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Custom Wood Homes

THERMAL-LOG™ BUILDING SYSTEM

Energy smart, from the start.

“In the 1970’s, our frustration with the inherent issues of true solid-log construction set the direction and shaped our company’s identity. We loved the look and feel of wood homes, but were very concerned with the settling problems that naturally came along with them. To address our concerns, we pioneered the Thermal-Log™ building system – the first “half-log” in the industry - to overcome the inadequacies of log on log construction while still achieving the same look, if not better. Once our Thermal-Log™ proved itself to the industry and many of our homeowners, we completely stopped selling solid-log homes and directed our focus toward smart, energy efficient, custom hybrid designs that lived as well as they looked.” -Dave & Kathy Janczak (Founders)

Intelligently Modern, Naturally Appealing. A home for the way you live.

Since the 1970's, Wisconsin Log Homes has been providing leadership in energy efficient log, timber and hybrid home construction. Since the founding of Wisconsin Log Homes, our name has been synonymous with the highest level of quality and creativity. When we introduced our Thermal-Log™ building system in 1979, we revolutionized the log and timber home industry. Our Thermal-Log™ provided the structural integrity, comfort, and peace of mind people needed to build their dream home. The Thermal-Log™ building system is designed to ensure that insulation and thermal mass work effectively together within the framework of a tightly constructed house, locking out costly air infiltration and locking in expensive energy.

The Thermal-Log™ building system features an energy-smart core insulated wall that is air-tight and draft-free. This innovative system provides a structured framework that will not shrink or settle like other log home systems, resulting in a wood home that is much easier to maintain with proven durability to last for generations to come.

Our Thermal-Log™ building system also allows for complete design freedom - including large expanses of glass walls, windows, and large open interiors with exceptionally high ceilings. In addition to these structural advantages, the Thermal-Log™ offers countless design possibilities - you can choose any interior finish you like - such as log, stone, paneling, shiplap, tongue & groove or drywall. With our many different log and timber styles, sizes and species available, your design options and finish combinations are limitless.


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A Case Study

In a private study, David Janczak, founder of Wisconsin Log Homes, compared a 16-inch solid-log home with a home built using his Thermal-Log™ Building System. David found that the Thermal-Log™ home used one-third the amount of energy to heat twice the amount of living space.

As a result, in 1979, Wisconsin Log Homes completely stopped building and selling solid-log homes. Why such an emphasis on energy efficiency? Because savings are greater than you may think – hundreds of dollars the first year, thousands of dollars in the future. All the money in the world won't buy energy once it's gone.

Note: Case study heating costs are from the same ten-month heating season, and the homes tested were within thirty miles of each other.


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“After living in a home for ten years, many of us need to remodel or sell, and move on, but this is not the case with a Wisconsin Log Home. The beauty today is as strong as the day we moved in which proves the quality and craftsmanship that has withstood the cold, wet Pacific Northwest weather that can ruin a home quickly. There is only one reason we would sell our Wisconsin Log Home, and that would be to build a smaller one for our retirement years! Thank you Wisconsin Log Homes for the 10 years of living in the home of our dreams, and especially for the beauty it has maintained for a decade!” -Stan & Evie

TOP 14 REASONS THERMAL-LOG™ IS SMARTER THAN SOLID LOG

1. Energy Efficiency - To ensure that every Wisconsin Log Home achieves the energy rating the owner chooses, our Thermal-Log™ building system utilizes a 2x6 core wall to employ innovative insulation options and is 3 to 4 times more energy efficient than a solid-log wall.

2. High R-Values - Thermal resistance (or resistance to heat flow) is measured in R-value; the higher the R-value, the more thermal resistance. The average R-value for softwoods is 1.41 per inch and 0.71 for most hardwoods. An average 10-inch thick solid-log wall provides an R-8.5 (R-14.1 across its full diameter, dropping to R-5.6 at each horizontal joint). Our Thermal-Log™ wall system with the same 10-inch log can provide you with up to an R-40+ in the walls and up to R-65+ in the roof. Higher R-values result in a more comfortable home and substantially reduced energy costs in every type of climate.

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3. Energy Code Compliance - Our Thermal-Log™ building system meets national building codes and all current energy standards. Solid-log homes, however, often cannot satisfy most building codes or Energy Star standards. Some states have exempted solid-log homes from normal energy compliance while others require additional insulation in the home's roof to make up for the low R-value of the solid-log walls.

4. No Settling Adjustments - Unlike solid-log construction, our Thermal-Log™ is structurally maintenance free. Sure you'll need to stain and caulk your home every few years, but there are virtually no settling problems due to exterior log wall shrinkage. You won't have to worry about adjusting interior walls to accommodate for log settling around fireplaces, doors, windows, and support beams.

5. No Air Infiltration - Thermal-Log™ uses an energy smart insulated core wall wrapped in Tyvek, the most advanced air and water resistance house wrap in the industry, to ensure higher energy efficiency by stopping air leaks, resulting in an extremely air-tight home. As a result, the Thermal-Log™ home's temperature is much more consistent, and the cold and costly drafts typical with solid-log construction are completely eliminated. Since wood naturally absorbs moisture and expands in high humidity, it also releases moisture and contracts in low humidity. A traditional solid-log home is much more vulnerable to developing air leaks as the log walls expand or contract. Often during contraction or expansion, small ‘gaps’ will open between the logs, creating air leaks, which cause drafts and costly heating or cooling bills. If not properly maintained with seasonal caulking, natural settling throughout climate changes with most solid-log homes is inevitable.

6. Ease of Electrical Installation - With our Thermal-Log™, all wiring can be done conventionally. Wiring is installed in the wall cavity and ceilings prior to interior finish materials or custom log work. Outlets, lights, and even security and sound systems can all easily be mounted on any wall you need without sacrificing beauty. Wiring a solid-log home is very time consuming and costly because of the notching, chiseling, and drilling required to hide the wires. Wire installation can only be done along doorway trim or behind additional required baseboard so the wiring can be hid. This method requires outlets to be installed much closer to the floor than normal, which can make plugging things in a chore.

7. Trouble Free Construction - Our Thermal-Log™ building system has overcome the natural inadequacies of solid-log construction. Professional builders find that our building system, detailed home plans, and our knowledgeable support team brings certainty and simplicity to the job site. The simplicity of our building system also allows our clients to use any qualified, experienced custom conventional home builder rather than being limited to only log or timber Contractors. Because of all these advantages, the average Thermal-Log™ home can be built in approximately 1/3 less time than a solid-log home, saving you time and money. Since solid-log construction often requires longer lead times and takes a longer time to build, labor costs will always be more.

8. Design Flexibility - The flexibility of our Thermal-Log™ system permits an extensive range of architectural styles and the freedom to select and combine unique building materials of your choice. Both the interior and exterior of the home can be finished with an endless possibility of distinctive products. Log and timber accents are easily applied where the owner chooses without being overwhelmed by wood. Solid-log structures consist of log exterior walls throughout the entire perimeter of the interior of the home. Besides the stain color, usually the only choice owners have is a round or flat log wall, and whether they want chinking or not.

9. Ease of HVAC Installation - Thermal-Log™ allows all HVAC applications to be installed conventionally and more efficiently in the core wall, or where needed without re-routing it to other walls within the house. Air ducts, diffusers, boots, etc can be installed with ease. The exterior walls of a solid-log wall cannot be used for cold air returns or any type of duct work. All duct work must be re-routed, boxed out, or hid in closets or interior framed walls. This process requires more materials and more labor, dramatically increasing cost.

10. Ease of Plumbing - Thermal-Log™ permits conventional plumbing work to be installed and hid within the core wall or floor system, saving the owners time and money. Seeing that all exterior walls are solid wood in a solid-log home, they cannot be used for plumbing (not even vent piping for sinks can be installed on the outer exterior walls).

11. Ease of Cabinet Installation - Thermal-Log™ allows for different types of wall finishes, which saves on installation costs and makes fastening cabinets and vanities to the core wall easy and fast. Because solid-log walls aren't typically flat and shrink in height, problems arise when cabinets are directly mounted to them. To account for movement, the installer attaches cabinets to a sub-frame wall that's built against the log wall. In solid-log construction when cabinets are anchored directly to solid log walls, problems inherently accrue in time as the log wall settles or moves.

12. Ease of Onsite Changes - During construction when homeowners actually walk through and see their walls up; they occasionally realize that the location of a window or door would better serve their needs if it were moved. This adjustment is easily done with our Thermal-Log™ because the core wall can easily be disassembled or rebuilt as needed. However, once a solid-log wall is up it is extremely expensive to relocate a window or door because the logs are all stacked on top of one another. Sadly, homeowners realize it's something they'll just have to live with.

13. Ease of Future Additions or Remodeling - The structural integrity of our Thermal-Log™ building system gives owners total design freedom; they're limited only by their creativity, property lines and budget when considering remodeling. Solid-log wall additions are susceptible to developing air leaks. It is very important that the builder constructs and correctly installs slotted anchors or spline boards to allow for movement between the existing structure and the new addition. These joints must be re-caulked as the movement will continue to break the seal.

14. Unlimited Architectural Styles – Our Thermal-Log™ building system allows for a wide range of styles from Western Mountain, Pacific Northwest, Adirondack, Chalet, Appalachian, and Craftsman to French Country. Whether your log, timber or hybrid home style is elegant, rustic, modern, industrial, or a combination of various styles, your design possibilities are infinite. Some people feel that many of the solid-log homes built today are more frontier style, rather bland, and free of artistic details other than the log and stone materials used on them.