What are the best logs for building my log home?

The types of log you select to build your log home are very important. The right selection will not only determine the  cost of your project; but choosing the right timber for your home will ensure a sound structure that can withstand  the elements.

Selecting the Right TimberWestern Red Cedar
Trees from a relatively high altitude are ideal for house logs; they are slow-growing with tight growth rings. Tight growth rings produce dense wood, which generally results in less cracking or checking as the log dries. You can tell how tight a tree’s rings are by looking at the end, or cross section of a cut log; each circular line or ring depicts one year of growth in the life of the tree.

One of the most critically important components when selecting your trees is ensuring they have fallen in the winter when the sap level is low. This again will minimize checking and the risk of sap stain (mold). Because this is such an important factor, we handpick each log for every home with no exceptions. We want to make sure you have the best logs available for your home.

There are many different types of timber located in British Columbia. From our experience we prefer to work with western red cedar and Douglas fir for our log home and timber frame structures.

To help you understand why these two types of wood are our preferred choices, you will find a more detailed description of each below.

Western Red CedarArtisan Cedar Charactor wood
Western red cedar is a premium slow growth timber that is harvested on the northern coast of B.C. This amazing, tight-grained wood is one of the most decay- and insect-resistant softwoods, making it the most sought after wood for exports, especially to Europe. If you live in a climate with extreme weather conditions, western red cedar may be the perfect choice for you.

Western red cedar logs are known for their flared ends which add character and style to timber structures, making it one of our clients’ favorites as well.

Yellow Cedar is another popular type of timber used commonly for building canoe paddles. To understand the difference between the two check out our article Which is better: Western Red Cedar vs Yellow Cedar.

Douglas Fir
Douglas fir has been a long-time favorite for engineers. Douglas fir is one of the strongest softwoods available making it an ideal wood choice for timber frames and traditional log homes. Douglas fir has a signature red and blond color to the timber.

Some other log types for home building include yellow cedar, pine and spruce.

Western Red Cedar Log Home vs Douglas Fir Log Home Cost Comparison
The type of timber selected to build your log home will play a factor in the overall cost of your log home. The chart compares the average cost of Western Red Cedar vs Douglas Fir depending on the styles of timber home.

Western Red Cedar w/ flared ends Western Red Cedar Douglas Fir Kiln Dried Douglas Fir
Full Scribe $75 – $100 $65 – $85 $60 – $85 N/A
Post and Beam $60 – $75 $45 – $65 $55 – $65 N/A
Timber Frame N/A $55 – $75 $45 – $60 $50 – $60

Kiln Drying TimberTimber components
You may see an option to purchase kiln dried Douglas Fir wood. Depending on the type of structure you are building you may want to have the wood kiln dried. Kiln drying is a process to carefully dry the wood at a very slow rate so that it does not cause damage to the wood.

One of the biggest benefits of kiln dried Timbers is that the timber becomes uniform and stable, perfect for timber frame highlight work. You often see kiln dried timber in old churches.

We offer kiln dried Timbers with all of our Timber Frame home packages. If you prefer wood with less character, minimal checking and movement we would highly recommend the kiln drying process.

 

We hope that you have found this helpful in understanding what type of wood is best for building your log home. There are a number of factors that come into play when deciding to build so if you have any specific questions we would be happy to discuss them. Feel free to email us info@artisanlog.com.

If you would like to know more about the cost associated with building your custom log home you may want to read these articles as well: