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Log Home Infiltration

Log homes are heavily variable. Stick frame homes too, but log homes can vary in a wider range it seems.. and yes, it can change over time. If they aren't maintained properly you can sometimes get gaps in the walls you could stick your fingers through. Keeping a log home tight requires a homeowner to keep up with it over time. I think this maintenance is much less of an issue with modern construction like SIPs or ICF construction.

I usually assume a .75 ACH w/logs. It's a bit high, but it still wouldn't cover gross neglect or very poor building, more like just a bit of laziness in maintenance. I had one client that, before the problem was rectified, had his logs gap so bad he could almost shake hands with someone on the front porch without opening the door to let them in. But luckily in those cases, the problems are obvious and usually fixed (and no one expects you to provide a system that can open a room with the equivalent of the front door open)!


  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24
    Log Home Infiltration

    Anybody out there have any idea how the infiltration rate of a log wall may vary compared to a normal stick built wall with fiberglass...These walls are 6" pine, sealed well between the logs...Also, could the rate change over time?
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    Good question!

    I can imagine the type of log cabin with resilient rubber seals let into the logs would be superior to other chinking systems, Not sure how the corners would be done, though.

    Personally I would take every structure with an assumed decay rate: windows and doors sag and loosen over time, buildings settle, joints and seams are never as good as when new. A brand new house in 20 years becomes a 20 year old house.

    Wonder if BNL or other labs have conducted blower door tests? With so many log home manufacturers (kits or controllable modules) you would think that they would have energy ratings at some level.

    I will sit back and learn here.
  • 8-ball
    8-ball Member Posts: 24

    Thanks for the input. .75 ACH was in the ballpark of what I was thinking. There is such a grey area with infiltration, I just didn't want to miss the mark by too much.
  • Nron_13
    Nron_13 Member Posts: 164

    dont forget to add extra for humidity to be inroduced to the home It will help control the rate of shrinkage of the logs , we recomend a steam unit or other hi out put units for humidity
  • Solarstar
    Solarstar Member Posts: 82

    you'll probably develop leaks over time vs. bettter sealing. . One experianced log builder told me sooner or later your going to have to chink here or there. So there is to most air leaks of course. Paul
  • Mike Thomas_2
    Mike Thomas_2 Member Posts: 109
    It's not the logs!

    We do blower door testing. Many log homes have some sort of tongue and groove wood applied to the ceilings, many of the ceilings are a "cathedral type", the wood is applied directly to the rafters. Gives a nice open, woodsey look. Contractors don't seal where the roof meets the walls, or install a vapor barrier under the ceiling finish. Then they vent the roof to try and keep the shingles cooler. It all adds up to a leaky old barn. Last one I did had nearly 18 ACH. Right now the contractor has run away, the company that sold the cabin won't return their phone calls. I think they are going to tear the roof sheathing off and foam, then put new sheathing and roofing. Pretty expensive for a brand new home. It's not always the logs!
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    That is exactly

    the kind of experience I was hoping to see: Blower door test-based. I agree with the principles you state, the joints between materials. The T&G and gaskets would seem to afford a better seal than other systems, even conventional.
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