by Jennifer Jones
On the hunt for the perfect home plans, new home-builders are quickly overwhelmed. One house looks just like another; every plan looking like the cookie cutter construction you have no desire to turn into your home. Where is the creativity? Are there no more unique home plans? A log home or rustic country style may be just what you desire!
Once upon a time, a rustic country home or a log cabin may have been viewed as appropriate for hunters and vacationers. However, just like any other home construction, there are a variety of styles available. What was once a one-room hunter’s lodge has now become a contemporary country or log home. Some homes may be fully customized with unique floor plans and every luxurious amenity. Others may be simpler, but just as ideal for any family to call home. Definitely far beyond a shack in the woods!
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First you will need to determine if your log home is going to be manufactured or handcrafted. What kind of log home you chose to build will largely depend on your budget and the lot size.
Manufactured log homes are also known as milled log homes. The logs used in construction are mechanically shaped into uniform dimensions through the sawmill, lathe or planer. The logs are 10 to 12 feet long and 6 to 8 inches in diameter. They may also be milled into a round or rectangular profile, depending on the builder’s needs. Milled logs may appear smooth or rustic, with a number of other variations. Finally, the logs are air or kiln dried to the builders’ specifications.
Handcrafted log homes tend to have a touch more personality. The logs are full length with larger diameters than a milled log. They are hand peeled using drawknives and other hand tools. Each log is unique, with their natural characteristics on display. Handcrafted log homes can be constructed from green logs, that is, logs that have been cut and hauled merely days before use in construction. Some builders may choose to air or kiln dry the logs as well.
Handcrafted log homes are open to more design variation than milled homes due to the variety in crafted logs available. As milled logs are more assembly line, they have more limitations and so will the designs that suit them. Accordingly, handcrafted log homes are more expensive than milled homes. Handcrafted homes require more intensive and specialized labor with a larger material source. However, whatever the budget, the right builder can make any log home into a unique dream home.
When it comes to the wood available for log homes there is nothing that could be considered the very “best”. Pine, spruce, fir and cedar are typical options depending on availability and cost. While you may have an idea of the wood you would prefer to use, be open to your builder’s opinions. Your builder should be knowledgeable about the woods available and what is most suited for your overall situation. A quality builder truly turns good wood into a great home. The nicest logs available will mean nothing without that experience.
COUNTRY STYLE HOMES
Unlike log homes, there is no one material that makes up the structure of a country style home. However, there is a variety of construction materials that create a look just as cozy and unique.
Timber framed homes are one alternative to the conventional wooden frame or log home. The overall cost of the timber frame is comparable to conventional framing but takes much less time due to the joint system. Like some log homes, timber framed homes allow the load of the home to sit on the frame posts without need of interior load bearing walls. This permits larger interior open spaces that are more energy efficient than conventional framed homes.
Wood siding is one option for a country style home exterior. Available in planks, clapboard, shingles or stakes, the look can be as textured or simple as you prefer. The cost of wood siding is largely dependent on the type of wood used and the cost of installation. All homes with wood siding must make maintenance a priority. Though costly and time consuming, proper treatment prevents rot and insect damage that can be detrimental to the entire structure. Wood siding is quite durable and has a long lifespan if properly repainted or sealed every five to seven years.
Another option is brick siding. Brick is a natural product of clay and water that is fired. It is an expensive investment but also increases the value of the home. Extremely durable, brick also acts as an insulator and is fire and corrosion proof. It requires no maintenance of painting or cleaning. Bricks come in a great variety of colors and textures, creating dramatically different styles that appeal to any homeowner.
Natural stone siding is an option comparable to brick in durability and variety. However, it is quite expensive and requires installation by specialty-trained professionals. It may be best to use stone for exterior accents rather than the sole siding option. Porches, landscaping walls, and chimneys are perfect places to create contrast against wood and brick.
No matter the type of construction you undertake, whether log or country styles, it is important to build intelligently. Do research on the area in which you are building. Determine what look you desire and what look is best for the lot. In the end, be certain to choose a home plan that catches the eye and catches the heart.
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