The Oak Leaf - February 2017 By Lynn Gastineau President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc. Welcome to the February 2017 issue of The Oak Leaf! For new r


The Oak Leaf - February 2017

By Lynn Gastineau
President of Gastineau Log Homes, Inc.

Welcome to the February 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!


Welcome Home....

This Month: Top Ten Mistakes in Building a Home: After almost 40 years of helping people build homes, we have a pretty good idea of the mistakes made and how to make the process easier for you, the new owner. In this months issue of the Oak Leaf, we will share our observations. Hopefully this will prevent you from making these mistakes!

Trivia Question: How many Native Americans were living in the United States when Europeans first arrived? (See the answer at the end of the newsletter.)


A loft that looks down into the living room. The dormer adds light and space in the loft. Note the wood ceilings of the loft but the choice of drywall/painted walls of the dormer.

1) Not allowing for enough time in the design process: You can never start too soon to work on the design for your home. Get your plans started with your log home producer (or designer) so that it is to scale and you can make good decisions. This will minimize expensive changes and/or dissatisfaction with your home later.


A one story "ranch style" home with lots of design interest.

2) Not sharing your Investment tolerance with the designer, log home producer or builder: You should trust these people to guide you to build a home to fit the amount of money you are willing to invest in the home. If you do not trust them with this information, you should not choose them to build your home. A true professional will help you be realistic from the beginning. Let them help you achieve your goal.


A traditional "log home style" with a high pitched roof with dormers and fireplace in the living room.

3) Not getting information or specifications in writing and/or not reading what is in writing. People may be telling you the truth; they may not. But if it is all verbal, it is your word against theirs. And in the numerous conversations that take place, misunderstandings can occur. Do not buy a package of materials that does not clearly and explicitly detail everything that is included. And READ IT! Ask questions about anything you do not understand. Getting this information in writing does not mean you don't trust someone. It just minimizes misunderstandings and lapses in memory.


The kitchen portion of this great room open concept has a beam ceiling above. Note the touch of "country" on the end of the island cabinets....

4) Poor communication or lack of communication: ... of your expectations and process with the log home manufacturer, builder and subcontractors. Before construction and during. Expect that something WILL go wrong and just be thrilled if it doesn't! Building a home is a big project with hundreds of thousands of pieces and hundreds of people involved. There will be something that will be done different than you expected. Ask how issues will be handled ahead of time. And when something does go wrong, deal with it calmly and immediately. Don't let frustrations "fester" until you are upset. (See #7 below too.)


Beautiful Oak truss ceiling in the massive great room of this one story design.

5) Spending too much on gingerbread or amenities. If you have an unlimited budget, you can ignore this one. If you are like most people and have an "investment tolerance level", do not skimp on the quality of the irreplaceable items like logs, foundation, etc at the expense of replaceable amenities like countertops, metal roofs, hardwood floors. Five years from now, you can replace the cheaper countertops for granite and the carpet for hardwood. You can never upgrade your logs or your foundation.


A large, open living space with Oak exposed beam trusses. Lots of windows to capture the long range mountain views.

6) Not enough thought into electrical plan: This seems to be the forgotten utility! Everyone talks about the HVAC and the plumbing, but don't think about the electrical design. The location, number, size and quantity of light fixtures and outlets have a real impact on your satisfaction with your home. Don't neglect it. (Need help? Call me. I would be happy to provide advice. I am a "lighting guru.")


A creative approach to the entrance and driveway of a home on a very, very steep lot.

7) Texting vs Talking: This would not have been on our list 10 years ago! This issue can also apply to email but seems to be more abused with texting today. In particular, do not text about an issue or problem. Texting that "you will be there in 15 minutes" or to give someone directions is great. But not to resolve an issue. There is no tonality in texting so your message may be misunderstood. And usually there are typos, poor grammar and auto correct mistakes. Pick up the phone and have a conversation. You can resolve the issue faster and to everyone's mutual satisfaction.


Living room with lots of glass to be able to enjoy the view and bring Mother Nature into the living space.

8) Cheapest is not always the best.: You have heard the old saying that "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." That particularly applies in construction. In our industry, something is usually the cheapest because it is lower quality or something has been deleted. Did they take material out of the package to make it appear to be cheaper but you are going to need it to build the home? And the cheapest provider also may not still be in business in two years when you need support or help.


Another view of the Great Room of the one story home with the massive Oak trusses.

9) Underestimating the true cost of land: To build on land, you need access (a road) into the property, water, electricity and sewar. The cost for these is completely dependent on the location you choose. Tip #8 above may apply in this situation. Land that is very inexpensive may be very expensive by the time you have your infrastructure in place. Also, remember that it will be more expensive to build in an extremely remote location because all the materials and workers have to travel further to reach your site.


This three car garage has a taller door in the center for taller/bigger vehicles or trailers. The truss on the end adds a 3 dimensional design element to an otherwise large, nodescript wall.

10) Keep your cash in the bank: Don't spend a lot of money on your property prior to obtaining financing. If you plan on getting financing, have your property appraised prior to any improvements other than a driveway. You will not get your cost back in an appraisal for property that has a well drilled and sewer installed. The bank would rather see your money in the bank vs invested into the property. And DO NOT build metal buildings, garages and barns before you obtain your appraisal and financing. These structures NEVER EVER appraise for what they cost to build. Get your appraisal first. Then, after your home is built, if there are funds available, build your outbuildings.

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This Hideaway being built here in MO uses our "No Maintenance" soffit system. (Note: The fireplace is ready for rock; it won't stay this color!)

11) BONUS TIP: Don't believe everything you read, see or hear! On line, in magazines or on HGTV! Virtually all of the articles you read, even in the log home magazines, are written by professional writers. They are NOT written by professionals in the industry. They make mistakes. I have watched HGTV specials on log homes and I have shouted at the spokesperson in the show "No!! That is not true!!" We live in an information age where people are giving you "information" on subjects where they have no expertise. Go to the people who are in the industry and have the real knowledge. Not people paid to be writers, entertainers or spokespeople.

Construction Seminar Schedule for 2017:

April 8, 2017
October 7, 2017

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 7 days a week until Thanksgiving! We have three houses there that you can tour! We will be closed on Sundays from Thanksgiving until March 1st.

Answer to Trivia Question: There were an estimated 18 - 20 million Native Americans living in the US at that time.

Quote of the Month: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do." —H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

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