Log Cabin and Log Home Pros and Cons

by Sherry Riter in New Home  

Ever since the Daniel Boone television show played on my parent’s black and white television set, I have been in love with log cabins. I’m not really sure if it is the rustic look, the homey feel, a combination of both or if I played with Lincoln Logs too much, but regardless of the reason, I find a log home very appealing.

Cons of a Log Cabin or Log Home

Until researching log cabins, I had a very romantic view of owning one. You know the one – warm, cozy fireplace reflecting on big wood logs that NEVER need attention because they are big trees!

Hmph…Boy was that part of that vision dispelled quickly when I read about the maintenance required. So to help you make a well thought out choice for your home construction, here is a realistic list of the negatives to building and owning a log cabin or log home:

  • Termites, beetles and carpenter ants will make their homes and/or feed on the wood
  • Carpenter bumble bees. woodpeckers
  • Cracking and popping when the logs are new
  • Complicated to wire with electricity
  • Western cedar logs are better and more expensive
  • Full log homes have no insulation – It is really hot in the summer and really cold in the winter without conventional systems in place
  • A log wall is a solid mass and since there is no insulated space, R-Value does not apply correctly
  • When the logs shrink, you have to keep caulking between them
  • Shrinkage can be from 1/2 inch to 3 inches or more
  • They have to be stained/sealed every 3-5 years to protect the wood; to fight moisture buildup or prevent the wood from drying out to avoid the logs from decaying or splitting
  • The stain/sealant is expensive
  • It is often hard to sell a log home

Pros of a Log Cabin or Log Home

Although my list for the negatives of owning a log cabin or log home was substantial, there are some definite positives about owning one too:

  • Split white pine is relatively inexpensive
  • 1/2 log home is extremely insulated
  • 1/2 logs are anchored to regular studs, thus shrinkage is not a problem
  • Easier to get financing for a 1/2 log home
  • Log walls are natural sound insulators
  • The inside walls can be finished with wall board to enable surfaces to be be papered or painted
  • “Greener”
  • Prestigious and beautiful aesthetic appeal
  • Energy efficient with conventional heating and air conditioning in place – 2.5% to over 20% more energy efficient if built and caulked properly compared to an identical wood-frame home
  • Cozy,”warm” and relaxing

Owning a Log Cabin or Log Home

After taking all of the above into mind, I have to say that having a log home may not be maintenance free, but it is still a romantic choice.

Upon further reflection, I also think I figured out another reason why I love log homes.

My grandfather worked in or owned a lumber and building supply company during most my life. Gran-Gran was a whiz with numbers and could calculate things in his head that would boggle most people. Many weekends and summer vacations I would be with him as he tallied up all the lumber in the warehouse…in his head.

Do you think I was impressed back then? Heck yeah and I still marvel at his wonderful mathematical brain. Gran-Gran gave me the confidence to not be intimidated of numbers. Hours spent playing with the adding machine and pretending to keep records in the ledger books, inspired me.

So on those walks through the warehouse, not only did Gran-Gran leave an indelible impression on my young mind, but the smell of all that lumber permeated every cell in my body. The earthy, clean smell of wood is intoxicating to my senses. Nothing can compare to the feel and look of lovingly polished wood in a piece of furniture or as part of a log home or log cabin.

Romantic? Yeah. I’m still totally enthralled with a log cabin and still have a lovely image of being stretched out on a big fluffy rug in front of a blazing fireplace in the middle of a cozy log cabin home.


Once a romantic…Always a romantic.

The Redhead Riter

Photos courtesy of:
The Great American Adventure
Southland Log Homes

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Sherry Riter, also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Recovering Church Lady December 11, 2011 at 11:14 am

The pics are so convinving, what a gorgeous way to live! Seems like the Half Log home is a win-win pretty much!

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2 Vanessa December 11, 2011 at 6:45 pm

I miss living in the log cabin we had in Sunriver, Oregon which is a gorgeous place. One thing I do not miss is cleaning it! There was always dirt and dust everywhere (dog, cats, kid, husband) and although we had a good wove stove in it, we were COLD in the winter. Especially in the mornings when we'd first get up. There's a few more cons for you! :)

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3 Elizabeth Ann West December 11, 2011 at 8:11 pm

I grew up in Virginia Beach, VA. A Navy brat (and now a Navy wife). One of my father's close friends and "uncle" to my family talked non-stop of building a log cabin out on some land in North Carolina once he retired. No kids and no wife, he did just that. Coolest thing about spending the weekend out there was reading in peace, the smell, and being able to see the stars (he also had an awesome telescope hooked up to his computer). Given how with zoning you have to usually build in a rural area, I don't think I could make the jump and give up my high speed internet. Maybe one day as a vacation home on a lake, with a sail boat. But not to live in all the time (you know, after my book sells tons… LOL).

Great blog, loved the pictures.

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4 Sandy December 13, 2011 at 4:46 am

Dont know if it is subliminal romanticism or just the Dan'l Boone mentality….I've always thought log cabins were wonderful!

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5 Log Cabins July 27, 2012 at 7:10 am

Found this post whilst looking for other log cabin info but must say, some great pictures on here…I particularly like the picture of the log cabin covered in snow….looks really cosy and warm inside!

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6 The Redhead Riter July 29, 2012 at 1:11 pm

Thanks for stopping by. I love these pictures. I think log cabins really look like “home”

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7 Landon March 18, 2013 at 11:13 am

I love the variations in styles from T&G to the Logs. It gives it a unique look by mixing it up. The different tones of color also add to the beauty. Looks like different possibly some different stains.

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8 Sherry Riter March 18, 2013 at 9:37 pm

I love, love, love log homes! Nothing like them!

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9 gail mullinax July 20, 2013 at 10:30 am

I want a log home but without the maintenece! I have a gorgeous 3 ac in Smokey MTNS 3 mi from entrance to National Park. before the market crashed I bought it andneedless to say I fell in love with my 25 MTN peakes from my ridge but I gave way too much for my land so now I have a room in my bearn and ride up in my John Deere and stare at the view> MMMMMMMMMMMMM!

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10 Sherry Riter July 22, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I heard there was so much maintenance necessary for a log home. I had no idea it took so much work. I was really turned off by the way the bees like to put big holes in the logs. Ugh! However, your view sounds aaaaamazing!

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11 Curt Nicholson April 5, 2014 at 9:04 pm

Hi Red,
We’ve lived in our log home (6″x8″ log) since 1977, erected along the beautiful St. John River in New Brunswick, Canada. We’ve enjoyed it’s comfort and uniqueness. We are not located too far back in the woods (only 20 minutes from our capital city) and we have enjoyed our pool for nearly 30 years. As far as maintenance, staining occurs every 8 years and Sikkens is our choice for stain. Inside, we will finish the logs for the second time before we sell and retire to the city (not looking forward to the move, but some day we have to move to the next stage – elderly living). We love our log home and by the way, it was our first and only home. Thanks to our inspiration when we were young and adventurous!
Regards,
Curt

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12 Sherry Riter April 7, 2014 at 10:12 am

That’s awesome Curt!!!! I would love to see pictures. I bet it looks so beautiful!

Staining every 8 years isn’t bad at all. What about bees and hornets drilling into the wood? I heard that is really bad.

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13 Eloise Farrell May 29, 2014 at 9:47 am

Hi red,
My fiancée and I are looking to buy our first home next year and we would love it to be a log home!! (We live in England and it seems a lot harder to do and rarer to do)
Curt, your comment made me feel very hopeful about our first and only home being a log cabin!! I think they are magical and beautiful and the perfect setting for children :D
I really hope we can make it happen!
Regards,
Eloise

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14 Sherry Riter June 1, 2014 at 1:11 pm

I hope you are able to build a log home too! What a lovely dream come true!

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