Tips For Building A Log Home | How To Keep Insects & Wood Rot At Bay

If you are thinking about building a log home, you want to make sure it's done properly. Log homes are susceptible to rot and wood-boring insects. Decisions you make during the building process can lower your chances of these issues happening. Here are some tips for building a log cabin that will last a lifetime.

Keeping bugs at bay

Laying down mulch can give bugs another reason to come crawling to your log home. If you have termites, wood-boring beetles, carpenter ants, and other damaging insects in your area, wood mulch entices them. If you want to lay down mulch, opt for rubber mulch. Rubber mulch will last much longer too. Wood mulch needs to be replaced each year while rubber mulch will last about a decade.

One mistake people will make when building a log home is building with logs from the ground up. Not having a proper foundation can cause structural issues from bugs eating away at the foundation, as well as wood rot. You need a suitable foundation to build on. The foundation can include a concrete slab, a full basement, a crawlspace and other types as well.

Make sure your yard is clear of tree stumps. Tree stumps begin to rot and they are a breeding ground for insects. Carpenter ants and termites will infest the stumps and move on to your home when they're finished.

It's important to have your logs treated with insect repellent BEFORE treating them with water repellent. Insect repellent will penetrate the wood and treat deep inside of the logs. If your logs have water repellent on them first, the insect repellent won't penetrate, and it will leave an unattractive crystallized powder on the surface. You will still get bugs and your logs will be an eyesore. Once your logs are treated to keep the insects away, you can have them treated with water repellent.

Avoiding wood rot

There are four elements needed for wood to rot. These include:

  • Wood
  • Temperature between 60 and 90 degrees
  • Oxygen
  • Moisture

Obviously you can't control the outside temperature or oxygen levels. You also can't change the fact that your home is made of wood. Therefore, you have to control the moisture. You need to make sure your logs have a proper finish. The finish should not only repel water, but also allow any moisture that is inside of the logs to come back out. Make sure you know how long the finish lasts so you can have the logs refinished before it wears off and your logs are soaking up rain water.

Your roof should include overhangs so the rain water stays off of the logs as much as possible. An average one-story log home needs a roof overhang of at least 24 inches around the entire perimeter. If you have a second story or your walls are high than 12 feet, you need at least a 36 inch overhang.

The small space between the logs is a great place for water to sit and soak into the wood. Your log home should have proper caulking between each log. The caulking doesn't last forever. Ensure the caulk is properly maintained.

Don't plant bushes against your home. Leaves hold moisture, and planting them against your home will keep the moisture sitting against your logs. Your logs will become more susceptible to rot.

Wood-boring insects and moisture are your two most prolific enemies when it comes to building a log home. You need to take every precaution that you can to keep them away from your home. Without rot and insect damage, your log home will last more than a lifetime. For more information, check out sites like