Frequently Asked Questions

Before contacting us, please browse our FAQ. Click the question to view the answer.
How much does a log home cost?
This is a little like asking how much a car costs – new, used; Ford or Mercedes. There are a hundred of variables, many of which will be determined by the contractor’s costs and customer’s choices (hardwood floors would cost much more than an inexpensive brand of carpet).

Some suggestions on how to approach this question are as follows: A local contractor regularly charges a turn-key price. Divide that price by the square footage of the house to get a price per square foot (such as $100/square foot). If you use this as a pricing guide, it is ONLY a rough estimate for a house using only basic materials. Square footage pricing will vary greatly with the size of the house. A 600 square foot home has a higher price to build per square foot than a 3,000 square foot home, using similar materials. The type of material used inside, such as kitchen cabinets, flooring, etc., can cause amazing price variance in the same house.

A good rule-of-thumb is that, depending on material choices, a finished house will run between $100 and $150 per square foot.

Why should I buy a Cedar home?
Cedar is generally considered the finest wood for log homes. Even magazines who have 90% of their ads coming from pine companies will hint at that fact. Some characteristics that make cedar the ideal material for log homes are as follows:

  • No termites or decay
  • Highest insulating qualities
  • Least shrinkage, checking or twisting of all woods.

These points coupled with the post and beam style of construction that Colonial Structures is famous for, makes our cedar log homes one of the finest and highest quality homes on the market.

Why are there two kits?
We offer both a “Pre-Cut Log Kit” and a “Weathertight Kit.” The “Pre-Cut Log Kit” contains milled items, which must be purchased from Colonial Structures. The “Weathertight Kit” contains additional materials required to finish the shell of the home (See “What Comes In a Kit”). The Weathertight Kit materials can be purchased through Colonial Structures, or through a local lumber yard, whichever is more efficient (considering time and money) for you. Many log home companies require that you purchase all materials from them, which may not be in your best interest. When comparing different companies’ kits, remember that not everyone has the same materials in their package. Some customers see a “log kit” price that is lower than ours and think it is a great deal for the entire house. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples. Many companies have kits that only include the logs, nothing else. If that is all you want, we will be glad to provide you with a price on logs only.

Please Note: There are many additional materials needed to finish the house. For example, windows, 2×4′s, joists, sub-flooring, and other materials are not part of the kit. Frequently, kits do not include exposed wood rafter and joists. The easiest way to compare prices is to get a written quote from the other COMPANIES showing what is offered. Colonial Structures offers one of the most all inclusive, high quality packages on the market.

What kind of roof does a log home have?

As far as roof coverings (shingles, tin roof, concrete shingles, etc.), it would be the same as any other home. Our roof system, however, is a double roof system that is strong and more attractive than most others. It utilizes the exposed rafters and the tongue and groove as a first roof structure that is supporting. The second part includes sleeper rafters, Bat (pink) insulation and sheathing as a second roof structure. The two combined are extremely strong and energy efficient.

What about termites and decay?

Cedar is naturally resistant to termites and decay. Colonial Structures is proud to offer a LIFETIME warranty on our logs against structural problems due to termites and decay (see warranty). Cedar does have what is called pencil rot. The tubes, which are usually pencil size, and are where water has run in the living cedar tree and gotten soft and appears to be rotted. The condition will not worsen.

What does Post and Beam Construction mean?

Post and beam construction is represented in 90% of our homes, the other 10% being a mixture of butt and pass, dove-tail and Swedish cope. Post and beam, however, is our niche and makes our homes stronger and unique. In this type of construction, each log is toe nailed into the uprights on either end so that it will not move. The tongue and groove on the log, along with the foam gasket and caulking will prevent air infiltration around the logs. There is no need to allow for shrinkage, because the uprights bear the weight of the structure.

Can I get a mortgage/insurance on my log home?

If you qualify for a mortgage and insurance, you’ll be able to qualify for log home financing and insurance. Years ago, banks were slower to loan on log homes because the modern log industry was unknown to them, and some customers remember hearing this. Today, banks are fighting for the business, as with other types of constructions.

How Big/Small Can I Build A Log Home?

From a dog house to a dream house – we can do it all! Our largest structures include an 18,000 square foot Catholic Church in Maryland and condominium units ranging from 20,000 square feet. If you can dream it, we can build it!

Can I use a tin roof, my own plans, build on a wood foundation, get my logs kiln dried?
The answer to these and most other “Can I?” type questions is a definite YES!

Please Note: As for kiln drying, we do it to keep the moisture content of the log down. The logs will check, or crack heavily during the process. Kiln drying is intended to remove moisture from wood and cedar has less moisture because the cells are filled with air. Thus, kiln drying is an added expense, but also a needful process. Also, Colonial Structures air dries it’s logs to 18% moisture content or below before shipping.

How does the wiring go in?

As the exterior walls go up, the second, or occasionally the third log, depending on the profile, is notched before it is put into place. The builder then drills through the log and sub flooring. The wires are run there. Switches are similarly done and drilled over the door openings where there is sufficient room to run the wire (see construction video). The interior walls are partition walls and are wired like any other home.

How is the plumbing done?

Plumbing is run through the interior walls which are framed. This is done the same as conventionally framed homes. Bathrooms with joists below are the exception. There are several ways to proceed with over joist bathrooms. Most often the joists are not used in the first floor area, or a raised floor issued in the second floor bathroom.

What kind of foundation can I build on?

The same as any other kind of house – basement, concrete slab, crawl space, etc.

Do you pre-assemble these kits at the factory?

No. Our homes are milled. There are basically two types of log homes; milled and handcrafted. Colonial Structures’ logs are milled which means that they are planed smooth and are all the same diameter. That means that all of the logs that fit in the “A” section on your blueprints are identical and do not need to be pre-assembled (large expense). Handcrafted log homes have random diameters and need to be pre-assembled and labeled to insure that the house “kit” will work.

Do these logs shrink?
All logs shrink. We chose to work with cedar logs because cedar has the smallest shrink factor of all wood species used to build log homes. Like all natural products, however, cedar will settle somewhat.

You may also be concerned about the “strength” and how sturdy the house will be. A Colonial Structures Cedar Log Home is incredibly strong due to the post and beam style of construction. The uprights, normally at the corners and beside doors and windows, support the weight of the house, not the logs. The logs help prevent lateral movement.

Do cedar log homes catch fire easily?

While cedar is a wood product, imagine trying to start a fire with no kindling and only large logs. It is very difficult! The same is true with a log home. Also, there are no “chimneys” in the exterior walls between the 2×6′s, as there would be in a framed house. Therefore, the fire does not have an avenue to spread. Most log home fires are relegated to a single area, like a kitchen grease fire that burns some of the logs. The good news is, by using post and beam construction, if the logs are burned, they are replaced more easily than in other log homes because the logs themselves are not load bearing.

What Kind of Insulation/R-Factor/Energy Rating Do I Get With A Log Home?
Cedar has the highest insulating qualities of any wood; nearly twice that of the highest rated pine log. Also, the National Bureau of Standards has issued a report, which determined that log homes are up to 30% more energy efficient than a framed house due to the high thermal mass of wood. In the winter, the wood absorbs heat on the inside of the house and radiates it back into the room when the temperature drops. So, a cedar log home is a great energy efficient choice. Also, in most states, log homes get the highest energy efficiency rating given by the power company. Check with your local power company to see if they have such a program.

Here is an extensive article on Log Homes and Energy Efficiency

How Can I Save Money (Or Make Money)?

The best way for you to save money when building your log home is to act as your own general contractor. A contractor will charge you 10-20% to do his job. In a log home, a large portion of the work is done when the shell goes up. You may also negotiate with the builder to do some of your own work.

Glossary of Terms:
  • Turn-Key – A completely finished house, under roof, foundation to carpet.
  • Rough In – Only the shell of the house is constructed. The main parts of the shell are the log walls, roof system and interior partition walls.
  • Partition Walls – The framed walls (usually with 2×4′s) on the interior of the house, separating one room from the other.
  • Rafters – The exposed wood timbers that run across the inside roof line in a cathedral ceiling of a Colonial Structures, Inc. home (frequently backed by tongue and groove boards).
  • Joists – The exposed wood timbers that make up the support system between the first and second floors of a Colonial Structures, Inc. home (frequently backed by tongue and groove boards).
  • Sleeper Rafters – The second supporting portion of the roof in a Colonial Structures, Inc. home. Usually 2×10′s that lie on their ends above the tongue and groove, backing the ceiling rafters.
  • Checking – The cracks that form in the wood. Any large wood piece is a natural product and will tend to check. Cedar only show a small amount of checking compared to all wood species.
  • Sheeting or Sheathing – Large rectangular boards that cover flooring or roofing.
  • Milled – Logs are milled to the same profile. This insures uniformity of construction, offering a stronger more weathertight home.
  • Handcrafted – Logs that vary in diameter and profile. They tend to be more expensive and less efficient than milled homes.