About Log Cabins and Log Home Inspections:
Log cabins are unique and many people find them attractive, and somewhat unusual. Log cabins have a long and storied history. Presidents, blues icons, and movie stars have lived in log cabins. Ski resorts and ranches are still made of log cabins. Some log cabins can be made to be more energy efficient (http://energy.gov/energysaver/
Log homes can age and fail in ways very different from conventional homes. Log cabins are often built using a variety of methods and/or systems that often don’t lend themselves to standardization. Inconsistencies or modifications of the Code and/or standard construction methods often exist in these structures. Varieties of inconsistencies can include; the wood species, the presence of decay inside of the logs, climate and conditions under which trees have grown, the quality of design and possible construction modifications, the hidden or latent presence or effects of wood-destroying insects in seasoned logs, the presence or effects of bacteria and decay fungi inside of seasoned logs, the home maintenance quality and methods, and the type and quality of finish applied to logs, and the application method. During a typical American Society of Home inspectors (ASHI) and/or a Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) home inspection the log cabin exterior and interior logs systems are visually inspected as any other type wall system. There is always a possibility of wood damage inside of a log wall system. Most log wall systems are at least a partial hybrid of different construction methods systems in order to achieve a consistent appearance around the structure. Many times the fenestration around the windows , doors and other openings are not flashed properly to help prevent moisture infiltration. A home inspection is not a specific log cabin engineering report, more factual opinions can be made available through specialized engineer studies contracted from engineering firms. All home inspection comment is based solely on what was visible and accessible at the time of inspection, and hidden items or the lack of items which are not visible are beyond the scope of a home inspection.
Future performance of the log cabin system is unpredictable due to the influence of maintenance, wether, drainage, abuse, and unknown underground conditions. It would be prudent for the buyer to ask the seller if leakage or other issues occur, how often do they accrue, and how long has it been since they have been repaired. The buyer should ask the seller the nam of the original builder, proof of the certified log grading, written setting and adjustment records, A list of any special wall structure systems or items items installed installed but not visible during a typical home inspection. a any documentation which can help explain any additional construction and/or repair to the exterior wall system.
Compliance with Codes and Standards:
ASHI and TREC home inspections are more performance based, however some codes are relied on to help provide the client with a more complete inspection. Some ASHI and/or TREC inspection requirements are not code required but are based on other reliable resources or practices. So the ASHI and/or TREC home inspector Standards Of Practice (SOP) are not code inspections per se. Confirming compliance with any building codes or standards relating to log home construction that are set forth by any agency, organization, council or association lies beyond the scope of a general home inspection or log home inspection.
Compliance with Engineering or Manufacturers’ Specifications:
Because there are a multitude of log home builders offering both manufactured and handcrafted homes, each using a method often of their own choosing or invention, and often requiring that the contractor who is building or assembling the home adheres to a similar multitude of proprietary engineering specifications, the adherence to which cannot be fully confirmed without disassembly of the relevant home components, inspecting for compliance with any manufacturers’ or engineers’ building specifications lies beyond the scope of a ASHI and/or TREC inspection SOP for a (log) home inspection. This includes any systems or components designed to accommodate or adjust for continual settling of logs in log walls.
Confirming proper preparation for and installation of any log finish coating, both interior and exterior, would require examination prior to or during the installation of such finish coating and, as such, lies beyond the scope of a ASHI and/or ASHI inspection.
Hidden Wood Decay:
Although the inspector may use techniques such as a thermal camera, moisture detectors, representative probing, in addition to the required general visual examination of the walls in an effort to determine the presence of wood decay in the logs of log structures, these techniques are not technically exhaustive and will not reveal the presence of wood decay hidden in inaccessible places, such as log cores and/or the intersections of log walls. For this reason, locating or identifying wood decay that is not readily visible or in inaccessible areas of log homes lies beyond the scope of any recognized home inspection SOP or general log home inspection. There are other services available for additional cost which are available but those services are beyond the scope of a typical home inspection and its SOP,. They are beyond the business model of the vast majority of home inspectors. There are no promises or guarantees made,about these issues for any inspection, including a log home inspection.
Proper Chinking Installation:
Chinking is the sealant between the logs. Confirmation that proper preparation and installation of chinking designed to seal gaps between logs requires examination prior to or during installation, so any chinking defects not readily visible at the time of the inspection are beyond the scope of this inspection (https://www.youtube.com/
Settling and Seismic Accommodation:
Any systems and components designed to accommodate settling or resist seismic activity are not readily visible and are beyond the scope of a home inspection.
Keyways are notches with reinforcement in them which are installed around fenestration such as doors and windows. Te presence or absence of keyways is my typically observable in finished log home construction and are beyond the scope of a home inspection.