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Q&A: Using Vanishing Wall Systems in Your Log Home

Intrigued by the concept of "vanishing" wall systems? We talked to structural engineer Brian Sielaff from Tamarack Grove Engineering for advice on this design strategy.

 
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Make sure to discuss the possibility of a vanishing wall system with your designer ahead of time so they can be accounted for and the walls properly engineered. Wisconsin Log Homes photo by KCJ Studios.

 

The Question

I love the idea of combining indoor-outdoor living with one of those “vanishing” wall systems that makes a space wide open to the outside. Do they require any extra engineering? And are they even possible in a log home?

 

We turned to structural engineer Brian Sielaff, CEO and managing member of Tamarack Grove Engineering, for the answer.

 

The Answer

All suspended/supporting elements of any log home should be analyzed for proper attachments and connections to the structural components of the home. In some cases, vanishing walls (i.e., NanaWall System/indoor-outdoor integrated living components) will state within the manufacturer’s directions and warranties to consult with a professional or engineer prior to installation. Some walls can either be supported by being hung off of the structure above or on tracks, where the loads are supported from below. In all applications, and especially at outside-wall locations, there is not only the downward gravity (self-weight) loads that should be taken into consideration, but the wind and/or seismic loads as well. In the end, a log home structure can support these window-wall systems, they just need to be discussed with your designer ahead of time so they can be accounted for and the walls properly engineered.


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