Many log cabin owners subsidize the cost of ownership by renting their properties to vacationers. Whether you are using a local rental agency or an online service, you will want your home to look its best in advertisements. Staging a log cabin rental ensures that you present your property in the best possible light. Vacationers want to be able to picture a getaway retreat. Here are a few tips to help travelers envision themselves enjoying the log cabin life at your rental. Continue reading
State and local governments have had building codes in place for hundreds of years to protect public health, safety and general welfare. A more recent addition to building codes are energy codes which can cover walls, floors, ceiling insulation, windows, air leakage and duct leakage. The standards for energy code compliance vary from state to state and from municipality to municipality. Compliance is the responsibility of those constructing the home. In most cases, log cabin energy code compliance is expected just as in traditionally built homes.
The Energy Code, R-Value and Log Cabins
R-Value is one of the measurements used to determine energy efficiency. R-value is the capacity of an insulating material to resist heat flow. The higher the R-value, the greater the insulating power. According to the US Department of Energy, the R-value for wood ranges between 1.41 per inch (2.54 cm) for most softwoods and 0.71 for most hardwoods. Ignoring the benefits of the thermal mass, a 6-inch (15.24 cm) softwood log wall has a clear-wall (a wall without windows or doors) R-value of just over 8.
Compared to a conventional wood stud wall (3½ inches (8.89 cm) of insulation, sheathing, and wallboard, for a total of about R-14) the log wall is apparently a far inferior insulation system. Based only on this, log walls do not satisfy most building code energy standards. However, to what extent a log building interacts with its surroundings depends greatly on the climate. Because of the log’s heat storage capability, its large mass may result in better overall energy efficiency in some climates than in others.
Logs act like “thermal batteries” and can, under the right circumstances, store heat during the day and gradually release it at night. This generally increases the apparent R-value of a log by 0.1 per inch of thickness in mild, sunny climates that have a substantial temperature swing from day to night. Such climates generally exist in the Earth’s temperate zones between the 15th and 40th parallels.
Because log homes don’t have conventional wood-stud walls and insulation, they often don’t satisfy building code energy standards that require prescribed insulation R-values. However, several states — including Pennsylvania, Maine, and South Carolina — have exempted log-walled homes from normal energy compliance regulations. Others, such as Washington, have approved “prescriptive packages” for various sizes of logs, but these may or may not make sense in terms of energy efficiency.
Log Cabin Insulation Kits
When log walls do not meet code on their own, other measures can be considered. This is especially
necessary in cold climates. Conestoga has optional insulation kits for walls, floors and ceilings. With an insulation kit, there is no reason a log cabin shouldn’t be just as comfortable in Alaska as it is in Alabama.
Spring is here! With the warm weather comes the revival of unwanted pests at the log cabin. So how do you avoid being a meal without using chemicals? Here are a few tips for protecting people, pets and the garden without pesticides.
Ants don’t like to walk through chalk. Simply draw a line at entry points. Or crush chalk and create a safety perimeter around plants. Regular chalk used by kids will do the trick. Cinnamon should work also.
Build a Bat House
Since bats like to eat mosquitoes, why not make your cabin more attractive to these winged mammals. Bats can eat thousands of mosquitoes in a single night. Building a bat house and attracting bats to live near your cabin can put a dent in the mosquito population!
Natural cedar is a great way to keep moths away. Since moths have a natural aversion to cedar, you can buy cedar blocks or shavings and place them in closets and drawers to keep them from chewing through clothes and other fabrics.
Put a dryer sheet in your pocket before heading outside to repel insects. The science behind it is that the fragrances used (which are naturally found in lavender, basil and citronella) are toxic and repellent to some insects. As an added bonus, you’ll smell fresh!
Australian Aborigines have used eucalyptus oil to relieve the itch of insect bites and other ailments for centuries. It can also be used as an ingredient in natural insect repellents.
Fight Back While Grilling
If you’re using the barbecue, throw a bit of sage or rosemary on the coals to repel mosquitoes.
An effective natural bug repellent, mix one part garlic juice with 5 parts water in a small spray bottle. Shake well before using. Spray lightly on exposed body parts for an effective repellent lasting up to 5 – 6 hours. Strips of cotton cloth can also be dipped in this mixture and hung in areas, such as patios, as a localized deterrent. Of course the garlic might repel a potential date also.
To repel flies, place sachets made from small squares of cheesecloth and filled with crushed mint, bay leaf, clove or eucalyptus around the house.
Look around your log cabin for entry points. Seal cracks in the foundation and close gaps in windows and beneath doorways. Patch tears in screens.
Engineered Logs – The Best Choice for Your Log Cabin
Log cabins have been admired for their beauty and durability for centuries. Building materials have evolved significantly since the first log cabins were built hundreds of years ago. Traditional logs are often being replaced with engineered logs. Engineered logs are also referred to as glulam or laminated logs. This is different than laminated flooring that just looks like wood. Engineered logs/laminated logs are real wood.
So What’s an Engineered Log?
Engineered logs begin their transformation in sawmills just like traditional lumber, where they are sawed and kiln-dried. Kiln drying reduces the wood’s moisture content making it more resistant to movement and decay. After kiln drying pieces of lumber are bonded together with pressure and resin. To be more specific, engineered logs are stress-rated wood beams composed of wood laminations, or “lams,” that are bonded together with durable, moisture-resistant adhesives. The end result provides extraordinary benefits without sacrificing the look of traditional logs.
Benefits of Engineered Logs
• Structurally stronger than traditional logs because they are resistant to warping, twisting and settling making them the more stable choice for log cabins
• Have a more uniform appearance than traditional lumber
• Resistant to decay because of low moisture content
• Avoid problems associated with traditional logs such as settling and shrinking as they dry out
• Approximately 50% stronger than traditional timber
• Offer versatility ranging from simple, straight beams to complex, curved products
• Pound for pound, stronger than steel and have greater strength and stiffness than comparably sized dimensional lumber.
• Lighter but stronger logs make them easier to work with which improves product performance
• Available in stock and custom sizes for adjustable widths, depths and lengths
• Longer lengths eliminate unsightly wall joints in log cabins
• Appropriate for residential and commercial applications
Conestoga Log Cabins & Homes uses Everlast™ engineered logs. More information.
Log cabin lovers appreciate the warmth of log walls. Unfortunately charming log walls can also lead to very dark rooms. Lighting your log cabin doesn’t have to be challenging. Unless you want to whitewash your logs to brighten up rooms, the keys are to plan ahead and to use layers of light.
Plan Log Cabin Lighting in Advance
The best time to think about log cabin lighting is before the home is built. Some options can be added easily at any time, such as floor lamps. Other fixtures require more forethought. Because running electrical wires through log walls and ceilings can be complicated, the most economical way to do it is when you are building. Waiting until after the cabin is built can be very expensive.
Are you imagining fans with lights in the cathedral ceiling? Do you want pendant lights over your kitchen island? Add that to your design ahead of time to make sure there is adequate space for your chosen light fixtures and that the electrical wires to them, and their switches, can be put in place (and out of sight) while your home is under construction.
This is also the time to think about the original home light source, windows. A wall of windows not only lets you enjoy the view but brightens up what could be an otherwise dark room. Natural light should not be underestimated.
Layers of Light
There are three layers of light: ambient, task and accent. The size of your room and room type will determine which types you need, but in general you want at least two to properly light a room. Sometimes simply adding a layer of light can dramatically increase your cabin’s quality of light.
Ambient lighting, also known as general lighting, provides an area with overall illumination. It is often provided by an overhead light fixture. Ambient light sources to consider for your lighting plan: ceiling fans, chandeliers, flush-mount/semi-flush-mount ceiling fixtures, pendants, recessed lighting, torchiere lamps, track lighting, vanity lighting and wall sconces.
Task lighting is exactly what it sounds like – lighting that allows you to perform a task. It supplies the intense, direct light needed for detailed work such as reading, cooking or applying make-up – in places like the kitchen, office and bath. Task light sources to consider for your lighting plan: desk lamps, island or mini pendants, track lighting, under-cabinet lighting, vanity lighting and work lamps.
Accent lighting allows you to spotlight interesting features in your home decor, such as a picture or trophy. It also serves as a secondary light source to augment ambient lighting in a room. Ambient lighting mainly provides overhead lighting, and accent lighting helps fill in the rest of the room where ambient light can’t reach.*
Last Minute Quick Fixes
• An easy solution is to use higher wattage light bulbs in your fixtures. Just don’t exceed the maximum recommended wattage.
• A well-placed mirror can instantly brighten a room by reflecting light from a window or other light source.
• Add dimmer switches so you can adjust light levels as needed.
Energy efficiency and sustainability work together to save the environment as well as money. Here a just a few solutions for keeping your log cabin green:
Sustainable Log Cabins Starts With the Logs
If you’re considering purchasing a log cabin kit and care about the environment, you’ll want to start with a kit company known for sustainable practices. Logs by their very nature are a sustainable resource. However, certain harvesting processes take less of a toll on the environment than others. Conestoga Log Cabins only uses logs from planted forests. This means that natural forests can be preserved and deforestation is decreased. In addition all of Conestoga’s logs come from certified Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) suppliers.
A responsible log cabin manufacturer will not just use logs from planted forests but will also use manufacturing techniques that significantly reduce waste. Conestoga’s state-of-the-art manufacturing facility employs the latest technology when cutting logs. No part of the logs is wasted. Even the leftover wood shavings are used by a local famer who converts them into animal bedding.
The Sun: Free Energy
Most log homes are temperature controlled using natural gas, oil or coal, all of which are costly, contribute to pollution and are in diminishing supply. The sun can provide a free natural energy source. You can start by considering the position of your log cabin before you build. Design and orient the house to minimize summer afternoon solar heat gain and optimize winter solar heat gain. In the northern hemisphere, this means orienting the long sides of the house to face south and north and creating roof overhangs and landscaping that shade the east, south, and west sides of the house. Situate the house to take advantage of prevailing breezes during the spring, summer, and fall. Not only are these breezes valuable for cross-ventilation in the cabin, but they can make screened-in rooms and porches more comfortable places to live (National Building Museum). You can take it one step further and install solar panels. They turn the sun’s heat into energy.
Conestoga uses Low E Argon windows which limit the amount of heat that passes through windows without reducing light in the summer and keep heat inside during the winter.
When you picture a log cabin, it is probably surrounded by trees. This scene is not only beautiful, but beneficial. Shade trees can keep your cabin cooler in the summer but sunlight can still get through the bare branches in the winter to warm your cabin. Shading your cabin’s roof can increase the air conditioner’s energy efficiency by more than 10%.
Metal roofs not only compliment log cabins but are a sound environmentally friendly choice. The
longevity of metal roofs is significantly longer than traditional asphalt shingles. Even though metal roofs are more expensive at the onset, the overall life cycle cost is lower because they can last up to 50 years or more. They are also 100% recyclable! On top of that, they offer energy savings of up to 40% depending on the roof color and cabin location.
Saving Electricity and Money
Whether your log cabin is a new build or it’s just time to start replacing appliances, consider how much energy they consume. Look for appliances that are ENERGY STAR certified.
Don’t underestimate the impact of your light bulb choice. The average household uses 5% of its energy budget on lighting. By converting to LED lights, you save electricity and money while keeping your log cabin green.
Did you wait until the last minute and need to throw a Valentine’s Day gift together quickly? Are you tired of heart shaped cookies, chocolates and flowers? Here are ten quick ideas that can be made from objects you have around the house.
- Everything is better with bacon! Bacon flowers are perfect for anyone that loves the world’s most perfect pork product. Just roll bacon, put on skewers and pop them in the oven. The family dog will appreciate this one too!
Personalize a Favorite Drink – Whether it’s a water bottle, soda or beer, design a label that expresses how you really feel.
You Rock My World! Even if you can’t find a heart shaped rock in your yard, a loving message will warm any heart and can be a keepsake for years to come.
- Personalized Candle – find stencils online or freehand it. Scrap out the areas you want to paint and fill them in.
Magically Delicious – Every kid’s favorite part of Lucky Charms is the marshmallows. Give them a jar full of sugary delight!
Oh So Sweet – Make your honey a body scrub that’s good enough to eat. All you need is sugar, strawberries, coconut oil and vanilla. Learn how.
- Handprint Valentine – Stamp handprints in the shape of a heart and then just add a message. Grandparents love this stuff!
Fruit Messages – Leave a message in an unexpected place. “Let’s never split” on a banana or “Orange you glad I picked you?” on an orange makes for a loving healthy snack.
DIY Sharpie Mugs – This gift takes minimal effort but is a gift that can be used every day and cherished for years.
Wooden Coasters – Visit the woodpile and grab some paint. Saw off the end of a log, add a painted on heart or message and you’ve got a Valentine’s Day coaster made with love.