Choosing the Right Wood for your Log Home
Eastern White Pine
A highly stable and straight grained wood that ranges in color from a nearly white sapwood to a golden heartwood. Produced along the east coast of the Unites States as well as in the Great Lakes region, this wood is readily available in the greater lengths desirable when building a log home. The workability of this wood makes it a favorite of the log home industry.
Western Red Cedar
Another highly stable wood but whose color varies from a dark reddish brown to a nearly white sapwood. The wood is very straight grained and appealing. Known for its weather and insect resisting capabilities as well as its distinctive aroma, this wood is available to lengths over 20 feet. Western Red Cedar is grown exclusively in the Pacific Northwest and is the most expensive.
The cellular composition of cedar, millions of tiny air-filled cells per cubic inch, provides a high degree of thermal insulation on both roof and wall applications. Western Red Cedars' slow growth and natural oily extractives are responsible for its decay resistance and its rich coloring, which ranges from a light straw color in the sapwood to a reddish pink in the heartwood. It is a stable wood that seasons easily and quickly, with a very low shrinkage factor. It is free of pitch and has excellent finishing qualities.
Douglas Fir is commonly used for log homes. It has a harder bark, which results in less marking during logging. Douglas Fir has a moderate heartwood decay resistancy. Douglas Fir is unique among all softwood species in that it is naturally dimensionally stable, having the ability to season well in position.
Closely related to pines, spruces are generally a northern tree. Most abundant in Canada, spruces are available in species called "Red", "Black", and "White". The color differences, however, are minor. Spruces are generally light in color with straight grain and even texture.
Closely related to cedars and junipers, cypress is most available in the southeastern United States. It is prized for being very decay resistant in its environment. The heartwood varies in color from yellowish to browns, but the sapwood tends to be nearly white.
Oak is the most common hardwood used for log homes. Prized for its grain, it is a strong, tough, light brown wood. It is mostly available in the Midwest, where it comes at a price comparable to pine.