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Montana Living Magazine Profiles EverLog Systems

summercover08Bright Idea

Montana Living Magazine Vol. 10 No. 3 2008

EverLog Systems takes its clues from nature

 

After forest fires swept through Montana in 2000. Dick Morgenstern wondered: how do you build a home that won’t burn down?  His answer to his own question was concrete logs.

Morgenstern, a Missoula native, had experience in working with concrete so he started toying with the idea of a concrete log. the first two years he spent in research, and now he and partner Stewart Hansen are working full-time at their EverLog Systems business, which produces a natural-looking log that’s being sold around the country as an alternative to real-log construction.

The business is based in Missoula. Much of their work has gone into creating the process that makes concrete look like wood. “When you’re selling a log that’s made out of concrete, it has to be convincing,” Hansen said.

They’ve sold logs that have gone into 30 homes around the country, and in spring 2008 they finished a 12,000 square-foot hunting lodge in Louisiana. The owners wanted a structure that would provide protection against termites, hurricanes, and the general wear and tear from a humid climate, so they turned to EverLog Systems. “They wanted something they could walk away from for a few months and it would still be there,” Hansen said.

Concrete logs reduce the amount of natural logs that have to be cut down for homes, and though they’re not less expensive than real logs, they provide more consistent building product, according to Hansen. Using cement in the process is not the most environmentally friendly thing so they’re working on using fly ash, a byproduct of coal production, in their concrete production. “We’re committed to getting to the point of using 100 percent fly ash or something similar,” Hansen said. They work constantly on imitating nature. A client might bring in a log that they want to match, and EverLogs will match the color and texture.  EverLog Systems can make a log up to 28 feet long, eight inches thick and 16 inches wide. Fiberglass bins are used to connect the logs, so they don’t conduct heat way from the structure in winter. Cost is about $75 to $85 a square foot, including transportation and construction. “It’s very competitive with with a wood log, but with none of the downside,” Hansen said.