Q. : Is the timber treated for wood digesting insects?
A. : We teach the usage of Boron based products which work by diffusion in wet timber, but pressure treatment of timber, either wet or dry is becoming commonplace. Boron is non-toxic and environmentally friendly.
Q. : Are the logs treated for fire?
A. : The need for fire-retardancy treatment is up to the individual - the reality is that logs in the size that we use and suggest (200 to 300 mm) have as good, or an even better fire rating than brick or block. This means that in case of fire, you will have longer to get your family to a place of safety than if the house was build in brick or block. We are not suggesting that the logs don't burn, anything will burn at a high enough temperature.
Keep in mind that the majority of the building is supported by vertical logs - which are better than horizontal logs in fire as well. Paper companies in South Africa are required by law to stack their paper rolls vertically.
Q. : Are these buildings accepted by Town Boards?
A. : To the best of our knowledge, none of our students have had their application turned down. (Although some have had to struggle due to the local authorities lack of knowledge of both the system and the law) At this point scores of houses have been built throughout the country - from Sandton Town Council near Johannesburg, to Kloof, Durban, Pietermaritzburg, Mossel Bay etc., etc. Having said that, building in suburbia is not what this lifestyle is all about. If you choose to do that; be warned, it will not be easy.
Q. : What will it cost me to build one?
A. : There are many variable factors in this building system. When you do the course you will taught the back-in-the-woods method.... you will have the ability to backpack your tools into the woods and build yourself a log home. Your costs could vary from a low of about R 2,000 per m2 to a high of about R5,000 and beyond - all inclusive (not including your own labour) depending on individual circumstances, finishings and the geograpy of your site.
Q. : Are there contractors who could build it for me and what do they charge?
A. : There are a variety of contractors out there, some good and some not so good.... 99% of them have gone through our courses in the past 5 and a half years ( many won't admit that and others will claim that they learned nothing from the course... but because they are brain surgeons, they were able to figure it out anyway - in other words, don't waste your time doing the course - they'll build it for you!) - To be safe, email us and we will try to put you together with a reliable, ethical builder.
Q. : How long will one of these buildings last?
A. : The oldest wooden structure in the world (845a.d.) was built in Stave, or Vertical Log construction, as were a whole host of Stave churches in Norway between the 900's and the 1300's. As long as you maintain the building as suggested, the buildings will outlive your great-grandchildren. There are many buildings built by former students over 20 years ago (and counting).
Q. : What maintenance is required?
A. : Your Log Home will have been treated with boron and needs to have the surface coat maintained, which means a yearly additional coating. This involves cleaning with steel wool, and a coat (or two) of a clear liquid sealer. The filler material between the logs (chinking) needs to be monitored and sometimes repaired in part.
Q. : We live in a very dry area, won't the logs crack apart?
A. : The logs used to build your home will more than likely be pine, which will not get structurally threatening cracks - they are in whole log form, so little of nature's work has been tampered with. The log will adapt to any climate - wet, or dry.
Q. : What about high winds or earthquakes.... how will the buildings stand up?
A. : Log Homes are the best building to have in any natural disasters - they can move substantially without structural damage. Flood damage is minimal.
Q. : How long will it take to build one?
A. : Again, there are many variables to determine finish time - how much time you have to spend building it, how big the place is - how straight your logs are etc., For a 100 m2 building the variation could be from 6 weeks to a year! We will be able to point out all the factors on course.