Log Homes Myths

Log homes are less expensive than a conventional home

This is a subject of great debate and high emotion within the log home industry. The truth is that while it is very possible to build a log home for less than a framed home, in most cases the cost to complete a log home for the average log home buyer will be more than a basic framed home. That said, many contend that comparing a modern day log home with a basic framed home is not a fair comparison and argue that when compared to a custom framed or brick home, the cost of a log home is very competitive. In support of this position, The Log Home Council reported that the average price of a log home in 1996 ($158,989 not including land) was in line with the average price of custom homes during the same period .

A log home materials package includes all materials required build and finish a log home

Though many companies including Avalon Log Homes offer complete materials packages, most standard packages contain anywhere from 1/3 to 1/2 of the materials required to complete a finished log home. When calculating a total construction budget, prospective log homeowners should not mistake the cost of a material package for the total cost to complete, but rather should assemble a total turnkey construction cost estimate. Avalon Log Homes provides this service free of charge to our prospective customers.

Log homes require excessive maintenance to protect them against the elements

The truth is that log homes do require regular maintenance to protect them from such things as decay, insects, sun damage, etc., but this burden is no more or less taxing than any other full wood or wood sided home. There are an abundance of wood preservatives and finishes that, when applied correctly, will protect your log home from just about anything. Finally, adhering to a simple maintenance program, as with any home style, is your first line of defense against such threats.

Log homes do not shrink, check or settle

All wood when cut experiences some degree of shrinkage. Shrinkage in wood occurs when its moisture content reduces to match the humidity of the surrounding environment.

Although Avalon Log Homes goes to great lengths to eliminate as much moisture content from our logs as possible, additional shrinkage is likely to occur following the construction of a log home. Because shrinkage causes logs to compress in size, cracking or checking and settling of log walls are common byproducts. However, with proper construction techniques and maintenance, these issues are easily remedied and pose no serious threat to the structural integrity or functionally of the home.

Log homes are a greater fire hazard than framed homes

An Avalon Log Homes authorized dealer and veteran fireman submits this challenge to those who support this falsehood. Light a match under and 8 inch log and time how long it takes for the log to ignite. Then, take another match to a pile of drywall, insulation, wood studs and trim material and see how log it takes to burst into flames. If you need more convincing, consider this story Margaret Lowe relays in her Myths & Truths of Log Home Ownership:

"26 forest firefighters who, trapped by a raging fire in the California hills, took refuge in a log home and waited out the firestorm as it passed them by. They'll laugh and tell you log homes are not a fire hazard, especially when they have a metal roof, as did this house. Yes, this actually happened in Topanga Canyon in 1993, and it demonstrates that log homes don't burn easily."

A Log home is easy to build

This misunderstanding exists on two levels; the first is that anyone with a good dose of ambition and some self-study can build a log home; the second is that log homes are easier to construct than a framed home. Both are fundamentally flawed. For the layman, log homes require just as much technical building expertise as a conventional home. Anything short of a playhouse or small shed will likely pose serious problems for the average weekend warrior. That said, with the proper training and supervision, several aspects of the log home construction process can be tackled by a qualified owner builder. In fact, many suggest that there are more owner builders in the log home market than in any other area of home building.

Regarding whether a log home is more difficult to build than a framed home, the truth is that the issue is not one of difficulty but rather experience. Provided that qualified, experienced log home builders and tradesman are chosen, your log home should be no more or less challenging to construct that any other type of home.

Log homes are difficult to finance

Fortunately, the significant increase in log home popularity over the past 20 years has caused even mainstream lenders to warm to the prospects of log home financing. As demand for log homes continue to soar and myths such as these are dispelled, even conservative lenders are realizing that there is money to be made on log home financing. Margaret Lowe explains further in her Myths and Truths of Log Home Ownership:

In November 1992, Fannie Mae eased its comparable appraisals requirement in favor of unique and special homes, a classification that includes log homes. The old rule required basing a log home's appraisal on the sales prices of comparable log homes sold in the same market in the preceding six months. Finding such comparables was next to impossible in markets where a log home hadn't been built or sold in the previous six months. Under the 1992 directive, when direct comparables aren't available Fannie Mae accepts appraisals based on three other types of unique, special, or rustic homes in that or a neighboring market area.

Log homes are less energy efficient than framed homes

The reality is that log homes, if manufactured and built correctly, offer comparable to superior energy efficiency versus conventional framed homes. Numerous independent studies have proven that log walls possess especially high thermal mass which makes them as energy-efficient as any well insulated frame wall and superior to most. Unlike R-value, the traditional measure of energy efficiency, thermal mass is a material's capacity to conduct, store and release heat over time given significant variances in temperature. Most notable of these studies was a decade long study conducted by The Log Home Council (a division of the National Association of Home Builders). This and other comparable studies have confirmed what many log home owners have known for years; log homes stay cooler in the summer and warmer in winter.