Building the New Castle, Part 1

Last Week, we featured the New Castle floor plan. While the finished home as presented in that post is indeed a wonderful Real Log Home, what truly inspired us to feature this home was the story of its construction. The Crellin family documented the building of their home with 569 captioned photographs. While we encourage you to browse their gallery, here’s a look at some of the important milestones in the building of the home.

The footers are installed.

The first major step is the construction of the foundation. For this home, footers were constructed of reinforced concrete. These concrete pads help to spread the weight of the home into the earth below. The footers must reach below the frost line to ensure a stable foundation. Wall forms are then constructed on top of the footers, and the concrete foundation walls are poured on top. The log walls rest on these foundation walls.

The logs arrive!

One of most exciting parts of the build is when the log walls arrive. This picture was taken just after the logs were delivered from New England. Even for a median-sized home like this one, you can see that a lot of logs are used.

The logs are numbered and lettered to make assembly a snap. The letter tells you which course the log goes in and the number tells you where in that course the log goes. Since the logs are already cut to size, they quickly go together like a bigger, heavier and sturdier version of a toy building set.

Here you can see the first three courses of logs laid down. The openings for windows and doors are already present when the logs arrive on the job site. This means less waste, both in terms of materials and time on the work site.

A few days in, already a story tall!

This picture was only taken a few days later, and fifteen courses of logs have been assembled. This means the walls are already ten feet tall, despite a snow day during construction. The log walls are well on their way to becoming a home. At this point the second floor joists are installed.

The first structure built for the second floor is the gable end. The log wall continues, but grows narrower with height. The slope of these logs will define the slope of the roof. For now, a temporary brace holds up the wall, but the ridge beam will be up shortly.

A settling jack being installed.

Temporary supports hold up the second floor as a post is installed. This post has a jack screw at the top, for leveling the home as the log walls slightly contract. You can read about this simple procedure here.

Now its looking like a Real Log Home!

In this final shot, the ridge beam is in place and the log rafters are being installed over the home. These rafters will support the roof, as with the roof being built over the garage. Join us again next week as we continue the tale of this log home’s construction.