The Oak Leaf - March 2018

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the March 2018 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!


Everything you dream about in a log home: Open concept Great Room, Fireplace and Loft. This Caroline Loft B has it all!

This Month: Questions You Should Ask a Log Home Provider: Last weekend at the Kansas City Log and Timber Show, a gentleman asked me "What questions should I be asking companies as I visit the different booths?" It kind of took me back as I really did not know what to say. I think I told him to ask "Why should I buy a house from you?," While this is not a bad question, I have thought about it since and decided this would be a good topic for the Oak Leaf. So here are ten questions I would ask any company that I was considering as the supplier of my log home.

Trivia Question: How many corks (for bottles) can be made from the average cork tree? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)

How long have you been in business? Who owns the company?: The longevity of a company indicates that they have the systems and quality of product to withstand the housing recession we recently experienced. Those years of experience are crucial in the log home industry. Ownership of many companies has changed. Find out who owns the company that will get your hard earned money.

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Ranch home all finished and ready for grass!

Can you help me find a qualified builder? Virtually no log home company offers turn key construction across the US. However, does the company provide you with a list of builders that have built their homes or gone through training? Do they have training available for a builder that is not on the list but that you may want to use? Will they send your plans to builders for you?

Rural Mo Cover.lowres

Pretty as a post card....

Do you have a blueprint service that will allow me to get my design done prior to ordering my home? What is the cost? Is this done by the company or is it contracted out to someone else? Many log home buyers have custom or highly modified designs that should be drawn in 3D prior to ordering the home. You should be able to get preliminary design plans drawn by the company at a reasonable price. That fee should then be credited toward the cost of your home should you choose to buy.


Every building site is different and it is a personal decision about how you want to finish your walk out.

What product do you use to seal between your logs? Does the package provide caulk for the exterior joint? What is the warranty for the seal? Is the product that goes between the logs something that will stick to wet logs during construction? (Dew and/or rain is inevitable during construction.) Is that product impervious to water after the logs are stacked? Does the company caulk the exterior joint of the log and provide the caulk in the package? What is the warranty for the seal?


Welcome to the dog park!

Do they provide a construction manual? How detailed is it and who wrote it? A detailed construction manual that is linked to the details on your blueprints will answer almost any question that comes up during construction. It should be written by log home builders (not engineers) so it is easy to read and includes practical tips for building.


The beams in the ceiling of the master bedroom add character and charm.

Do you allow for settling of the log walls? Do you provide the items needed in your package? All log homes settle. Do they have a complete system? Some companies allow for settling above the doors and windows but nowhere else. If the log walls settle enough to effect the doors and window, then you need to allow for it at the porch posts and second floor girders. What materials or components do they include in the package for settling?

How do you handle mistakes and/or shortages? Do they guarantee you will have enough materials to build the home? Know the process of how they handle issues. Because a home is a LOT of parts. Expecting everything to be perfect as the home is built is not realistic. Things change as your are building. Maybe there is a miscommunication. How does the company deal with it? What is their process?

What kind of service is there after the sale and/or shipment? Does anyone from the company come to the job site to inspect the work of the builder? What about after you have moved into your home? Do they have a maintenance division as part of the company?

ashton int kitchen

Painted green cabinets look great against the oak walls and with the oak beams.

Are there any chemicals on the logs when I receive them? Will I need to apply any preservatives to the outside of the logs after construction? Pretreatment of logs requires dipping the logs which means both the outside AND the inside will have the treatment on the logs. What is required for preservatives on the outside to prevent issues with the wood or with insects? If there is a warranty, does it require a maintenance schedule?

How much help can they give you in obtaining your building permit? In some parts of the US, it can be a tedious process to obtain a building permit at your site. Does the company have the ability to provide sealed blueprints in any state in the nation? Can the company provide you with a RESCheck analysis of your home that will meet your climate zone energy requirements? Will the company revise their plans to meet your local requirements? Have they ever NOT been able to get a permit in a location?

Duggan Ext.Front.lowres

A wrap around porch is beautiful and practical.

So for the next show I attend....... I will be more prepared. And Thanks to the gentleman who asked me the question. It made me think about the questions I would ask.

Home Shows:
The Log Home Show will be in Harrisburg, PA April 20 - 22, 2018. For more information, click here.

Log Raising:
This weather has eliminated our ability to have a log raising but we hope to have one soon near Kansas City.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2018:

March 10, 2018
September 15, 2018

Click here for information on our one day construction seminars.

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 houses there that you can tour!

Answer to Trivia Question: When a typical cork tree is harvested it will yield around 100 pounds of bark, enough corks for about 4,000 bottles. This number can vary quite a bit over a tree’s long life. The Whistler Tree in Portugal produced the largest harvest on record. It yielded enough bark at one time to make over 100,000 corks. Portugal is the leading producer of corks with almost 50% of the worlds production. The average cork tree lives to be 200 years old and the cork can be harvested every 9 years, starting at about the age of 25. The bark is stripped from the outside but the tree continues to live and grow making it sustainable.

Quote of the Month: "You can't go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending." - C.S. Lewis

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