Log Homes Glossary of Terms
Log home, log cabin frequently used terms. Log home construction and log cabin building phrases explained
Air-dried Logs: Method of allowing logs to dry naturally over an extend period of time allowing moisture to escape. Logs are considered air-dried when they have been dried in producers’ yards or warehouses for 12 months or more.
Borate: A preservative applied to logs to protect them from decay and insect infestation.
Buck: The framing system, preferred with slip joints cut in the sides, around windows and doors in a log wall that allows for log movement.
Butt Joint: The point at which two logs on the same course join end-to-end.
Caulking: Sealant used to fill joints between logs. Caulk comes in tubes and is applied in a narrow bead that dries to a tough elastic finish. Caulk is used to seal windows, doors, chimneys and any other location to provide a waterproof seal from exterior elements.
Check: A crack-like opening that forms in a log as it dries. Checks that are ¼ inch or greater and facing upwards should be sealed.
Chinking: Sealant material used on log homes designed to resemble mortar but remains soft and pliable to keep up with the movement of the logs. Chinking is mainly used in large horizontal joints and is designed to stand out from the logs. Modern synthetic chinking, manufactured to look like traditional chinking, is similar to caulk but with greater density, flexibility and durability.
Collar Tie: Horizontal board or beam between opposing rafters to provide protection against wind uplift, installed in the upper third of the rafters.
Corner Styles Dovetail: This corner system is used mainly with square or rectangular logs. The end of each log is cut to produce a fan-shaped wedge. As the logs are stacked the ends of one wall’s logs lock into the perpendicular logs. (we offer dovetails on D logs as well)
Butt and Pass Corner: A form of corner where one log end extends beyond the intersection with the log in the opposing wall. In this design, every other log extends past the corner, giving a home that distinctive log home look.
Saddle-Notch: This corner system is also known as saddle cope or round notch. They get their name form the saddle shaped notch cut into the bottom of each log. This notch on the bottom of the top log straddles the top of the log coming from the perpendicular wall. Both logs then extend past the corner, evenly.
Drip Edge: A lip or protrusion milled on the lower outside edge of logs that forces rainwater to drain down the exterior face of a log wall and past the seams between logs..
Fastener: The hardware used to connect, anchor or mount timbers or logs – Screws, bolts, spikes, dowels.
Gable: The triangular shaped wall at the top of the log wall up to the roof peak. This can be made with logs, log siding or a siding of your choice. If the gable has a large number windows, it is advised to frame the gable and apply siding.
Kiln-Dried: Logs that are force-dried in a kiln to approximately 19 percent moisture content. The logs are subjected to heat and humidity in stages to both dry them, set the pitch and help reduce shrinkage.
Linear Footage Logs: Logs that are delivered to a home construction site without pre-cutting of the logs to specific length.
Log Grading: Evaluation of logs according to a set of specific standards developed to ensure safe and sound construction. In the log home industry, grading is according to standards provided by the Log Home Council of the National Association of Home Builders or a third party, private timber inspection firm. It is important to note that grading standards refer to the structural characteristics of logs and not their appearance. Graded logs are usually stamped or marked by the grader in a specific location at the time of milling.
Thermal Mass: A property of wood that slows the transfer of heat through a log wall due to the high heat retention capacity of the wall mass.
Thermal Resistance: The insulating value of a material. Usually expressed as an R-value, resistance varies among wood species and depends on the density and other qualities of the wood.
Wood Preservative: Specialized finish formulated to protect wood from the deteriorating effects of wind, rain, sunlight, and attacks by fungus, mold, mildew and insects.