The July 2007 issue of Country’s Best Log Homes pondered a pair of key questions and asked an expert to provide the answers.

When is it time to replace or restore your logs?
Unfortunately, log rot is something that usually moves fast and won’t stop until it has been eliminated. Here are a few keys to look for when inspecting your home.

  1. Check your logs for large dark areas that aren’t the result of staining.
  2. If you find unexplained water leaks on the floor of your home, that could be a sign of “heart rot” in your logs.
  3. Your logs are getting soft to the touch.
  4. You find insect infestation.

If these situations exist, it may still be possible to solve your problems through restoration, as opposed to log replacement. You should consult with an expert in log home restoration, repairs, and maintenance to address these problems immediately.

When should you consider remodeling or adding to your log home?

  1. Consult with a log-home builder, as well as a log home maintenance firm so you understand the intricacies of adding onto a log home.
  2. When adding on, plan for large overhangs. A new room may create a new roofline that will butt up to an existing wall. If the existing wall does not have a decent overhang, you’ll create a zone where the rain will run down the new roof against the old logs, creating a “rotspot” hot zone.
  3. Be cautious of all areas where a roofline or new wall will butt up to the existing structure.
  4. Since you’ll be adding new wood next to old wood, consult a restoration professional to discuss how to get the two structures to match in appearance.
  5. Planning to add on to your log home? Experts say a log addition will generally cost 50% more than traditional construction due to materials.
  6. If you are going to use log siding, make sure it is an EXACT match in size, texture, and curvature.
  7. Allow for more time than you would with traditional construction, as you’ll be dealing with a specialized trade.
  8. If you cannot locate your identical logs for an addition, consider using a complementary material such as cedar shakes or board and batten. Nothing looks worse than logs that don’t match.

Jon Fife runs Heartland Log Services of Missouri and is vice-president of Summit Restoration, Vail, Colorado.

Country’s Best Log Homes offers expert advice like this in every issue. Online-only subscription offer.