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Old 08-16-2007, 03:46 AM
 
Location: Martinique, in the Caribbean
18 posts, read 83,372 times
Reputation: 12

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Hi everyone,
Would you get a log home in Florida?

I'm not trying to sell anything here, just to know how reasonable it sounds to live in such houses in a hot place.

Thanks for your opinion.
Hyp!
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Old 08-16-2007, 03:54 AM
 
Location: Orlando Florida
1,352 posts, read 5,784,085 times
Reputation: 411
I don't have any experience with log homes but it sounds like the humidity would kill someone who lives in there........i think they used concrete more down here to keep homes cool....maybe someone else knows better but thats just my thoughts
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Old 08-16-2007, 04:12 AM
Status: "No plan is a plan for failure" (set 8 days ago)
 
Location: Florida/Tennessee
2,236 posts, read 4,274,740 times
Reputation: 1140
I have a Log Home in Tennessee and a "stick" built home in Fla.

Without being a subject matter expert... the questions I'd have would be about moisture. How do you incorporate a "moisture barrier" like Tyvec? My neighbor has a log home in Fla, and he's been there 20+ years, it's still there, even after the hurricanes. Structurally I know they have to meet code... so I'd focus on longevity, maintenance and durability.

My issues would be insulation, and type of material for construction. I suspect the insulation in a stick built home would be better because of the space provided, especially in the ceiling. Radiant heating from the sun is a biggie here, and with little of no "membrane" above the ceiling, you know... air space, Your cooling costs would increase dramatically. With a metal roof... of lets say galvalume... that would help. I'd only use Cypress Logs. I'd avoid Cedar and never use pine or any other soft wood. My neighbor has Cedar and had termites, and pine is even more inviting than Cedar.

I love my log home in Tenn, and my stick built home in Fla is perfect for me. Since I built my home in Fla myself I did some reaserch before construction
(in 1995), however I never did consider a Log Home. My criteria was energy consumption, being able to do it myself, wind resistance (Hurricanes) and humidity control. Frame construction was a clear winner for me. So far... it would appear I made a good choice, but if I had the money, the energy, the inclination... I'd consider a Log Home... even in Fla.
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Old 08-16-2007, 07:43 AM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,017,367 times
Reputation: 1079
This is one I actually know something about, because I seriously considered a log home in Okeechobee, FL, and did a lot of research before deciding against it.

I'll keep this one short, 'cause I have some other things to do, so pepper me with questions if you like.

The very first comment came from my best friend, who also happens to be my insurance agent. "Log home? Ha", he said, "wait 'til you try to get insurance for it."

The second was shrinkage. Logs are expected to shrink, and slots are actually cut in the walls so the logs can shrink without buckling the interior walls. As the logs shrink, they slide down around the interior walls. Doors gt jammed and things settle out of whack.

Rot is a problem in So Florida.

Critters, especially termites, love things like natural logs.

All three of those problems can be nearly solved, or at least reduced, by using only hearts of cypress logs. Using one of the pine log kits from the Carolinas or further North would probably be a very bad choice. The problem with the cypress logs is they are fearsomely expensive. Expect your log kit to cost more than a timber frame kit.

Insulation is not a problem -- 8" of solid wood is a better insulator than concrete block, and there really isn't much need for wall insulation in Florida anyway, as the roof insulation is what really matters to keep the heat out. Concrete block houses are built that way because the method is less expensive than others, not to keep houses cool.
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:22 PM
 
Location: Martinique, in the Caribbean
18 posts, read 83,372 times
Reputation: 12
Hi, pslOldTimer,
what kind of wood would do better in Florida?
What did you choose, as you discounted log for your home?
Hyp!
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Old 08-23-2007, 04:45 PM
 
Location: Jax
8,204 posts, read 32,163,153 times
Reputation: 3392
Quote:
Originally Posted by pslOldTimer View Post

The very first comment came from my best friend, who also happens to be my insurance agent. "Log home? Ha", he said, "wait 'til you try to get insurance for it."
Bingo! Good luck getting a mortgage too .

I've seen just a few of them here in NEFL - there's a few out in the Palatka area, which is a small, somewhat rural, fairly poor area. It's the kind of area where the homeowners may have built for cash years back which could explain their ease of a mortgage and insurance - they may have neither .

The best bet in Florida when it comes to building is not to go too far outside the box. Floridians have enough of a struggle with insuring "regular" houses, anything unusual may prove impossible. Though you may not care about that for yourself, if you or your heirs ever plan to sell the house you may have a very difficult time .
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Old 08-23-2007, 06:30 PM
 
Location: Port St. Lucie and Okeechobee, FL
1,305 posts, read 5,017,367 times
Reputation: 1079
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hyperbole View Post
Hi, pslOldTimer,
what kind of wood would do better in Florida?
What did you choose, as you discounted log for your home?
Hyp!
Hearts of cyprus logs. Very expensive, very hard to come by. There are two types of cyprus logs, heartwood and a softer version. Only the heartwood is good for Florida. It's resistant to rot, shrinks less than pine (only a couple of percent) and resistant to critters like termites. One company that uses cypress heartwood logs is Suwannee Log Homes. They're based somewhere in N. Fla and have model homes near the intersection if I-75 and I-10, and on I-95 at the St. Augustine exit.

I'm building a Florida farm house -- part Cracker, part Key West, wrap around porches, metal roof, HardiPlank, 3 dormers. The construction will be 2x6 frame on a raised concrete slab, with poured concrete porches. The interior is two master bedrooms dowhnstairs, with the rest one big open room. Over the great room the ceiling will soar to 23'. Over the bedrooms will be an open loft with a third bathroom; the ceiling will be 12' above the loft. The ceiling is open from one end of the house to the other. The staircase is in the center, rising to a balcony fronting the loft, and a second balcony running across the back of the great room to house the library and my home office. The open loft will serve as guest quarters and my wife's quilting studio. The second master bedroom on the main floor is for my Mother-in-law, who passed her 103rd birthday on August 9. I think she's going to outlive us, but if she does leave us, that will be a nice guest suite.

I picked up an old cast iron clawfoot tub for the master bath today -- it came from an old carriage house on Indian River Drive in Fort Pierce. It's in decent shape, but will have to be refinished inside.
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Old 08-24-2007, 06:57 AM
 
1,418 posts, read 9,352,163 times
Reputation: 913
No! Log homes have no insulation in the ceiling areas (and if they do, then why buy a log home). Log homes are food for termites, and Florida has pleanty of aggressive termite colonies. During the wet months, any wood that is not preasure treated will get mold on it and rot.

Log homes are great for the cool mountains, but not down here in hot, humid Florida. Someone needs to invent a process for casting concrete that looks and feels like logs - I might bite on that. "Logcrete".

As far as shrinkage, that is usually only a problem in very dry areas. Most quality logs used in building a log home are pre-dried to minimize shrinkage. This was a problem in older log homes though.
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Old 08-24-2007, 07:02 AM
 
Location: somewhere on the map
306 posts, read 1,134,957 times
Reputation: 132
also don't forget RESALE potential..................and the neighbors u would be around could HURT property value............
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Old 08-24-2007, 01:52 PM
 
Location: Heartland Florida
9,324 posts, read 23,754,287 times
Reputation: 4900
I know of a log home built from old telephone poles. It was built by a poor guy back in the 70's near Clewiston. The roof is covered with galvanized metal over Tectum fiberboard panels, and it's never had a termite or rot problem. In today's upside-down Florida real estate market I doubt that anyone builds a home for themself anymore.

"also don't forget RESALE potential..................and the neighbors u would be around could HURT property value............"

You can never have too low of a property value, I wish I could figure out how to lower mine!
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