At Caribou Creek, we strive to not only build you a beautiful home, but to also to give you the best possible home building experience – one you won’t forget. We are here to help you every step of the way in making your dream home a reality.
The Steps to Building a Log Home
Whether you hear about Caribou Creek’s handcrafted log and timber homes through a Google search, a friend, see a magazine ad or meet us at a log home show, the first step is tell us about your ideas. You can contact us through our website contact form or call 800.619.1156.
When we hear from you, we like to take the time to get to know you a little, and understand what you have in mind for your log or timber home. We are happy to discuss your lifestyle, family, and the location of your building site, and can offer suggestions and sample floor plans to help shape your preferences.
After we have met you and discussed your project, we would welcome the opportunity to meet with you on your building site. There we can consider: how to best position your home to take advantage of views and sunlight; grade and soil concerns for foundations and basements; drainage and water management to ensure your home lasts for generations; driveway approach; and much more. Many of our clients have found this to be very helpful in bringing your floor plan ideas together.
Developing a good floor plan design and assessing the cost feasibility of your design go hand in hand, often occurring at the same time. Every handcrafted log or timber home that Caribou Creek builds is a custom home. However, it is often nice to start with a sample log home floor plan, and modify it to fit your family, lifestyle, build site and budget. At this point we would start to work with our design team to develop your custom floor plans.
You may have several meetings with your Caribou Creek representative and a member of our design team during this step. As your plan takes shape you might think of something to add, or see something you’d like to change. This is the time to make sure your home is going to be just the way you like it.
While you are in the process of finalizing your construction drawings, it is a good time to begin involving your general contractor in the planning. He will be able to add his input on the cost feasibility and the overall design.
When your plans are finalized, we will draw up a final proposal for the contract amount and an outline of everything included in your custom log home package. Once you have approved the drawings in their completed state, we will officially “pull the trigger” on your new home!
As you consider which general contractor to work with, take a look at their portfolio. Does it include any log or timber projects? Is the project a milled product, or is it handcrafted? You can ask them which past projects they’ve completed that are similar to yours.
Other questions to ask include whether they are familiar with staining and chinking a log home; are they knowledgeable about managing moisture with regards to a log home (both exterior protection and proper drainage, and also managing interior air moisture with adequate ventilation); how do they integrate conventional construction into your log home, such as where framing and log work intersect?
We’ve worked with several general contractors in the past, and may be able to recommend a company that has experience finishing log and timber homes in your area. Our team at Caribou Creek is here to help you and your contractor during all stages of finishing your log or timber home. We are happy to provide technical support for your contractor and answer any questions he may encounter along the way.
The Log Home Construction Process
Every one of our custom log homes, timber frame homes, dovetail homes, log cabins, and post and beam homes begin the exact same way. We first hand-select the logs for each part of the structure. Next begins the debarking process after which they are inserted into our kilns to be fully dried. Our in-house kiln drying capability gives us greater control over the moisture content and final quality of the logs. Click to learn more about the importance of our kiln dried timber. During the building process, our craftsmen choose logs to match the log member they are crafting to keep waste to a minimum.
The logs are brought into our construction yard and hand peeled to remove the bark and leave a nice, clean surface. If your home is a timber frame home or a dovetail home that is constructed using squared timbers, you have the option of hand-hewing or hand scoring the timbers .This has become a very popular texture, giving the timbers the appearance of age and adding unique character to each piece.
The first part of crafting your log home is laying out the walls of your home in one of our several construction lots here in our yard. The craftsmen take their time making sure every wall is square, level, and plumb. Each corner — and many points in between — is supported by a “station”, which is a temporary footing that is built up to the proper height to make the home level.
After the first round is in place atop the stations, the wall height progresses rapidly. For a full scribe home, our crafters scribe each log along its entire length to fit precisely onto the contours of the log beneath it.
For a chink style home, the ends of each wall log are saddle notched to fit together snugly at each corner. Similarly, the ends of the beams on a dovetail log home are crafted into a dovetail shape to fit at the corners.
Timber frame homes are constructed to form the structural, load-bearing elements of the home. Traditionally, timber frames are visible from the interior, and wall framing, insulation and siding are added on the exterior of the frame.
Post and beam homes are constructed a lot like timber frame homes, with either round logs and squared timbers. However, most post and beam elements are visible on the exterior and interior.
Every Caribou Creek log home package includes a structural roof system. There are several options when it comes to your roof structure, many of which combine several construction methods for an appealing aesthetic design. On a log home, for example, you may choose to place a few exposed timber trusses over the master bedroom for a beautiful focal point. Or you might want to create your roof structure with a ridge log and purlins, or maybe entirely out of round log trusses. Take a look at our photo galleries to see a few of the choices available.
Every home from Caribou Creek Log Homes arrives on your site with all electrical chases pre-drilled in the walls and the electrical boxes cut. This will save time and hassle for your general contractor.
While building the log home shell, logs are left long or “wild”, running into every opening. After the walls are completed, the final window and door openings are cut according your window manufacturer’s rough opening sizes. The logs are beveled to make a nice transition from the jamb depth to the full log or timber thickness. This bevel also accommodates installing exterior and interior trim around the window or door.
At Caribou Creek, we take pride in each of our handcrafted log homes. We make certain every piece that leaves our yard is of superior quality and excellent craftsmanship. We continue that commitment to quality when it is time to package and ship your home to you. Before the house is dis-assembled, the logs are labeled. Like a giant puzzle, each and every log, knee brace, or accent piece is given a tag designating its placement in the home. We take time to make sure every log or timber member is carefully loaded with web straps to avoid marring. The entire home is disassembled and loaded in order, so that reset can begin immediately with the lowest rounds. The load is then tarped to protect the logs from road dust during transport.
We are always available to answer all of your questions while your contractor is preparing for the arrival of the log shell. We provide your contractor with detailed information on any special requirements for the home’s foundation, such as extra deep footers for a heavy spiral staircase, etc. We will also supply a list of tools that will need to be onsite during the reset of your home. Every one of Caribou Creek Log Home’s packages includes an onsite reset supervisor who will guide and oversee the entire process — from laying the first round, to setting the last roof purlin. As an available option, we can send down an entire reset crew from Caribou Creek to complete the reset. Caribou Creek’s attention to detail pays dividends by ensuring a smooth, fast reset that usually takes from 3 to 6 days.
Once your log or timber home is set, your contractor takes over the finishing of the home. Some people choose to act as their own general contractor for their log home, and hire sub-contractors to do major tasks. Finish work may include:
– Installing the roof deck and roofing material over the log structural system.
– Installing doors and windows. After this point, the home is considered “dried in,” forming a weather-tight shell.
– Applying stain and chinking to the exterior and interior of the log home.
– Running electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.
– Installing drywall, priming and painting.
– Installing plumbing and light fixtures.
– Installing flooring
– Installing cabinetry
– Exterior site/landscape work