I'm planning a log home that will be as simple, cost-effective, long-lasting and problem free as possible. I know many don't like a plain old rectangle, but this design seems to fit the above criteria much better than any other. Besides, I don't have the wealth to build a sprawling, eight-corner notch per course mansion.
Around here in Western Montana, most people use standing dead lodgepole, as that is the most available. That suits me fine since I want a handcrafted home with full length logs and long walls (34x36'), and in order to make that work taper is a big issue. Most likely available logs will have 12" tips. I'd go larger if they were available.
I'd prefer to get the log package built by someone within 100 miles of here so I could check it's progress as it's being built to make sure they aren't taking short cuts. This area is pretty remote and getting several bids the moment I'm ready to build will be difficult. There were a lot of log builders here five years ago but many have just faded away and found other ways to subsist.
My first choice would be a full scribe package with shrink fit saddle notch corners and large diameter logs, but when the time comes (when I sell my current home) I'll want to move quickly and get something dried in so I'll have to be somewhat flexible. The roof will be metal and 8 in 12 pitch with no dormers or valleys....no snow buildup and no loud crashing noise of snow sliding off a dormer on another roof below.
Here are some design considerations I'm hoping to get feedback on:
1) What is the shortest possible flyway length (not including dovetail) that would hold together without problems? I understand that horizontal wood members rot much faster than vertical ones so I want to keep them dry with generous overhangs, yet not so long that I can't see much out the eave side windows. One local logdog told me two feet from centerlines, which seems exessive to me. I can really appreciate why dovetail homes are so popular in rainy ares like the Southeast. But I want large round logs.
2) Is it standard procedure (if there is such a thing in this business) to use pins or dowels in handcrafted homes? With long walls it seems imperative to help prevent leaning walls.
3) Is it standard to refer to log centerline dimensions in this business?
4) How much settling should I expect from standing dead lodgepole in a full scribes home?
5) Should I put a treated 1x8 under the first course?
6) What roof span issues/limitations will I have to work with? The purlins will have to span the entire 36' length with only one truss around midway. That middle truss would have to span the 34' between eave walls without any vertical members in between supported by foundation. Is that within reason? It seems that most center trusses are the kingpost variety. What my plan calls for is a walk through truss. The top of the log staircase shall end at one side of the kingpost. I'm also considering a stick frame center truss as this would be the wall between the loft and the living room area. My gables will be stick framed. Could a stick framed center truss be made to span that 34" between eave walls?
7) I intend to use vinyl windows not because I love them but because they are energy efficient and economical. Compared to the thin frames of aluminum windows used in the past, vinyl windows use up much of the cutout for plastic frame I can't see out of. I was thinking of mitigating this problem by using flangeless windows and attaching them directly to the wooden splines on the log package. Has this ever been done with any degree of success?
8) If I'm going to build a log home I want log walls everywhere except the gables. I see many building log walls on top of chipboard bands/joists because they didn't think to build a step ledge on their stem wall and then scabbing in some log siding later to cover the chipboard. This will not be the case here since it will be a slab foundation. Another scab-in-siding-later is often seen at the top on eave walls. So here is the question: Can log dogs cut a "pacman" style slope log so I can use 2x12's over the living area and 2x6 on the eaves? Would that be asking a lot?
I realize I could avoid the issue by using thinner rafters and getting my R-value using closed cell foam, but when I build something I want to dry it in ASAP and not twiddle my thumbs watching it get rained on while waiting for a foam insulation contractor from Washington to show up when he gets around to it. Also fiberglass is less likely to have moisture condensation problems.