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Log Home Journey: Why Your Relationship with Your Builder is Crucial

It’s finally log delivery day for Becky and Gary, and through all their excitement, they realize the most important player in their journey is about to enter the picture — their builder.

Written by Gary Saymansky
Photography by Gary Saymansky
The Logs Have Arrived!
After many months of planning, setbacks, problems and resolutions, it was finally time for the “arrival” — the day when our log package would be delivered to our home site. Our excitement built as my wife, Becky, and I were notified several days earlier when we could expect our first load of materials. It felt like Christmas.

We woke up on “arrival” day only to find out that it snowed 6 inches overnight. If it were actually Christmas, the blanket of white would have been a welcome site. But when you’re getting ready to start construction, it’s not pretty. All Becky and I could think was: “Not another setback.”
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A surprise snowfall on delivery day didn’t slow the Saymanskys’ crew down. Builder Owen Miller had to improvise a little, but he still got the materials to the building site unscathed.

But to our joy, our builder, Owen Miller (Raymar Log Homes), was there with his forklift ready to unload the flatbed. Because of the snow, the truck driver couldn’t back up the driveway, and we were forced to unload the wood from the road to the staging area, which was no easy task! Owen adapted quickly, however, and he began to hoist the materials off the truck and onto the staging area, which is where they would be stored securely and safely while still being close to the building site. Once the materials were unloaded, Owen reviewed the packing list and made sure that there were no shortages or damages. When everything was accounted for, we accepted delivery, and after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, construction began.

Once you enter the construction phase of your log home, this is where your relationship with your builder becomes really important. You trust your builder to make the safest, most energy efficient and cost effective log home possible. We couldn’t have been happier with ours. There are two key items that you should ensure the builder is doing to obtain and airtight, weather-tight seal in your log home:
  • Caulking should be applied at all outer edges of the joints
  • Gaskets should be placed at butt joints and between stacked logs
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Course after course, the logs were stacked, and Gary and Becky could finally see their log home spring to life.
Our plans call for wood-on-wood log stacking, which not only keeps the walls straight but blocks air infiltration, and our logs were kiln-dried to a minimum of 18 percent average moisture content, which will minimize shrinking and help us achieve an airtight fit. But what makes a log home energy efficient is the quality of the logs and weather-tight construction by an experienced builder. Remember: Logs are natural insulators. Forget R-values — those numbers were calculated to rate artificial materials. Think about thermal mass. Unlike manmade insulation, logs insulate by thermal mass, which means they store heat and release it later. But no matter what Mother Nature provides, it won’t matter if your home isn’t built solid and tight.
You will encounter a number of people who are essential to making your log home dreams a reality, but your builder is the absolute #1 essential. Take the time to choose an experienced person you can trust.

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