Why use logs?
To be specific: If you build a house out of logs, then you use just
that - logs - as nature grew them - 'in the round' so to speak. We do not machine, saw, plank, turn or cut the logs.
We do not cut the logs flat in any way.
Logs are probably one of the only truly renewable resources available for building.
Logs are the ultimate 'composite' material, exceeding concrete and steel in terms of strength to weight ratio.
Logs do not require any energy to convert into usable material.
This is called 'embodied energy'. Building materials such as bricks, Cement, steel, glass, etc have to be processed, and therefore have high embodied energy, which adds to the financial and environmental cost.
Cheap! Trees are at their lowest value when standing in the forest.
Solid, un-machined logs have a natural flowing grain structure which gives them great strength and resistance to moisture penetration and beetles.
Solid log homes have a very long lifespan, with minimal maintenance if built correctly.
Humans have a long history of building with timber, log homes have been around for thousands of years.
A good example is St. Andrews Church, Greensted, Essex, England, built out of oak logs in 1060AD and
still holding regular services in the original log structure, claimed to be the oldest wooden church in the world. Yes, there have been some renovations done over the last 1000 years, however the original structure remains in daily use.
How would you look at this age?
This is a good testament to the durability of log structures, still in daily use over 1000 years later!
Consider that this church was built long before toxic timber treatments, paints and sealers.
How did it last so long?
The fact is that they used very simple principles.
These are principles which I like to teach everyone and have used to preserve my own log home, if my log home lasts 1000 years, I will be very happy, knowing that many generations have the use of this shelter.
Thick log walls make excellent insulation.
Your log home stays a comfortable temperature all year round, which saves energy, heating, cooling, money, environmental pollution, etc.
A few simple concepts including architecture are used to preserve buildings, which do not involve toxic chemicals.
No part of the log is wasted when building a log home 100% of the tree can be used. Even the off-cuts can be used for firewood and Borate treated sawdust for garden mulch.
Butt and Pass log homes require almost no maintenance, besides the painting of window frames and doors (which you have with any building regardless).
No special skills are required to build a Butt and Pass log home.
An important distinction must be made between log homes and timber frame buildings.
The average log home uses less timber than an equivalent sized timber frame house, due to
there being no losses due to milling and processing.
Milling logs into planks and kiln drying and treating them to build a timber framed house is not
only wasteful, but requires a huge amount of energy and toxic chemicals, after that, you end up with a structure which requires you to add insulation due to the fact that the walls are so thin.
Timber framed homes tend to have a short life span of only 25-35years (incidentally, just long enough to pay off the mortgage) generally it is not the timber that gives up, but the fasteners and fixatives which hold them together, which means that the planet earth's resources have to be consumed again to replace the structure.
It is far better to build a log home that is designed to last hundreds of years, many generations can use that home without costing the earth.
All of this will be covered in detail on the course.