The Oak Leaf - November 2017

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the November 2017 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

Please "Like" Gastineau Log Homes on Facebook! There are LOTS of photographs of our homes in the Photo section!

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Beautiful Oak log home nearing completion in MO. Note the copper acorn downspouts.

Myths and Truths about Log Homes In our discussions every day with people about log homes, we hear a lot of the same questions. In this issue of the Oak Leaf, we will delve into the most common questions (as well as myths) that arise in those conversations.

Trivia Question: How many passengers set sail from England on board the Mayflower and how many arrived? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

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This Seven GablesII has porches added off the kitchen and the master bedroom.

1. What does it cost to build a log home? A log home is going to cost the same as a conventional stick built custom home in your area built to the same quality and size. It has been our experience, though, that many log home owners choose to spend more on amenities like soaring cathedral ceilings, exposed beam floor systems, massive rock fireplaces, wrap around porches, and high end finishes. And they often build in locations that add to the cost. To find out how much the home will cost that YOU want to build on YOUR location requires some time, planning and discussions to arrive at an accurate number. For more information, check out our April 2017 Oak Leaf by clicking here.

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Another log home is started! (Great view of the private lake!) With a Gastineau log home package, the logs go around the subfloor. This insulates around the subfloor as well as allowing the logs to be bolted to the foundation. This is an example of how we try to go the "extra step" to ensure that your home is energy efficient.

Are log homes energy efficient? Yes. We have built log homes in the coldest US Climate Zones and met the code requirements. Despite what the Pink Panther tries to tell you, a higher "R" value does not guarantee a more energy efficient home. Or a pay back for your investment. A log home performs better than it's "R" rating would indicate because of the Thermal Mass performance of solid wood and because of the lower air infiltration rates of well sealed log walls. Go here to download a pdf on the Energy Performance of Log and Timber Homes from the Log Home Council.


This is the office for the Happy Hounds dog park in Wildwood, MO. If you need someplace in the St Louis area for your dog to play, this would be a great Xmas present for them!

How much maintenance or upkeep is there for a log home? Log homes are neither maintenance free or high maintenance. There is no interior maintenance after the inside of the logs are sealed. (My home is 30 years old and I have never touched the inside of the logs.). The amount of labor and cost involved for the exterior depends on the design, accessability and product used on the exterior. By the use of different sidings on dormers and/or gable ends and porches, the maintenance can be very very minimal. For more information, click here for the Sept 2016 issue of the Oak Leaf which discusses log home maintenance in detail.

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One of the advantages to wood on the interior is NO maintenance over the years. This is the greaat room of our model home and it is 18 years old and the interior of the logs have required no painting, staining or other maintenance.

Does a log home settle? All homes settle. This is not unique to log homes. But a properly engineered and constructed log home will allow for settling by the construction methods that are incorporated into the home. There are 3 places where this is done in a one story home: 1). supporting posts 2). partition frame walls and 3). openings for doors, windows and fireplaces in log walls. For two story homes you also allow in the staircase and railing to the second floor. After approximately 2 years most homes have achieve their final equalibrium moisture content and there will not be any more settling. We make sure your home is built properly through our engineering and especially our Quality Assurance Visit during construction. For more information, check out the January 2017 Oak Leaf.

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A porch protects the exterior of the log wall and reduces exterior maintance.

Is a log home more vulnerable to fire? A 6" log wall is acceptable by building codes as a 1 hour fire wall for exterior walls. At GLH we use an 8" log wall. Our Oak homes are almost impossible to burn down. We have had several customers whose lives were saved because they lived in a log home. (Opinions expressed by fire departments and insurance adjusters.). A frame wall provides a flue and oxygen for fire to spread in standard frame construction. Want technical supporting data? Click here for a pdf white paper on Fire Performance for log walls.

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Any type of interior can be used to accept the log walls and beams. This rock accent wall matches the fireplace in the living room.

Do people get tired of too much wood?: There are a variety of interior finishing options that allow you to have just the amount of wood that you prefer. For photos of interior options, go here.. Whether you want a full log home or a home with only log accents, we can accommodate your personal preferences. Many people love wood and want it on every wall, while others prefer logs on the outer walls only, with partition frame walls covered with drywall. If you want nominal wood inside, consider our Therma-Log system which has log siding on the exterior with log siding inside as you specify.

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Another question we get is "Can I build a one story log home?" Gastineau has quite a few one story or "ranch" homes in our standard plan selection plus we can design one for you! Just give us your ideas.

Can I get financing and insurance on a log home?: Of course! There are thousands of log homes built each year and probably over a million log homes in the US today. Most of those log homes have a mortgage and I am sure 99.9% of them have insurance! Your insurance rates will depend on your location, accessability to water and your fire protection district more than the fact that it is a log home. And some insurance companies will give a heavy timber discount for log homes because they know they are so strong and hard to burn.

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This is a cypress log home under construction with cypress swell butt posts and Oak second story floor beams. At Gastineau, we can offer multiple wood species. This cypress "tree" goes to the ridge of the roof.

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What is the best wood species for a log home? We are probably the most "impartial" source to respond to this question because we are the only log home company that can provide any wood species: Pine, Cedar, Cypress or Oak. There are Pro's and Con's to all species. For durability and strength, Oak is far superior. See here.. If you want a lighter color or weight, you may want Pine. If you want less maintenance and longevity, Oak would again be the choice. You can use chemicals to make Pine last as long as Oak, but it requires retreating about every two years. Cypress is an excellent wood for log construction but is significantly higher in cost. White cedar is not available in larger sizes than 6" widths; Mo cedar is available in 8" wide logs but does costs more than Oak.

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Wood species can be mixed in a home. Here are Oak log walls with a Southern Yellow Pine ceiling.

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Different corner styles require different manufacturing process. Here is a craftsman sharpening the tooling required for cutting corners in our manufacturing facility.

What is the best corner for a log home? Whichever corner you like is the best corner! The overlapping construction of all corners provides strength, stability and durability to log construction. The corners are a major contributor to the fact that log homes withstand tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes so exceptionally well. There are some pros and cons to the different corner styles, but your personal preference for the look they provide is more important than any of those factors. One Oak Leaf newletter was devoted to just those pros/cons if you would like to investigate further.

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Go to this page to access all of the past Oak Leaf newsletters.

Do you have a question we did not answer?. On our website,, you can access 167 months of this newsletter, the Oak Leaf. We cover about every aspect of log home construction. If you prefer talking (the old fashioned method of getting information!) just give us a call at 573-896-5122 or email Or come see us at our model home center on I70 or at our office in New Bloomfield.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2017:

No more in 2017. Watch for our 2018 schedule in next months newsletter.

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

Log Raisings:

Watch next month for another log raising!

Home Show:

No more home shows until Spring 2018.

Open Houses:

Remember that the GLH Model Home Center on I 70 in central MO is open 7 days a week. Starting after Thanksgiving, we will be closed on Sundays. We have three houses there that you can tour!

Answer to Trivia Question: One hundred two passengers sailed over on the Mayflower and 102 arrived. One passenger, William Butten, a servant of Deacon Samuel Fuller, died at sea, and one child was born. The Pilgrims first set foot on American soil on November 11, 1620. Of the 102 passengers, only 51 survived the first winter.

Quote of the month:"The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing."--Walt Disney

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