Log Home Designs – Basic Concepts

Log home designs can be divided in several ways. Understanding log home designs and basic concepts can help you select the design that is best for you. As you are getting involved in the design process, consider these basic concepts as they apply to your design:

o Shape of Log Used – the logs used in your log home can be shaped in various ways. They can be full round, D-shaped, square shaped, rectangular shaped or Swedish cope style. D-shaped logs will have one side of the log flat with the other three sides being rounded. The Swedish cope style has a portion of the bottom of the log cut out so that the log rests more securely on the log beneath it in the wall.

o Type of Log Wood – there are many wood species commonly used in log home designs. There is no such thing as a “best” wood to use, rather, each species has advantages and disadvantages. Wood types include cedar, cypress, Douglas fir, hemlock, lodgepole pine, oak, spruce, white pine and yellow pine. If log home designs, construction and maintenance are done properly, any of these woods will provide many decades of enjoyable log home living. If not designed, built and maintained properly, none of the woods will hold up very well.

o Peeled or Milled Logs – peeled logs used in log home designs will have the bark and outer sapwood removed. This can be accomplished by hand or by the mill’s machinery. Milled logs are run through machines that will create the desired log shape when finished. The log surfaces will be more smooth and uniform in milled logs.

o Corner Systems Used – here are the four main corner systems used in log home designs:

1. Butt-and-Pass – these corners are formed when one log stops where it meets the intersecting log, and the other log extends past the corner. There are many variations involving the shape of the area where the logs butt. Usually the passing logs have a cutout into which the butt log fits.

2. Dovetail Corners – these corners are used mostly with square or rectangular logs. The end of each log is cut in such a way that produces a fan-shaped wedge. As the logs are stacked, the ends of one wall’s logs will be locked into the perpendicular logs.

3. Notched – notched corners are also known as saddle-notch. A saddle-shaped notch is cut into the bottom of each round log so that this notch on the bottom of the top log straddles the top of the log coming from the perpendicular wall. Both logs then extend past the corner. The saddle-notch is one of the most traditional corner intersections used in log home designs and is favored by many handcrafters. These type of corners are very strong, but they do require more construction time. Notched corners are also easier to seal and hold corner logs better than butt-and-pass.

4. Post Corners – the log ends are cut off perpendicular to the length of the log and joined at the corners using what amounts to vertical posts. This type of construction is not as labor intensive. This corner style sacrifices some of the traditional log cabin or log home look. Using post corners will require a different engineering treatment than other log corners, because the vertical posts do not settle with the horizontal logs.

One of the best ways to learn more about log home designs is to view log home plans that have been successfully built. Every plan that you examine can give you design ideas that you had not thought of. Trying to create brand new plans from scratch can be time-consuming and expensive. You can save considerably if you can find great plans that exist that you like. Just be sure the plans service can make changes to the plans so they become exactly what you want. That way, you really can create the log home design that will provide you many years of enjoyment.

Copyright 2005 InfoSearch Publishing

Choosing a Building Site for Your Custom Home Design

Once someone has come to the decision to build a new home the next step is often choosing a building site. There are many factors in choosing a building site. Consider asking yourself a question regarding the location of your new home: is it in good proximity to work, shopping and schools, or does recreation, a scenic view or an ideal setting outweigh the demands of a daily routine? This is where your selection process should start, and it’s important. Our homes are the place that we come back to at the end of each and every day. They need to be a place that we want to come back to at the end of our daily activities and a place to be proud to call our own.

Contacting a professional at this stage of the home design process can be key to the fulfillment of your dreams. The advice of an architect or a residential designer can also help you avoid unforeseen difficulties with a potential site. A good designer knows where to go to investigate property easements, riparian setbacks, soils reports and zoning bylaw information. Can you even build the intended home on the subject property? Are there going to be unforeseen development costs? Residential designers can provide the answers to many of these questions.

Years of wisdom also help designers work with you as you consider sight-lines, seasonal weather patterns, wind direction, sun angles and site grading to develop a schematic site analysis. Other distinct site attributes will also be noticed by your designer including existing vegetation, either to be retained or removed. Some municipalities even have tree bylaws that impose heavy fines for the removal of certain trees. Looking at these and other factors lays the proper groundwork for a home that will have every room in it’s proper place with it’s intended function.

Recently a potential client contacted me and asked to interview me. I suggested meeting at the site and they agreed that it would be a good idea to do so. While on site I asked if they were aware of the current zoning restrictions and that the front triangle of the property belonged to the city. Though they had contacted other designers about the planning of the home, no-one had mentioned these issues to them. Further, they were due to close on the property the very next day! I accompanied them to city hall to have the issues clarified. In the end they backed out of the purchase of the lot and are looking for another building site, avoiding an additional $120,000 in land acquisition and development permit costs plus 8 months of legal process. Surely, there is value in the advice of a multitude of councilors!

Creative Ideas To Consider While Comparing Custom Home Designs

The advancement in information technology has enabled modern people to design their own homes. An individual has option to browse through a large collection of online home designs, along with using home designing software applications to create custom home designs. But a homeowner must remember that the home designing trends and techniques change at frequent intervals. So he must consider several options to design custom homes according to the most recent trends in residential home design.

Ideas to Optimize Your Custom Home Designs

Avoid Cutting Trees

While constructing or renovating a house, people often forget to save trees. You must remember that you can avail several benefits by saving the trees. The tree will keep your home and shaded, while enhancing its aesthetic appeal. Thus, you can save energy bills over a longer period of time. While placing the decks of your house, you must remember the existing trees. The design will make your home more energy-efficient, while reducing the number of trees to be cut down.

Explore Options to Generate Green Energy

You can even consider generating green energy to curtail your monthly electricity bills. However, the choice of energy source will vary based on the location of the property. If your home receives adequate sunlight you can consider installing solar panels. The photovoltaic panels will generate electricity by converting sunlight.

Similarly, you can consider installing a residential wind turbine if you live in an area with high average wind speed. The wind turbine will generate electricity by harnessing the kinetic power of the wind. The electricity generated through the solar panels or wind turbine can be further stored for future by using batteries or a grid.

Consider Roof Improvements

A number of reports have highlighted that the attic temperature can be reduced by using the right roof color and material. You can always opt for the light colored tile roofs to decrease the temperature. It is also a good idea to reroof the property with white tiles. The color and nature of the tile will reduce the amount of heat gained by your attic.

Conserve Home Energy

You can even conserve home energy by concentrating on the doors and windows. The doors and windows must be inspected thoroughly to detect air leaks. The air leaks must be fixed immediately, along with applying weather stripping. Similarly, you also need to seal the less obvious spots that can result in energy loss. For instance, the areas around electrical outlets and light switches must be sealed to prevent energy loss.

Save Water

You also need to opt for custom home designs that allow you to save water. It is also important to furnish your bathroom and kitchen with accessories effective in saving water. At the same time, you can further make each member of your family aware of simple ways to avoid water wastage. For instance, the kids must make it a habit to turn off the water while taking shower or brushing their teeth.

In addition to choosing the right custom home designs, it is also important for an individual to implement the design exactly. He can even consider hiring a reliable and experienced residential construction company to build a custom home on time and on budget.

Home Design Software Tips – Before You Build

The benefits of using home design software can be unbelievable. Whether you have experience with home-building design or not, home design software can give you a pretty clear picture of what the new house is actually going to look like and this is wonderful.

1. Make sure that you understand how the software works. Take some time to read the instructions and practice using the software until you become comfortable with all of the tools and other options that are available in the program.

2. Get a couple of books on house design, to make sure that you are designing everything so that it will function and flow properly in the new house. In other words, don’t make your hallways to big and your bedrooms too small.

3. Don’t design a house with engineering problems. Your home could look marvelous on your computer, but have engineering problems. Don’t get too excited, before you actually try to figure out if the home can be built.

4. Once you have a pretty good design, you’re going to need to make sure that all of the electrical, plumbing, heating and air-conditioning systems will actually work and function well with the home design.

5. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to understand how homes are actually constructed, before you design one. I can’t tell you how many architects I have worked with, who don’t understand how homes are actually built.

If you have the house design software, design a couple of different buildings, before approaching an architect or engineer. A good engineer or architect and even a good general contractor can look at a home design and point out potential problems with it. Have fun with your home design software.