How Durable Are Handcrafted Log Homes?

Sue | September 26th, 2012 - 3:29 pm

When making the investment of a handcrafted home an appropriate question is, “How durable are handcrafted log homes?” How would you feel with an answer of, “Over 100 years old!”  Yes, log homes have much longevity, especially when cared for. The best example I can think of to prove this point is the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone.


Old Faithful Inn, Handcrafted Log Style

This massive log commercial building was built all from native lodge pole pine logs.  The logs were harvested from the park and transported to the site.  Begun in 1903 this massive log structure changed the way the world looked at log homes. Instead of being something to be ashamed of living in, log cabins became vogue.

The Old Faithful Inn

Stacked Handcrafted Logs with Post and Beam Above

While the main grand entry is built entirely of stacked handcrafted logs, some of the other areas of the Old Faithful Inna re build with post and beam style. This is one wing of the Inn that we always walk past when we go in to browse through the gift shop and get an ice cream cone. The first level is stacked logs, then the next two floors are Post and Beam construction with what I believe is cedar siding on the outside. Notice the character in the corner log ends. This is a traditional saddle notched corners but the end of the logs are cut at angles, almost giving the feeling that some beavers were on staff to help add character and a natural flair to an already lovely building.

I feel that one of the secrets to the longevity of a handcrafted log home is regular maintenance. There are some very good log home sealants on the market. The handcrafted log home in Bozeman Montana that we are currently building is being covered with a Perma-Chink exterior sealant. I noticed with the lodge the the exterior is almost just plain brown, but the interior still shows the grain and character of the wood.

Handcrafted Log Staircase

This is one of the log staircases that leads up to the open balconies. Very rustic gnarly wood was used for the rustic log railing.  The log stringers and half log steps adds to the log home feel. A log corner can also be seen under the staircase.

Upper Balcony of Old Faithful Inn

Here is a view of the upper balconies. The Inn stands some four stories of balconies high. The very top level has a trap door and high staircase that leads out onto the very top where the flags fly high.  Notice how there is no glu-lam beams or dimensional lumber seen anywhere in this photo.

Half Log Siding on Ceilings

I found another interesting feature to be how the original lodge builders handles the underside of the ceilings. If you look closely at the above photo you will see that instead of 1×6 tongue and groove, the ceilings on this building are covered in true half log siding.  The logs were literally cut in half and fastened to the ceiling.

Post and Beam Log Wing of Inn

This is a photo of one of the towers on the side of the lodge. This tower is built with post and beam construction. Again, over 100 years old! I would love to look that good when I’m 100! And again, this is built from Lodge Pole Pine! Not Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir. Simply Lodge Pole Pine. Sometimes in the log home world Pine can be over looked, but it certainly seems to be serving the purpose for a very long time here!

Round Post and Beam Wing of Inn

One of our favorite haunts is Yellowstone National Park. Since we live about two hours away we find ourselves visiting there often in spring, summer, and fall. (You have to be an avid snow mobile rider to desire to visit there in the winter months.) It is a joy that the architect  over 100 years ago did not discount log homes as simply back woods construction. Instead the young architect Robert Reamer, only 29 years old, realized the charm and grace that only a handcrafted log building could offer.

Cowboy Log Homes


Any projected costs, cost estimates, material costs, and estimated construction/ building costs, are only the opinion of Cowboy Log Homes and are drawn from our experience. Every home is custom tailored to meet our individual client's wants and desires. The construction of a log or timber home is based on two primary costs: material provided by the log home company and construction costs contracted with Cowboy Log Homes as the builder or another builder of the customer's choice. Final costs are obtained and contracted with each respectively. Cowboy Log Homes is simply the "glue" that helps bring these two together to provide a final culmination of a customer's project. * Please note photos and elevations may differ some from accompanying floor plans.
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