To Chink or Not To Chink

Sue | December 7th, 2011 - 6:58 am

A common misconception with log homes is that all of them should be chinked. We strongly disagree with that statement. Instead, each log home and each owner must be taken as an individual, not lumped together in a blanket conviction that all log homes must be chinked.
In all the log homes we have lived in personally, not one of them has ever been chinked.

handcrafted log home kitchen with chinkking

A lot of the need to chink depends on the log cabin, how the logs fit together, and what materials– if any, were used between the rows of logs. Since the 1990’s the black rolls of foam tape have been developed. This greatly helps to seal between the rows of logs, especially when it is used as a double row of foam tape. Also much better log home caulking has been developed with more elasticity than standard home caulking possesses.

Let’s look at how logs fit together ~

The worst log style is when a log is milled flat on the top and bottom and then stacked up. The vital missing component is an overlap of log to log over a curved surface. The is overcome in the milled log homes by the double tongue and groove stack between rows of logs or the Swedish Cope stack.

When logs are cut flat the builder is relying on caulking and chinking to seal the home against the elements. There is no overlap of log to log. All logs will settle and compress some, so as this natural process occurs the logs can gap apart. Some areas of the chinking will need to be repaired.

Handcrafted Log Home ~

In our handcrafted log homes we use either the Scandinavian Full Scribe method or the Chink Style log homes. The Scandinavian Full Scribe method is where each log is scribe fit together. We also use insulating gaskets between the rows of logs to help to seal them. As a full scribed log settles it cleaves more closely together with the underneath it.

In the Chink Style log homes a chinking channel is intentionally left open between the rows of logs. Sometimes this is referred to as a Non-Settling log style (full scribe homes can also be built with the non-settling technology if required for the specific home, location, etc.). Then chinking is applied between the rows of logs.

Chinking is much better than it was many years ago. Many companies have greatly improved the technology, elasticity of the chinking, and the colors to choose from.

With a handcrafted log home, the Scandinavian Full Scribe method is typically more than the chinking style as less scribing is required to each row of logs. But getting a home chinked is not cheap, so we have found that the costs weighs out in the end. You either pay more for the logs shell, or you pay slightly less for the log shell and take on the expense of chinking.

Chinking on a Personal Level ~

Chinking must also be evaluated on a personal level. If you LOVE the look of chinking, then it should be used for your home. If you hate chinking then you should stay away from styles that require it. For some older log homes that do not have the foam tape between the rows, or if they just are drafty all the time, then it could be you have to chink it to keep the weather out. So the house itself has to be evaluated.

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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