Cabin Fever – Log Homes
Hundreds of years ago the first American settlers set up homes using natural materials. Log houses were the most popular form of accommodation because they were cheap and easy to build. Unfortunately the early settlers did not have today’s modern technology to preserve the wood and make it water resistant, although some log homes still exist and are occupied to this day including some European log cabins, which are 800-years old.
Today, America, Canada and Finland lead the way in producing quality timber suitable for log builds. The success and popularity of wooden homes in these countries has shown house-builders worldwide the many benefits of building sturdy log homes; indeed construction companies in Bulgaria are no exception. Many companies have projects across the country selling comfortable, even spacious wooden houses located in idyllic settings making the occupants feel at one with nature.
The Benefits of Log Homes
Log houses are usually made to a higher standard with superior craftsmanship and custom touches, their uniqueness and eco-friendly style will increase the resale value. They also prove easy to rent – they have been an integral part of Bulgarian ski vacations for some time now.
Log homes are robust able to withstand earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes and other natural disasters – not that Bulgaria is a country prone to disaster, but there have been small earthquakes reported and landslides are common in some areas. This sturdiness provides peace of mind - it’s always good to know that your home will withstand all kinds of beatings! The difference between the robust nature of a log home compared to a brick or concrete built house is simple; walls in traditional homes are just frames covered with insulation and plasterboard whilst interior walls in a log home are made from solid wood.
Using a natural material like wood makes log homes extremely eco-friendly and the added advantage is that they provide excellent insulation and energy efficiency, which is far superior to that of conventional brick builds. Most manufacturers estimate that log homes are around 20% more energy efficient than traditional builds, which means you will save money on your heating bills! Wooden houses also provide exceptional natural ventilation, offering cooler temperatures in hot weather and warmth when temperatures plummet.
The thermal mass of the wood used in the construction of a log house makes the house sound efficient eliminating the noise of cockerels crowing and donkeys braying – both of which may be part of Bulgaria’s charm, but not at 6 am!
Log homes will cost little in ongoing maintenance. Traditional builds contain sealed wall cavities, which often without our knowledge provide homes to everything from rats to insects and mold. Log homes do not have such cavities and are easy to keep free from mold and mildew.
The Bulgarian market is not flooded with log homes making them unique in style and design. Such homes are perfect for the vast differences in Bulgarian terrain - wood used in the construction of log homes is ten times lighter than concrete buildings, which means that the houses can be built on uneven, undulating or mountainous terrains. They are also resistant to moisture and are ideal for locations close to the sea.
Constructing a Log House
Many of the construction companies offering wooden homes in Bulgaria source their wood from Finland. Northern Finland leads the world in its reputation for producing high-quality solid wood. The northern Finnish pine trees have developed certain qualities, due to the region’s climatic conditions of the polar areas they grow in. One particular natural feature is the close-grained fibrous wood composition and the evenness of the cross-section across the whole length of the trunk.
Once the logs have been cut they are turned in lathes and impregnated with high quality wood with protector, which ensures that there will be no damage from insects, fungus or change in colouring. These treatments are both environmentally friendly and harmless.
Once your builder has sourced the logs to construct your home, a strong, concrete foundation is laid and once this has set, the construction of your house begins by placing the logs so that they are crossed at the ends. Once the basic shell has been constructed, water pipes, sewerage and electricity cables can be added. These installations are usually housed in the spaces between the walls and the floor. It is worth checking that your contractor is using electric cables, which have dual insulation purposely designed for wooden constructions.
Insulation is the next step protecting the house from noise, moisture, steam and inclement weather. Next, the roof is added – it can be made from a wide variety of roofing materials from ordinary or bitumen tiles to water impermeable waxed polyester. All joinery follows on with the fitting of the windows and doors. The finishing touches to log homes are done at the end, when the wood is ground, etched and polished to keep the natural wood colour locked in.
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