Whether you bought a custom log home kit or bought one of those package deals from some company that just sells wholesale log cabin logs, chances are if your like me who did not have a lot of help, you will want a custom log home builder to erect them for you, One that knows what he’s doing and is set up just for it. With the crew that I got to put my logs up, and there were six of them they had it all so down pat it was like watching a perfectly choreographed dance recital and every one of them knew their part in it.
As it turned out these guys were also custom log home builders, they could have built the whole thing for me ( if only I had the money), I did not find this out until they were halfway through erecting the walls (I thought that they only did the log installation and nothing else), and I still hadn’t decided on who to get to put the roof on, but at this point it was too late in the day to get these guys to do it, and they already had work lined up for the rest of the year.
Taking Delivery of the Logs.
When the logs arrive at your site, remember, how and where you have them dropped will make all the difference to the crew installing them. It is very important to have quite a large area clear and flat not too far from the house, the easier it is for the crew to work the better and quicker the installation will be, these guys will want to be setting up their saws and other equipment to cut and work the logs for the corners, the saw with tables on each side will take up around 30ft and will be set up somewhere close between the logs and the house.
If you are not sure about this, call the company doing the work and ask what they need, they will probably come out to the site prior to starting as this also lets them see the situation and will tell you exactly where they want the logs located.
At this point, you should have the entry doors, the window locations, where the interior walls butt up to the exterior walls (this is where the lines you marked on the outside of the band come in) and the electrical all marked out around the perimeter of the floor.
NOTE; At this time in 2013, electrical outlets had to be within 8ft of each other.
This is another critical part of the job because once there in “there ain’t no changing it”.
Now the starter plate gets set, this is just a 2X4 screwed down to the floor, and the way the logs are designed is the inside will be flush with the logs and the outside leaves enough overhang to accommodate the skirting that goes around the bottom of the logs to cover the band and the top edge of the foundation wall.
Except for the lumber needed to make all the door and window linings,(that I didn’t know I needed) another minor expense and a rush around last-minute event to get it to them, so that they could finish.
The rest my friends is history.
All the logs were up in less than two weeks I could not have been happier, (and they took four days away to go finish something else) and of course, I had to check the workmanship for plumb straight and square. Especially with the foundations being a little off (Check Everything). I tell you I couldn’t find a single fault in the work they did, not even a 1/16″. I was so happy.
BUT! if you intend to tackle this yourself,(Have fun) be it a kit or a package, I wasn’t about to peel n stick over 2000ft of polyfoam weather stripping and screw in about a 1000 lag screws (1 every 30″ X how many courses high) and caulk the joints at the same time, as well as creating all the corner joints, routing out at the doors and windows. Mmmm! Mmmm! not me I didn’t have the tools they had or the time to mess with it. Leave it to the pros.
Whilst all this is happening, here are some things to be thinking about and making sure of.
Schedule delivery of all the interior framing lumber and any lumber needed for the roof that won’t come as a truss.
Plan on getting the truss company out there as soon as the logs are up.
Check on the roofer make sure he’s still going to be on time.
If you will be doing all the caulking and staining yourself, get all the materials together for that part. Backer rod, caulking and stain, rags, putty knives and a caulking gun or two, don’t skimp on the gun get a top of line one, the cheap ones just don’t cut it.
Check on the doors and windows, make sure they will be able to get them delivered to you ASAP once the roof is on.
Having got all of the above taken care of, I now have about a week to get all the interior walls built and put up, I even had time to go get my tub and shower and get those set in place. (I chose to go with one piece on these, will explain in plumbing section).
If you intend to frame this yourself and are not too savvy on framing here are some guidelines.
You will need a single 2X4 plate at the bottom, using 93″ studs and a double 2X4 plate at the top, where you have a doorway in a wall that ceiling joists or trusses run across you will need to have 2X10’s above the door for extra support.
I found it better when nailing my frames together to leave off one of the top plates until I had the walls in place, this way I could then add the top plate allowing it to cross onto the intersecting wall to help tie the two together as well as the blocking on the vertical intersection.
Be sure when laying out the studs that you measure from the starting point 16″ on center (starting point being anywhere that you will be starting a 4X 8 sheet) and follow it through to the end of the wall regardless of where the last stud falls, even if it leaves a 2″ space or no space (don’t try to stretch it for the last 1/2″ add the extra stud).
Don’t forget to use 2×6 for the wet walls. These are the walls that all the plumbing runs through, water lines, drain and vent pipes, up, down and horizontal.
A Minor (ok, major) set back.
It is now the beginning of June 2013, everything from the foundations up to this point has been about a month things are going great.
The trusses are on site, the rest of the lumber and sheeting everything I needed to get the place dried in was here and ready to go.
The roofing crew I went with had a little weather delay and were going to be a few more days ( no biggie, I can live with that, it happens) Then the worst happened. It started raining and rained some more and didn’t stop much for a month and came with constant wind every day, we had over 12″ of rain this month, in North Carolina and the heavier rains usually don’t start until July.
I am freaking out because I have no way of covering all this up to keep it dry.
The logs are now up and exposed to the weather without any kind of stain or sealer to protect them.
Do not panic, if you see your walls start to go a little gray, there is a fix for this, I will go into more detail when I get to the staining process.
I had to make some calls to find out how this weather was going to affect the job so far and what kind of damage it could do. Thankfully nothing had to be torn out and re-done.
What I ended up having to do with the floor in this situation (and I was not happy about the idea) was to drill a 1/2″ hole in the floor about every 20-24″ apart for the water to drain out (more on this in flooring). The rain also delayed the roofing crew, “I gotta tell ya” this was killing me. But we got over it and now its July, and everything is drying out.
Hi there Dell.
You've put together a very informative article, so great work!
I love how you approached the Mason directly, based on seeing his current project. I think that more people should directly approach tradesman if they admire their work (it can't hurt can it).
This makes me want to start a building project in my spare time.
Take care mate,
Thanks for the pointers. My husband and I are currently designing our off-grid cabin and I think we've already changed it at least 3 times. You've given me a lot more to think about, we will be building it on property that we already own so that takes one headache away. I'm going to keep reading to see what else I haven't thought of.