Frequently Asked Questions
CAN I REALLY SAVE MONEY BY BUILDING THE KIT MYSELF?
With help you can save thousands of dollars by doing the work yourself. Actually, the whole family and/or your friends can pitch in and do whatever needs to be done! Jobs such as fabrication of log walls, interior finishing, painting, etc. can be done easily by you. Save even more money by being your own “General Contractor”. Do your own planning, purchasing (at contractor discounts!) and subcontract the jobs which may require a higher degree of specialization. BRLH LLC provides a Construction Manual with each package that will be built by the Home Owner and will be pleased to provide you with information and technical assistance during your project, as well. For those folks who would like the structure erected for them, we recommend our Class A Builder, because of his knowledge and past experience in log home construction.
WHAT CAUSES THE CHECKING LINES ON THE LOGS?
As a normal part of the curing (or seasoning) process, checking (splitting or cracking) occurs in the logs. This natural characteristic has no affect whatsoever in the authenticity of a solid log building. BRLH LLC mills its Eastern Pine with the heart in the center of the log – checking from either side will go no farther than to the heart. We also primarily dry our logs outside, allowing 12 plus months for this before we mill the logs – this puts our logs generally in the 12-15% moisture level and is not as contributable to the log checking.
Photo: Ex. - green wood vs. dry wood
WHY DON’T YOU USE A HARDBOARD OR PLYWOOD SPLINE SYSTEM BETWEEN YOUR LOGS?
The spline groove in this type of log system encourages additional checking or splitting – having relieved the natural stress at the surface of the groove, the log wants to crack at the base of the groove. The groove itself is a rain gutter, carrying water into this crack. Rotting is promoted, and if there are freezing and thawing conditions, the crack is enlarged allowing more water to enter. The insulated tongue and groove system, that we use, insures protection to permanently seal out wind, water and dirt!
WHY IS YOUR KIT LESS/MORE EXPENSIVE THAN ANOTHER COMPANIES?
Kits of different manufacturers vary widely because no two kits have identical components included in the basic kit price. Since you cannot live in a kit, it is meaningless to compare kit prices. What is meaningful is the comparative cost of complete homes. The Log Home Package allows you the maximum flexibility in selection of finish materials and great opportunity to increase overall insulation values
WHY DOESN’T THE KIT PROVIDE ALL THE MATERIALS I WILL NEED?
There are two basic reasons. The first is the cost savings to you in extra freight. If we purchase conventional building materials, you would have to pay additional freight from the plant to your location. This savings can be quite substantial. Secondly, Blue Ridge Log Homes LLC wants to give you the maximum flexibility to customize your home. You may want cedar shakes or thermo pane windows while another customer may not. You may need to build your home on a slab; the next person may want a full basement. By shipping you only the basic “log” materials this allows you to have your own dream home at substantial savings.
DO I NEED A SPECIAL FOUNDATION?
No. You can build a Log Home over concrete block, all weather wood or poured concrete crawl space or basement. You can also build on a treated wood post or pile foundation. Complete dimensions are shown in each set of blueprints. (Sill details are included).
WHAT KIND OF HEAT CAN I USE?
Any kind you wish. Some folks heat with wood stoves backed up by electric heat, while others heat with forced hot air or oil fired furnaces. You can also heat with electric baseboard heat or even a fireplace. A Blue Ridge Log Home LLC designed building can be heated with almost any combination of heating devices! Forced air heating and air conditioning ducts can easily be run up through the interior partitions and vented out along the baseboard on the second floor. Our homes can be built using electric, propane, hot water, solar, forced air or wood heat – the choice of heat/AC systems is totally yours.
HOW IS PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL WIRING INSTALLED IN A LOG HOME?
Because log homes use a conventional flooring system and studded interior partitions, plumbing and wiring are installed in the floor and interior partitions, as in a conventional frame building. On exterior log walls, wiring is installed in the logs and door facings or mortised into the logs. Because innovations are continuously being developed we have made use of the latest “wireless” technology in the switch plates we used in our Model Home! These switch plates, because they contain computer chips instead of using electrical wiring, can be placed anywhere you might want them and are programmable for multiple fixtures! They are available in many colors and switch combinations.
CAN I SUPPLY MY OWN LOGS TO BE MILLED INTO MY BLUE RIDGE LOG HOME KIT?
Yes, providing your logs meet BRLH specifications! Our mill is available for custom milling.
WHAT KIND OF LOG DO YOU USE AND WHERE DO THEY COME FROM?
Eastern White Pine (pinus strobus).
We purchase our logs from sawmills in Virginia and mill them at our log mill in Greenville, VA.
WHAT IS THE THICKNESS OF THE WALLS?
Our “D” shaped logs are 6” thick and have an R value of R7-8. Wood is one of the best natural insulators with more thermal mass than fiberglass! Our logs do not transfer heat/cold inside or out!
HOW ARE YOUR LOGS HELD TOGETHER?
They are held together with steel lag bolts, open cell foam gasket material plus a bead of caulk between each set of logs.
CAN YOU BUILD A HOME USING A PLAN OTHER THAN BRLH’S?
Yes, we can normally make any plan work with our system, with some restrictions on wall angles. We can tell you quickly after we see your plans if we can use them or not.
WHAT TYPE OF INSULATION IS IN YOUR ROOF SYSTEM?
There is 5-1/2” insulation, equivalent to R38. There is the T&G, then the felt paper, insulation, 1/2” of sheeting/plywood then either a metal or shingle roof system. The roof insulation is ISO insulation panel polystyrene.
WHAT IS THE REQUIRED MAINTENACE ON A LOG HOME?
After the home is built by our Contractor, we apply a product called Tim-Bor (a borate product included in our package), followed by an exterior stain/sealer & interior seal. We recommend Perma-Chink which is an excellent water based product designed exclusively for use on log homes. Both the interior and exterior products come in a variety of colors. Additionally, included in our log package we provide a product called Bug Juice (a phenomenal contact insecticide) that is added to the final coat of the exterior stain/sealer. The Home Owner will need to check the home yearly, and depending on the house overhangs and where it is located, it is recommended that an additional coat of sealer/top coat be applied as needed, generally three to four years after the initial application. After the 2nd application, the home could go as long as 4 – 6 years before needing to be resealed. Careful yearly inspections are the key. Spraying your home off spring & fall keeps debris/dirt from hindering the effectiveness of the stain/sealer and Bug Juice. It is absolutely critical that you budget for the log sealing on the interior and exterior of your home at the end of the build. You have spent many thousands of dollars for your dream home and you must properly protect it from moisture and insects to maintain it for your future use!
WHAT WAYS DO YOU OFFER YOUR LOGS FOR SALE:
We sell our logs in 3 different manners. You can buy the log package by itself. You can get a Dry In Build (home erected, on a crawl space or basement & under roof) or we can give you a Turn Key price for your home, using one of our Class A builders.
WHAT IS THE MOISTURE CONTENT OF YOUR LOGS?
Generally 12–15%. We buy our logs a year or so in advance and allow them to dry naturally on our lot. However, we can kiln dry if that type of drying is preferred or needed.
DOES TURN-KEY INCLUDE CLEARING THE LAND?
Our turn-key and dry in prices include clearing where the house will be located and 25′ additionally, as needed, of the surrounding area. We normally do at least 1 site visit to go over all of this. This will be handled by our builder. The driveway, well, septic, etc. are the responsibility of the customer although we are able to assist with these when needed.
WHAT IF PLANS HAVE TO BE DRAWN UP?
We have an Architect Designer who does our plans for us and who can give you a quote for your plans, If your plans are new to our system and you are agreeable to letting us use them again in the future, this fee may be negotiable.
WILL WE RUN INTO ANY PROBLEMS WITH BANKS FINANCING THE BUILDING OF A LOG HOME?
No. Log homes typically appraise higher than conventional stick frame homes and so banks are very open to financing them. We have available a list of Banks and lending institutions that we have worked with in the past that may be of assistance to you.