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Monthly Archives: July 2013

  • 10 Important Pre-cautions to Consider When Designing Your Dream Home


    So you plan on investing a lot of time and a lot of money into the log home of your dreams? Please take a few minutes to read the 10 pre-cautions to take before and during the building process, it will definitely save time and money in the long run! Some seem to be common sense, while others are things you may over look just trying to achieve your dream that much faster. Please do leave comments or questions, as I will be more than happy to help or answer them. I hope this is helpful!

    Exterior, horizontal, lakeside elevation, Lutz residence, Leeland, Michigan, Maple Island Log Homes Exterior, horizontal, lakeside elevation, Lutz residence, Leeland, Michigan, Maple Island Log Homes

    1.Roof overhangs are a necessary part of protecting your log home. Overhangs should be a minimum of 24" width. The reason for this is, the less water that runs down your home, the less problems. Also, it will shade your home from the sun.

    2. Install a termite shield and treat the soil for termites when constructing the foundation of the home. This is very necessary when building a log home. We all know what termites eat, WOOD!

    3. Install vapor barriers and vent the foundation properly to eliminate moisture. This preventive step will save you a lot of money, and hard-work in the future.

    4. Preserve your logs with a quality log home finish. Log homes have special finishing requirements that are not necessarily the same requirements as found on structures build with standard sawn lumber.

    5. Evaluate your design and incorporate a system to divert water from general precipitation in the form of snow, mist or rain. Correct any area where rain water stands or splashes directly on the log or any wood surface.

    6. Pay attention to the humidity factor in your area. You may need to take additional steps to protect your home from decay and fungus. A borate treatment such as Shell Guard, or finish additive such as a mildecide will protect the wood from molds and mildew.

    7. Grade around the log home to divert water and soil from touching the logs. Do not plant shrubs and other vegetation too close to the log wall surface. There are a few reasons you do not want shrubs and vegetation close to your low walls. One being, BUGS! We all know that where there is shrubs, bushes, or plants of any sort, that bugs will love them just as much as we do. Another reason is, if planted to closely, you wont have space to do proper maintenance to your home, and you also need air flow to keep the chance of mold and mildew growth at bay.

    8. Do not stack firewood or other lumber next to your home. Again, this will lower your chances of termite infestation.

    9. Perform yearly maintenance checks or hire a professional to implement a maintenance program. Check for water leaks, signs of insect infestation and finish failure.In the long run, this will save you a ton of MONEY! Proper maintenance will make what could end up being a huge costly project, just a minor adjustment.

    10. Keep a journal on the maintenance of your log home. Keep records and dates of the product applied, the warranties (if applicable) and the contractors who have worked on your home. Keep notes of your observations.Also, keep record of the PRODUCT you or your contractor APPLIED! We receive several phone calls and e-mails asking what product was applied to customers homes, what color, if it is oil or water based. A lot of times we can help, IF the product was originally bought from us. However, if it was bought elsewhere, we really can't tell you to a 100% certainty what the product or color is/was. Which could create a huge problem, especially if you do not intend on taking your home down to the bare wood.

  • Your Design Style - Quiz

    beautiful log home with pool gorgeous log dining table

    stunning kitchen in a log home We all know log homes are the ultimate all-American housing choice. But within those log walls, virtually anything goes. Take the style quiz to help you determine where your decorating sense lies. And just because you brave the frosty winters of Minnesota, don't think you can't add some cowboy cool to you abode. America, after all, is a melting pot, and your home can be too.

    1. When you think "chandelier", you imagine: a. A craftsman-inspired stained-glass masterpiece. b. An elegant mother-of-pearl affair. c. One word: Antlers. d. A rustic, be-twigged lantern. e. A rugged, wrought-iron light fixture.

    2. If you were to buy a car to go along with your new home, it would be a: a. Wood-sided station wagon -- a classic that's big enough for your skis. b. Vintage VW bug convertible, perfect for weekends at the beach. c. Chevy pick-up to haul around your fishing gear. d. Cadillac Escalade, both stylish and functional on steep inclines. e. Well-worn Jeep whose open sides provide much-needed circulation.

    3. Your favorite color scheme to decorate with is: a. Earthy tones of brown and yellow. b. Peachy pinks and seafoam green. c. Classic shades of maroon and navy. d. Punchy greens and reds. e. Coppers and terra cotta orange.

    4. When you think about your idea of the perfect day, it would include a: a. Day on the slopes and an evening spent cozied up in front of the fireplace. b. Ferry ride, followed by a stroll and picnic on the beach. c. Pre-dawn fishing trip, an afternoon hike, and a moonlit boat ride. d. Morning mountain hike, followed by an afternoon of antiquing. e. Long horse ride, coupled with a dip in the pool.

    5. If you could buy only one new decorative accent for your new log home, it would be: a. A custom iron fireplace screen to complement your over- sized hearth. b. A "shabby chic" wicker rocker painted pale blue for the porch. c. A personalized chainsaw-carved bear boasting a welcome sign. d. An adorable set of birch-bark frames to immortalize your loved ones. e. An Aztec-inspired horse blanket to use as a throw for the sofa.

    6. One of your favorite songs to listen to is: a. "Rocky Mountain High", by John Denver. b. "Surfin' USA", by the Beach Boys. c. "Fred Bear", by Ted Nugent. d. "Mountain Music", by Alabama. e. "Should've Been a Cowboy", by Toby Keith.

    7. You already know exactly what you're going to put over the mantel in your new log home. It's: a. An oversized, retro ski poster you picked up at a flea market. b. A Monet-like seascape of the Atlantic at sunrise. c. The 10-point buck you bagged last season. d. A custom painting of your lake and mountain views from your back deck. e. A bright and jaunty Kokopelli tapestry.

    8. Your favorite vacations spot is: a. Breckenridge, Colorado. b. Hilton Head, South Carolina. c. The North Woods of Wisconsin. d. Saranac Lake, New York. e. The Grand Canyon.

    9. If you had to pick an inspiration for your decorating style, it would be: a. Your Arts-and-Crafts style entryway sconce. b. A hammock. All you need is a place to put it. c. Your first big catch, a mounted rainbow trout. d. The garage-sale mirror on which you hand-glued a twig border. e. A flowering cactus plant you keep on your kitchen windowsill.

    10. Your favorite movie? It's definitely: a. "Ski Patrol", Best comedy on the slopes. b. "Beaches", Still great, though there's never a beach in sight. c. "Open Season", You took the grand kids to it. d. "Lake Placid", Who doesn't love a good horror flick? e. "The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly." Clint Eastwood is the ultimate cowboy.

    Scoring: If you scored mostly A's, your decorating style is "Rocky Mountain Rustic". This style is all about the great lodges of the West. Think over sized logs, native-stone pillars, timber railings and huge hearths. Deep, yet warm colors, like maroon and gold, compliment this style.

    If you scored mostly B's, your decorating style is "Carolina Coastal". You love the carefree vibe of beach cottages. To get a house to match, think about choosing light-colored logs to go along with your pastel palette. You can also stain your wood with white or gray-based colors to get that beachy feel. Try to keep a smaller floor plan to maintain that cottage coziness.

    If you scored mostly C's, your decorating style is, "North Woods Way". You view your home as an extension of yourself, and you're all about wildlife. Anything goes (at least logs-wise) with this style. But whatever you hunt, fish or simply savor the great outdoors, you'll want to incorporate rugged furnishings that will complement your wilderness collection.

    If you scored mostly D's, your decorating style is, "Adirondack Ambition". Whether or not you've spent time in the Adirondacks, you have twigs on the brain. Comfy and quirky decor fits in well with this elegant style. Reminiscent of Swiss ski chalets, use hints of red, green and white in your home.

    If you scored mostly E's, your decorating style is, "Southwest Spirit". The independent feeling of the desert is your style inspiration. Incorporate eaves and overhangs into your home to protect your logs from the sun. Include bright colors, like oranges and turquoise, to punch things up. Also think about using clay, stone, wrought iron, even straw and grass, in your home.

  • Preserving Your Log Home

    Log homes are a tradition rooted in America's history that bring to mind country living and affordable luxury. Though a log home is a comparatively cheap and easy construction choice for the home builder, steps should be taken to protect your investment.

    Preserving the logs of your home is perhaps one of the most important processes in building. Insects such as termites and wood boring beetles consider log homes just another food source and can cause structural damage. The holes left from the insects' tunneling will also collect water and promote water damage. To prevent water damage to a home that has already had an insect infestation, sealing the holes and coating with a water repellent after treating the wood is necessary. Another enemy of log homes that can cause damage is fungi. If moisture is allowed to seep into the wood or a nutrient rich stain is used, mold will grow and cause decay.

    Borates are a commonly used preservative that have been deemed the safest treatment for humans to be around. Other preservatives such as those derived from copper can cause heavy lead poisoning. Another preservatives is linseed oil. This is also considered safe. However, it does contain nutrients that mold and mildew like to feed on and can therefore cause the logs on your home to rot and create unsightly discoloration.

    Whichever means you use to preserve your home, the treatment should be applied first and then a water repellent should then be added. This creates a twofold protection.

    Preserve your own piece of history and enjoy many years of memories.

  • Keeping Log Homes Beautiful Year after Year

    Whether building a log cabin or buying one prebuilt there is an important thing all log cabin owners must consider and that is treating the exterior. There are several reasons why treating exterior logs is so important. Over time weather, sun rays, decay, fungi, and bugs can create havoc on exterior log finishes. The log home owner must consider several weapons to use to preserve the natural beauty of their homes exterior finish.

    Generally logs are treated with either a pre-mixed solution, or a concentrated solution. Either form of treatment works well when applied according to directions. Products such as the Shell Guard Concentrate, and the Shell Guard Ready To Use formula are popular for their effectiveness. Another great exterior log treatment is Armor Guard. Each of these products contain a special formula that enables them to protect the log home from insect infestations and fungi. They also protect against decay as well, making them perfect for the log home owners maintenance plan.

    These protective formulas contain DOT (disodium octaborate tetrahydrate) which has been proven to be the best method used for preventing insect infestations. This chemical is a derivative of Boron salts. Using formulas that contain the proper mixture of DOT prevents destructive insects from destroying wood. DOT works by disrupting the digestive system of these insects by eliminating the bacteria that enables them to digest cellulose fibers. Since wood is a product high in cellulose it is important to maintain a high level of Boron within the exterior surfaces of log homes.

    Wood loving insects such as termites, carpenter ants and wood boring beetles can quickly destroy wood that is not treated. Keeping a log home free from annoying wood destroying insects will not only lengthen the lifespan of the home but keep it beautiful as well. Using Shell Guard products or Armor Guard will keep the levels of Boron high enough to prevent future infestations. It is wise to keep in mind that after the initial treatment insects can still be present for a few months. This is normal as it takes time for these formulas to seep in and work against the insects.

    At the first signs of insects it is crucial to treat the tunneled area immediately with Shell Guard and seal the holes with caulk. Sealing the entry points of insects helps to eradicate them faster. Though many of the products used for insect prevention and preservation of log homes is as simple as painting them on the surface, many homeowners choose to hire a professional pest control technician. However, a great number of homeowners find the ease of treating the problem with Shell Guard or Armor Guard products to be easy and choose to treat the problem without help.

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