Category Archives: Miscellaneous

  • Keeping a Virginia Log Home Cozy and Warm in the Winter Months

    The winter months are upon us and nothing says cozy like a Virginia Log Home. Just walking into a log home can conjure up feelings of an Alpine holiday vacation. When the temperatures drop outside how do you keep your beautiful log home warm and cozy? Continue reading to discover the best ways to keep your Virginia log home warm and ways to make the interior feel cozier no matter what the temperature is outside.

    How your log home is constructed will make a difference in how best to keep it feeling toasty warm in colder weather. First your log home must be built with seasoned logs which is a process of drying out the logs for at least 6 months in a protected environment. Traditionally built log homes cannot be insulated unless you add framing and sheetrock to the inside which will hide the logs and create a modern looking interior. If this is the look you are going for – perfect – then you will not need to read any further, you can simply add traditional wall insulation. However if you dream of a traditional log home with the logs exposed on the interior walls then you will need some information on how to keep your log home as warm as possible. The first thing to know is that the logs are your insulation. Although logs are not rated as high as traditionally constructed homes for insulation rating, log homes have the benefit of Heat Battery Effect (especially darker colors). This means that during the day the logs in your home are absorbing the heat from the sun. In the evening this heat is released back into the air including the air inside your home and helps keep your interior warm after dark.  Whether building a new log home or purchasing a log home that is already built, you will need to take steps to prevent air leakage. To do this you must take a look at all of your walls, windows and doors. If you can observe gaps in the walls then you will need to fill the gaps with some form of chinking (filler between logs). Should you observe gaps around windows and doors then you will want to seal these gaps with caulk or a foam sealant. Adding weather stripping after you seal gaps around your doors and windows will help keep out drafts and will go a long way to keeping your log home warm and cozy. 

    Although cathedral ceilings are gorgeous and create a sense of space, they are not the best option if you want your log home to be energy efficient. Energy efficiency will help to keep your home warm and dry. When building or buying a log home think about your ceiling height. The best ceiling to create the warm cozy log cabin feel that you are going for is a tongue and groove flat ceiling which retains heat in a way that cathedral ceilings cannot. When deciding on insulation and heating options keep your floors and ceilings at the front of your mind. 70% of all heat escapes through the roof and floor of your log home so be certain to insulate your floors and ceilings. Adding radiant floor heating is another option – although the initial cost is dramatic it will also help keep your feet warm and eliminate cold spots throughout the home. Windows also need to be considered when you are trying to create a warm and cozy cabin feel. Whether you choose floor to ceiling windows that allow you to take in the amazing views or you decide on more traditionally sized, be certain that the windows installed are double or triple glazed to help keep the cold air out of your home in the winter. 

    Along with these smart building options there are decorating options that can also assist in creating the warm cozy log cabin feel that you are seeking. Instead of bright overhead lights, use lamps strategically placed throughout your home to create pools of warm light. Bring in plenty of texture. Use throw blankets in a variety of textures such as wool and bulky knit or crocheted cotton and throw pillows made of linens and faux fur. Add area rugs to create a feeling of warmth under foot. Warm colors and wood tones automatically create a sense of warmth, but don’t be afraid to add pops of color that can easily be changed out to alter the look and feel of your home. If you can, add a fireplace or a wood stove to create literal and figurative warmth to your home. Most of all, have fun.

    The building and heating suggestions above are about keeping your home actually warm, however creating a feeling of warmth has more to do with you. Have some fun and find décor ideas that you feel create a warm, homey and inviting atmosphere in your Virginia log home all winter long.

  • What to Look for in a Log Home

    A well-built and maintained log home can last for generations. But buyers new to log houses might not know what signs to look for to judge their construction and compare one log home to another. A home inspector will be able to check the house out thoroughly during the buying process, but there are a few red flags that buyers can spot on their own before moving forward with the purchase. 

    Check for Insects 

    It’s actually a misconception that insects are attracted to log homes. Insects like damp wood, which should not describe a well-constructed log house. Nonetheless, insects leave certain tell-tale signs that buyers can look out for when touring a potential new home.

    Termites tend to be a concern for first-time log home buyers, though they generally aren’t a problem if the wood has been sealed well. If a log house has a termite problem, you can see evidence of mud tunnels on the foundation. To make sure that termites aren’t going to be a problem in your log home, don’t buy a house with the logs touching the ground. Preferably, there should be 10 to 12 inches of foundation elevating the first logs above the ground. 

    The other insects that sometimes pose a problem with wood homes are carpenter bees and carpenter ants. Small piles of sawdust around the foundation is a sign to look out for, but infestations of these insects can be harder for first-time buyers to recognize on their own. Fortunately, a professional insect inspection will occur before any house sale is finalized. 

    Watch Out for Wood Rot

    Wood rot is found in wood that is frequently damp. Fortunately, this means that wood rot, like termites, is not a problem in well-maintained log homes. Certain houses are at a higher risk for wood rot, so check these parts of any log house to determine whether rot could be a problem.

    • Check for signs of rot around doors and windows, as these areas can allow water to leak and will show the first signs of rot.
    • Make sure that gutters are functioning properly, otherwise, rainwater might have built up and constantly dripped onto the logs.
    • If the house was built in the 1990’s or earlier, the overhangs might be too short. If a log house has shallow overhangs, the lowest logs can get too wet in the rain, which can cause wood rot.

    Check for High-Quality Staining

    Most of the problems that log houses face are caused by the logs staying excessively moist. Luckily, a good stain on a log house keeps the moisture out so that insects and wood rot are never a concern. When you go to look at a log house, make sure to check the quality of the stain. If you splash water against the logs, the water should bead up and roll off rather than sitting on the wood. If the stain has worn down evenly, it could probably be fixed by applying another coat.

  • Making Your Log Home Energy Efficient

    Many buyers have fond memories or cozy fantasies of living in a Virginia log home but are worried that log homes are less energy-efficient than conventional homes. With rising energy costs and concerns about climate change, buyers want their home to be as energy-efficient as possible. Fortunately, log homes actually provide several advantages for energy efficiency, and problem areas can be updated to boost efficiency – all without diminishing the beauty of the log walls.  Continue reading

  • Log Home Considerations

    Are you considering buying a log home? Log homes have a rich history starting back thousands of years. When starting out, many log homes were built with rough-hewn logs and by stacking them on top of each other and overlapping the corners. These interlocking corners were then set, and weather protected materials such as moss, clay, or another sort of soft material were put into the joints to make the home more resistant to the climate.  We’ve come a long way in the material put into the joints, however, the same layouts persist and those that want to use all-natural material for a more sustainable home can do so with ease. Continue reading

  • Old World Appeal in a Modern World

    Log homes and cabins have long been hailed as an early American settler staple. Coming from as far back as 3500 BC, these building types have persevered through the course of time and its basic form was imported overseas for its ease of build as well as the suitability of the readily available woods and easy insulation. While log homes were seeing the start of popularity in America in the early 1600s today’s log homes are usually built with milled logs and represents a higher degree of sustainability and are considered to be leading the green building movement that is catching speed. Continue reading

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    5 Tips on Purchasing a Log Home

      I fell in love with log homes when I moved to Central Virginia. The rustic appearance, smell of pine, and the amazing views of the Blue Ridge Mountains I have seen are breathtaking. A friend of ours had a custom luxury log home built atop of a mountain and it was the most spectacular home I have ever been to. Everything was custom for that family. The views from the picture windows, large pantry, open kitchen, master suite on one side of the log home to the kid’s bedrooms on the other side was amazing. But finding a log home to purchase can be quiet difficult because of how unique these homes are. Continue reading

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