Adding On
Montana Log Homes photo by Roger Wade

What you need to know to make a new addition a thing of lasting beauty.

 

If you’re considering adding living space, a log home addition may be the ideal solution. The challenge is adding on without compromising your original home. Problems with ventilation, electrical, plumbing and other functions can occur when an addition isn’t properly thought out.

To make sure your addition works as you want it to, think about these points before you start.

 

Build Out, Not Up

It’s much easier and affordable to build out (a bump-out room, for example) that up (a second-story addition) since you don’t have to remove an entire roof system. If a two-story addition is a must-have,

add a separate, two-story wing.

 

Settle Down 

If you attach your addition right onto the existing structure, a primary concern is the potential for uneven settling between the two sections. While older logs have finished settling, new logs will continue to settle for some years.

A clever way to avoid settlement issues is to make your addition a separate building and join it to the original home via a connector of some sort, such as a breezeway.

 

Marry the Old with the New 

It may be tricky to match your old logs with the new. Your builder will need to match the log diameter as well as the log species. One way to get around this is to incorporate materials other than wood into your design, such as stone.

Other textural elements also can help. Unique window shapes, wide trim, unusual corners and landscaping can all shift the point of focus.

 

Fake it with Log Siding 

If you’re concerned about the expense and feasibility of adding a full-log extension to your home, don’t be afraid to “fake it.” Conventionally framed additions with log siding are not only affordable, they tend to complement the full logs. Siding also avoids the need to adjust for settling.

 

Take it Easy with Porches, Sunrooms and Decks 

One of the easiest additions to integrate visually and technically with your home is a sunroom or porch. With these it’s easier to get away with using a different material than if you were building an entire wing.

Or consider a much simpler add-on alternative: a deck or patio. These outdoor rooms expand your living space without significantly interfering with your log structure.

 

Bump it Out 

If your need for space is confined to specific areas, creating a small extension outward from one of your existing rooms may do the trick. Among the more popular “bump-outs” are a breakfast room off the kitchen and a master bedroom expansion to add a jetted tub.

Check your floorplans for impediments. Placement of beams, pipes or other such elements may make it impossible to bump out. And if expanding interferes with the look of a log wall or hampers a view, bumping out may be undesirable.


Story by Stacy Durr Albert