Log Home Jour­ney

With plans in place, it’s fi­nally time for Gary and Becky to break ground and or­der their log pack­age.

Log Home Living - - CONTENTS -

With plans in place, it’s fi­nally time for Gary and Becky to break ground and or­der their log pack­age.

When you take on a large, com­plex project, like build­ing a home, you need to brace your­self for a va­ri­ety of stops and starts. Our ex­pe­ri­ence has been no dif­fer­ent. Af­ter months of frus­trat­ing set­backs, like deal­ing with codes of­fi­cials and be­ing pushed back on a few of our sub­con­trac­tors’ sched­ules, it was fi­nally time for my wife, Becky, and I to place our log pack­age or­der with Hochstetler Milling. Now con­struc­tion can fi­nally start.

From the very be­gin­ning of our jour­ney, Becky and I wanted to take a hands-on ap­proach. Since I’ve been in the con­struc­tion in­dus­try all of my ca­reer, we de­cided that we would serve as our own gen­eral con­trac­tors — a course of ac­tion I don’t rec­om­mend un­less you are very fa­mil­iar with all con­struc­tion phases and build­ing codes.

Be­fore the logs ar­rive, we needed to se­lect an ex­ca­va­tor and foun­da­tion con­trac­tor. In nor­mal prac­tice, it’s cus­tom­ary to so­licit three bids for each con­struc­tion phase. This way you can com­pare cost quotes to en­sure the best price to meet your bud­get. In our case, we per­son­ally knew both con­trac­tors and felt that their pric­ing was fair.

Our ex­ca­vat­ing con­trac­tor, Nicely Con­tract­ing, not only dug our foun­da­tion but would also in­stall our sep­tic sys­tem later on in the process. Since our house was be­ing built in a vir­gin corn field, he had to scrape off ap­prox­i­mately 18 inches of top­soil and re­serve it to be spread for our fi­nal grade down the line.

Our foun­da­tion con­trac­tor used “FormA-Drain” to cre­ate the footer. This is a per­ma­nent form, con­sist­ing of lin­eal sec­tions in­stalled as the foun­da­tion foot­ing forms, that acts as both the drain and the form. It elim­i­nates the need for sep­a­rate wood forms and pip­ing. The cost of us­ing the “Form-A-

Drain” is less than us­ing the wood forms and drain pipe, be­cause you don’t need to in­stall and re­move the wood forms and then place the pip­ing sep­a­rately. This saves a ton of money on la­bor and shaves time off the con­struc­tion sched­ule — a big plus when you’re al­ready be­hind like we were.

Next it was time to in­stall the con­crete block foun­da­tion. Prior to the con­trac­tor lay­ing the block, we re­viewed with our build­ing in­spec­tor the lo­ca­tions of the base­ment win­dows, both for egress to meet the code.

We de­cided to use a 13-block-high foun­da­tion wall for ad­di­tional head­room in the base- ment. The last course of block was ter­mite block. Prior to back-fill­ing, we wa­ter­proofed the block and used 3-inch thick foam in­su­la­tion to help cre­ate a warmer base­ment. With the foun­da­tion com­pleted, it was time for the logs to ar­rive, and Becky and I couldn’t wait to see our log home take shape!

While Gary and Becky were prep­ping the con­crete block foun­da­tion for their log home, a ce­ment footer (shown here at the front) was poured to sup­port their sun­room.

Be­fore the foun­da­tion was dug, the home’s foot­print was mapped out with string, fol­lowed by re­mov­ing an 18-inch layer of top­soil.

LEFT: Lay­ing the con­crete ma­sonry block foun­da­tion is one of the more la­bor in­ten­sive parts of the build­ing process.

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