When you're first building a log home, it can be tough to choose what type of log home style you're going to build. Besides the fact that there are multiple types of wood to consider, you also need to think about the style of home you like the most, and there are quite a few of those. Since some of the log home building terms might be new and unfamiliar, we've created this guide to explain some of the most popular home styles, from the profile of each log to the corner style used to join each wall of the home together. If you're still deciding what your log home will look like, follow this guide for everything you need to know about log home styles:
Milled vs. Handcrafted
The first thing to know when you're deciding what type of logs to use for your log home, is the difference between milled and handcrafted logs. Most styles of log home can be created with either milled or handcrafted logs, so it's up to you to choose which option you prefer.
Handcrafted Logs are logs that more or less come straight from the forest. They're not manufactured or altered in any way, and some home builders prefer them for the natural feel they provide. When you use handcrafted logs for your log home, each log will be carefully selected and cut by hand to fit together in a certain order.
Milled Logs are logs that are machined to a consistent shape, and that doesn’t have the uneven coloring of logs that come straight from nature. Since they have to fit into a woodworking machine, they're typically shorter than handcrafted logs, and are so uniform that they can go together in any order to build your home.
Both milled and handcrafted logs are excellent choices, so in the end, the option you go with will depend on personal preference. Check out our blog about the Pros and Cons of Handcrafted and Milled Logs
for more information on which is best for you.
Full Scribe Vs. Chinking
Once you've determined whether you'll be using milled or handcrafted logs, it's time to think about the overall look of your home. There are two general ways that log homes are crafted, full scribe style, and chink style:
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Photo courtesy of The Log Builders
A full-scribe log home is assembled by cutting each log to stack snugly on the log below it. Typically, grooves are cut out on the underside of each log, so it fits together like a puzzle piece with the log beneath it. Since each log fits tightly together, chinking is unnecessary, and you end up with a home that has a totally wooden exterior finish. As you can see in the photo above, there is no caulking or material in between the logs on the body of this home; each log has been cut to fit precisely together.
Chink style log homes have evolved since the earliest history of log home building. When a chink style log home is built, logs are not cut to fit on top of one another. Instead, they're stacked on top of one another whole and joined together at the corners with notches. Since the logs have not been scribed, they don't fit together precisely, and chinking
is used to seal the gaps between each log, ensuring the home is watertight and energy efficient.
Each style has benefits for log homeowners, and again the choice will come down to personal preference and budget. Both styles will create a home that's sturdy and weather tight, so you'll want to choose the option that looks best to you.
Now that you know the general classes of log homes, it's time to get down to specifics. Whether you've chosen handcrafted or milled, full scribe or chinked, you'll still have to choose the shape of your logs. Known to log homebuilders as log style or log profile, there are a few options to choose from, each offering a slightly different look for the interior and exterior of your log home.
Perhaps the most popular log profile for log homes, the D-log is round on the exterior of the home, and flat on the interior. This offers many log homeowners the best of both worlds, as they get the traditional, round log look on the exterior of the home, but convenient flat walls on the inside of the home that are perfect for hanging shelves, fixing cabinetry, and decorating in a more modern style.
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Photo courtesy of Eastern White Pine
Photo courtesy of Eastern White Pine
A round shaped log is just about exactly what you'd expect. Completely round, except where logs are joined together, this is perhaps the most traditional log profile. It provides a more rustic feel on the interior, as the interior walls will match the exterior, with round wall faces on both sides. Round profile logs can be scribed to fit together, or they can be stacked without scribing for a chink style home.
Square or Rectangular Logs
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Photo courtesy of Gust Timbercraft Log Homes
Log home with rectangular style logs
Photo courtesy of Gust Timbercraft Log Homes
Formerly associated with Appalachian-style log homes, this log profile can now be seen across the world. Square and rectangular logs create a log home that's flat on both the interior and exterior. This is another style of log home that can have chinking, or that can be built without, in a full scribe style.
Beveled or Shiplap
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Photo courtesy of Pin-Insta-Decor.com
A slight variation of the square and rectangular log, this style has grown in popularity lately, with the rise of the farmhouse chic and rustic contemporary home styles. Essentially, rectangular style logs are fitted together with a slight edge that helps to shed moisture.
Corner Log Style
And just when you thought you were done, there's one more choice to make! Now that you know what type of log profile you're using, you have to figure out how to put them together. There are a number of ways to join exterior walls together, but these are the most popular corner styles for log homes:
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Photo courtesy of the Log Home Builders Association
This corner style joins logs by alternating between one log butting up against the other, and jutting past the corner to project out. The end result is a log home that has logs jutting out on the corners, alternating between sides as seen above.
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Photo courtesy of Bannon Log Homes
One of the few ways to create a truly square log home, dovetail corner log styles are slightly more difficult to create as they require multiple cuts for each individual log. Essentially, each log is cut to fit perfectly together, so the log ends lock together. Overhanging ends can be cut off to form a square corner as seen in the photo above. Many homeowners prefer a dovetail corner for the clean look, and the fact that it creates a tight, interlocking design that will only pull together tighter over time as the logs shift.
If you've ever seen Lincoln Logs, you're already familiar with this corner style. Saddle notch log corners are created by making a saddle-shaped notch in the bottom of the log, so it fits snugly on top of the log below it. Saddle notch corners are a very traditional look most commonly used with round shaped logs.
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Photo Courtesy of Timberhaven Log Homes
Perhaps the most distinct corner style of log homes, a corner post is the only log home corner style that does not rely on the home's logs to overlap. Instead, a vertically standing post is used to join the two horizontal walls together. Each horizontal log is affixed to the corner post, creating a vertical, square corner.
If you have any questions while you're considering what style of log home is best for you, make sure to talk to the experts at Timeless! A family-owned business, we've been in the industry for years, and would love to help in any way. And once you do decide on the perfect log home style for you, make sure to check out our high-quality products, just for log homes. From sealant to chinking to stain, we've got everything you need. Call us at (800) 564-2987 or check out our products online