Q & A

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 northeastern white pine. This timber is the most premium quality of the pine species compared to its lower quality red, yellow, and jack pine cousins. Northeastern white pine grows slowly because of the severity of the climate, producing tight growth rings which result in excellent dimensional stability. It experiences less shrinkage due to low sap content and is therefore less likely to warp. Western red cedar is also available in a True North log home.

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?

A: No!

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 the corner.

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 Homes?

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 2,500 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.