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Ron and I have been looking through designs and pictures of log homes for a few weeks now.  We like the full round log design. In the course of research I have found a common theme that Cedar is more bug resistant and is a drier wood thereby reducing the degree of post-construction settling and checking (??).


We can get larger full round pine logs for the approx the same or even slightly less than the cost of cedar in a smaller diameter ( 10" white cedar vs. 12" northern white pine). I am basing this on the coast comparison provided by Hiawatha Log Homes, and observations from other websites and brochures.


Those of you who have completed and/or constructed log homes...Do  you have Cedar or Pine, and how much $$$ per square foot is going into routine maintainance costs? Do you think we would reoup the extra expense for cedar with decreased maintainance costs over the life of the home? Would you choose a different wood than you currently have, and why?




Penny and Ron

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Hi Neighbor,

Don't see many people from CT on here.

I think if you can go with cedar it would be a wise choice. While Alan is right, all log homes do require maintenance. I've seen pine logs require a bit more on the staining side. You get more bleed throughs from the knots and the checks tend to be bigger on pine.

I really don't prefer to build in pine and think for the little more $ in investment it can't hurt to go with cedar.
Randy, I am not sure where you get your information but I do wonder why you are pushing cedar other than having a vested interest......"the checks tend to be bigger on pine.".....this is a "whopper".......have you ever seen an "aged" white cedar log home? White Cedar checks big time whereas Northern White Pine is pretty stable and "IF" the logs have a controlling "kerf" does not check hardly at all......Another "whopper" "I've seen pine logs require a bit more on the staining side"........where did you get that "ditty?"......Stain fails period whether it be on pine or cedar or on the seat of your pants.........why blame the wood? Prior to posting with your misinformation, I would ask that you tell people why you are pushing a particular specy?
Thanks for the comments...not looking for maintainance free...we were just wondering if there was a significant difference in the time and money invested in reapplying stain and possible settling if you go with cedar. I guess I was under the impression that because cedar was already low in moisture content that it caused less problems with settling and checking after construction. All of the information we've been going through is getting a tad overwhelming. i'm glad we have a little while before making final decisions.
Hi Penny,

Regardless of the species you choose to build with, it would be wise to have 2' to 3' overhangs to protect the logs. Gutters on the eave ends will protect the splash up on the logs as well.

Best of luck, Lisa
Penny,I would if possible go with 3 to 4 foot overhangs,but better yet if you want to cut
down on maintenance look into building a wrap around porch,this will save you alot of
money in the long run on maintenance,your finish will last a lot longer because sun and weather
will not hit you logs.I am finding more or more people are going with a wrap around porch now
to cut down on maintenance.Thanks Greg
Hello Penny and Ron,

I think that Dan and Lisa have offered the best advice to you so far. If you choose to use large overhangs and gutters, this will eliminate 75% of your maintenance "problems" up front before you even lay your first log. "Problems" being premature failure of your log finish and log rot.

You are going to get a variety of opinions on which species of wood is best to build a log home. I think Cedar and (Norway Red, Eastern White) Pine is probably the most common, for a variety of reasons. One being that they are plentiful in most areas of the country. Another is that they can both make a great log home.

Cedar is naturally more resistant to insects and decay. This is why many people choose it to build. But, if you were to use Pine and treat it with a glycol based borate like Shell-Guard RTU, you have just made the pine MORE resistant (than Cedar) to these problems.

As far as long term maintenance of your finish, you are going to probably be better off going with the Pine. Cedar has a much different grain structure than Pine, and also has natural oils. In side by side tests using the same semi-transparent finish, the stain on the Pine will outlast the Cedar. I am not saying that you cannot find a durable finish for Cedar, but this is even truer trying to keep finishes on decks.

Whatever finish or wood you decide to use, keep in mind that the darker colors typically require less frequent maintenance than the lighter ones. Do not use a clear.

I wish you the best in your search for the log home of your dreams. If I can be of assistance in any way feel free to email me at or give me a call at 800-LOG-2987.



Not all Cedar is created equal. Northern White Cedar is very tight grain, old growth material that isn't available in long lengths (16' typically max), nor large diameters. So more butt joints to manage. But extremely durable and doesn't shrink as much. The interior floor joists, roof rafters, porch timbers, window/door trim and roof fascia trim is often a different species for economies or size/strength limitations.

Western Red Cedar is a beautiful long length material and is used for wall logs, trim, siding, etc. The support joists and rafters are often a different species for strength reasons.

Eastern Red Cedar is good for porch posts, or cedar lined closets. Too "pecky" in middle to make a log or structural timber.

No matter the species, you will still get shrinkage and settling and it needs to be managed. Some shrink and settle more than others, but the details will be similar.

As the others have suggested, better to spend the money on the design first---large overhangs, porches and gutters to protect the prevailing weather side(s). Then hire the talent to manage the details. The choice of species comes third. Don't underestimate the damage from repeated "splashing", or "wicking" of moisture. Darker colored stains typically last longer than lighter stains. Our western brethren are so fortunate to have a drier arid climate without the mold, mildew and fungi issues that us easterners must manage yearly----regardless of construction type or style.
Thanks all for your replies. Ron and i both appreciate the feedback, and we do like covered porches as opposed to open decks. We like to sit outside in the rain, so we may get some cake and eat it too!


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