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Thread: Log house

  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Western Maryland

    Default Log house

    Did a 20 year old log (kit) house today. I don't see many of these and have some questions, but can't find any threads/topics.

    The problems I see are:
    - A lot of sap drips (aren't these cured?) and something has been gnawing on the logs;
    - One end wall way out of plumb;
    - Severe checking, quite a bit caulked, but lots wide open;
    - At least one log rotten 'to the core';
    - Appears to be built on a standard 2x platform framed floor.

    I'll post some pics later, but any log experts out there?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Oregon, USA

    Default Re: Log house

    I'm far from being a "log expert", but I lived in a log home for 5 years (built in the late 70s), and learned a few things.

    The amount of resin bleeds or sap runs depends on both the species of wood used, and the length and type of drying the logs were exposed to before being used in a house. I've heard Doug fir and Ponderosa pine can be sappy, while other species usually less so. If the logs were kiln-dried, they are also more likely to bleed more sap than if they were naturally seasoned under ambient conditions. It's possible the sap you're seeing has been there for years, and no one ever bothered to remove it. Our house had minor sap drips in a few areas, but once washed with an ammonia-water solution, they never returned.

    If the checks and cracks are wide enough to compromise the thermal integrity of the logs, they should be sealed. I sealed a few of the larger ones in our place right after we moved in, but I don't remember the name of the special caulking product (formulated for logs, available by mail-order) that our neighbor suggested we use. He also had a log house, several times larger than ours, and was always tinkering on it.

    Certain insects will eat log homes if allowed, and a treatment process is recommended for keeping the little critters at bay. Don't remember what I used, other than it came in gallon cans and was sprayed or brushed on. I had just one very hollow-sounding log that I repaired by removing all of the pulpy interior, spraying it and then packing in some low-modulus epoxy gel, shaping it with a rasp after it hardened to give it a rough-hewn finish.


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