The Log Home Neighborhood

An online log home community for log home enthusiasts.

I thought I'd throw this out there for general discussion and, perhaps, to invoke a bit of introspection among builders. But, first a little bit about me, lest you think I'm a complete nut: I've just been a participant here for a few weeks. I'm a reasonably educated guy--a retired Air Force officer with a professional post-grad degree--and have dealt with a variety of executives across a large array of industries.

My wife and I at long last find ourselves in the position where we can seriously consider building a log cabin. So, we've been exploring the options, doing a fair amount of research, reading up on the subject, and discussing our options with suppliers and builders. The last year, during which time I've devoted a lot of time to research, has gotten me up to speed as we approach the time when we're actually going to start building. However, we attended the Indianapolis show this weekend and it finally struck me why so many people who explore building a log home don't do so: it's because those in the business are apparently pretty sour on log homes in general.

Why do I say that? Well, it's because the pitch I've heard time after time seems to come down to this: "[Name the competitor]'s way of doing things is horrible. It's expensive, takes forever, and will leave you with a home you'll regret owning. It will warp, settle, attract bugs, develop drafts, and generally rot away beneath your feet. And that's if they don't walk away before your home is finished, leaving you financially ruined. Even if none of those things happen, you'll end up paying through the nose for an inferior product. My price? Well, I can't really say."

Just something for those of you in the industry to mull over: This leaves a guy like me with a number of choices, but the easiest is to just walk away from the whole notion of a log home. You and your competitors are certainly doing a bang-up job of instilling distrust of log homes and of those in the industry. I'm not suggesting that the answer is to gather in a circle and begin singing "Kumbaya," but it might be beneficial to the entire industry if it were to embrace an attitude of aggressive competition that didn't rely on bashing everyone else's way of doing things.

How you accomplish this, I can't say. But, I can tell you that my honest appraisal is that there's a deep rot in the industry, and it manifests itself in a pervasive sales pitch that most log homes should be avoided by the plague. It ultimately instills in many a serious fear of owning a log home.

Having said all that, I continue my search. But, guys . . . there's got to be a better way.

/rant.

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Very nice topic Sir!

I've also noticed this amongst the indusrty of Log Home suppliers and servicers. It comes across as rude and ignorant!
The cost to build a log home and then maintain it is considerably much more spendy than building a stick home. Everyone involved in the process has the potential to make a nice profit providing these products and services. Whatever it takes to get you to buy theirs and not the other guys seems to be the method.
To be honest... I don't paint, stain, or cornblast log homes because its easy or I love doing it THAT much, I do it for the simple fact that I have a good skill for it and I can provide for my family much easier than working in factory or driving semi's in the oil field. I don't need to smear my competion...past customers refer me to my new customers.
If you find a positive professional with healthy recommendations than 99 times out of 100 you'll be satisfied. Don't listen to the person trying to take your $money$....listen to the people who gave that person their $money$!

What happened to friendly competion?

Jesse

I am building my own log home. I am about 75% finished... IE the roof has been on for over two years.  There can be many problems in a log home because most homes shrink, need to have regular maintenance, adjustment and generally hard work and upkeep to keep it in pristine condition.

I have a lot to learn, hence my presence here. There seem to be many ways to stack logs. There are no standards, mostly because every species of wood is different. You need to rely on the person that is building to be knowledgeable. Many are clearly not reliable or knowledgeable. If you start at Wikipedia, below, you can see just a flavor of all the stuff that are called a log homes.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Log_home

I am building a" tight-pinned butt and pass method the logs are not notched or milled in any way. They are in a single course and do not overlap, and vertical pairs of logs are fastened with tight, load-bearing, steel pins."

Dave
-->  The unaimed arrow never misses....
-->  If can, can. If no can, no can... Hawaiian Pidgin
http://s154.photobucket.com/albums/s274/flintlock1/

 

 

 Fear not the log home, for it can truly be a thing of beauty, a living , breathing masterpiece of design and function. Built correctly and finished properly today's log homes will outlast many other types of homes that are being built today. Obviously it sounds like you ran into a couple of unethical salesman at the Indy Log Home Show, and that is unfortunate, it's always discouraging for anyone to hear trash talk from one company about another. It's just not the right way to do business.  There are so many other ways to compete with other companies; comparing wood species, log style, size of logs, wood species of structural timbers being used, design choices, flexibility of design, total services being offered and so on.

Hopefully you are not totally discouraged from your quest to find your log home. I know once we made our minds up about wanting a log home there was nothing that was going to get in our way, it's going on 23 years now that we have been in our home, and if I were to build again it would be a log home probably just a little smaller. There is something special and nourishing when you live in a log home, something that you just don't have in a conventional stick built home, something that is intrinsic to the wood that surrounds you, it's hard to describe but those who live in one know the feeling that I'm trying to convey. Anyway good luck in your search.

Ed Ziobro

No, Ed. I'm not discouraged, at least with regard to the ultimate goal. However, I've known at least a handful of people who have embarked on a quest to build a log home and ultimately decided against it because of exactly what I've experienced. The trashing of competitors ultimately serves to create enough angst about any log home that some people just walk away.

In fairness, I've also talked with enough people in the industry to know that this is not universal. However, in my brief experience it is certainly very pervasive. At the Indy show, I heard folks talking about competitors "slapping together" homes and otherwise building homes without regard to the quality of what they were selling. Truth be told, I instantly tune out anyone who starts down that road, but my guess is that the net effect of all this trash talk is to drive large numbers away from log homes.
That same thing happened to me at a show. A fairly well known company started to "bad mouth" one of their competitors so I listened a little bit then walked away. It was like one of those bad political commercials for someone running for office. Good sales people need to be well schooled in  their own product and to educate the consumer in a professional manner, not like a bad used car salesman.  I have had years of selling to  the general public and when I am on the consumer side nothing turns me more off than a sales person telling me what's bad with their competitors, so I sure agree with you Michael as I'm sure that he repeated that same routine over and over to other people.
We have been to 3-4 log homes shows and have found that there is alot of information to be had at these shows but you just have to weigh it all out and gather what information works in your particular application and just take the bashing with a grain of salt and consider the source for the worthless comments of some.
John, you're right. That's why we went. I think I'm getting up to speed, but there's nothing like going to a single location where you can meet and talk with a number of people in the business. However, it very quickly becomes apparent that the vendors fall into two distinct categories: The first has a quality product and and extolls its virtues. The other category? Those are the guys who bash the others, something that I find rather telling.

I think I can pretty well distinguish the merits, but I do think that the bashers do a lot of harm to the industry overall. My gut instinct is that many people who are in the exploratory stage, as I am, find enough negatives--amazingly, among sellers of log homes!--to persuade them to abandon their quest.

:-(  We are having such issues with our log home builder, some days I really wish we had abandoned our quest! 

 

The years we spent researching different log home kit companies left us very confused, too, so I definitely understand where you are coming from.  We put our log home dream on hold becase we just couldn't find a kit company we liked.  We ended up finding a builder who would get the materials and put our home together based on our specs...unfortunately in our case it wasn't an issue with a kit, just a really bad builder. 

Michael, These are desperate times with a lot of desperate people with sales people not versed in log homes but versed in "selling" albeit some not so good. You met the "not so good" but maybe their techniques worked when they were selling used cars or siding last week or maybe term life. This industry is really suffering and many will go down this year as they can't sustain the huge overheads associated with log home shows and the commissions and the numerous model homes.

I am somewhat empathetic as I do not like to see anyone suffer but it is the new reality and only those that truly believe in their product will prevail and even some of them will suffer too!

Good luck on your journey as log homes nor log home companies are all bad.

Tim Bullock www.tamaracklogandtimberhomes.com

 

 

Many years ago in college I wrote a term paper on John Deere's philosophy of marketing.  Quite simply, one of their mainstays was (and still is)  to never, NEVER mention a competitor.  Rather, promote your own merits. We can all agree that Deere has done well throughout the years. Like any industry, those with quality products promote their merits. As to the rest, well, enough said.  Don't be discouraged, there are some fine quality manufacturers out there. If you have not looked at the Log Homes Council site, that may be a good place to begin a search.

 

Bill

 

Dear Mr. Michael Boomgarden, Sorry to hear all the negativity that you have experienced. Stay positive, there are are some well qualified companies out there with a good product for you! Look for those that you like their type of construction, years in business and check with the Better Business Bureau as well to help refine you search! There are defintely differences in log type, connection and construction,you will have to decide which of them makes you feel  most comfortable. Hope you find the one that best fits your needs and wants for your new log home! Best Wishes to you and your Family! Jacob

Michael, I understand your feelings exactly.  I have been in the log home business for more than 25 years and spoken with many people who share your same dissappointment.   What I have observed is that sales people who are less than successful or new to the business, and companies who don't have good training programs look like the fools you met at the show.  There are lots of ways to build a good log home but untrained sales people don't know how to help you understand their product's features and benefits, so the only thing they feel they can do is to slam the other guy.  Not cool.  The log home magazines have done a lot to foster the idea that you have to shop for a log home based on scientific technical choices when what most folks really want is a beautiful home that fits their idea of a dream home.  Much like you may start with MPG and horsepower when buying a car but what you end up with is what feels the best for you. 

You should not be beaten up over pine vs. cedar, tongues and grooves, settling gizmos and corner diatribes.  This is the largest investment you will probably make in your life and you should enjoy the process.  And you will, hopefully, live with/in your decision for a long long time. 

Find a log look that you like..flat, round, hand crafted etc.,  with an interior that you like, vaulted paneled ceilings, wooded beamed ceilings, log purlin ceilings, round or flat interiors, chinking, etc.and concentrate on those companies that will satisfy your desires.  This should be easy enough to determine from websites and magazines before you begin talking to someone.  Find a few companies that have the style you're looking for and talk to them.  Find a sales person that you like and trust.  No good guy BS, real trust.   If you want to get technical, get technical.  If you want references, don't ask for a list of folks who love their home, ask for problem jobs to see what the problem was and how problem was fixed.  And visit their plant.  You will  be surprised how much you will see and learn.  And you will come to trust your decision.

 

With the tight ecomony, many companies do not attend every show.  Plus, the promoters have gone into smaller and smaller markets, looking for ticket sales.  They are hoping to not only attract buyers like you to keep us happy, but also door count, qualified or not, to generate income.  Like other companies, Rocky Mountain Log Homes chooses very carefully what shows to attend.  Shows are very expensive.  But that's kept us alive and financially healthy.  The good thing is that you're attempting to meet companies face-to-face. 

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