Frequently Asked Questions
We spend countless hours travelling North America telling of the
virtues of a True North Log Home. Consistently people ask us the
same questions. We therefore have compiled a list of some frequently
asked questions, and our short answers to some very complex enquires.
We trust these pages will help you in making an educated decision.
Q: What type of wood is used by True North Log Homes?
A: True North uses winter cut slow growth north eastern white
pine. This material is the premium of the pine species compared
to its lower quality red pine, yellow pine and jack pine cousins.
White pine has excellent dimensional stability, resists warping
and experiences less shrinkage due to its low sap content.
Q: I have heard the term "Sapwood." Could you explain
what this is?
A: Sapwood is the soft outer layers of recently formed wood between
the heartwood and the bark. This area is the most unstable part
of the log, most susceptible to shrinkage and blight infiltration.
True North believes in the elimination of this part of the log
to help ensure the long term integrity of the log system, plus
it eliminates sap bleeding from the inside walls.
Q: Many log home builders prebuild their homes and disassemble
them for shipping to the building site. Doesn't this guarantee
a better final installation?
A: This is an area where True North distinguishes itself from
the competition. Every single component of our log system is cut
and drilled using computer aided equipment. The concept of pre-building
your home before it is shipped adds considerable cost, and creates
the possibility for damage while deconstructing. The True North
computerized concept guarantees tolerances and economies.
Q: Do the owners of the company live in a True North log home?
A: Yes! We were surprised when asked this question. Interestingly
enough we discovered many owners of log home companies do not live
in their own product.
Q: Does True North recommend kiln drying logs?
Q: Why do certain log home builders kiln dry their logs?
For two reasons:
1) Many log home builders kiln dry because they utilize standing
dead or low grade wood. Standing dead wood is material cut from
dead trees that have been killed by wood borers and other insects.
The kiln drying process attempts to kill these insects prior to
using the wood for house construction. This lumber is very inexpensive
to purchase. True North uses only live trees with no insect infestation.
2) Many log home builders kiln dry in an attempt to reduce the
moisture content of the logs in an effort to eliminate settlement
and shrinkage. The kiln drying process will not adequately eliminate
shrinkage, as it is impossible to dry out the centre of the log.
Usually a kiln only dries the first outside one inch of lumber.
Therefore, the log home owner has wasted his money on kiln drying
because once the log comes out of the kiln, the process is reversed
due to the absorption of environmental humidity.
The space allowed for settlement over windows and doors is evidence
that kiln drying is futile. Even though some log home builders
claim that the kiln drying process will totally eliminate shrinkage,
it simply isn't true.
Q: What types of corner systems are available in log homes?
A: There are four different systems:
1) Dovetail- This system has unique water shed capabilities, as
all angles lead out of the corner, also the interlocking logs make
the corner stronger.
2) Saddlenotch- This system allows for the traditional log cabin
corner look, by incorporating the interlocking logs to strengthen
3) Post Corner- This exclusive True North system allows for post
to log interlocking assembly of irregular angles with no compromises
to wall integrity.
4) Butt and Pass- This system is prone to separation over time
because of its lack of interlocking capabilities. This corner is
widely used in the industry as it is easier to produce than the
other three corner systems. Many log home builders utilize the
Butt & Pass system because the Dovetail and Saddlenotch corner
systems require a major capital commitment to buy or build sophisticated
high tech equipment to make the complex composite angle saw cuts.
Q: What kind of gasketing materials are used by True North Log
A: True North uses an ultra-violet light (U.V.) resistant asphalt
impregnated foam gasket material in the tongue and groove and in
the corner pads. This material is superior to the typical white
or grey foam gasket used by other log home builders for three reasons.
1) The True North asphalt impregnated foam gasket has memory capability.
When the foam is collapsed, it will return to its original size.
2) When compressed 50%, our gasket becomes water-proof, and will
not absorb any moisture from the log.
3) Our gasket is not subject to U.V. deterioration, whereas the
white and grey foam gaskets dissolve over time, similar to a styrofoam
cup, because ultraviolet light will penetrate the log.
Q: With your claim that True North uses no traditional log joinery
such as nails, lag bolts or screws, how do you join the logs together?
A: True North uses a spring loaded Log Lock Compression System
located two feet from every corner and between each door and window
opening. A one piece thru-bolt is inserted into factory pre-drilled
holes. At the top of this long bolt is a 1,000 psi high tensile
spring and washer assembly that, when compressed, exerts tremendous
downward pressure on the log wall system. Once the torque is applied
to the spring, the tension never needs to be adjusted again. Already
approved in earthquake sensitive locations, this is a superior
log joining system. The advantage over traditional joinery is that
it eliminates the problem created by spiking the logs together.
When the log shrinks it can cause the spike to protrude, making
the log above "stand on the spike". This allows a gap to develop
through which air will leak into the home. Another advantage to
the use of self adjusting spring loaded thru-bolts is, a True North
home owner will never have to climb up into the attic space and
crawl through the insulation to tighten the thru-bolts.