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How to Build a Log Home – The Beginning Stages

So you’re looking to build a log home. Congrats! There are so many advantages to doing so–that rustic charm, that cozy feeling, that proximity to nature. But where to start?

Log homes aren’t as widespread as a traditional brick built home so the resources for learning are few and far between. The process can be daunting, for sure, but it’s totally doable!

In this post, we’re going to work you through the beginning steps to building a log home.

When done right, this type of construction project offers a quick and affordable way to create an unmistakable sense of style that’s suited to both permanent and temporary residences. It’s a vision that millions dream about and the truth of the matter is that you can make it a reality with greater ease than you might imagine.
We are here to provide you with the basics, the beginning stages, of building a log home. Equip yourself with these fundamentals we are about to impart and you will be well on your way to getting your project off the ground (literally).


Choosing the Right Profile for Your Log Home

If someone comes to us at Reliance Timber and mentions that they are interested in building a log home, our first question is . . . “What style of log are you interested in?”

For many this can seem a very overwhelming question as everything surrounding the construction of your log home essentially pivots on the size and style of the log. But no fear here. We are going to break it down for you in easy terms so that you will be able to answer that question straightaway.


log home_how_to_build_a_log_home

Flat Logs for Log Homes

Flat logs are just as they sound —  flat on both sides. If you work with us, that could mean either using German Chink or Square Chink. German slightly edging out square as our most popular

German Log – Chink
Square Log – Chink

Round Logs for Log Homes

The other option is a round log.

Round logs are just as they sound, as well, with a rounded aspect but they can be further broken down into two varieties. The “round round” which means round on the inside and the outside or round on the outside and flat on the inside. If they are round on the outside and flat on the inside, they are a D-log, our most popular sold variety. They are named as such because they are shaped like a capital D. Flat on one side and round on the other. See below.

Round Log – Round
D – Log

A lot of folks building a log home prefer a D-log because that means they have a flat interior wall (easiest to keep clean, add decor, and to match other walls) while still maintaining that coveted look of a traditional log home that so many people are after. Logs with flat milled sides are also easier to build with in general.

One last thing you need to consider when choosing between flat and round logs is wall thickness. Depending on where you live, depends on the wall thickness variable. For example, if you are in Watauga county (where it can get very cold) like we are, you have to have an 8 inch thickness to achieve thermal mass. But if you were down the road in say in Charlotte, North Carolina, 6 inches would do just fine. Make sure to take this factor into consideration.

Once we know what style of wood you are looking for, we now know your profile and can move on to the next step. It’s just a matter of you knowing what “look” you are aiming for. Another piece of advice if you still need clarification? Bring in photos or send us links of styles of homes you like and we can figure it out from there.


Making a Log Home Plan

After we have the profile in place, we will move forward with the plan. A lot of people come to us asking for a plan but to ensure your log cabin turns out just right, it’s best if the builder or client comes to us with a plan themselves. We then help you figure out the amount of logs and log siding you need to make the vision a reality.

We hinted at this above but a lot of people want the look of a log home but want the energy efficiency of a stick built or traditional built house. Enter log siding! By opting for log siding, you can get that tight sealed envelope and still have the look of a log cabin, including the dovetail corners. Most people who are renovating opt for this, replacing old wood while those that are starting from scratch with new construction, normally stack logs, solid logs.




Also, just to note while we have you. While we offer different shapes and sizes of wood, we also offer complete packages for building a log home that include a second floor system, a roof system, porch, hardwood flooring and so on. Check it out!

Frequently Asked Questions About Log Homes

We wanted to share with you some commonly asked questions we get regarding log homes.


Q:  What type of log styles do you offer?

A: D-Logs, Round/Round Logs, Square Logs with a Square-Chink Slot, Square Logs with a German-Chink Slot.


Q: What type of log corners do you offer for log homes?

A: Dovetails, Saddle Notch, Butt & Pass, or Post Corners.


Q: What are our options regarding species of wood?

A: White Pine, W. Red Cedar, Cypress, or Fir


Q: Do you also build log homes?  How do I go about finding a builder?

A: No. we do not. We manufacture log home materials.  To find a builder, talk to your local home builders association, chamber of commerce, and building suppliers to find the right builder.  Once you have a short list, interview them and check their references.


Q: Are log homes more expensive than conventional or timber frame homes?

A: No, when you build a custom home it’s relatively close to the same price, whether you build conventional, logs, or timber frame.