Where are EZ Log Structures produced?
Kits are manufactured in Europe and shipped to North America to dealers or direct to the customer.
How long have they been available?
Interlocking building systems have been produced in Europe since the early 1980’s. EZ Log Structures were introduced to North America in 2010. Today we have a network of dealers/retailers across Canada and expanding dealers/retailers in the USA. Larger cabins and homes are sold factory direct to USA consumers where there is no dealer.
Do they meet building codes?
Yes, most kits meet codes without modifications. Should modification be required for high wind, heavier snow load, earthquake and hurricane regions, these are done at NO CHARGE.
Do I need a building permit?
Most urban regions allow decorative sheds/portable buildings up to 100 sq’ without a permit and other regions may allow larger models. Cabins and homes require permits except in unregulated regions. Contact your building department for local regulations.
What type of wood is used?
Picea-Abais a soft wood that grows in cold climates in northern Europe. A cold growth tree has 6 to 8 times the growth rings than standard (SPF) spruce, pine, fir supplied locally. The dense growth rings create a more stable wood with small tight knots. It’s easy to mill and light in weight. It’s sometimes called Norwegian, Nordic or Baltic Spruce.
Is the wood kiln dried?
Yes, raw materials are kiln dried to 16% moisture content and during handling it’s air-dried to around 14%. This is the required level of moisture to prevent splintering when making cross cuts for joints.
Is there sealer between the logs?
Sealers are not required. The logs have a deep tongue & grove. In larger buildings threaded steel rods are used through the walls to keep the logs tight or log screws may be used for hurricane or earthquake regions.
Do the logs shrink?
Yes, all log construction shrinks. Some advantages of this method are consistent sized materials and kiln drying, which allows for calculated shrinkage. Walls shrink approximately 1 ¾” for every 8’ of wall height. The building is designed to accommodate shrinkage with larger gaps at the top of rough openings that reduce as the building settles. At the end of one year the building will climatise and shrinkage is virtually eliminated, however there is always some small expansion and contraction in wood.
TIP: Windows & doors do not get attached to the logs and float in the rough openings to allow for wall shrinkage. They are held in place by the inner and outer trims sandwiching the logs. After one year they can be fastened permanently.
TIP: Larger cabins and homes have threaded rods at the log junctions. Before installing the rods the walls should be tightened using ratchet straps. The rods have exposed washers and nuts at the bottom and should be tightened every 60 days as the logs shrink. This maintains constant pressure on the logs and keeps them tight.
Does shrinkage affect cabinets?
Upper cabinets attached to log walls are fastened permanently at the top with a sliding bracket used at the bottom. Back splashes, tiles, etc. must be installed to allow the upper cabinet to lower as the wall height shrinks. If the wall has been insulated on the interior, cabinets mount the same as regular construction and are not affected by shrinkage.
Can anyone assemble them?
Smaller models can be done with minimal construction knowledge, there is little or no cutting. Larger models have more components and take time to sort to determine the locations. No heavy equipment is required for assembly. Drawings show numbered components, drawings of each part, location, size and quantity. Reviewing plans in advance reduces onsite assembly time. 50% of customers do their own assembly and 50% hire a contractor, yet some construction knowledge is essential. Larger cabins & homes are delivered with the first 2 rows specially packaged. When these are laid on the foundation/floor, it shows room divisions/floor plan making assembly easier.
TIP: The models with interior walls are anchored to the foundation/floor. Before connecting the first 2 rows they must be squared and leveled. Then use a string from outside wall to outside wall and shim the interior rows higher by ¼” in the middle. This compensates for shrinkage between inside and outside walls. (Crown Up)
How do I attach the building to the foundation?
The first two rows are attached to a concrete slab or wood floor using anchors, screws or brackets.
TIP: Place a moisture barrier between the first row of logs and the foundation, for both concrete and wood sub-floors. Building supply retailers offer moisture barriers or asphalt shingles can be used. Flashing can also be used under the first row.
What’s the R-value of the logs?
Softwood has an R-Value of 1.4 to 1.6 per inch of thickness. A 70mm / 2 ¾” thick log is R 4.4. However, log construction is rated using THERMAL MASS, the conductivity of heat and cold thru solid wood. Energy Star (USA) & Ener-guide (Canada) are government programs that evaluate the efficiency of various methods of construction. Testing on 70mm/2 ¾” logs resulted in a THERMAL MASS rating of R-12 meaning it heats and cools the same as an R-12 insulated wall.
How are the walls insulated to meet codes?
Interior – studs are installed (no top or bottom plates) to the inside walls using a slotted metal bracket provided. Studs are cut sort of the ceiling to allow for wall shrinkage. Wiring & insulation are installed, and studs are covered with ¾” tongue & groove wall boards to match logs. Interior divisional walls are not insulated.
Exterior – studs and bottom plate are applied to the outside of the walls using a slotted metal bracket, moving the stud away from the wall ½” making the stud flush with log horns. Bottom plate is 100mm 4” x 1.5” is anchored to the bottom log. No top plate required, and studs are cut short to allow for shrinkage. Rough openings for windows and doors are framed to match rough openings in log walls. Windows and doors are then installed from the exterior. Insulation and wiring installed, and studs are covered with the exterior of choice. This allows for choices on the exterior, a wood cabin look or a maintenance free exterior such as vinyl or even stucco.
What’s the best insulation to use?
Mineral wool is the recommended insulation for log construction. Mineral wool has a higher R-Value per inch of thickness than fiberglass and mineral wool is not affected by moisture, where fiberglass will deteriorate when it gets wet. It is also considered a green product for construction. Rigid board insulation can be used between studs, but spray foam insulation is not recommended for walls or around windows and doors as this restricts the logs from settling as they shrink. Roofs can be insulated with spray foam or other to meet local codes, shrinkage does not affect the roof.
What’s the R-Value of insulated walls?
Total R-value is determined by combining the wall insulation + thermal mass rating of the logs, wall cover boards and air spaces. A wall with R-15 mineral wool + R-12 thermal mass of logs = R-27. A wall with high density board insulation of 4” = R24 + R-12 thermal mass of logs = R-36.
Is the wood treated?
The wood is natural and has no treatments. Apply a clear wood preservative to the logs as soon as possible then apply an impregnating or penetrating sealer stain/ paint. Oil base is superior, brushing on treatments is better than spaying, it helps the stain/paint penetrate the cavities in the wood. Research the material suitable for the local climate. Note: penetrating stains can bleed through the logs and show on the interior. Test in advance