Home Run

You’re probably not one of those folks who’ll clear a gorgeous lot in the mountains, buy a log package and construct a house with some buddies on weekends. Instead, you’ll hire a general contractor (GC) or builder to do the tough work of creating an architectural legacy. Which means that you don’t necessarily have to be Bob Vila when it comes to your masterpiece—you simply need to have an understanding of what needs to happen during each phase of construction. Here’s our breakdown:

1. Prep the Home-Site
This means creating an access road, clearing trees and brush, installing a well and drainage field, mapping out the home’s location and marking boundaries and orientation. Foundation & Subfloor Your work crew will prepare the footings, which support the foundation or crawl space and are the first signs of construction. Once the local building inspector approves the footings, the foundation walls can be constructed and waterproofed. The subfloor is built on top of this.

2. Log Raising!
On log-delivery day, a forklift or crane unloads the trucks. The contents are sorted and inventoried, then it’s time to stack the log walls. Raising time can vary from a few days to several weeks.

3. Roof System
There are numerous variations to framing, building and covering a log home. Using conventional trusses and rafters is a quick and inexpensive way to frame the roof. A layer of tongue-and-groove decking encloses the roof. Layers of insulation are then applied, and the whole system is covered with plywood, creating a sandwich of wood and insulation. The final layer is made up of tarpaper and shingles.

4. Interior Framing
This includes partition walls made from 2-by-4s and plumbing walls framed with 2-by-6s. In some log houses, load-bearing walls are used to shoulder a portion of the weight of the second level and roof. Windows and doors are set in place once the framing is complete and then it’s time for a weatherproofing treatment or preservative to the logs as well as any caulking or chinking.

5. Electrical and Plumbing
During the framing process, the home’s plumbing system goes in with water and waste lines set inside the framing. Then the galvanized ductwork is installed, along with the other elements of the HVAC system that will be concealed behind drywall or interior wood walls. The electrician will then install flexible wiring around the rigid pipes and ducts. Then it’s time for the inspector.

6. Finishing Touches
Drywall, sanding, painting—they all come together in this stage. Then the flooring is laid throughout your home, followed by cabinet and appliance installers. Later on, the mechanical subcontractors will attach these appliances to the wiring and plumbing systems. They’ll also set receptacles and fixtures, install toilets and sinks and make the water connection from a well or water line.

The electrician completes the circuits and installs circuit breakers. The HVAC subcontractor sets heating and cooling units and final ductwork, then installs registers and wires the thermostat.

Meanwhile, trim carpenters hang interior doors and set trim and hardware around the home’s doors and windows. These carpenters also are responsible for the final details of the home, including the stairs, railings and moldings.

Outside, the excavator returns to complete the final grading. After the site is graded, it’s ready for sod or seed and landscaping, and a subcontractor can install gutters and downspouts.

For more steps on building your log home, check the November 2005 issue of Log Home Living.