintaining the thermal benefits of a log wall depends on securing a tight seal against air leaks. Our insulated, solid wood, tongue and groove log wall system is specially designed to eliminate air infiltration, a major cause of heat loss often found in the hardboard spline and groove styles. The added comfort of a log home is basically a result of the heavier mass of the log wall as shown in the table below.
Wall System Total Weight Specific Heat Wall Heat Loss
Solid log, milled to 8” 11,200 lbs. 6,720 66
Frame: 2×4, 3-1/2” f. 4,600 2,200 63
“R-Value” Comparisons not always valid
“R-Value” is the measurement of thermal resistance of a material or building component of the passage of heat. The greater the R-value, the better the insulation value. R-value thinking is important for quick evaluation of insulation value, but quickly being replaced with systems of analysis which present a more complete picture of the insulation qualities of the structure. For example, consider the case of a conventional home rated by its builder at R-19 in the walls with more than 20% glass area (sliding doors, picture windows, skylights, etc.). With glass having an R factor <2, the builder’s extra insulation is practically meaningless when all of the heat gain and loss is out of the large window surfaces. Additionally, to accurately calculate heating loads and energy consumption of a convention home, heat loss through the 3-1/2” framing members must be considered.
This loss, in addition to batten insulation safety factor corrections for the possibility of poor workmanship, leakage, compaction, moisture, and other influencing elements; can reduce batten insulation “R-Value” by as much as 30% for walls and 50% for ceilings.
National Building Codes
Although building codes indicate the minimum “R Factor” (or maximum “U” factor; “U” 1/R acceptable for any component, total heat loss through the exterior of a house is the most important consideration).
Most building codes recognize the ‘total heat loss’ concept and will allow the insulating value of some component to be increased to compensate for others which cannot achieve sufficiently prescribed insulation value. In some areas, therefore the “R” value requirements are high, it may be necessary to increase the insulating value of the roof and add storm windows and/or insulated glass. The flexibility of our home designs allows you to insulate the roof and floors as much as you want or need. This is usually all that would be required to meet code requirements for strict energy compliances.
The amount of window space, energy use patterns of your family, and interior design are just a few of the many factors that affect the total BTU loss in your home.
It is with this overall heat gain or loss in mind that we’ve designed our homes.
Fire Ratings and Insurance
Because our logs are completely de-barked and smoothly machine-milled for a finished appearance, our flame spread rating of 102 is far better than the 500 allowed by major national building code organizations.
Obtaining fire insurance on our homes has been no problem. As most of us painstakingly learned in ‘Scouts’ year ago, it is much easier to burn 2×4 sticks of lumber than trying to set fire to an 8” solid log from scratch! Additionally, conventionally framed houses provide spaces inside the walls which act as a flue in the chimney, providing a strong draft for fire called “flueing”. Our walls are solid and fire has an extremely difficult time getting started.