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Log End Homes Are Super Insulated
At a distance "log end" homes appear to be made of stone. But close inspection reveals a unique method of home construction that's super insulated for cutting energy costs to the bone.
Unlike conventional log houses, log end homes as produced by Log End Homes of Carrington, N. Dak., are built with 2 ft. long cordwood stacked with one end inside the home and the other outside. Any diameter log from 3 in. and up can be used so you don't have to find all same-size logs to build.
"The log end concept gives you a super insulated home with triple the insulation value of an average stick-built home with an R value of 71.98," says Don Larson, sales manager of the new company. "The concept substantially lowers heat bills, even in North Dakota, and keeps the house cool in summer without an air conditioning system," Larson points out, noting that the home is also virtually maintenance-free.
Company president Thomas Rothsciller began investigating the log-end method several years ago. After learning that it had been used for centuries dating back to the Egyptians, and that many of the centuries-old homes are still standing, he built himself a home. His 5-member family used just $75 worth of electric heat and five cords of wood in the 1,340 sq. ft. home during the winter of 1981-82, one of the coldest winters on record. In 100? heat the next summer, the house temperature never rose above 72?. Rothschiller says they made no special effort to conserve heat.
Log End Homes is now producing complete kits of materials for a cost of about $22 a sq. ft. for building homes "from the ground up." Total cost for materials and labor runs about $44 a sq. ft.
Log end homes are made out of beetle-killed lodgepole pine. Each log is notched a couple inches in from the end. As they're stacked into the walls, they're mortared together with a special concrete with hair-like fibers in it. Just 2 to 3 in. at either end are cemented together. The center 18-in. gap is filled with a non-formaldehyde type of foam.
The ends of the logs bleach with age and begin to look more like stone than wood. The wood grain can be preserved by applying a lacquer to it. The walls are completely maintenance-free although they can be stuccoed over, or paneled, according to Larson.
"No other construction gives this R-value for the money so, even if you spend the money to make it look like a regular stick-built house, you're still ahead. However, most people like the homey, down-to-earth atmosphere in the homes," says Larson.
The logs used must be extremely dry with no more than about 5% moisture because, if they shrink after construction, gaps will result between the wood and mortar. Soft pine is used because it has a much higher insulating value than hardwoods. In fact, Larson says oak and other hardwoods are not recommended at all for log end construction.
Unlike other super-insulated homes, no air exchangers are needed in log end homes. Larson says the logs actually breathe oxygen and bring moisture into the house, keeping the inside air fresh. Also, the method of construction is so fire retardant that insurance rates have been lowered for some owners.
The company is looking for dealers for the new-style construction.
For more information, contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Log End Homes, 1475 South 2nd Street, Box 418, Carrington, N. Dak. 58421 (ph 701 652-2202).

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1984 - Volume #8, Issue #2