American Log Homes, Inc. has utilized dead standing lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce in its homes for over thirty years. Besides the obvious reason of using a resource that would go to waste there are several other reasons why it is a good choice. (Updated 12/20/2014)

The lodgepole pine, as well as spruce, is soft and thus easy to mill and install using a variety of fasteners. Because of their cellular structure, they also have an “R” factor which is conducive to a well insulated home. However, let it be known that a well insulated log home is not just a matter of a high “R” factor. “R” factor does not take into effect air leakage of a home.  To build a good, energy efficient home one must build a tight home whether it is a log home or a conventional “stick” framed home. This is where the issue of dry wood comes into the fore.

The dead standing pine dries out naturally in the forest prior to harvest. Depending on the length of time that it was standing dead in the forest will determine how dry it is. Thus after logging and having the timers sawn into a usable form of milling, the timbers must be checked individually for moisture content. The trees within any particular logging sale may have died over a period of years. Some trees can be very dry and others can be very wet.

At American Log Homes, Inc. a moisture content of 15% or less is required for all manufactured products. This prevents the problems of shrinkage, twisting and warping. It also allows the employees to cut out any large seasoning cracks or other imperfections resulting from the drying process. Many of those who are not versed in wood technology feel that shrinkage is the only factor that one must be concerned with during the drying cycle. This is far from the truth!  Twisting, warping, cupping, cracking and splitting is also a result. These defects can be dealt with after drying is complete and during the manufacturing process. All of these defects do not occur on each log or any high proportion of the logs that are dried, but when it does they can be dealt with at the plant and not in the field during construction.

What about insect borings and “bug holes” as some people refer to the tunnels built into wood by uninvited insects?  The mountain pine beetle only bores through the exterior of the tree trunk. These larval tunnels are then removed when the log is cut into lumber or timbers at the sawmill during primary processing.  Other boring holes can be found as created by the long-horned beetle but the vast majority of these are removed during the sawing and milling process. The insect life cycle can be a matter of 6 months or some a matter of a few years. When the life cycle is completed the larva exit the tree as an adult insect and never come back. Remember, these insects infest live trees and not dead, dry trees!  In the many years (30) that American Log Homes, Inc. has been using dead standing lodgepole pine and Engelmann spruce, a problem with living insects in the wood has not been a problem. Not a problem at all.

There are those, who are not foresters or who know little about the complexities of wood who try to scare log home clients into thinking that their log home will be eaten by these wood boring insects. Not so!!  A problem can be encountered, however, if one uses green, unseasoned logs with the bark on or only partly removed. Various wood boring insects can then lay their eggs under the remaining bark and cause a problem with incessant sounds of boring as they tunnel into the wood.

Education is always the best answer when one is attempting a project. It is no different with wood and all of its complexities. If you don’t know, ask a unbiased source such as a locals state forester or contact the U.S. Forest Products Laboratory (U.S. Forest Service) in Madison, Wisconsin. They can help you with a number of questions and concerns about wood and its uses. Do this before you start and not after the project is completed. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! For more information on these and all log home topics, visit American Log Homes, Inc.

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Seasoned Log Home Professionals Publish Guide for Buyers Authors’ Book Provides Pertinent Information from Start of Project to Finish

Bloomington, IN (January 5, 2009) – With the move toward more energy-efficient living and the widespread use of “kit homes”, log home development has seen a steady increase even in recent years. With decades of years in the business, Clyde and Jeffrey Cremer, operators of American Log Homes, noticed that most laypersons, and even builders, are lacking quality information about log homes to make wise decisions during the building process. Based on this dilemma, the Cremers used their expertise to compile and publish a guide to assist log home buyers entitled, The Complete Guide to Log Homes.

Using the Cremers’ experience in the industry and Clyde’s extensive educational background, which includes a master of forestry degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Science, The Complete Guide to Log Homes, provides invaluable information on buying and building a log home. Clyde and Jeffrey offer professional advice on every aspect of the process, from idea stage to completed project, and explain how to choose the right style of home to fit each individual’s budget and site selection. They also discuss a full range of topics including:

  • Tree Species Used in Log Homes Estimating Costs Construction Concerns Log Home Care Evaluating and Purchasing an Existing Log Home Threats to Log Homes

The Complete Guide to Log Homes offers handy checklists and a glossary, and provides illustrations and questions to ask at different stages of thelog home building process. By using easy-to-understand terms and explanations, Clyde and Jeffrey cover wood basics, including drying, shrinkage, rot resistance and insulation, and also include considerations such as windows, doors and site preparation. The breadth of knowledge they provide readers comes from their combined education and experience dealing with log home customers every day.

“Based on many years in the business, we firmly believe that far too many potential customers do not have quality information available when they shop for log homes,” states Clyde. “This book provides you with that knowledge, enabling you to make intelligent decisions at every step of the process.”

The Complete Guide to Log Homes gives buyers the ability to deal with any log home company. By empowering them with facts from seasoned professionals, buyers are more capable of purchasing the right home to suit their personal needs. More information can be obtained by visiting

About the Authors Pau Clyde Cremer brings a lifetime of expertise to the design and construction of high-quality log homes. He founded American Log Homes in 1977, and he maintains his connection to forestry as a professional member of the Society of American Foresters. Jeffrey Cremer worked in the family business while growing up and through college. He holds a bachelor of arts degree in sociology and is currently studying for a master of science in construction management from Arizona State University.

Buy The Complete Guide to Log Homes NOW!

Buy The Complete Guide to Log Homes book now!

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Table of Contents

by Author on May 23, 2009

The Complete Guide to Log Homes

A Brief History of Log Homes

The Tree: A Wood-Producing Machine
Parts of a Tree
Inner Bark
Outer Bark

Wood: Factors in Insulation and Shrinkage
Heat Transfer
Thermal Resistance (R-Factor)
Thermal Mass
Airtight Log Homes
Moisture in Wood Cells
Moisture in Timber
Equilibrium moisture content
Snap, Crackle, Pop
Air Dried
Kiln Dried

Tree Species Used in Log Homes
Aspen (Populus tremuloides)
Red Oak (Quercus rubra)
Bald Cypress (Taxodium distichum)
Douglas Fir (Pseudotsuga menziessi)
Eastern White Pine (Pinus strobus)
Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta)
Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa)
Red Pine( Pinus resinosa)
Southern Yellow Pines
Western White Pine (Pinus monticola)
Eastern Red Cedar (Juniperus virginiana)
Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata)
Redwood (Sequoia sempervirens)
Engelmann Spruce (Picea engelmannii)
Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis)
Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Timber: Logging and Preparation
Professional Logging
Helicopter Logging
Logging Your Own Timber
The Sawmill

Types of Logs
Random-Length Logs
Precut Logs
Handcrafted logs

Log Profiles
Round Logs
Flat/Round Logs (�D� Logs)
Square Logs
Laminated Logs
Log Siding

Log Corner Sections
Butt-and-Pass Corners
Saddle Notched Corners
Dove-Tailed Corners

Windows and Doors
Energy Efficiency
Heat Transfer
EnergyEfficient Solutions
Insulated Glass
Low-Conductance Spacers
Tinted glass
Low E
The Future

Types of Windows
Glider or Sliding
Specialty Windows
Round and Octagon
Angled Gable
Stained Glass

Exterior Doors
Patio Doors
Sliding-Glass Doors
Swinging Patio Doors

Keeping it Together: Fastening and Sealing Methods
Lag Screws
Log Screws
Sealing the Logs
Poly-vinyl Chloride Gasket (PVC)
Impregnated Foam
Open-cell Foams
Chinking Compounds
Backer Rod
Butt and Corner Joints
Planning to Build
Chapter Highlights

How Much Does a Log Home Cost to Build?
Estimating costs

Doing It Yourself: Some Important Considerations
Skill Level
Helping Hands
Contractor-Built Home
Selecting a Contractor
The Construction Contract
A Good Contract
Standard Forms
Licensed Contractors
Insurance and Bonding
One Contractor, One Job
Lien Wavers
Home Site Selection
Physical Characteristics
Environmental factors
Legal Issues

Building to Last
Pre-Construction Concerns
Transportation and Delivery
Grading, Clearing, and Grubbing
Construction Concerns
The Foundation

Log Construction
Drip Edges
Porch Construction
Second-Floor Loft
Gable Ends
The Roof
Truss Type
Rafter Type
Insulating the Roof
Weather-Tight Log Homes
Windows and Doors

Caring for Your Log Home
Cleaning Wood
Interior Wood Finishing
Exterior Treatments

Threats to Your Home
Subterranean termites
Formosan Termite
Carpenter Ants
Powder Post Beetles (Old House Borers)
Carpenter Bees

Evaluating and Purchasing an Existing Log Home
The Basics
Roads and Access

Buying an Existing Log Home Checklist


About the Authors

 About American Log Homes


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