A: While kiln-drying is often used with dimensional lumber — and is very beneficial — it is totally inappropriate and expensive when it comes to log homes. First of all, it is virtually impossible to kiln-dry a log the size of which is needed to build a proper log home. It is difficult enough to properly kiln-dry a 4”x4” post, let alone a 9”, 12” or 14” diameter wall log, even if it can be done, it can’t be done cost-effectively and therefore, is a major, unnecessary expense for a log home buyer. Secondly, should you choose to pay for kiln-drying — and it is partially successful — what happens as soon as the logs arrive at the building site is that they will take on the local environment which means that they gravitate to the relative humidity of the local conditions. Therefore, any costs to reduce the moisture content below these local conditions will be wasted expenses. Thirdly, kiln dried logs usually are smaller diameter logs which means you may be sacrificing potential energy-efficiency in your home because you are sacrificing thermal mass performance. Fourthly, kiln-dried logs commonly use green trees, which means live trees are being cut down, which is not the most eco-friendly approach.
TCIH’s approach is to use dead-standing, dry logs that meet the highest grading standards. The logs we use have died from natural causes and we have allowed the drying of the log to take place naturally while the tree is still standing. An added benefit of this approach is that with open-celled species of trees, such as lodgepole pine and spruce, while the tree is standing, moisture and sap drain out of the tree through gravity. Therefore, we do not cut down live trees, we do not incur added expenses on our customer’s behalf by trying to kiln-dry the log and we still manage to provide our customers with top quality, eco-friendly, cost-effective, dry logs for our log packages that have minimal, if any, sap concerns.
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