Tag Archives: log home

Buying a timber frame house from Finland

BACKGROUND FOR BUYING A MASSIVE WOODEN HOUSES LIKE LOG HOUSES OR TIMBER FRAME HOUSES FROM FINLAND
Building massive wooden houses has a long history. Wood was readily available in many areas as well as skilled wood workers. In time this meant that standard building and connection methods were developed in the field of timber framing and log house notching. Different areas had also specific styles both for timber frame houses and log houses. This means that for example German massive wooden houses look quite different when compared to ones in Great Britain or Scandinavia but all the while the building principles are the same.

Timber Frame Viking barn roof and ceiling from inside.

Massive timber frame structure remains visible from inside giving a strong character to the building.

MASSIVE WOODEN HOUSES TODAY
Today the situation is considerably different when compared to traditional handcraft building methods for massive wooden houses. Nature conservation efforts and environment protection set strict ground rules for forest industry. The price for skilled wood workers has soared, because of limited availability of professionals.

For these reasons commercial lumber sourcing and automated industrial manufacturing have been combined with advanced digital planning. These methods mean that wood house factories can automatically manufacture a very complex timber frame house or log house design with a push of a button. Computer assisted 3-D designing also helps in fulfilling customer wishes and make it easy for the customer to take part into the design process with the help of 3-D models.

Modern white timber frame house made of wood

Both timber frame house and log houses can have very modern look without losing any of the classic appeal.

DIFFERENT MASSIVE WOODEN HOUSE STYLES
Timber frame houses and log houses are very flexible and can accommodate additional building methods, styles and materials like stone, brick, steel and straw-bale. You can fit your massive wooden house into an urban environment among tile clad buildings and nobody could tell the difference from outside as long as you would use similar tiles as your neighbors to finish the exterior of your house.

Inside style doesn’t have to follow the outside, instead it can be drastically different and include oriental style or you can keep the massive timber frames or log walls visible and add to the rustic look or maybe you would like to aim that famous Scandinavian Design style… possibilities are limited only by imagination. One thing is sure, massive wooden houses invite you to try custom built solutions, which are unique for your house alone.

INITIAL CONSULTING
Buying a timber frame house or a log house from Finland is very easy. Just send us your architect drawings, hand-drawn sketches or your own ideas and we take it from there. First we consult you about your specific wishes for your house and general requirements for the project so that we are able to give you overall guidance and tips about the project. Then we will together agree about the next step. Initial consulting is just the first step down the long road of house building process. We will continue by giving you approximate costs for the coming project and related time tables. At this point you will have the information for deciding if you want to continue with the project or not.

PLANNING CONTRACT
If you, like many others, decide that you want to move forward with your house order then we will sign a planning contract for custom designing your massive wooden house. We do this because our accurate 3-D design process has to be done down to manufacturing detail level from the very first line we draw. Unlike normal architectural planning – which is merely a guidance for builders or manufacturers – our plans can be manufactured for delivery immediately after the client has approved them. If for some reason you don’t want to continue with us we will give the finished drawings for you to continue the project with someone else.

PLANNING PROCESS
We can design a beautiful house for you no matter your starting point. The process runs in cycles as we hand you over the various versions for the outside look and the floor plan of the house. Every cycle will show you the house with more detail and closer to your dream house. Drawings will be modified according your requests and slowly the finished plans are ready for your building license applications and for our manufacturing process.

Seaside villa

Some of the classic elements of log house building include covered porches, open gables and angled roofs.

ORGANIC MATERIAL, TRADITIONAL METHODS AND MODERN MANUFACTURING
Wood in general is one of the most convenient building materials and probably the best organic building material in the world. Wood is light weight and strong and it also has a long history as a building material so it is familiar to most builders. When wood is combined with timber framing or log notching, which are among the oldest building systems, you can rest assured that the starting point for your project is very favorable.

WOOD AS A RAW MATERIAL
Wood grows in layers and there is air tied in between these layers, which makes even structural wood a natural insulation material. When compared to modern industrial materials like steel and concrete wood has a superior insulating value and this doesn’t yet include the thermal mass of the wood. Because of its mass, wood is able to store and release heat and humidity together these qualities transform massive wooden house into a battery, which stores extra energy and releases it when needed.

Timber frame support post and beam structure.

Massive timber frame wood will have visible cracks on its surface due to the drying. Engineered wood will retain the smoothness through the years giving uncomparable style and quality.

Timber frame summer villa

Industrial quality of timber frame building has considerably better finishing quality when compared to traditional hand-carved timber frames. Price is also cheaper and delivery times faster than with traditional massive wooden houses. Together these reasons have skyrocketed the sales volume of industrially manufactured massive wooden houses.

ENGINEERED WOOD
The kiln-dried and glue-laminated wood that we manufacture to be used as raw material for the massive wooden houses has even better structural properties than normal wood. Glue-laminated and kiln-dried wood doesn’t crack or bend as much as normal wood does and the surface has a cleaner look plus it withstands elements better. 

OUR MATERIAL DIMENSIONS
We offer several dimension specifications for our timber and log frames, starting from 88 mm all the way up to 270 mm. The length of an individual post of beam can be 12 meters and this length can be extended by joining two or more pieces together. In case you require custom dimensions for you house. We can manufacture them all the way up to beams with 500 mm as their height or width. 

INDUSTRIAL MANUFACTURING
We use fully automated manufacturing line that comprises of several wood processing units. We can produce the timber frame pieces or logs for a large house in a day while similar house could take months to finish by a team of hand-craft workers. All of the mortise and tenon cuts or log notches and pre-cuts are placed accurately according the original 3-D design and cutting quality remains the same throughout the frame. The most important work left for human eyes and hands is the quality control.

TIMBER FRAME SYSTEM AND A LOG FRAME SYSTEM
Timber frame systems uses mortise and tenon connections to fix together uniquely shaped timber pieces. Our system follows this tradition and no metal pegs, plates or locks are used. The same is true for our log houses, all the logs are milled to fit perfectly. The overall frame is designed for by using our standard pre-cuts, which ensures that there are no mistakes with the joinery. This means that after you receive the timber frame or a log house kit you are able to raise it quickly piece by piece just following our detailed installation map.

Hirsitalossa on myös hyvä levätä, jos sattuu väsyttämään pitkän päivän iltana.

Massive wooden houses are tremendously energy efficient. Warm atmosphere makes it easy to cozy on a sofa.

ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Environmental values and energy conservation have become increasingly important topics in housing industry. Massive wooden houses are both very energy efficient and environmentally friendly. It is obvious that since wood grows on its own it doesn’t need much energy input to be a ready product. This is not the case with steel and concrete as well as many other building materials. An added benefit with massive wood is that it functions as a carbon dioxide storage for the time of use and can be easily recycled in the end of the life cycle, which can be even hundreds of years. You are not only building a timber frame house for yourself, you are saving the planet for all of us.

UTILITIES
Flexibility has been mentioned many a time with massive wooden houses. It is no different with the utilities and all the modern solutions can be used together with these houses. To emphasize the environmental nature of this building system it is recommended that you include heating system such as geo-thermal heat pump or solar panels for heating of water and creating electricity. Alternatively you might benefit from having a wind mill generating electricity. All the electricity, plumbing, ventilation and lighting designs that you have for your house will be taken into consideration so that the installation is convenient. Machine powered ventilation with air filters makes sure that inside air is super clean even in a densely-built urban area.

LOG HOUSE KIT OR TIMBER FRAME HOUSE KIT
The final question that must be settled before delivering the house is the contents of the house kit. We can deliver the frame only or any number of hardware store materials to go with the order. Our preference is that we provide you with the structure and you source the internal and external finishes, utilities and furnish the place when all is built and done.

BUILDING THE HOUSE
It doesn’t matter where you build your house. We can help with the actual construction of the house. We can send a team to build or a foreman to oversee the site. In any case you don’t have to handle the task on your own. Languages that we provide are Finnish, Swedish, Norwegian, Estonian, English, German, French, Italian, Slovenian, Chinese and Japanese. As you can see, in many cases you don’t need a interpreter at the building site.

For starters you can contact:

For Russian speaking markets – Andrey: +358 40 371 6598

For English speaking markets – Jake: +358 45 235 6989

A log house or a log home?

I’ve gone through several catalogues, marketing material and ads from various Finnish log manufacturers. I’ve come to realise that there are two kinds of log manufacturers, those that build log houses and those that build log homes.

LOG HOUSE SELLERS

Hirsitalo Finnlamelli Eesti OÜ:n sivulta.

Log house

These companies use huge outside images of log houses in their advertising. Clearly the message is directed to builders who want to tackle the building process by themselves or, at very least, be highly involved with the build. This segment values perks that are tied with the actual process of building the log house, therefore manufacturers offer benefits like roof tiles or foundation blocks to sweeten their offers.

Hirsikoti

Log home

LOG HOME SELLERS
Log manufacturing companies that fall into this category express themselves with wonderful photos of indoor log home cozyness. You can see the happy family doing chores or just taking it easy. Buyers are lured to sign the contract by offering household appliances, services by interior designers etc. These really appeal to convenience minded people of today.

OWNER-BUILDERS ARE A DYING BREED
There are fewer and fewer self-builders. In the future, people are buying ready log homes or custom log homes that are done to meet their requirements. Is it time for your company to rethink advertising?

AFTERTHOUGHT
Do you find it peculiar or fitting that in the Europe we talk about log houses and in the new world they talk about log homes?

Stale homes

Vinyl siding, vinyl shingle roofing, vinyl roll flooring, vinyl ceiling tiles, vinyl sheet covered drywalls, plastic covered couches, vinyl record player and rubber chicken (what?). Now that is a formula for low cost but dull housing, unless you have all the colours of a rainbow, then we got hideous housing or ginger bread housing. Nobody wants to live in a ginger bread house, but that evil witch. Let’s take a look at something completely different.

Log walls (pine), pine wood shingle roofing, pine wood flooring, pine wood panel ceiling, pine wood panel drywalls, log stairs (pine), log railings (pine), wooden cabinets (pine), wooden doors (pine), wood frame windows (pine)… this isn’t that much different, is it? We got high cost but dull housing solution, but show some paint and rainbow colours you shall have.

That was bit harsh, wasn’t it? It is so easy to go overboard with this log dream that I often have to present some eye opening questions to my customers. If you are thinking to build a log home, no matter what everybody say, you have more options than… wood. One especially bad but common advice is that you can use textiles and other decorative items to make it your own. Please do think about materials first and after that decide on decoration. You’ll thank yourself later.

Erlund House floor plan – Taru

Erlund is a log home manufacturer from Finland. A family company with an interesting enough product to be featured on a fantastic TV-series Grand Designs. Erlund has developed a fascinating panel-insulation-log wall that can keep up with rising European standards for energy efficiency of housing.

HOW TO GET IN
With Erlund House, I chose a fairly simple, classic model named Taru with two entrances, one from the side of the building and one from the terrace end of the log home. Side entrance has been planned as the main entrance so let’s go in through that.

INSIDE
In front of us we have a narrow corridor that curves to the right. No cabinets or space for clothes and outdoors gear. For families with kids, I can imagine this to be congested to the max. Corridor is lined with bedrooms and a bathroom, nothing much to comment but very efficient use of space. All the rooms are simple rectangles so there are no in-built closets.

AT THE END OF THE…
Not rainbow, but corridor and it opens to combined kitchen and living room (named lounge, but in my opinion it’s not lounge quality so I’ll just call it living room). Definitive plus here is that this open area just bathes in sun light thanks to those big windows.

WHAT ELSE?
Somewhat – was that it – experience, but one can’t expect much more from house of this size. Space has been utilized fairly well, even the hall area continues all the way through the house.

However, one thing especially troubles me, the only storage room in the house has entry from kitchen only. Given the severe space limitation, this storage room is bound to turn into utility room. Awkward positioning indeed and hampers the functionality (yes, I’m from Finland and here we are all for functionality) of the floor plan.

SUMMARY
Taru floor plan makes good use of the given floor area. Floor plan is slightly on the dull side, because of straight line designing, which also keeps the floor plan clean and simple.

Storage room area is desperately needed. Bedrooms are not that big and if you have to fill them up with closets, you have very little space left for log home living.

Definite plus in this plan are two toilets and their positioning. One can access them easily. However, in order to free that much needed storage space, I would be willing to give up the toilet or rearrange the workroom and bathroom/wc combo.

Like with any floor plans, one little change here creates many little changes here and there. It is often better to redraw the whole floor plan from the start for best results.

Now to what kind of family would this house be suitable? What do you think about it?