By: Blaise Sopiwnik
Welcome back folks. It has been a busy few months since my last blog post and I feel it is well over due.
If you are reading this from anywhere in the upper Midwest, you are probably still remembering piles of spring snow on everything. I was lucky to have been in Illinois working where spring came a little earlier for a couple weeks but when I was not in Illinois, I was working on a couple of other projects that happened to be turned log homes. (Turned logs are where the log is actually turned on a lathe to make it evenly round. They are also referred to as manufactured logs.) Click here to see a video.
With snow loads reaching new levels, some interesting log home problems came to my attention. While working on a turned log home in Southern Wisconsin, I was reminded of a few log home problems that can be remedied with an eye for structural integrity.
For the second time this year, I saw a pattern of how builders assemble logs on manufactured log homes. I was slightly alarming when I checked out the log joints over large openings like windows and garage doors.
A couple of openings on garages appeared to sag after only five years. Snow, wind and good old gravity can cause a lot of trouble for homeowners if the structural integrity is not taken into consideration.
Most homeowners are unaware of the engineering specs of these logs, leaving the critical decision process up to the builder. Many logs that are used on manufactured or turned log homes are generally fabricated in an automated fashion requiring the logs all be a uniform length and diameter. From the log builders’ perspective – this looks like a benefit because of how fast the structure is assembled. However, the attention to detail, like where to put butt joints, can be over looked.
In this picture you can see how gravity has forced the header to sag. You can also see how the log ends over the opening are too far centered to adequately support the opening. This problem could have been avoided in the building process with employing a little structural sense.
Whether a log home owner is inspecting their exterior paint, crown ends (where the end logs cross each other) for moisture damage or butt joints over structurally significant areas – it never hurts to consult a professional.
Matt Edmunds and I have had the pleasure of looking at log homes all over the Midwest for homeowners. I personally enjoy this kind of work and look forward to questions that help educate homeowners about their log homes. Sometimes new owners of a log home want to find out everything they can about maintenance and the log home’s structural integrity. We have been in the business of log home restoration for over 40 years so our experience comes in handy when it comes to helping people understand the unique aspects of log home construction.