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Sierra Log & Timber

9 Things to Look for in Your Log Home Company



At Sierra Log & Timber, we believe in the versatility, craftsmanship, and timeless beauty of log homes. Rugged and unique, log homes have stood the test of time in both structural longevity and aesthetic charm, and are among the most practical and elegant housing options available. If you’re beginning the process of building your own log home, you have a lot of decisions before you. Fortunately, the process of choosing and building a log home is a journey that imparts even more meaning to the finished product. As you consider log home manufacturers, use the following nine questions as a checklist.


1. Do they offer the style you want? – When it comes to deciding on log styles, it’s common for prospective homeowners to compare milled and handcrafted log homes. The choice is primarily stylistic. Are you looking for a more standard, clean-edged, and uniform look? Then you’ll probably prefer milled. Economical, simpler, easier to assemble, and significantly less setting, milled logs are processed and cut to precise specifications that eliminate the need for pre-assembly. If, on the other hand, your goal is to create a more natural log home, you may wish to opt for handcrafted logs. With each log specially fit together with draw-knives and chainsaws, handcrafted log homes preserve nature’s imprint on each individual log and create a design that seamlessly integrates with the beauty of its natural surroundings. Once you’ve decided, check for companies that offer the type of manufacturing you want. Sierra Log and Timber is a premier milled log producer.


2. Do they source your preferred species of wood? – Because log cabin manufacturers typically source lumber from their local environment, the type of wood available will differ by company. Do your research to find which type of wood best matches your preferences (red cedar, white cedar, pine, Douglas fir, spruce, oak, and cypress). Durability, minimal shrinkage, color, straightness, grain, and scent are all factors you should consider. At Sierra Log & Timber, we encourage customers to thoroughly research all their options. Our company specifically uses Red Cedar because we have found it to be the most durable and the most stable (very little settling) of all the species. Additionally, we firmly believe and advocate for the quality of red cedar in log home construction. We are the nation’s largest supplier of red cedar log and timber profiled products. Known for rich grain, amazing scent, and a natural ability to withstand weathering, this high-end wood includes a wide variety of colors ranging from light to a deep-reddish brown that beautifully radiate from the center of the log.


3. Do they provide the log profile you want? – A log profile establishes how logs stack up in a wall system, with each log profile featuring both a structural and an aesthetic design. Each profile performs well within the producer’s construction specifications, and choice mostly comes down to preference. Consider all your options, which include D-log, round Swedish cope, round tongue & groove, and flat-on-flat timber, and compare your favorites with what each company you’re considering is able to offer. At Sierra Log & Timber, we are able to meet the specifications of our customers by providing all available profiles.


4. Is the company’s timber kiln dried or air dried? – One of the most important aspects of log manufacturing, drying helps to reduce warping, bowing, and settling in the completed log structure. Though comparable, kiln and air dried logs have differences that should be taken into consideration. While air dried logs are stacked and allowed to dry over a period of months to years, kiln dried logs are initially dried to about 25-30% moisture content before being cooked in a large oven to accelerate and control the drying process. According to some sources, the slower process of air drying keeps wood from becoming brittle and losing its color. However, both processes have comparative advantages and are worth researching before committing to a manufacturer. Sierra Log and Timber uses the air drying method because red cedar is so stable with nominal checking and very little shrinkage.


5. Are the company’s engineering plans stamped vs. non-stamped? – An important aspect of all log home kits, engineering plans typically include construction plans, a cut-sheet, and a materials checklist. While almost all log home manufacturers include engineering plans, not all plans are stamped by an engineer. Engineered stamped plans ensure that the structure will meet national building codes. In some states, such as California, engineered drawings are required and are therefore an important consideration when choosing your log home manufacturer. Sierra Log and Timber engineers and stamps all of their plans for all 50 states. We are also stand out as producing California’s top engineered plans.


6. Will the company be able to help you adhere to local building regulations? – Every locality has different regulations. At Sierra Log & Timber, we know how to get insure these complex projects are in full compliance with county regulations. Our team of engineers at Sierra Log & Timber creates custom plans according to the rigorous specifications of the state you are building in—and we serve customers nationwide.


7. Do they have a showroom? – Being able to see products from your log home builder before committing can help you make a decision with confidence. Sierra Log & Timber has the only showroom/design studio in California where customers can see the largest variety of log and timber walls, parts, and siding. From fully completed timber and log structures to conventionally framed buildings, visit our studio for inspiration and to get excited about your own project!


8. Does the company provide a satisfaction guarantee? – Choosing a log home company is a big commitment, and it’s important to be able to have confidence in the company you choose. Before you make a decision, find out what type of services, guarantees, and warranties each company offers as you prepare to purchase your log home kit. Our personal service in states like Oregon, Washington, and California enables our log home package satisfaction guarantee is very personal for each and every client, assuring that you will be more than happy with your experience.


9. Is the company a grading subscriber? – Is the timber produced by your manufacturer of choice graded? Our California log home builders (along with many states like Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, etc.) are required to have structurally graded logs. Sierra Log & Timber has been a structural grading subscriber in good standing for more than 20 years with “TP” Timber Products Inspection. We offer additional services for the products we distribute, including structural grade stamp or certificate of grade for our cedar, fir, and pine logs and timbers; structural beam calculations for logs and timbers; structural truss and truss plate design for log and timber trusses; and pre-cut and/or pre-building of trusses and other structure types.


If you would like to learn more, or to receive a free copy of our log home blueprint catalog, contact Sierra Log & Timber today at (530) 899-0680!