360-798-7080 » 540 Hendrickson Drive » Kalama, WA 98625 » Contact Us
Hours of Operation : Monday - Friday » 7:30am to 4:00pm » Appointments Available
“Many log shell builders contract out with others to construct the shell at their plant and then hire a different crew to assemble the structure. Mountain Homes, on the other hand, does it all, from A to Z.”— Michael L. Rosenbaum, The Stone Cliff Inn
Frequently Asked Questions
What does Mountain Homes offer in a package?
We deal specifically in logs and log products. Our packages consist of complete handcrafted log staircases, railings and walls, second floor joists, and log roofing systems. We only offer quality log products.
Do you have stock building plans?
No, we are a custom builder. We typically work from original plans or as a modification of an existing design.
What is a standard size of home you build?
There really is no set standard. We can build as small as a one-room cabin or a commercial structure in excess of 15,000 square feet. Our typical project ranges somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 square feet.
What styles of log work do you offer?
We offer Full Scribe Swedish cope, and round log Chinked or Dovetail. Both the round log styles have a shrink-to-fit saddle notch detail at the corners. A round notch is also available upon request.
Is one style better than another?
The look is the primary difference. We do, however, recommend the chinked style of construction for areas that are in severe weather climates or areas of high wind. The chinked style of construction is the least expensive and the quickest to construct. The Full Scribe offers a more hand crafted look.
Can you chink the Full Scribe homes?
Yes, in fact the majority of the full scribe homes are built with a small bead of chinking on the exterior. It does not distract from the look, and it can seal up small gaps that sometimes form in the log work through the process of drying and settling.
What diameter and species of wood do you use?
We can use a broad range of diameters ranging from 10” to 24”, however the majority of the homes we build use a 14” average diameter log. The engineering will determine the diameters of the logs in the floor joists, roof system and log trusses. We use primarily #1 Douglas fir logs, harvested locally in the pacific northwest, but we can get logs in just about any diameter and length. We have used logs over 80 feet in length, and diameters in excess of 3 feet.
Do you use green or dry logs?
We use green logs. We do this for a number of reasons. Standing dead logs have bugs and sap stain - neither one of these are acceptable in a log home. There is no way to exterminate all the bugs living deep in the log, and the sap stain is unsightly and the first stages of rot. By starting with a new green Fir log, we can ensure there are no bugs in the log, and no sap stain, giving the log a beautiful light consistent color throughout. We can also control the checking or cracking that naturally occurs in a drying log. By utilizing a control cut in the top of the log we can focus this cracking where we want it, out of site and out of the weather. A log home is far too great of an investment to have pests and rot eating your home even before you have moved in.
Don’t dry logs settle less than green logs?
All log homes settle, it is just a matter of how much. A dry log might settle 25% less than a green home, but you would still want to expect a 2-3” reduction. Handled professionally, settling is usually a simple thing to deal with. Some homes may require settling jacks, which are used to lower vertical columns in a building. The all thread that is in the walls to hold the building to the foundation requires tightening, but only for the first few years, and we have devices to take care of this for you. Whether you use green or dry logs, the home has to be built the exact same way; it‘s just a matter of how much settling you need to allow for.
How much does a log home cost?
Pricing differs greatly depending on the client. Typically, we suggest a budget of $115-$175 per square foot for a contractor built home. This number can fluctuate greatly, determined by how much work and materials plans call for.
What can we expect to pay for log work?
Our log packages generally run from $35 to $50 per square foot. A simple design in the chinked style of construction will run right around $30, where a full scribe will start in the $38 range and can go up with a more complex design. Each home is unique, so pricing will all vary slightly.
What about design and engineering?
We can handle all your design and engineering. We have been working together with our designers for over 15 years, so they’re fully aware of our building processes. Our engineering firm can handle anything from a simple cabin, to a complex commercial project - even projects over seas. The cost for a custom design can vary, but most residential projects range between $1.50 and $2.00 per square foot, with engineering being about the same. We use state of the art AutoCAD software, and we can network with clients anywhere in the world to review designs and make decisions along the way.
Do you deliver and install the log shell?
Yes, we handle delivery of the log shell almost every time. The set-up process can take anywhere from 3 days to 2 weeks depending on the size of your home. The same crew that constructed your home will install it. There is no way a subcontractor could set up your home as quickly or as well as the crew that built it as there will always be little things that need to be done at setup that require the skills of the log crafter. We firmly believe that any company who sends you a “home” with no crew for set-up does not have your best interests in mind.
Can we set up our own shell if we choose?
Of course! Some people want the experience and feel confident they can set up the home on their own. We generally will send someone to oversee, or invite the client to the yard before we tear it down to go over the different variables involved.
Can we view the home as it is being built?
Yes, and in fact we encourage it. We are located right on I-5, and access is very easy. Just minutes from the Portland International Airport, it is easy to come see your home being built. For clients too far away, we can keep in contact through emails with digital photographs showing progress and details along the way.
How long does it take to construct a log shell?
This depends on the style of log work you choose and the size of your home. A typical shell can range from 10 to 16 weeks.
How many projects do you build a year?
We try and keep the number between 5 and 10 per year, but the size of the projects we do can affect the amount. We purposefully keep the number small in order to maintain quality and customer service standards.
How far will you ship your homes?
We are able to ship projects anywhere in the world. We have delivered homes all over the west coast as well as Hawaii, the San Juan Islands, Japan and the Rocky Mountain States.
What log accents do you offer?
For clients who are looking for log accents, we offer log trusses, stairs, railings, mantles, columns and beams, and anything else you can dream up. We custom-build these items to meet your specifications.
How do we get started on our Home?
The first step is to call or visit Kevin at the log yard. Once you determine the type of log home you want to build, you will need to find a general contractor. Mountain Homes has several local contractors, but if you are more than 50 miles from the Portland/Vancouver area you will need to find someone. Next, you will need to decide on a plan or begin drawings for your custom design (see our design page). Engineering will follow the design, and once we have these items, your general contractor can submit for local county building permits. Log work generally begins at this stage so that the work can be completed at about the same time the foundation is going in.
What is the process for payment of the log work?
Design and engineering are quoted as lump sum items, and payment is made before each phase begins. Log work is broken down into 4 installments:
- First Draw is 40% of the package price.
- Second Draw is 30% of the price, payable once windows are capped.
- Third Draw is 20% of the price, which is payable once the shell is completed.
- Fourth Draw is the final 10%, payable once delivered.
Feel free to call or email for any additional questions you may have. Click here for contact information.