How to Build a Log House-Part 1
Construction Lesson 1 (Sill Logs, Floor and Joints)
What are the Sill Logs?
Sill logs are the logs that rest directly on top of the foundation and its connected to it by the anchor bolts.
How to Choose Your Logs?
- Just about any type of log can be used, as long as it’s relatively straight and it is around 8”-10” diameter.
- It has only minor tapering no more than 2”. And the length for it is around 16 ft.
- Conifers such as pine, fir, spruce and tamarack are preferred because these softwoods are workable, durable and relatively lightweight.
- Hardwoods, particularly oak can also be used, though their sapwood is highly susceptible to infestation by borers and fungus.
- After completing the foundation based on the house plan the work on the upper part of the house begins.
- The first step in the house structure is to install the sill log on the floor plan
- Note: this is an important part of the job because if the sills are not laid as mentioned in the house floor plan and if its not laid squarely and securely that might effect the whole structure.
Steps of Constructing the log house Sill Log.
- If you don’t want a full basement, you must excavate the house plan dimension at least below the frost line, install footings and construct a wall up to 20 in. above grade level.
- You must also install piers within the foundation walls as mentioned in the architecture plan to support the floor girder. Also, install anchor bolts along the top of the walls to attach the sill.
- Begin floor construction by hewing or cutting flat the bottom of the sill logs.
- Then make holes in the sill logs to fit in the anchor bolts and install sill sealer or a termite shield according to the local building code.
- The corner joints are made by bottom notching the logs based on the house design.
- Hew flat the top of the girder and install it over the support piers.
- Join it to the sill with a mortise and tenon joint. Drive nails through the top of the tenon and into the mortise to complete the joint.
Steps of constructing the log house sill log and floor:
- In a similar manner, hew or cut flat the top of the joists and install them between the girder and sill logs so they are flush with the top of the girder.
- Install the sub flooring perpendicular to the direction of the joists. Now you’re ready to start on the walls as designed in the architecture plan.
Steps of constructing the log house wall joints:
- Many different types of notches can be used to join the logs, but a good choice for the beginning log builder is the scribe, fit, round-notch method.
- It features semicircular notches cut in the bottom of the logs to fit over adjacent logs. Also, a V-shaped groove is cut down the length of each log bottom so the entire length can sit flush on the log below.
- Although this method is slower than others, the corner joints are self-draining-water running down the outside of the house hits the log tops and runs off, instead of being trapped in the notch.
- The V-grooves also eliminate air drafts between the logs.
- The joints between courses do not need chinking, so you can avoid one of the most chronic maintenance problems of log homes: repairing cracked chinking.
Prepared by: Architect Perumal Nagapushnam
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