Friday, February 11, 2005

So, Editor, what have you been concentrating on?

As I told you, you'd get to here about one item I've been focusing on. That would be designing and planning the construction of a log home and everything that goes into it. It sure takes a whole lot of research to find out what is the best way and your prefered way, but it assists you in your search for that right piece of land. The following is a brief description of our plans so far:

- House Style: Log Home
- Construction method: Butt & Pass, using raw, unprocessed and uncut logs. No notching is required and chinking is used between logs.
- Foundation: Pier block foundation, rather than a traditional slab, simplifying and reducing costs.
- Roof: Standing Seam metal roof
- First level floor is suspended from log walls, creating a much sturdier floor than a traditional stick frame home and eliminating the floor’s load bearing requirements. All other floors will be supported by log girders.
- Interior walls and separations will be constructed with tradition stick-frame method. No interior walls, except the outer wall logs, will be load bearing in any way, simplifying construction yet again.
- Electricity will run through the stick frame interior as well as between the logs and behind the chinking.
- PLUMBING: Our home plans include only one “wet wall”. This means on all floors the bathrooms, the utility room and the kitchen will be against the same vertical wall. This cuts down on plumbing. In addition, we will install “point-of-use” instant hot water heaters, which will yield even easier plumbing by requiring only one pipe (cold) to run to each water outlet – no hot water heater tank is required and no hot water piping will run through the house,
- Toilets: Incinerator toilets will be installed. This eliminates any need for plumbing of toilets – waste is simply burned and incinerated creating only ash as byproduct. Water usage is drastically reduced.
- Drainage: Because incinerator toilets will be used no need for black water treatment will exist. This allows us to install and utilize a grey water drain system – probably a “branch drain grey water system”, specifically - instead of a traditional septic system, reducing the cost to a very, very small fraction of normal construction, simplifying maintenance and irrigating the land. Thank you to the tree-huggin' hippie type who spent the time to figure this stuff out - Good on ya', mate!
- Heating: An efficient direct-vent wall furnace run off propane and in conjunction with ceiling fans for normal everyday use and a wood stove for emergency and occasional use. The direct-vent wall furnace will be vented from and to the outside, eliminating the biggest cause of dust and dirty air. As well, no ducting will be used inside the home - rather, large vents in the floors for opening and closing will installed in different rooms throughout the house.

You see, I'm going for elegance, practicality, ease of construction, low maintenance and minimal expense. What we have come up with is beyond anything I ever imagined. Obviously, there is much more involved, but you get the gist.

Here is a bit of advice - anyone hiring a builder to take care of your house should reconsider. More than likely they will not do these sorts of things because they know one way and that's the way they do it.

UPDATE: I should have added in the HEATING section that we had been leaning towards those options. However, early on in our research we were very excited about MASONRY STOVES. Unfortunately, I started reading the opinion of some skilled masons that it shouldn't be done by anyone other than a skilled mason. I bought into it. FORTUNATELY, there are many who strongly believe they can be done by a non-experienced individual AND inexpensively - including this guy. In that instance, we are definitely leaning BACK towards the masonary stove/fireplace.