Log home - cracks in beams and logs

Before you ask, no I haven’t finished the log home course! There are about 5 log homes total where I live, so I’m looking for a pro (like you!) to help me out…

It’s a log home with logs cut with grooves at the top and bottom of the logs. A shim is added and insulation strip between logs. The home is 17 years old.

For some reason an owner covered the exterior with tyvek wrap and ship lap wood siding.

As you can hopefully see from the pictures, there are substantial (>1/4 inch) cracks in a number of vertical support pillars and horizontal ceiling beams and exterior logs.

There are also areas inside where there is a gap between the horizontal main logs that is about 3/8" where you can see past the insulation strip to the inter-log connector piece shim thingy (yeah, I don’t know the correct term)

Are these cracks an indication of an issue? Help! :slight_smile:

I posted a second post below with more pictures

more pictures…

The checking looks normal. Are there vertical furring stripsnailed to the outside for the siding? Or is the siding nailed directly to the logs?
My guess about the interior horizontal gaps between the logs is that the siding is not letting the logs settle.

The checking (cracks),of the logs, doesn’t concern me.

But, are these floor joists connected to a beam? If so how? I looks like the beam was compromised by the notching. Was it sagging?

Yep, me again.

My speed reading the of the log home course says the shims are called splines.

And cracks in the logs are called “checking” and can be controlled with “kerfing” (cutting a groove).

The course also says “Although the primary check may penetrate 50% of a log’s diameter, this check is not a structural concern. Logs will retain most of their strength both in compression (when used vertically as a post) and in tension (when used horizontally).”

So it looks like those cracks aren’t a concern… agree?

Needs gutters and some preservative on the exterior as well.

Wow! You guys are quick! I didn’t see the replies before I posted the comment above.

Frotte - yes, there appears to be furring strips holding the siding on. Good call on the log spaces. I’m guessing they should stay tightly packed on each other ideally?Should I say something about the siding not letting the logs settle?

Ikage - agreed on the floor joists - they don’t look good to me. However, the buyer is a GC and he (I believe correctly) concluded that the beam is not loading bearing. Those joists are about 2.5ft away from the load bearing exterior wall and end at the beam. and I don’t think it’s a load bearing beam - it is supported at both ends by pillars and doesn’t extend into the 2 rooms adjoining it. It looks like they did some weekend warrior remodeling where they removed 3 vertical supports that would have held up those joists in place in a sort of entry/foyer area. The total span of the beam is about 8ft. I didn’t notice any sagging in the beam.

However, I could be wrong about that. Perhaps a note in the report?

Kramm - I put on the report that the siding needs sealing at a minimum, but is probably toast - it is cupped badly and soft and hollow sounding pretty much everywhere.

Be aware that log homes take ALOT of maintenance, and homeowners tend to get lazy after a few years of hard maintenance, thus the reason many cover over the exterior!

Some major suppliers of products for the log home industry offer training classes regarding log home maintenance, both live and webinars. One such company is PermaChink… http://www.permachink.com/

Recommend you do a search for these free programs and educate yourself beyond the InterNachi training.

We are not there so you need to think about that beam. Log homes can settle a great deal so be careful on what you write, Frank is most likely correct but he is not there and it would take further invasive inspection to know for sure about the siding and settling.

And, if this is an PT wood foundation, you will want to pay close attention to it. Most, that I have inspected, were not installed correctly. They, typically, are an engineered system.

Just a note, most inspectors won’t do log homes around here, I will but there are not many log home here as well and you need to spend more time and be careful as Jeff said people are lazy and or don’t understand how much work they are. I normally find a lot of wood decay because I spend a lot of time poking and I know where. Just something to think about.

Definitely. The whole structure is designed for the expected settlement. Even the window and door bucks are designed to allow settlement.

thank you everyone for all the excellent advice. You guys are worth the monthly subscription to Nachi you by yourself!

I’ll differently put the cya and recommend for the evaluation.

By the way it’s a masonry block foundation walls with regular Wood frame floors.

what is a PT foundation? I couldn’t find anything on the web


Pressure treated wood foundation…or, Permanent wood foundations…



Click images…

Thanks again guys.

Wow, wood foundations… What could possibly go wrong? :slight_smile: