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Tuesday, 10 August 2010 10:25

Glossary of Log Home Terms Glossary of Log Home (Log House) Terms.

Welcome to the glossary of log home terms. This glossary of log home terms represents the most common terms used throughout the Log Home Industry. Home is where the heart is. For more than 100 years there has been a controversy over the meaning of log cabin vs. log home. Rather than getting into descriptions like a cabin is a small one room structure with an outhouse or more of a camp than a home, we have taken a different marketing approach.  Here on we have physically defined these two terms.

Log Cabin: A log structure with a main ground level footprint of 1000 square feet or less.

Log Home: A log structure with a main ground level footprint in excess of 1000 square feet.

Log House or log home: A log structure built from logs that have not been milled into lumber.

Both the log house and the log cabin use the loft and or second floor in determining over all square footage. In most of the United States when computing the square footage of a log cabin or log home a basement does not qualify as living space.

The most common terms used throughout the Log Home Industry are:

Active solar heating: a system that actively converts and stores solar energy to heat a home or its water.

Activity zones: primary living areas that help determine the design of any log home or cabin

Adjustable rate mortgage: mortgage contract with an adjustable interest rate generally tied to the LIBOR.

Adzing: mattock like tool with a curved blade used for shaping logs.

Air dried logs: logs that have been harvested, stacked and allowed to naturally dry.

Angle brace also called a knee brace: timbers bracing corners at an angle across that corner.

Appraisal: a method of determining the value of a property.

Builder's risk insurance: Builder's risk insurance is a type of property insurance which indemnifies against damage to buildings while they are under construction.

Building code: A commercial construction code required for longivity, safety and appearence.

Building permit: Commercial permits to build on property you own.

Butt & pass:

Butt and pass corner:

Butt joint:


Casement window:

Change order: A change in the construction contact that may or may not change material and or labor costs.  Always get change orders signed in writing.

Character log:


Construction draw: Progress payments made as the home is being built. The construction draw is part of the binding contract between the builder and the owner or between the owner and his sub-contractors.

Construction loans to permanent hone loan: 


Corner notch: A of log corner fitting.

Cost plus:

Course log:

Crawl space: Space under a home to access plumbing, electrical or sump pumps. Literally speaking, you move about this space on your hands and knees. 

D shaped logs: A log that looks like the capitol letter "D".

Dormer:  A dormer is a roof structure that projects vertically beyond the plane of a pitched roof. Dormers are used to increase the usable space in a loft and or to create window openings in a roof.

Dovetail: A type of log corner fitting.

Drip edge: An edge used in construction to divert water so that it will fall to the ground.

Dry in construction: The term dry in means the construction materials required to enclose a log house of cabin to withstand rain, sleet or snow.

Easement: In broad terms an easement is "Legal permission to trespass on another person’s property."

Eave: An eave is the part of the roof that overhangs the wall of any building.

Fascia board: The fascia board is the long wooden board behind the roof gutters on a home, a cabin, a garage, or buildings with a roof.

Fastener used in log home construction.

Fixed glass window:

Fixed price: A price not subject to change.

Fixed rate mortgage loan: An interest rate not subject to change for the life of the contract.




Full length support system:

Full logs:



Gambrel: A roof design to maximize head space in the loft or upper story of a log home or other structure by modifying the center of a steep roof to a shallow angle.

General contractor: An individual or company holding the prime contract responsible for overseeing the construction of a log home or log cabin.

Girder: A support bean used in construction of log home and other structures.

Go-green: A trendy term being used to promote a political agenda designed to fleece the people. Go green means energy efficient.

Grain: Wood growth rings in trees that run the full length of the tree..

Green logs: Fresh cut logs containing most of their sap.

Half logs: Logs cut in half along the long dimension.

Hand hewn: Logs that have been hand surfaced to provide old style log crafting.

Handcrafters: Log home builders using old style building and log crafting techniques - building without modern tools.



Inside corner:


Insulated log wall:




Kerf: A deep cut running the length of the log placed to help prevent log checking and splitting.

Kiln dried logs: Logs that have been dried in a large oven to remove moisture content.

King post:

Knee Wall:



Loan to value ratio:

Log corner styles:

Log course:

Log grading:

Log package: A log package may be defined as a construction material package sufficient to dry in a log home or cabin. The term dry in means enclosed to withstand rain, sleet or snow. 

Log preservative:

Log profiles:

Log settling: Log get smaller as they dry out. This is results in log settling.

Log shell: A log shell is the outer four walls of a log structure. It may include floor joists and loft joists, rafters and ridge beam or ridge pole.

Log siding: Log siding is a curved piece cut from logs and used as exterior and interior siding to give the appearance of a log house or cabin.

Material package:

Milled logs: Log that are milled to specific lengths, diameters or shapes.

Nonbearing wall: A wall that does not support the roof system.



Oly lag:

On center:


Partition wall:

Passive solar heating:

Percolation or perc test:



Pitch: The rise in the steepness of the roof, from the edge of the roof to the ridge beam or peak of the roof. 

Plumb: Vertically straight.

Post and beam:


Precut logs: Logs that are cut at the mill to be placed in a pre-determined location.

Preconstruction planning:

Preliminary sketches:


Pressure treating:


Queen post:

R value: Insulation factor of wood as determined by the thickness of the log.


Ridge beam:

Ridge board:

Ridge vent:



Roof pitch: The steepness of a roof measured as the rise in the roof from the edge of the roof to the high ridge beam. A low roof would be considered as a 3 foot rise in 12 feet or called a 3-12 roof pitch. The average roof is about 5-12. A steep roof would be a 7-12 pitch.

Roof truss:


Saddle notch corners:

Saddle notch:


Scribe fit:






Shed roof:


Shrinkage: Logs shrink as they dry out.

Sill log:

Sill plate:



Snow load:


Specific heat:



Standing dead timber: Standing dead trees. Trees that have died naturally or as the result of fire, or trees that have been cut around the base in the fall of the year to prevent the sap form rising in the spring. 


Subcontractor: A specialty contractor working under a general contractor, builder or property owner.

Swedish cope: A type of log construction where a quarter moon cut runs the full length of the log, one log resting on the others cut.

System built:

T&G: Tongue and groove log fitting. Fitting logs together, one on top of another, in a way that the top log fits into the groove below it.

Taper: Log taper is the natural log thickness from the base of the tree to the top of the tree. Logs are naturally thicker at the base of the tree than at the top of the tree.

Thermal mass: The thickness of a log wall home between the interior and exterior of a log home. Thermal mass is a natural accumulator of heat. 

Through bolt: Bolts fastening logs together.

Timber frame:

Tongue and groove:



Turnkey construction:


UV blocker:

V groove: A V groove cut running the length of the log to help prevent log checks and splits.

Vapor barrier:

Vertical loads: Vertical load bearing logs or load bearing walls..

Visible surfaces:

Walk out basement: A basement with an walk out entrance at ground level.

Wholesale logs: Buying logs by the ton.

Wood foundation: PWF treated wood foundation.

Wood preservative:

Work triangle:

Workers compensation:

Zero clearance:

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