By Tony Huddleston
You really want to restore that old log home that you found on the property you just bought? Or you might have had a chance to “steal” the home at a low price because it was in need of repair, whatever the reason, log homes are beautiful, and if they have not suffered from total neglect for too long, you can restore them back to their pristine charm and beauty.
Log home restoration, although not a real easy job, it is very rewarding to see the fruits of your efforts when the home is finished. So, what do you look for when preparing to start restoration? First of all, most of the structural integrity of a log building comes from the corners. A thorough inspection of the corners to determine the level of degradation will offer a lot of insight as to how well the restoration will go. Minor rotting and the presence of mold or mildew can be dealt with very effectively, and should not deter you from taking the project on. The next place to look at is the roof structure, collar ties inside the home and the upper two thirds of the walls, especially in the case of two story homes, or homes with a loft. Look at the plumb line of the upper sections, compared with the lower wall sections. Often times, especially during the early 1900s collar ties were cut short, and with the constant weight of the roof pushing down, they lacked the strength to keep the upper three or four courses of logs from being pushed out.
You also need to check the roof for “swags” or other indications of improper settling. As older homes settled, quite often the roof was held up by the interior supporting beams that run from the floor to the roof. In essence the walls, and most of the roof settled around the supports. In severe cases, it may become necessary to replace the entire roof structure. And while you have the roof off, you might as well pull the walls back in line before you start to replace the roof.
Another place to check for improper settling is the doors and windows. If the windows show signs of being out of level, or unable to open and close freely, then you may have to rework the jambs and replace the doors and windows, as the home has probably settled on the windows or doors, and over a period of time has made them difficult to use.
While you’re inside the home, pay special attention to any telltale stains that indicate water infiltration at some point in time. Some of the places that will be the most evident are any support beam that passes through the log wall to the outside. If not properly sealed, water can enter the home easily and lead to rot, decay, and insect infestation. Any suspected areas can be probed with an ice pick to determine the damage. Also, check around fireplaces, and mantels. Remember, logs can move, masonry cannot, so the propensity for leaks is present in these areas, once the settling process has finished.
Check the inside corners for air, or light that may allow for heat or cool to escape. It is very difficult to get a “perfect” corner cut, especially back when no one had the proper tools. Consequently, it’s very common to have corners that don’t fit exactly, especially in older homes.
As the tendency always goes, the desire to make the inside look good often outweighs the real need to start on the exterior. In reality, you should think of what you need to do to stop the inclement weather from doing whatever it has been doing for the past few years. So, fight that urge to start ripping the inside apart, and concentrate on the exterior first, especially if the weather permits.
For more information contact Tony Huddleston at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 1-800-548-3554
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