Archive for December, 2008

Dec 24 2008

Sealing shakes on the log house


log-shake-sealing-one.jpg As well as some leaking knots, we also have some large cracks in some logs called “shakes” that go deep enough into the logs to cause leaks with strong wind and rain. Here the shake is allowing water to get in behind the window architrave, so we have drilled it and used a syringe with expanding glue like we did for the knots to attempt to seal up the shake close to the window.

 log-shake-sealing-two.jpg Once the glue is set the wooden pegs we drive into the drill holes are shaved off.

log-shake-sealing-three.jpg For any poor log home enthusiast who needs to know, this is the glue we are using.

Dec 22 2008

Electrical Wall Sockets and Switches


 electrical-wall-switch-6-way.jpgWith walls finished with either varnish on the wood or paint on the stud walls, we are ready to start putting in the electrical sockets. We have used Hamilton sockts on the house as they were able to make some specials for us like this 6 way light switch including dimmer.

Dec 18 2008

Lots of sanding in the log house


wall-sanding.jpg The inside of the house has to be sanded. We found this hand sander ideal. But there are acres and acres of wood to do, the dust is fine, and not popular. Wearing a mask is essential, and Western Red Cedar dust is a particularly aggressive irritant. A light sand with a hand block is also required between coats.

Dec 16 2008

A bit of a push


site-7th-december-2008.jpg As Christmas approaches, extra input is drafted in to get the house nearer to completion. On a crips winters day we have a bricklayer preparing the paving outside the house, two carpenters (well there is a lot of wood in a house like this) a dry liner to do the walls, the floor installers, and later on the electrician come in too.

Dec 14 2008

Bathroom shower tips


Here is a little tip from our consultant builder that can be used on any house with a tiled in shower.

IF the shower outlet behind the tiles ever leaked the water would fill the stud wall first before there was any sign of the leak on the outside.

bathroom-shower-outlet.jpg So to act as an early warning device, simply set a piece of plastic tube around the shower outlet in the wall, using silicone to secure it against the base of the shower outlet.

bathroom-shower-outlet-two.jpg  Carefully tile around the pipe, then trim it back close to the tiles, connect the shower pipework to the outlet (a threaded joint that can spring a leak, hence the cunning trick) and if there ever is a leak, you will see it as a small drip from the end of this tube, which is trimmed back after tiling so that it is behind the finishing plate for the shower outlet.

Dec 12 2008

Building a stud wall off an internal dovetail corner in the log house


When we first looked at the detail drawings for the house from the log supply company we were concerned with how we would build some of the internal walls off the corner of dovetails where they appear in the house.

 wall-dovetail-stud-block.jpg First of all, using some left over Western Read Cedar, we need to make sufficient infill blocks to creat one consistent surface to commence the log wall

 wall-dovetail-stud-detail.jpg Then these are screwed in place and this creates the consistent surface for the stud wall to be fixed too.

wall-dovetail-stud-with-stiffner.jpg Then a piece of 4 x 2 is slotted and two 6″ “lag bolts” are used to secure this to the end of the dovetail and the start of the wall is in place. The lag bolts and slide plates must be set so that the bolts go into side grain and not end grain so you need to take this into account when marking out and making the two slots. 

The advantage of putting the blocks in place to create a flat surface for the stud wall to start is that if you should ever wish to take the wall down you will be able to do so, remove the infill pieces and you have just a few screw holes to plug and hey presto, no one knows the wall was ever there.

Dec 10 2008

Laying the floor at last


At last, with the floor leveled with latex and marked out to show where the underfloor pipes are, it is time to lay the floor. 

floor-wood-acclimatising.jpg The wood is acclimatised in the house for a fortnight, preferably in the room it is going to be used in. With the underfloor heating on, this enables the pre dried floor to get used to the envirionment it will be in. Two days prior to laying the floor, the underfloor heating is turned off, and after the flooring is done, is very gradually warmed up again over 2-3 weeks so that the wood warms up very slowly.

With our 18mm solid oak “budget price” flooring, we are generally “secret nailing” and where this cannot be done because we are too close to a wall or passing over an underfloor heating water pipe, special glue is used.

floor-nailing-tool-and-hammer.jpg The nailing “machine” is rather like a giant stapler. It puts nails in at an angle of 45 degreees on the “tongue” side of the “tongue and groove” interlocking flooring. By putting the nails in here, you just push the next piece of flooring on to the tongue and the nail you have just put in becomes invisible, or as they say, “secret”.

floor-nailing-nails.jpg The nailing machine uses barbed nails which are feed into the machine on a strip. This strip is made by gluing the nails together with a flexible glue. They are sliced off the strip like stapes in a stapler.

floor-glueing.jpg Where we cannot nail, a special flexible glue is used.

floor-glueing-gun-and-sausage-refill.jpg This comes in a fat sausage and needs a special gun to apply it. How much glue you use depends on whether you have any uneveness in the floor, as the glue is also used to take up any gaps. Just like the tiled areas, the wood floor must be protected using a cardboard underlay and hardboard on top, held together with rolls and rolls of duct tape. It is certainly one of those moments when the house seems to be progressing as the site of the floor having been laid is encouraging for flagging enthusiasm.

Dec 6 2008

Time to put down the wood floor in the log house


underfloor-heating-spare-bedroom-2.jpg To get a level floor we have applied a latex leveling compound to the floor. This tends to cover the cut outs in the joists where the underfloor heating pipes travel across them so first of all we took digital pictures of all the pipes in all the rooms.

 underfloor-heating-spare-bedroom-2-with-screed.jpg Then we have made simple drawings with dimensions of the cut outs prior to latexing, and then used these to mark up the floor on the latex to show where we must not put nails!

 floor-marking-for-latex.jpg The floor nails using the secret nailing method will go in at about 45 degrees so you have to allow for the horizontal travel when looking at where to put a nail in.

floor-marking-for-floor-laying.jpg As an extra precaution as the position of the joist can sometimes be concealed, we have drawn lines with the felt marker to show where the joists are too. After all, if we went through a pipe it would be a major job to repair the pipe.

Dec 4 2008

Bathroom shower and bath mixers take two


bathroom-i-box-shower.jpg Now we have plumbed up and pressure tested the Hans Grohe I boxes we can put the 3/4″ ply on the walls of the bathrooms. This first one is the front view of the I box for the shower, so has the hot and cold coming in, and the mixed output to the shower coming out of the bottom (in copper) going to the shower outlet.

bathroom-i-box.jpg  This shot is looking at the back of the mixer for the bathroom with a shower and a bath, so again the hot and cold come in from the left and right, and the output to the bath filler and the shower are at the top and bottom. However with the block design of the I box, it actually does not matter which way the pipes come into the block.

Dec 2 2008

Fixing a hole where the rain gets in to the log house


So the house is made of a natural material, so naturally it has a few quirks. Like leaking from strange places when the rain is heavy enough and the wind is strong enough to find any ways in.


 With some recent weather we were surprised to find water dripping on the inside of the log walls in a few places. The culprits were large knots in the wood that went throughthe log and were near “shakes” (cracks) in the log or had cracks in themselves.

log-knot-leaks-two.jpg So we measured where the offending knots were inside the house and went outside and translated these dimensions to the culprits on the outside (as the knots are not necessarily going straight through the logs). We then drilled with a 6mm drill in a few places.

log-knot-leaks-three.jpg Then we put some polyeurythene glue in using a syringe with a needle to get it deep into the wood.

 log-knot-leaks-four.jpg And then we hammered some wooden pegs in to keep the glue in and help pressurize it into the cracks. We now have to wait to see if this works next time we get heavy rain and wind. Or of course you could test it with a high pressure hose pipe (not a steam cleaner or pressure washer!)