What Kind of Trees Can I Use for a Log Home?

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Several tree species can be used for log home construction.
Several tree species can be used for log home construction. (Image: log home manufacturing image by Scott Patterson from Fotolia.com)

Logs are unlike any other type of home building material. When the pieces are put together, there is no mistaking the rustic appearance of a quality-built log home. Deciding which type of logs to use can be a daunting task. They all have their own advantages and different appearances. Know what trees your logs are coming from before you give the green light so you’ll know what to expect in the final results.

Pine

White and red pine trees are often used to construct log homes. These woods are often a little less expensive than some of the other types, and they have a smooth appearance and tend to settle less than some other varieties.

Pine trees are good insulators, making them more energy-efficient than some logs. Red pine is a common log for roof applications because it grows so tall and straight and is stronger than many other types of wood.

Douglas Fir

The Douglas fir is widely available and grow in large numbers around the country, especially in the Pacific Northwest.

Douglas firs are used in more log homes than other wood, according to the Fine Log Building website. The strength of this wood makes it ideal for building a house. Structural engineers often recommend the Douglas fir for use in key support locations even if the home is primarily constructed of other species because of its superior strength.

Douglas firs vary in color from the light brown, pink or red of the inner heartwood to the nearly solid white outer layers.

Cedar

In addition to having a lingering pleasant smell, cedar trees such as the western red have a rich cinnamon color.

Cedar trees are naturally resistant to moisture and are less prone to insect infestation. Cedar logs shrink less than species such as firs and are energy-efficient.

Oak

Oaks come in light and dark brown shades and every shade in between. This heavy species is sturdy and is among the most resistant to heartwood decay.

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