The March 2019 Oak Leaf

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Spring is finally here! Hopefully the weather shown in this photo will be here SOON!

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the March 2019 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new readers, this is a monthly newsletter that is sent by e-mail to those that have expressed an interest in Gastineau Log Homes. We use this as a way of communicating technical, design and industry information. For more information, check out our web site at []

Check out our new website! Same address: but new photos and information! Read our blogs on our website too. Our new Image Gallery has LOTS of pictures that you can view!

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook!

Trivia Question: Where and when was the ice cream cone invented?


The colors of Christmas are perfect in a log home!

First: We apologize for the lack of a January or February Oak Leaf. Software issues prevented us from sending it out the past two months. Focus this month: Building Peace of Mind: Being Safe in Natural Disasters: On March 3, 2019, Lee County Alabama was devastated by a confirmed EF4 tornado. This incredible storm left a twenty-four mile long track through Alabama and into Georgia. This storm broke a record-long 673 day streak of nonviolent storms in the U.S. It also took the lives of 23 people. Severe weather is a serious consideration when you are building a home. The main concern with severe weather is, of course, the safety of your family and loved ones.

When you are looking into ways to keep you and your family safe from severe threats, you should first consider your home construction but in addition, there are three other options to consider: a storm cellar, a safe room and a basement.

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Exterior lighting is better on a log home!

How would a Gastineau Log Home stand up to a tornado? Testing is great but an example is even better. In 2016, an F5 tornado had a direct hit on one of our homes in Abilene, KS. Winds were over 200 mph. The home was a one story on a basement with a full-length front porch. The tornado tore off the front porch roof, which caused a big hole in the roof of the home while home itself remained intact. The building site was in a wooded area, but the tornado left no trees over 4' tall. They were all either uprooted or twisted off. A new 4-sided brick home 1/4 mile away was completely blown away with nothing remaining but the basement. According to the engineer, our log home clients "could have been sitting in their living room and all they would have gotten was wet." What makes it strong? Three factors in how we build are homes are critical to this result. First, we put a "J" bolt in the top of the foundation and the first row of logs is bolted down to the foundation. All other log home companies (and frame homes) stack the exterior walls on top of the subfloor, which allows the walls to be easily raised up in a tornado, Second, each corner of a log home has overlapping rows. This makes the corners extremely strong and a huge advantage over frame construction. Third, we screw the logs together every 16" and have two beads of very strong glue between the logs. This turns the walls into one big "Beam" that cannot be torn apart.

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This is a "modern day" storm shelter that can be delivered ready to install in a hole in the ground.

Additional Option #1: Storm Cellar: A storm cellar is usually a reinforced metal room that has been buried in the ground on your property. This type of protection has been proven effective by years and years of consumer use. They keep you safe and if you decide to put one on your property they might actually get you a tax break.

There are some downfalls to the tried and true storm shelter.

1). They cost quite a bit to install. An 8’x10’ shelter can cost you between $5,500 and $20,000.
2). There is a significant risk to having to go outside during a severe weather threat in order to get into your “safe zone”.
3). Also, these older storm shelters tend to flood. In the Mid-West, flooding is a big deal. We get a lot of rain and it tends to flood more here than other places. (Like it is doing right now!)

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This basement plan shows a "Safe Room" which is under the front porch. The concrete porch floor above is reinforced for additional safety. Most safe rooms have concrete walls and a concrete roof.

Option #2: Safe Room: An effective alternative is a safe room. A safe room is a reinforced metal or concrete room that is placed in the interior of your home. It can be placed on the ground floor, in a basement, or even just underneath the foundation of your home.

Safe rooms cost less than your typical storm cellar. An 8’x8’ will cost you between $6,600 and $8,700, while a larger 14’x14’ will cost you between $12,000 and $14,300.

They can be used for more than severe weather. The other name for them is a panic room. They can be used if there is a threat of a home invasion. You might even be able to utilize the same Tax Break as a regular storm cellar.

We have designed many plans where we have included space specifically for a safe room. These safe rooms are designed and built into the home.


This home actually has two basement levels. The site is so steep, the upper basement was still over 8feet out of the ground, so another basement level was added.

Option #3: Basement: The last option for protection against severe weather is a basement. While a basement may not be the first thing you think of to keep you safe in severe weather, they have been proven quite effective.

The National Weather Service advises during severe weather that you move to the basement or the lowest level of your home and cover yourself with a mattress or blankets and pillows. It would certainly be more comfortable to ride out a storm in a basement living area than in a drafty and damp storm cellar!

Basements are one of those features of a home that can be used for many different things. We have designed homes to accommodate bedrooms, offices, home bars, home theaters and even home gyms in the basement level of the home.

We offer two types of plans for basement living spaces: Daylight/Walkout Basements and Finished Basements.

A Daylight/Walkout Basement allows you to walk out the door of the basement and straight out into the property. It is open to the property, allowing you to have external doors and windows within the basement. Retaining walls are often used to create a walk out basement.

A Finished Basement does not have any exterior doors. Windows can be added using a window well or another way of holding back the dirt so a window can be added. Windows are required if there is a bedroom in the basement.


This home design features a walk out basement, which allows natural light to flow through the space.

Severe Weather Safety: While a basement or safe room is the best option to keep you and your family safe during severe weather, they are not always available. Even with a basement or safe room you should follow the National Weather Service guidelines.

Get In – If you are outdoors, get inside. Move as close to the middle of the building as possible. You want to put as many walls between you and the storm.
Get Down – Get to the lowest level of the building. Underground is best, but safe rooms are a good alternative. If you don’t have those options, make sure you are on the ground floor of the building.
Cover Up – The number one thing to worry about with severe storms, especially tornadoes, is debris. A tornado is not just wind that is moving exceptionally quickly, it picks up anything in its path. All of that metal, glass and wood is now moving as fast as the wind in the storm.

Here at Gastineau Log Homes, we want your family to not only be safe, but to also be completely thrilled with your new home. Our plans are customizable, and we always look forward to talking with you.

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This finished basement does not have a "walk out" so there are no doors and windows. It is very cosy though and log siding was used to give it a 'log home' feel!

Log Home Shows:
No more shows until Fall 2019

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2019:

September 14, 2019

Call for information on our one-day construction seminars.

Log Raising:

Spring is finally here, and we have a lot of new homes starting! We will keep you posted on log raisings near you! We are planning a log raising in Eolia MO in mid-May.

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open seven days a week now! We are open 9 - 5 Monday to Saturday and 12 to 5 on Sunday. We have three model homes on site that you can tour!

Answer to Trivia Question: The ice cream cone was invented during the St. Louis World Fair in Missouri in 1904, when an ice cream vendor ran out of cups and asked a waffle vendor to roll up waffles for him to hold ice cream. He subsequently sold his ice cream in these waffle cones and a classic American dessert invention was born. (For more trivia about Missouri, here.)

Quote of the Month: "Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have, or do." —Brian Tracy

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