1. It is your responsibility to check out your builder. We may have given you a name or names but in the end choosing a builder is your decision. You need someone who is honest, capable, satisfies people, and with whom you can work. We do not stand behind or back any builder whatsoever, so do your homework on the builder! GET REFERENCES, TALK TO THE BANK, make it a know-know not a no-no! A mistake in this department can make for nuclear-powered nightmares.
2. Be sure of what you are getting. Not just from us but from your contractor as well. Get it on paper. Take and keep notes if necessary. Have it explained until you understand it, forget about looking stupid. Take nothing for granted. Good communication solves a world of problems. Is he going to sand and seal? Is he caulking? Is he landscaping? Is he cleaning up? Is he coating the outside? Will he sing and dance? Is he using 5$ carpet or 50$ carpet? Are the decks built strong and secured well to the house? Is he allowing for settling? Does he brush his hair and teeth? Does the price include the well or water? Is he furnishing the non log home specific materials or are you? Be sure to emphasize the things that you just have to have such as hot and cold running towels or laser-guided bidets.
3. Once you, us, and your builder are on the same page concerning your home, be sure that he understands that we offer Tech-Help IF HE ASKS FOR IT. We have a hard time reading our own minds much less the builders’. Make sure to have him call for assistance BEFORE he does something of which he is unsure. Reverse, when building a home, is a hard gear to get into and even harder one from which to escape. Our responsibility is to furnish log home building materials and expertise if desired and ASKED FOR! Very good materials added to shoddy workmanship makes few people happy. REMEMBER, WE CANNOT AND DO NOT GUARANTEE ANY BUILDER OR CONTRACTOR’S WORK.
4. NEVER, NEVER, EVER pay a contractor far ahead on your job. Pay as the work gets completed. If you pay ahead, you are playing with fire without your asbestos undies. Those ragged ones in your closet may be the bestes undies that you have if you pay too far ahead.
5. Visit the job-site absolutely every day and ASK QUESTIONS. Let me state that again. Visit the job-site absolutely every day and ASK QUESTIONS. Be sure that what is going on is what you desire, remembering that you can expect what you inspect. Sometimes a few questions can save you and your builder many and serious problems. It can also make you and your contractor good friends or worst enemies. But remember, worst enemies with the house like you want it is much better that worst enemies and a disastrous house to live in. Your contractor will eventually go home. Regrettably, you are stuck there when you get to the house that he builds for you.
6. Look at the following basics and be sure that they are followed on the job site.
A. Always use the aluminum alloy connecting splines or at least some other form of spline, they stop wind and water. Of course you may like wind and water in your house. You’d better like them if your builder leaves the splines out.
B. Always use door/window splines, ditto above.
C. Our recommendation: Never cut a tongue. That leaves a place for wind and water to come in. Oh, it is easier to cut a tongue, it is faster, but is it better? When about to cut one, think about how sore your tongue gets when it is cut. Leaving the tongue in a corner reduces possibilities for leaks by at least 50%.
D. Mortise joints on beams and log walls should be at least 1½ inches deep. The joint should support the weight, while all the bolt should do is hold the joint together. Of course you can always hire a helicopter to hover above your house to hold your rafters and other beams together. If you choose that option don’t ask me how to sleep with all that noise, or what to do if he runs out of fuel. Remember, if it falls Viagra will not help.
E. Plumb and square. Shall I state the obvious? Either 10th century rustic or plumb and square. Erection 101
F. Rafters either are mortised well into log walls (see D) or go completely over them for strength. Remember, those puppies hold your roof system above your head. If they come down, Tylenol may not help.
G. Drop your decks down a small amount so water does not run under your doors or walls in a wind storm. Also let them have a slight fall away from the house so water does not collect next to the house. Do this along with flashing decks, porches and walls and you will not have water leaks under there. Of course if you enjoy indoor slip & sliding in the summer or ice skating in the winter, then disregard the above.
H. Absolutely put felt paper or some other good seal behind log siding in gables. Take no chances with leaks. If you don’t, then buy serious quantities of Preparation H. You are going to need it.
I. Either allow for settling completely, with interior wall attachment, springs on bolts, trim, plumbing, or don’t do it at all, nail everything solidly in place. Mixing fixed construction and settling can give you mixed results. It is like crossing your favorite canine with T-Rex. He may bring you your slippers and then have you for lunch.
J. I hate to be so obvious, but be sure to put the foam seals between the logs in the grooves machined there. Have you ever hooked a water hose up without a gasket? You get all wet. That is exactly what you’ll be if leave out the foam seals. Erection 102.
K. Bolts. Use enough bolts. We figure one every 24" so don’t go more than 32" without one. Remember to put a bolt within four inches of a connection of any two logs that are hooked together at a joint AND angle those bolts to slightly pull those log ends together. It is very simple to do and helps prevent any linear shrinkage you might get. Bolts, use plenty. They hold your wall together, but obviously not too important to some people that we have met. Leave out the bolts and imagine your wall in your floor, or outside on the ground, or in the bed with you. Erection 99.
L. Leave some space above doors and windows, more if allowing for settling. Crunched glass can be a shattering experience.
M. If you are putting electrical or other outlets in the log walls, be sure to drill and mark them while laying the 2nd course of logs. Your computer will work better when it has a plug-in to be plugged into. Do not use severely deep electrical boxes in the exterior walls. Very deep ones require tongue cutting, OUCH!
N. Flooring: We have seen some people build log homes without a plywood or particle board sub-floor. That is put 2x decking on the floor joists with nothing underneath. We highly discourage this practice. It expands in the building process and then seriously contracts when the heating and a/c runs, leaving cracks large enough for your laundry to go through. So unless you want an informal laundry chute, put your sub-floor down first and then flooring grade (8%-10% moisture) t&g on top after heat is on. You know we wouldn’t be this obvious if we hadn’t seen this done.
O. If you use the decking grade t&g (15% moisture) for a second floor, you will have cracks when it dries. Recommend putting down decking and then when heat is on, put hardwood or pine flooring on top. If you let your builder talk you into either one of the above, then forget our number, because if you have done that, then we will have forgotten yours.
P. We like to send interior paneling and trim after the house is dried in whenever possible. Sometimes when you are far away, of course this is not possible. DO NOT leave those kinds of kiln-dried materials outside on the ground if at all possible. They will soak up moisture and get to be unusable at worst or undesirable at least.
7. Cypress is arguably the most durable wood available today and it tends to cost only slightly more than competing woods, especially pine. We believe it is worth far more than its additional cost, but it is a natural product. Will it rot? Yes, under the right circumstances it eventually will. Will insects attack it? Yes, in some instances. Is it better at both of the above than pine? Far, far better, even with carpenter bees. Will it need maintenance? Yes, but it will outperform pine and most other woods at far lower maintenance levels. To find out more, don’t listen to us, look up Cypress in your encyclopedia. You will find it called by its nickname in most of them, the "Wood Eternal". Many log home companies give lifetime warranties. These are in most every case materials only, and only if you have jumped through some hoops, meaning if you get rot you get a log.....maybe. Whoopee! Isn’t that exciting! Think of the fun you are going to have solving the other 95% of your problem, getting that new warranted log into your wall. Osmosis will be ineffective. We do not offer a lifetime warranty on our quality, natural product. We do offer a one year, materials only warranty. In fact most of the log home companies that gave lifetime warranties in the 1970’s are out of business. Companies come and they go, warranties are honored and dishonored, but a quality, natural product like Cypress will most likely be there after we are all gone. The question ten years down the road is not what kind of almost meaningless lawyer-written warranty do I have and what hoops must I jump through, but what kind of log was put into my wall at the time of construction. I think we all know the answer to that one. Now here comes the legalese; this is fun, though, isn’t it? We make no warranties either written or implied about the longevity of Cypress whatsoever. But in our opinion, you can’t buy a better, tougher, more natural product. Tougher than stainless steel you say? We admit that stainless is tougher and shinier, but we don’t offer stainless steel logs. You will have to go somewhere else for those. You might try looking at www.stainlesssteellogs.com or www. Logs@weldittogether on the net.
8. Checking is the natural results of a timber or log cracking when it dries. All timbers check some. This happens because the outside dries faster than the inside and the dryer outside literally shrinks around the more damp core. Cypress tends to check less than most other timbers, with the possible exception of cedar, BUT IT CHECKS. When you buy a log home, you can expect some timber checking. PERIOD. If you don't want checks, then possibly you should look into vinyl siding or brick. We make no warranties concerning the checking of logs and timbers. This is another reason to use our more dry timbers and logs. You can see the check before you put it into your wall. Using the industry standard green logs you won't know until later where the checks will be or how bad until down the road a year or two until they dry.
9. Building a house is quite a large project with almost an infinite number of variables and can strain a relationship. We do not offer marriage counseling and if you don’t have a serious understanding with your mate about your new home, you may need to consider that as well. All we can say is 1-800-DRLAURA. Building your house doesn’t have to be as painful as childbirth, but if you don’t do your homework, it can be worse, if that is possible. We are here to answer your questions and to help you work through your problems before they take root and grow into LARGE ONES. The experience of home-building can be as fine as frog hair if you just prepare. Help us to help you bypass all of the problems that we possibly can and make the birth of your new Cypress log home as smooth and painless as possible.
ONE CONTRACTER’S BUILDING ORDER
(This List and Sequence can and does vary from builder to builder and house to house)
BUY MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SOOTHING PINK, GINSENG, AND NERVE PILLS; YOU'LL NEED THEM
STUDY BOOK ENTITLED "GETTING ALONG EVEN WHEN YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE IT"
GET, COPY, AND KNOW BUILDING CODES IN YOUR AREA, GET PERMITS
LOT CLEAR, ROUGH GRADE, DRIVEWAY GRADED, GRAVEL FOR DRIVEWAY
EXPLAIN TO NEIGHBOR AND SHERIFF WHY YOU GRADED 3 FEET OVER ON HIS PROPERTY
SET BATTER BOARDS & STRINGS DIG FOOTINGS & POUR CONCRETE
INSTALL POURED FOUNDATION AND/OR PILLARS
APPLY TERMITE TREATMENT
HOLD ALL NIGHT PRAYER VIGIL IN THANKSGIVING FOR EPA
POUR CONCRETE BASEMENT & CARPORT FLOORS
INSTALL FLOOR SYSTEM
GET STITCHES IN YOUR THUMB FROM HAMMER TRICK
STACK & ASSEMBLE LOGS
APPLY PREP H
SET BEAMS & STAIN EACH IF STAINING DESIRED
USE THE REST OF THE TUBE
INSTALL ROOF SYSTEM
FELT PAPER ON ROOF
INSTALL INTERIOR WALLS
GET STITCHES REMOVED FROM YOUR THUMB
INSTALL REQUIRED INSULATION
PORCHES, ROOF[S], STEPS, & POSTS
TALK YOUR WIFE OUT OF DOUBLING THE SIZE OF HER DREAM HOUSE
EXPLAIN TO HER, UNSUCCESSFULLY OF COURSE, THE CONCEPT OF "TIMING"
CORNICE, & FASCIA BOARDS
SET EXTERIOR DOORS & WINDOWS EXCEPT FOR ONES THAT DON'T FIT
SEND ONES THAT DON'T FIT BACK , THEN SPECIAL ORDER MORE
APPOINTMENT WITH YOUR PSYCHOLOGIST "HANDLING YOUR RAGE"
TRIM EXT. DOORS & INSTALL WINDOWS
INSTALL WINDOWS THAT WERE REORDERED
ORDER ONE MORE TO REPLACE THE ONE YOU BROKE
BECOME ONE WITH "MURFY'S LAW", GRASSHOPPER
FIREPLACE ROCK WORK OR BRICK WORK
INSTALL FIREPLACE AND/OR HEATER
PLUMBING ROUGH & GAS LINES
HEATING & AIR ROUGH
PRACTICE KISSING UP TECHNIQUES, THEN
CALL FOR FRAMING, PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR, AND ELECTRICAL INSPECTIONS
SEPTIC TANK INSTALLED & INSPECTED
INCREASE AMOUNT OF LOAN SO HOUSE CAN BE FINISHED
HANG UP THE PHONE WITH THE BANK AND SWEAR UNDER YOUR BREATH
INSTALL & FINISH INTERIOR PANELING
INTERIOR TRIM, INCLUDING DOORS, RAILING, STAIN WHERE REQUIRED
APPLY INTERIOR SEALER
COAT INTERIOR & EXTERIOR
DESCRIBE THE COLORS YOU SEE IN YOUR BRAIN AT NIGHT AFTER COATING
HAVE THE "SHAKES" FOR A DAY OR TWO AFTER COATING
INSTALL KITCHEN CABINETS & VANITIES
PLUMBER TO FINISH [ALL FIXTURES SET & LEAK TESTED]
HTG & AIR FINISH
INCREASE LOAN AGAIN, LOOK ON NET FOR BANKER / LAWYER JOKES
TRY TO TALK THE LITTLE WOMAN INTO KEEPING THE CABINETS AFTER ALL
ELECTRICAL FINISH [ALL FIXTURES SET, HUNG, AND TESTED]
MIRRORS IN BATHS SHELVES IN CLOSETS, & PANTRIES
CALL PLUMBER BACK TO FIX LEAKS
INSTALL WELL OR HOOK UP WATER
FINAL GRADING & LANDSCAPE
PRAY THAT BUILDING INSPECTOR HAS SOLVED HIS PERSONAL CRISIS AT HOME
CALL FOR FINAL INSPECTIONS AFTER PURCHASING HIS COMPLIMENTARY BOTTLE OF WILD TURKEY
MARK YOUR PROMISE IN BLOOD THAT YOU WILL NEVER BUILD ANOTHER HOUSE
TAKE A VACATION IF YOU HAVE ANY MONEY LEFT, YOU DESERVE IT
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
♦ Call sub-contractor 1 week prior to being ready for him. Decide what you want before work begins. Get price in writing prior to starting work and don’t forget bank draws!
♦ Plumbing fixtures can’t be set until floor covering is down in bathroom. Well, actually they can cause I did it, but you will have to pick them back up again to get floor covering down.
♦ You now have 30 days before the payments start and 30 years before they end.
Call Us at (256) 463-5576
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