29 Sep Are Log Homes Well Insulated?
One of the biggest questions/concerns we hear from customers is “are log homes well insulated”? And, if so, how well-insulated log homes are.
Log homes have long been a popular home aesthetic to get that perfect rustic charm. But, if not built correctly using the right wood, insulation becomes a problem. As we move into the colder months, it’s important to know how insulated log homes are, what you can do to get the most out of insulated logs, and an alternative to never worry about insulation in your log home.
Are Log Homes Well Insulated?
Log homes can be very well insulated, no matter in cold or warm climates, if they are built well. Log homes are quite common in colder climates like Canada and Alaska, where there is no insulation added – it’s just the logs. Energy.gov explains that “A material’s thermal resistance or resistance to heat flow is measured by its R-value. In a solid log wall, the logs provide both structure and insulation. The R-value for wood ranges between 1.41 per inch for most softwoods and 0.71 for most hardwoods. Ignoring the benefits of the thermal mass, a 6-inch softwood log wall has a clear wall (a wall without windows or doors) R-value of just over 8.”
Another big problem log homeowners see is the shifting, cracking, and shrinking of logs over time as the home ages. Logs are usually still 15-20% water when used to construct a home, so as they dry, they move, causing gaps between the logs where air can escape. This can cause a big problem for homeowners who are looking to heat or cool their homes.
Compared to a conventional wood stud wall or wood-like alternatives, a log home is far inferior when it comes to its insulation system. Log walls do not satisfy most building codes’ energy standards. This is why many who build a log home must add extra insulation to their walls to ensure it is well insulated.
What can you do to keep your log home well insulated?
First, it is important to pick the best quality logs possible, to ensure the thickness and longevity of your home. This can become expensive quickly as a lot goes into constructing the home, including cutting the logs, sealing them, caulking, and yearly maintenance to ensure your logs are holding up to outside elements. It is also important to ensure your roof and floor are well insulated and made with the best materials, so no heat can escape through either.
If you don’t mind forgoing the full log cabin effect (not having your walls completely made out of logs), you can attach half logs on the outside of a built-out home with wood stud walls. But again, the logs will still shrink and expand throughout the year and consistent maintenance.
How can you get a well-insulated log home without worry and maintenance?
Luckily with the technology of today’s world, there are a ton of wood-like options for your log home that don’t use actual logs – yet give you all the benefits of the log home aesthetic and insulation of a solid home.
Everlogs log siding and logs are the perfect alternatives for log homes, giving you a perfect rustic cabin feel with superior insulation. Everlogs are concrete logs cast to look like real logs and treated to last generations, giving you the ease of living knowing your home will stand up to any harsh elements.
Insulated EverLogs substantially reduce heating and cooling costs. Concrete retains internal temperature more efficiently than wood. We compound this natural advantage by casting an additional 1-1/2″ of insulation into our concrete logs. Our patented method of assembly provides an exacting fit, further improving the integrity of our concrete log homes. On average, our customers will save 30-40% on their annual heating and cooling costs compared to a wood log home.
When it comes to insulation, EverLogs will perform around an R-19 value. However, more important than R-Values and what really matters to homeowners is “Air Tightness.” Air tightness (infiltration heat loss) is how the structure performs in the real world (i.e., after it has been built and is being lived in.)
The National Center for Appropriate Technology (NCAT) has conducted a Blower Door Test which measures the air tightness (infiltration heat loss) of our structures. This test concluded that our structures are six times as airtight as framed structures and seven times as airtight as comparable wood log homes. This is critical to a properly insulated home and translates to unparalleled and substantial energy efficiency and savings.
For more information, take a look at our “NCAT Blower Door Test”.