Tag Archives: log house

Another Log House – part 3

Nowadays houses must be draft-free and air tight. We used to place foam strips between the logs, this took care of the draft but it was not fully air-tight. Today we take a more rigorous approach: we completely wrap the house in an air-tight foil. Damp-open, but air-tight. We started wrapping yesterday, at the same time we are placing the main beams on the roof. These are maybe a little over-dimensioned, 60 kilos each, fully laminated, they will never bend.

main beams for the roof, air tight foil around the house

main beams for the roof, air tight foil around the house

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The Price Of An Old Log Cabin

Wooden houses come in sizes and shapes, but there is one special breed: the traditional American log cabin. Actually these were first built by Swedish and German settlers, so maybe we could say they are European designs? Whatever, they are iconic, and special, and we love them.

log cabin in Virginia, USA

And today, they are not cheap. Here is a website that lists just three of these log cabins for sale, and you can have them for ehh…. US $750.000 US$, US$ 825.000 and US$ 1.375.000. And the cheapest has only four bedrooms and two bathrooms.

We build for less, that’s for sure. More info here:


Russian Wooden Houses

This post is about wooden houses from Russia. Traditional wooden houses from Russia are a little different from the houses that we build, both from a design point of view as well as technically.

wooden house in Russia. Photo by Maxim Shemetov.

wooden house in Russia. Photo by Maxim Shemetov.

The design and style of the traditional Russian wooden houses obviously is different from what we are used to in West Europe. Generally speaking the materials are a little rougher, while at the same time there is a lot of fine hand-crafted woodwork in the details.

Technically these houses often have little in the way of a foundation. Many are built on permafrost terrain where it is difficult to dig a hole and build a foundation, so the house is built on top of the permafrost. Then once the house is built, the heating makes the permafrost a little less perma, and the house starts moving.

Many of them are built using round logs for which you will have a problem getting a building permit here, unless you are high-up in the Alps and also they use non-dried non-laminated wood. Non-dried non-laminated wood shrinks and cracks, but otherwise it is not that bad, and it certainly has a lot of charm. It’s a matter of preference.

There is no additional insulation on the outside or the inside. Even with the excellent insulation properties of wood (compared to brick or concrete), these houses will never meet today’s West European insulation requirements. Walls have Rc-values around 1.5, no higher than 2, compared to our walls having anything between 6 and 10, and these houses are not airtight: there will be drought in every corner and around every door and window.

With the low cost of energy in the outback (plenty wood) such Rc-values are not really an issue. Mind you, until recently these Rc-values were quite the norm in Europe as well. Also a little drought works like ventilation which is always good against condensation.

The photo on top was taken by Maxim Shemetov, a Russian photographer from Moscow. Maxim’s work with more images of traditional Russian wooden houses can be found here:



Previously we wrote about types of wood (wet, dried, laminated) and the shrinking of log houses and how we deal with the shrinking. In this post we want to show a little more about the actual drying process, and cracks. Because drying and cracks are very much related.

Why Does Wood Crack?

The photo below shows a crack in a wooden disc. Why does wood crack like this? Very simple: drying.

cracked wooden disc

cracked wooden disc

When wood dries, the drying process starts at the outside of the logs. While the humidity goes down from 15% to 12% near the outside of the log, more to the the center of the log the humidity initially remains at 15%. And that is a problem.

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Building A Wooden House: Stickers On The Logs

Before we assemble a wooden house we make a complete set of assembly drawings. The assembly drawings show the house log-by-log, with each log having a unique number.

building log houseOn the building site it is a matter of finding the correct log and then assemble the house. Note that the bigger logs can weigh well over 100 kilos. Not something that you just pick up and carry. Continue reading

Types of Wood

Long ago the quality of a wooden house depended on the location of the factory. A factory in the north used wood from the north, which was growing more slowly and was denser and heavier.

wooden house

But times have changed. First of all there is a very active European wood market, and just like oil, wood is a raw material that is being actively traded all over the world. Also modern wood treatment techniques have improved the quality of wood as a building material in such a way that nowadays more factors come into play. It is not just northern wood that is a good building material. Continue reading

Building a Log House

build a log houseWe have two lines of houses: panel houses, and log houses. We placed a panel house building tutorial here, and now we will do the same for a log house.

As you will see, the main difference between a panel and a log house is in the walls construction. Panel houses basically have hollow boxes as walls, whereas a log house wall is made from solid wood. That is not the full story though. Nowadays a log house made of just solid wood does not meet the European insulation requirements, so we add insulation, usually on the outside, sometimes on the inside.

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