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Exterior Style: Basic Wood Types

Wood species affects the look but not the performance.
by Country's Best Cabins Staff
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Although the particular species of wood you choose for your logs is irrelevant to the success of your home, the color and grain of the wood contribute substantially to a certain look. More important than species is the log’s ability to perform its role in your house. Logs that span window and door openings, for example, must be able to support greater weight than logs that are simply stacked one on top of the other.

One way to ensure that the logs destined for your home are up to the job is to buy logs that are graded for structural use. Members of the Log Homes Council (LHC) are required to have their logs graded either by the council’s grading program or by Timber Products Inspection (TPI), an independent company. TPI also grades logs for some non-LHC members and can even be hired to grade the logs in your kit if they are produced by a company that doesn’t grade. Ask about log grading when choosing a company.

Species Selection
PinePine
Pine has good tensile strength and remains true and straight. Some types of pine have loads of character in the grain, too. Subspecies include lodgepole, ponderosa, red and white pine. This species is among the most prevalent of choices for log homes, because it’s so plentiful, can be found in a wide variety of colors and grains and is often significantly less expensive than competing species.

FirDouglas Fir
Douglas fir is a western species whose tones vary from red to yellow, depending on age. Because it grows to majestic heights, it is marvelous for use in lengthy spans. It can be pricey, but high-density Douglas fir is strong and a good choice for structural uses. It holds its true straightness for generations and is ideal for homes that will be passed down to your appreciative children and grandchildren.

SpruceSpruce
Native to New England but also available in the Midwest, South and West, spruce is classified as red, white or black, although there’s little difference in color, which trends toward creamy white or pale yellowish brown. Western subspecies Engelmann spruce is softer and lighter, both in weight and color. Spruce has many construction characteristics to recommend it, as well.

CedarCedar
Ah, the wonder of cedar’s marvelous scent! Many are the homeowners who decide not to seal the interior of a cedar home so they can continue enjoying the welcoming aroma. Since its lovely grain and color, ranging from light brown to deep-reddish brown, depending on subspecies, radiate from the center of the log, cedar is often displayed with exposed ends. Because it doesn’t grow just anywhere, cost may vary across the continent. Cedar offers variety in texture and tones, with minimal shrinkage.

OakOak
The mighty oak has never been more popular. Because of its tensile strength, soothing neutral color and wonderful grain, which can range from light to dark brown, often with a grayish tint, it has long been popular in the building trade. While not as plentiful as pine due to over-harvesting in generations past and also a slower growth pattern, oak’s cost is offset by its durability. One of the heavier species, it’s also very resistant to heartwood decay.

CypressCypress
Cypress is a light- to mid-weight species originating predominantly in the South and South Atlantic regions. Ranging from medium yellow brown to dark amber brown, based on age, it features straight grain with fine texture.

More: Exotic Woods for Log Homes.

Published in Country's Best Cabins
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One Response

  1. I’VE ALWAYS LOVED RED CEDAR…MY REP @ THE ORIGINAL LOG CABIN HOMES co. SAID SHE’D GIVE ME CYPRESS OR CEDAR FOR SAME PRICES AS PINE=AND THEY USUALLY GET A 30% PREMIUM FOR CYPRESS & CEDAR…ALTHOUGH A FEW MOS AGO SHE TOLD ME AS W ANY “COMMADATY”PRICES FLUCTUATE & CEDAR HAD SHOT WAYUP…I’VE READ SO MANY BAD THINGS ABOUT PINE=ALTHOUGH PINE IN THE NORTH-EAST IS SO PLENTIFUL THAT MOST LOG CABINS FROM THE ORIGINAL COLONIES FROM PRE-REVOLUTIONARY DAYS TO POST CIVIL WAR DAYS WHERE I AM IN N.Y. ARE ALMOST ALL PINE…SO HOW BAD CAN IT BE,PER INSECTS,ROT,LONG WEAR LASTING…I DON’T KNOW IF RED CEDAR $s HAVE COME BACK DOWN, BUT SHE’LL STILL DO CYPRESS FOR SAME PRICE AS PINE…SO ALL I NEED IS RED CEDAR STAIN…BUT IF SAME PRICE AND I’M EITHER GOING TO BE 100 MILES EAST OF NYC @ BEACH ON LONG ISLAND AND/OR 100 MILES NORTH IN WOODSTOCK AREA OF ULSTER/SULLIVAN OR GREENE CTYS-SO IF @ BEACHES ON LI WHATS BETTER W SALT-H2O PINE OR CYPRESS?AND IF IN CATSKILLS WHATS PRO/CON PINE VS CYPRESS IF SAME PRICE? MY CABIN WILL BE 1 1/2-2 STORIES SO STRENGTH IS IMPORTANT BEING THAT I WANT 1/2 CAPE & 1/2″A”FRAME W TRIANGULAR LOG&GLASS FRONT/SIDE BIG
    WINDOW THAT GIVES 2ND FL MSTR BR/BTH/LFT VIEW DOWN
    TO FIREPLACE AND OUT “A” WINDOW SO WITH THE INSIDE to
    OUTSIDE LOOK&FEEL TOTAL ROUND8″ X ROUND8″ LOGS
    AND AGAIN AESTHETICS BOTH PLAY ROLES…I LOVE RED CEDAR &/OR RED CEDAR STAIN AND TO MAKE EASY I WANT THE 3′N’1 INSIDE/OUTDOOR,BASE, STAIN&TOP COAT-IS THIS OK FOR EASE OF USE (ONLY IF THE STUFFS OK AND WHICH COMPANY’S PRODUCTS R BEST FOR MULTIFUNTIONAL 3X1BASE/STAIN/FINISH? AND FINALLY IF RED CEDAR $s BACK DOWN I’LL JUST GO W AND JUST USE A SINLE COATING OR SEALANT OR DOUBLE OR TRIPLE FUNCTION AN ALL IN 1 PROTECTIVE + GLOSSY+STAIN+INDOOR/OUTDOOR PINT-ON
    LIQUID TREATMENT=R THEY OK?OR IS THERE NO COMPARRISON BETWEEN CEDAR/PINE/CYPRESS LOGS OR THE BASE STAIN+A TREATMENT & FINISH OR R MULTI-FUNCTION TREATMENTS OK? U LOOK @ GOLDEN EAGLES MILLED HAND PEELED/HEWNED LOGS THEY HAVE THIS REALLY COOL SHINEY OUTER COAT FOR INSIDE&OUTDOOR ON THEIR SADDLENOTCH MILLED/PEELED BUT ON BUTT&PASS HAS A DULLER FINISH
    WITH NO EXPLAINATION ON SITE NOR WHEN I’VE CALLED=AND THE END FINISHES WOULDN’T VARY NOT MATT NOR VS SHINE? SO WHAT DO I DO? AND IF ITS BACK TO PINE BEING 30% LESS $ I’LL JUST GET PINE WITH AN “ALL IN ONE RED CEDAR STAIN,SHINE,PROTECTIVE COAT=SAME INDOORS&OUTDOORS…IS IT OK TO USE AN ALL IN 1 STAIN,SHINE,ANDINDOOR/ OUTER FINISH PROTECTIVE LIQUID? OR SHOULD I USE THE SEPERATE RED CEDAR STAIN ON FOR INSTANCE PINE LOGS,THEN NEXT AN ANTI-BUG ANTI-
    ROT TRATMENT (OR IN OPPOSITE ORDER, IF NOT RED CEDAR LOGS,THEN A SHINEY SEALANT/FINISH ?)
    BEING DISABLED I JUST PREFER STAINING,PROTECTING,
    SHINING/FINISHING IN 1 STEP VS 2-3-OR-4 STEPS ! I’LL PROBABLY DO TURN-KEY BUT IT’LL STILL BE 3 TO 4 STEPS
    VS. 1 EVEN IF I USE G.C. AND EVEN IF I/OR G.C. USES 2 COATS…DOES THE FINISHED LOG/PRODUCT LOOK BETTER AND RICHER BY DOING STEP BY STEP BY STEP VS AN ALL IN 1
    STAIN,PRESERVATIVE,SEALANT,FINISH???
    WHAT DO YOU THINK? DO ALL THE SEPERATE
    EVEN IF I OR G.C.
    THANX GEORGE PERRY per7gr@earthlink.net 2129780330

    George PerryOctober 21, 2011 @ 7:39 amReply



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