Warped logs, bow in wall, water runs


I was looking on your site for information related to my own log homes problems. So far i am unable to educate myself on the type or severity of the problems in my home.

My home is made of 9” milled cedar, triple tongue and groove, no chinking. House is 2.5 years old, and getting progressively worse.

I have numerous logs that have warped to the extent of the tongue and groove being completely separated. (you can stick a screwdriver under the top logs tongue) Also at the front of the house the wall is bowed quite a bit from top to bottom. As well numerous logs near the top of the wall are also out of there tongue and groove, although they are not warped. They have just risen out of place. Also some log butts have pulled apart. Many doors had to be realigned.

I also have throughout the interior of the house small water runs from between logs butting together as well as where they are sandwiched together. The builder explains it is condensation and not to worry. There are hundreds of these water runs.

The builder is refusing to do anything about the problems, and explains they are all normal with log houses. I have not however found any similar examples.

Its hard to describe the conditions adequately, I can send photos, if you are able to help. It may also be a good section to add to the course if others are having similar problems.

Thanks very much for any help,

Pictures would be helpful to get more understanding of what you have.

Yes, photos would be helpful, but what you describe is typical of log shrinkage. It sounds like your house was built with logs having a relatively high moisture content and they are moving as they dry to equilibrium moisture content (EMC) with the homesite environment. Depending on the original moisture content and the homesite conditions, reaching EMC can take 2 to 5 years.
Gaps between log courses like those you describe are not “normal”. Having to re-align doors is not normal and indicates that methods have been used to install them that do not allow for log movement as they should. Water running from joints between logs… either where they butt or between courses… is not normal.

I have some questions.

  1. How much settling space was left above windows?
  2. what method waas used to attach window and door bucks (jambs) to the logs to allow for settling?
  3. What was the original moisture content of the logs… when the home was first built (ask the builder)… when the logs were shipped to the homesite (ask the supplier)?
  4. What gasket material was used between log courses to minimize moisture and air movement and insect entry through the wall?
  5. How much settling space was left above or below interior partition walls, and what method was used to attach them to exterior log walls to allow for settling of the log walls
  6. What method was used to fasten log courses together?
    What method was used at rigid, vertical plumbing and electrical components to allow for settling of log walls?
  7. If your builder says that water running down wall is condensation, what does he say is the source of this obviously excessive condensation? Water running down the walls is never, ever acceptable. If it is condensation, you’re liable to have serious problems from decay (the cedar logs may be decay-resistant, but there’s a lot of wood in the home that isn’t) or mold. If it’s leakage, the home was poorly built. Spray a hose against the exterior where logs have gaps between courses and see if you get interior leaks.
  8. How much shrinkage has occurred since the home was built (ask the builder)

Get your builder to answer these questions (in writing if possible) and please e-mail me photographs. The best way to photograph this is to take a photograph of a bad wall showing the entire wall, then increasingly closer pictures of the same bad section of that wall from 15 feet, 8 feet and two feet away. If you get leakage form the garden hose test photograph that too.

After trying to get these questions answered, please give me a call. -Kenton 303-717-8940

For some reason im unable to post any atatchments. anyone who wants to see them however, send me an email adress and ill send you a link to the pics. I already tried to send you a link Kenton, and Larry.


Ben, I’ve received no email.

Try sending to whis11 at charter.net