My wife and I just got back from East TN looking at lake view and lake front properties. Needless to say there are a lot of "make offer" signs out there with many choices in properties. More importantly we got to visit with Chris Wood, Hearthstone Log homes, who is a contributor to this blog. Chris provided us with some very detailed drawings on how they handle the complex connections involving exterior and interior walls to meet building codes. Their homes are extremely detailed, especially with their timber frame models. The craftsmanship is apparent everywhere in the construction and they can build almost anything you like. We had every confidence that we could trust them to build a top quality log home.
Our second plant tour with Joe Wright, Blue Ridge Log Cabins in SC, who build a modular log home in their factory and ship on semi's to the site. This is a true stacked log wall home in D log 6x8 or 8x8, butt and pass or 6x12 flat with dovetailed corners, our choice. They have built over 800 homes and are now in their ultra modern, new 100,000 sq ft plant. What I saw was nothing short of top quality using the best of materials following every building detail I have seen mentioned in these blogs. The use of emseal gaskets, saw cuts to hold flashing seals, top quality lag screws, joints with vertical dowels driven in, wood glued and screwed in all critical areas. They build to 130 mph wind codes so metal strapping was apparent everywhere. Since 85% of the construction is done within the plant, everything stays dry during the entire process including the workers. Their homes are not as fancy as what Hearthstone can do but everything that we would want in a more basic log home is there. They will provide any type of luxury finish to the bathrooms and kitchen that you want and of course the entire interior is tongue and grove ceilings and floors, wood walls and all appliances and fixtures installed and tested. We actually want more driwall on the interior walls which wasn't a problem. Like Chris's homes in the area we are interest in, they will turn key the entire house including the walkout basement. They also handle all building permits since they have engineering inspections and seals done within the plant to meet state requirments for where the home is being shipped. One of the interesting features comes from the fact that the sections are shipped as modules. The interior walls are essentially doubled up in many sections and if there is second floor it is doubled up so you don't hear people walking above you. I made some major changes in a standard model of theirs to accomodate what my wife wanted and they indicated "no problem". We also wanted a more elaborate entrance for the "street view" and once again they indicated they could do it.
During the BRLC seminar, which was really a no pressure one, they recommended that we all obtain a copy of the Log & Timberhome workbook. They then suggested that we should use the detailed checklist for comparing log home companies to get at the total price and comparison. I already had that list with me so I really thought it was a sign of confidence on their part to recommend it.
I will not attempt to discuss costs here but I highly suggest you visit these suppliers as well as others to see the details they are capable of. They and many of the East TN builders have their own manufacturing facilities where they finish the logs depending on the corner style desired.
Unfortuanately we are still in the planning stage while the economy improves.
Joe, Keyboard builder Joe, Do you get a commission from the trailer folks at BRLC? Chris is likely too polite and likely not allowed to comment but I can...You are "even" comparing a Hearthstone to a trailer? Your fascination and admiration for a trailer is beyond me.....Volume.....who cares if they sell 500 or 5 million a year.....NELHI used to sell 3000 "kits" a year but they went bankrupt and left an environmental disaster in Mass.....Volume means diddily squat when it comes to investing your hard earned money for a lifetime purchase. You are eloquent with words but what is your knowledge in building? Online? DIY Books? Your opinion is your opinion and worth nothing more and nothing less than your knowledge which I suspect is just about zero.
Tim Bullock www.tamaracklogandtimberhomes.com
I understand where Kathy is coming from but you I don't understand. It sounds like you had a bad week and we will leave it at that. I don't get a commission from anyone. I have great respect for Chris Wood whose facility is impressive, and I have visited other builders who I have also favorably mentioned. As I said in the blog what Chris builds is in a different class then BRLC and I purposely stayed away from price comparisons as there are too many variables.
More importantly, you need to pay attention to detail. For some inane reason Kathy brought up a blog I wrote a year ago last May. Even though she claims she got a settlement from arbitration she seems intent on venting her anger over what we will never know since she has never revealed any detail. It could be that she signed a non disclosure settlement agreement, who knows. I have tried to subtly warn her that she is hurting herself by continuing down this path is ranting about the quality of her home. I have talked with 3 other BRLC customers who are part of our blog and they are very satisfied. Most of the builders who participate here seem to have satisfied customers which is good.
My qualifications are of no concern to you since I don't claim to be a log home builder but instead I'm a potential customer like others that read this blog. You are now scratched off the list. Let's leave it at that.
Chris Wood has been a gentleman and given a lot of good advice for free with very little touting of his product. You might take lessons from him. Spend some time reading the recent blog on "negative selling", you might learn something.
Can't we talk about important things like the royal wedding?
The cost in stimulus $ for the wedding would buy a really nice handmade log home.
Thanks for sharing this info. I've sent a friend request to you, and would like to discuss your observations "off line." We're nearing the time when we will make a decision on a home and are interested in BRLC. Like you, I've discussed their experiences with a number of folks who purchased from them and have gotten overwhelmingly positive responses. But then, I grew up in a "trailer." ;-)
Kathy, I'd be interested in hearing the specifics of your issues with BRLC.
Thanks. I understood that was the case and that the process and materials now used are quite different than those employed prior to 2003. My conversations with a number of your customers have revealed a high level of satisfaction with BRLC. In fact, the reports are positively glowing.