23 years of experience, over 160 log homes built
Our own experts choose the material for logs from local state forests
eesti puitmajaliit 12 years of membership in Estonian Woodhouse Association
Factory building of the year 2015: Best hand built log home

Building a log home – 4 important last steps

In two articles, we have divided the construction of log homes into a step-by-step process. If you read our previous article:  Building a log home. How to prevent the budget from bursting?, then you know how important the first two steps are:

  • systematic consultation
  • conceptual and preliminary project

It is now time to give you the last puzzle pieces that would help you to know how to order a log home in an enjoyable way, that would also help you stay in the budget and time frames.


building a log home ready-made log home


The next four steps are:

  • the core project
  • detailed price offer and the contract
  • construction
  • installation and handing over the log home

Let’s go over these four steps in detail..


Step 3. The core project (In this step, specific solutions and budgets emerge.)


Cooperative partner: Engineers and those who carry out special projects, if wished so, then Tender could be the project manager

Average budget: 3-4% of the construction budget

Average period: 2-6 months


The aim of the core project is to describe the architectural and engineering solutions in a way that allows the specification of the cost of the log home, allows to arrange a construction procurement (ask offers for foundation, electricity, heating, water and sewerage works) and also allows to compile a final price offer.


building a log home ventilation solutions


The sequence of strength and synergies calculations moves from top to bottom – starting with volume and density calculation of the roof covering material and the heat layers, which defines the cross-sections of the roof construction details. From there on, everything goes step by step, layer by layer until the foundation.

As the last task of the calculation sequence, the foundation’s strength is defined based on three inputs. These are: heaviness of the whole house, desired foundation type and the structure of the soil that will be under the foundation (structural description of the soil under the construction). Based on the three inputs, the engineer creates a long-lasting and safe foundation solution.

We have written two articles about the foundation of the log homes. Also read those articles and the whole process will become even more clear!

We emphasize that a seamless cooperation with the engineers is based on how thorough is the base project you and your architect have compiled.


building a log home preliminary project


As a client you can lead the core project phase (communicating with different parties to get input) or trust us to do it.

As the core project is finished, it is evident how a log home is done:

  • ventilation
  • heating
  • water supply and sewerage
  • electricity
  • light
  • foundation
  • openings (doors and windows)
  • roof
  • trunnels


building a log home foundation


What are the threats one might face in the core project phase?


In the core project phase, the biggest threat is not doing the core project at all. We see more and more how people want to save money as well as time by not doing it (because how difficult can it be, right?) and by deciding all the details during the process.


It is a well-known truth that if something can be understood in several ways, then that is how it goes. Misunderstandings during the log house construction mean repartition, which are bad for the schedule as well as your wallet. We all would like to avoid it.

There was a case when the customer had to specify the details to builders each morning for half an hour to ensure that things were moving in the right direction.

So we can say that the two main motives for abandoning the core project – saving money and time – are myths and in real life, the financial and time savings caused by the core project can also save you some nerves.

Of course, picking incompetent partners who have no previous experience with log homes can also cause problems. In addition to creating custom projects and calculating, it is always necessary to consider their coeffect in order for the house to function as a whole.

We have a long history of cooperation with our partners and established ways of working help us to save clients’ time as well as money. We are like a basketball team who has played together for many seasons and knows how to understand each other without any words.


Do you want to know where you can see the definite benefit of the core project?


The core project clearly describes the building materials and construction types that you have chosen. It means that the engingeer does not count the core project as finished before all of the important questions have been agreed on. This helps to avoid equivocation or assuming, which is a problem for many people during the building of log homes.


log home core project lighting solutions


When planning the construction based on the core project, it is very easy to conduct parallel activities and/or direct activities on to next cooperative partners. For example, this means that the inner cable mounting of the log walls has already been done in the factory, because it would be extremely hard or even impossible to conduct in the latter phases.

Or for example if the Tender Ehitus LLC team starts the production of the log walls in the Tudu factory, then at the same time our cooperative partners start building the foundation or producing the doors and the windows. Since every important step and detail is set in the core project phase, there is no need to be worried about the productions not fitting later on.

Our experiences show, that parallel activities shorten the completion time of the log home 2 to 3 times.

The core project allows you to follow the building process of the log construction and if needed, even intervene.


building a log home at the tender factory


The core project allows the distribution of the construction process into several phases, all according to your financial capabilities and wishes. The core project helps to clearly define the construction rate of the „karp kinni“ phase from the foundation to the installation of the roof covering material.


building a log home „karp kinni“


Step 4. Detailed price offer of the log home and the contract (It’s time to talk about the money.)


We compile a budget and formulate it as a price offer with the help of the core project.

The construction budget gives you and our team the security that all the necessary processes and content is brought out in the price offer of the log home. The core project allows do conduct the budgeting as accurately as possible. We know for example how many cubic metres of pine timber do we need in order to build the desired log walls.

Following the core project when budgeting helps to divide the job processes into different phases and helps you to plan the financing better.


Conclusion of the agreement (We can almost start the construction.)


We start the negotiations about the construction contract right when the price offer is confirmed to be suitable. The main aim of this is to agree on the volume of construction work, the prices and quality and also the building and payment schedules.

The base documents for the construction contract are the core project and the offer of a price.

When signing the contract, we most certainly add the log home core project with it as well, because the core project includes the quality requirements and material handling together with the necessary joint solutions.

In the moment of signing the construction contract, all of the parties know their roles in building your log home.


Step 5. The construction starts (Finally!)


Cooperative partner: Tender Ehitus LLC

Average budget: 90% of the construction budget

Average period: 2-6 months


We have finally made our way to the phase where things are starting to feel real. We are sure that if you read through the precious steps, then you will understand that there would be no other way to build a log house.


building a log home finally begins


Or maybe there would be, but everything would be chaotic and it would take more time and money. Building a home doesn’t have to be nerve-wracking – it has to be enjoyable and an interesting process. As you see, there are a lot of details and if you just pass through them, then there is no way the outcome would be good.

We construct your log house in our factory, in Tudu, Lääne-Viru County – it is a certified, dry environment. Our manufacturing processes are based on specific quality requirements and corresponding control mechanisms.

The aim of these is to ensure the quality and proper production. You are always welcome in our factory to observe the production of your log home!


building a log home at tudu factory


We agree in the construction contract how and how often do we exchange the information about the production amongst ourselves (this includes photos or videos). This allows you to follow the process and inspect its course from the selection of timber up until internal decoration.

The length of the construction process depends on how technically complicated the log home is and also of the chosen materials and technologies.  For example, if the surface of the logs is planed or are round logs used.

Some finishing processes take more time, some less and we also take it into account while compiling the construction budget. We also reckon what type of corner bonding will be used – whether it is a fishtail corner bonding with or without a wind zipper.

While producing the roof construction, we prefer element-, or if possible, cut out details and their production in Tender Ehitus LLC factory. If needed, we will incorporate our good cooperative partners.

One by one, we have peeled, checked and determined the grade of our log and halb-timbered house logs and based on this, we decide how usable they are in different construction parts.

We use a high-quality pine timber that has been harvested from Estonian forests in the winter. The logs needed for your log home are supplied by the State Forest Management Centre (RMK).

After removal of the bark from the logs and sortation, we send them to the dehumidifier, where through the mechanical drying process we lower the moisture percent of the logs to ca 20% and after that, the logs go to afterdrying.

According to the log home standard of the Estonian Woodhouse Association, the average moisture content during the production in the wall logs can not be over 20%. Dry log will not shrink when drying some more and the possibility of mildew infection (f.e blueing) has been brought down to minimum.

The production of your log home is conducted by the experienced carpenters of Tender Ehitus LLC. We ensure a high-quality result just as you have written down in the core project. Building log homes is our everyday job and it is something that we know how to do very well.


Step 6. Installation and handing over the object (Have we already made it to the roof?)


Cooperative partner: Tender Ehitus LLC

Average budget: included in the construction budget

Average period: 2-4 weeks


After the details of the house are ready, they need to be transported and installed. The core project allows us to plan the installation and transportation way ahead, because we know exactly what needs to be transported and installed and in what volume.


installation of the log home at the construction site


When all the parts of the house have been delivered, then the next step is to follow the action plan set by the building manager. This means that the amount of builders needed is known and also how and in what order your new home is constructed is also known.

What happens now?

Now you can take a look at your house and just step in!

Congratulations, your log home – your new home – is ready! With the help of the core project, it is now possible to start with interior works.


If you need any further inspiration about what kind of house would you want, maybe you will get some inspiration from our previous works? Just click on the link pictures of the log homes.



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Building a log home. How to prevent the budget from bursting?

Are you a little bit worried that the construction of a log home consists of so many different steps, which could make the budget and the time frame burst?

The good news is that by following certain steps, it is possible to avoid all the dangers and mishaps (or at least minimize them) when building a log home.

In order for you to know what is important and why, we explain you the most important steps of building a log home with all of its possibilities and risks in the following two articles. It helps you to save money, time and your nerves. What could be better?

In this article, we focuse on two important phases:

  • systematic consultation
  • conceptual and preliminary project

Since we have operated for over 20 years, we can surely say that building a log home without a thought-out construction project will be about 10-30% more expensive than at first thought. There are several reasons for that, starting from unexpected earthworks up until planning the material wrong.

Designing a detailed construction project usually takes up about 5% of the construction budget, but it also helps to set down a very accurate construction budget and helps to keep to it.


It might seem that in order for the log home to get completed faster it is wise to take on some decisions during the construction, but in reality it means the elongation of the construction process and more wasted money and nerves.

Let’s move on to specific steps.


Step 1. Systematic consultation (This is where it all starts.)


With whom: Our specialist

Average budget: Free

Average period: 1-2 hours

The aim of this consultation is to find out in what phase you and your wishes and ideas are at the moment and how to move on from there. It doesn’t matter if you have just looked at some pictures for inspiratsion or if you have already started with the first phases of a project.

designing the log home on paper

hand-built log home on paper

Our goal is to build a log home according to our clients’ wishes, but we have to be sure that those wishes match the possibilities.

During the consultation we discuss all the important topics and questions that affect the project budget and amount of time spent, so that you could plan your next steps better and avoid mistakes that are caused by hurrying.


You need experienced cooperative partners when building a log home


Designing and building a log home requires specific experiences and knowledge, which is why it is advisable that the chosen architects, engineers and builders have previous experience with log homes.

An architect, who helps you in the preliminary and conceptual project phase with the creation of log home drawings, can significantly simplify the work of the following phases if they know what needs to be thought through and how.

Out of the 20 years of experience that we have, well-tried and working solutions have emerged – our architect, who is our cooperative partner knows to take those into account. This ensures a good result and helps to save time during the construction phase.

An engineer, who helps you during the core project phase and with strength calculations should be acquainted with the peculiarities of a sinking house, in order to these things into account.

The more you think about the next phases as you go on, the shorter the whole project is and it is easier to avoid any uncertainties or redos during the construction phase.

For this reason we always suggest to compile a correct, detailed log home construction project before the construction works start – in order to follow all the necessary steps with experienced cooperative partners.


What happens if you skip a step?

Building without a construction project brings on endless discussions about what and how to build and also results in a chaotic building order, which usually results in a bigger budget and more time spent.

For example: building of a log body starts before the right foundation type is determined. Or the building starts without knowing what is the best solution for a roof construction. Or when choosing the foundation type, the soil structure of the plot is not taken into account.

The right order and thinking things through helps to avoid such things.


The result – what is next?


The mapping that is done during the consultation helps us to think together with you and helps us to ensure that you are on the right track with your thoughts.

The result of this is a recommended action plan, that you can follow. You know exactly what you need to do in order to successfully build a log home, who can you ask questions from and which kind of questions and also, how to move on.

When you are done gathering the ideas, you should move on to preparing a conceptual and preliminary project, that is covered in the next part of the article.


Step 2. Preliminary and conceptual project (the log home starts to take shape on the paper)


Cooperative partner: Architect

Average budget: 1-2% of the construction budget

Average period: 2-3 months

Your main cooperative partner during the preliminary and conceptual project phase is the architect, who revises the internal and external views with the location in a way that would let you apply for a licence for construction.

log home project one view

building a log home 3d views

building log homes internal view

The result of this is the architectural solution and the main principles of engineering solutions, that can be specified in the next phases.

In addition to your own wishes and the vision of your future house, the architect also needs as an input the plot’s geodetic base plan with the structure and terms of designing, that have been set down by the municipality.

  1. Geodetic base map is necessary to plan the plot’s land (for example land improvement work to pipe the excess water, creation of a sewarage or leach fields) and to compile different position maps of the construction projects. The base plan describes all the aboveground and belowground utility lines, ground levels and physical properties of the earth.
  2. Besides that, the structural description of the construction site surface is also important – this shows what is the surface in the belowground part. For this, a hole is either digged or drilled and the surface structures that cross the hole are mapped.

For this to be done, it is necessary to order a specific service from the geodetic company, if it’s not already done so. Only by that can the architect be sure that the location of the house is correct.

  1. The design provisions describe the requirements set for the construction site, and you have to take these requirements into account. These requirements are defined according to the zoning plan set down by the local municipality.

The zoning plans can have a different requirement level depending on the location – in some places they are quite declarative or completely non-existent and in some places they are defined in precise details – what, where and how can something be built.

To get the design provisions, you need to visit your local municipality. If you have them, you can rule out the situation of planning a house with your architect that you cannot build in your area early on.


Threats you need to know about


The biggest threat with a preliminary and conceptual project is the situation, where it has not been made sure what and how can be built. Unfortunately we see more and more how all the preparatory work is done and then it becomes evident that all of the planning has to be redone from the beginning.

The design provisions set down by the parish can sometimes be very declarative and the architect in this parish tells you to come back when you are more sure about it and can actually show them something that you wish to do. In that case you are taking a risk, that the preliminary project still has parts that are not suitable for the parish and those parts have to be redone with extra work.

Some parishes have speficied their requirements in a very detailed way that helps to rule out excess work and unnecessary redos. They may have set down the requirements for a maximum height of the house and the style, as well as the corners of the roof, foundation type, trunnel and corner styles, up until the details of the garden.

All of this is a necessary input for your architect, in order for them to know all of your opportunities and in order for them to know how to offer specific working solutions.


What has to be the end result of the preliminary project?


The preliminary project sets down your future log home’s internal and external views with it’s positioning on the plot. That allows you to apply for a licence of construction in the parish and it also allows the engineers to take over the designing process. When the parish gives a green light, it is the time to start with the third phase of the construction project – the core project.

position of the hand-built log home on the plot

log home project design

3d view log home builder tender

It is possible to predict the initial cost of the log home and it is possible to make a price offer, but it is also necessary to take into account that it might differ from the ultimate price by 10-30%. Why is that?

The special projects done during the core project phase finish the last details, but it might happen that during those projects, some things have to be changed or recalculated.


How does it look like?

At first it might seem quite complicated, but if you take your time to delve into it you see, that there is nothing that is impossible to do. Read this article twice, so that no details go unnoticed.

If you might need the help in some way, we are always here for you.


If this article looks at the:

  • systematic consultation
  • conceptual and preliminary project

then next time we take a look at such steps like

  • the core project
  • detailed price offer and the contract
  • construction
  • installation and handing over the log home



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Log house foundation 5 possible mistakes and their consequences

In the previous article, we talked about the logic of how the price of a log house foundation is determined and the steps you need to go through when laying the foundation. This time we will be talking about some of the most common mistakes that are made when planning and building a log house foundation. We will give you the knowledge that will help you to avoid these mistakes and keep more money in your wallet.

People are impatient in the log house design phase

Of course, log houses are no exception! This also applies to the design of other types of houses. We understand it very well, because once you have decided to create your true home and a nest, you would like to do this as soon as possible. You want to already see the walls rising and even better, see yourself cooking pancakes in the kitchen. Immediately! Already the following Sunday.

But good things generally don’t happen when rushing. Hurrying won’t give you a good home or a great log house either. The use of the whole house needs to be thoroughly and calmly thought out. For example, do you want to walk through the whole house whilst sleepy to get to the bathroom from the bedroom or take just a few steps? And how many floors will your home have? It is necessary to decide the layout of the rooms and, accordingly, the water, sewage, electricity and ventilation solutions. All these solutions must be properly designed, as they also affect the foundation.

Our experience has shown that the construction process of a custom log house from the design stage to the construction will take about a year and a half. Tender Ehitus does not currently offer standard products, each project is special. Even if people come with a possible project solution, you still need to make changes, which ultimately will take the same amount of time that would be necessary for designing the house from scratch. This is due to differences in people’s tastes and space needs.

All of us have probably acted hastily without thinking things through, and it is only rarely when this has led to good results. Indeed, very spontaneous trips are sometimes very cool, but you must put aside enough time to plan the things that are meant to last – you will want the home for decades. Hence, definitely plan time and patience for the design phase. Trust us, this way it will be much nicer making pancakes!

Not all issues concerning the log house are decided

There is no doubt that building a log house can be one of the biggest and most important projects in your life and you want to do everything correctly and within the right budget. But there are so many questions at the start that you can go crazy! What kind of roof? How much does the foundation cost? How much does the whole house cost? Can I have such a solution? Which kitchen? Are these windows suitable? Where should the house be situated on the plot? And a thousand more questions.

These kinds of issues are tedious for everyone, and it might happen that you give up and instead decide to solve some of these issues during the construction process. Stop! It’s definitely not a good idea because then the later situation will create boundaries and these limitations might not help with finding the best solution.

As you might remember, in the previous article we said that the house is built from the bottom up, but it is designed from the top down. Therefore, reserve plenty of time and energy with the architects and engineers to get all the questions right on paper. This way you won’t be making wrong decisions later at the building site.

Everything in the name of that carefree pancake making.

Let the log house ideas mature and start planning sooner rather than later

There are people among us, who can imagine things very accurately even if they only see it on paper from a sketch or drawing. Most of us, however, begin to get a sense and see things when the first 3D drawing is ready.

You get the first feel when you see the rooms and the furniture in it. You can be sure to get brilliant ideas about how things could be placed, and you will want to make changes. This is completely natural, it is your future home we are talking about. Our experience shows that usually about three rounds of changes will be made with the architect to arrive at a log house design that is perfect for the client. Once again, it is important to emphasize good cooperation with the architect.

All these changes take time and ultimately affect what the foundation should be like. Now, think what would happen if all these changes were made during construction! Often, it can initiate a domino effect where one change affects everything else – additional work will be needed and you will end up with incomplete solutions that could have been avoided when the house was still on the computer screen.

You will choose the wrong architect to design the log house

We do not doubt that you might have acquaintance that are very talented architects that design beautiful houses every day. The question is whether they have experience with log houses. Log houses have some specific features and if these are not taken into account, it can lead to costs doubling already in the design phase. Why?

This is because the drawings of an ordinary house are not suitable for the construction of a log house, which means that we have to redraw them with our architect. This will cost you extra. So, reading this article and choosing the right architect helped you stay within your budget better. Yes?

From experience, we can say that cooperation with architects and engineers is approximately 5–10% of the planned budget but avoids later failures and an increase in the construction budget by up to 30%.

Mistakes are made in the log house foundation construction stage

Again, we emphasize that the basic project is the alpha and the omega of a smooth and good quality construction process. Why? Because it deals with the overall concept of the construction.

Making mistakes in this case also means choosing the wrong partners. It’s important to choose the right partners for making the foundation, and we’ll be happy to help if you need a recommendation.

A good partner has experience with foundations and they specialise in this type of work. Working with experts will be easier and your home’s foundation will be good.

Some examples of what might happen if the above errors are made

  • The foundation is smaller or larger than the log house shell built for you.
  • Unless it is decided where the rainwater coming from the eaves will be diverted, there will be nowhere for the drainage system to drain to. Would you like it to go into the terrace? Rather not, right?
  • Also, nobody wants to find out when constructing the toilet that the toilet drain wants to go into the log wall or to stay disturbingly far from it.
  • It’s not too fun to discover that the power cord that was supposed to stay near the wall is now in the middle of the room.
  • As forced ventilation has become a standard solution, you will hardly want to have ventilation ducts running along the beautiful log walls; these could have nicely been placed in the constructions in the design phase.

Of course, all such mishaps and problems are solvable, but solutions may not be perfect. Indeed, they will certainly lead to additional costs and unnecessary worries. However, building a home does by no means have to be such a problematic undertaking. And if you want to avoid all this, then you must start – as we do in Tender – from the basic project. Otherwise, the construction will be overbudget and you will not get such quality as you deserve.

We hope that you have saved many thousand thanks to this article, you will understand the need for building design documentation, and you can from early on consider things that people will not think of until, as they say – there is trouble in the house.


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The stages of creating a foundation for a log house and the logic of price formation

Do you know the Tower of Pisa? Would you like to live there? It is obvious that the builders of this foundation got something very wrong in the 12th century because the tower begun to already sink during the construction phase.

A properly constructed foundation of a log house should ensure that the house sinks correctly and uniformly and will guarantee the safety of you and your family. But what processes should be completed for the log house foundation to be just right?

We give some practical suggestions based on our experience and we will also talk about how the price forms – exactly as promised in the title.

Choose the right partners to build a log house foundation

First, we emphasize the need for effective collaboration with architects and engineers who carry out strength calculations and decide which technical solution is best for your house in the specific environmental conditions. They will design a long-lasting and safe foundation solution.

We are primarily engaged in the production of custom log houses, and in the design phase we act as advisors rather than as decision makers. The log house can function when the structure and location of the building have been thoroughly thought out in the design stages.

Two important inputs are needed to design a log house (including the foundation) – the design criteria and the topo-geodetic base map, or geobase.

Geobase describes the current aboveground and subsoil state of the construction site and the existing buildings, utility lines (communications, electricity, gas, water, rainwater and sewage networks), ground levels, physical properties of the earth, etc. Geobase is the source document for both the architect and the engineer.

Geobase is necessary for the planned log house to be positioned correctly on the plot. For example, if the plot is wet and low then you are not allowed to use a leach field, the recommended (sometimes also compulsory) foundation solution is a slab foundation, etc.


Source: http://geodeet.blogspot.com.ee/geoalus

Depending on the design conditions and the location of the planned log house on the plot, the architect will determine the architectural design of the log house, which will be coordinated with the engineer in the next stage. Both the architect and the engineer use the geobase and the design criteria for making their decisions. Construction is a collective art of playing well together – all parties have important roles to play. Customer, architect, engineer and the producer of custom log houses.

Tender Ehitus has long-term partners with whom we can offer you a complete solution from the wording of the vision to the maintenance of custom log houses.

It’s worth remembering that construction is done from the bottom up, but design is done in the opposite direction – from the top down. The technical parameters and price of a log house foundation can be precisely calculated when all aspects of the house have been thought about.

In the case of building a log house, we can say that the approximate price is 1,300 euros per square meter of floor space. This price means that you can happily move into the house. Chairs, tables, and the price of the lot are not included in this price.

A more detailed price will become clear after the basic and building design documentation have been made, that is to say that the precise solutions have been decided and thought through before the construction. Without these projects, the result will be uselessly burned money and half-made solutions.

But let’s continue with suggestions.

Revealed cards from the beginning

A very important recommendation is that the size of the budget for log house construction should be boldly stated right from the start. However, the exact budget will become clear when the basic project is ready; without this we don’t operate in Tender either.

Doing this will save both sides a lot of worry and money, and the final result will be better as well. Just like was said above, one reference number is always the square meters of floor space x 1,300 €.

Meaning that if you want to get a house with a floor area of ​​150 square meters, you must make the calculation of 150 x 1,300 = 195,000 euros.

According to your budget, we can also recommend suitable solutions. In cooperation with the builder and architect, you can also discuss saving options and optimise the cost of the log house without losing in quality.

For example, the price is influenced by log thickness, number of openings and corners, materials used, etc. A 150-square-meter house can be built in very different price categories. If we see that it is possible to build the house that you want for cheaper than your set budget is then we will share this information with you as well.

The first step you must take to build a log house

First of all, you need to take a day off and go to the local government to sort out things by asking for the design criteria. In some municipalities this can also be done electronically. Once you get the design criteria, we can also advise an architect with whom we have been working together with previously. We can also give examples of what these architects have done before.

Log house construction is specific and, if the architect does not have previous experiences with log houses then the result is that the same project must be done twice. Which in turn means that you as the client will end up with double the budget. It is sensible not to waste money on this, and to better keep it, let’s say for the bathrooms.

Next thing to decide when building a log house

is to decide with whom your new home will be built. The best result can usually come when the architect and the builder have worked together before. If they know each other then communication is faster and there will be significantly less chances of misunderstandings.

As it said in basketball – the team has already played enough together. By working with such a team, you as a customer will also have a technical and engineering solution that is well thought out.

The role of an architect is to determine the appearance of the house and the type of construction, and the engineer’s job is to make it technically possible and to make the corresponding calculations, which will finally become the input for the builder.

Order your house from a manufacturer who has a long experience in producing custom log houses. There is reason behind saying “Build the first house for an enemy, second for a friend, and the third for yourself”.

Jokes aside, we doubt that you would want your home to be the fourth or fifth, even worse, the first building they have constructed. Even we face surprises from time to time despite the fact that we have completed over 160 houses. Long-term practical experience means a lot.

log house construction

Before your home’s foundation is decided, it is necessary to take soil samples together with a geodesist to see how deep is the bearing layer that the foundation will stand on. (As a remark, that’s what the Pisa men failed with – the soil just started to sink).

What does the price of the log house foundation depend on?

The first aspect is, of course, the size and complexity of the house. The more complex and the bigger the solution, the greater the final price of the foundation. To what standard the visible part of the foundation, i.e. the socle is finished to is also important.

The alpha and the omega of the construction process is a proper work project. When constructing with incomplete preliminary information, the construction budget usually exceeds the planned budget by 30%. Exactly! It really is 30%, regardless of whether it is a slab or pad foundation.

About Foundation Types

Different types of foundations of course also have different prices. The type to be used is determined both by the soil and its load capacity as well as the relief. For log houses, four types of foundations are used.

Pad foundation Source Tarmo Tammekivi
Strip foundation
Slab foundation
Pile foundation

You don’t have to make the choice as the engineer will tell which foundation type is right to ensure that everything functions as needed. Once the house has been decided in accordance with your budget, then the necessary calculations have been made and the foundation type is given in the project.

The cost of the foundation is also affected by whether backfill is done by the builder or not. If you do not know what that is, then basically: when the foundation is built into a hole, then backfill is filling the empty space outside the foundation.

The last big factor affecting the foundation price is floor heating.

Thus, it can be summarised that the price of the foundation depends on its technical complexity, which in turn is affected by the architectural solution and the location of the house.

Certainly, it is worthwhile to involve the builder of custom log houses in the design process, as we have been involved in finding foundation solutions that have been suitable for different types of houses and proven themselves. You can also get foundation builders’ contact information from us.

The opportunity to get everything from one place does not of course mean that you also need to order from the same place. Ultimately, the decision of whom you cooperate with and who will be building your home will be yours. However, if you need advice and assistance, feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you.



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Log Sauna – Planning Decisions to Make Before You Can Heat up the Stones

If you have reached this article, we are assuming that you are a sauna fan, and would like to welcome you with a warm handshake. You are one of us, meaning we know that you understand how beneficial good bathing in hot steam is for the body and the spirit, and you understand the difference between a good and a bad sauna.

For you to get a very good sauna, we have written a step-by-step overview of what kind of decisions you need to make in order to get a place where to test the limits of the stove.


Old school or modern log sauna?


The first decision you must make is absolutely fundamental – whether you want a traditional sauna of the forefathers or whether you are more a fan of a modern sauna, where the water comes from the tap and there is no hassle with buckets. Both have their own charm and neither is better than the other.

Smoke sauna with tiled roof

The first version has a water barrel in the corner of the sauna and water is brought in with a bucket. Many of us have carried water to the sauna with our grandfathers in childhood and can appreciate this activity as an essential part of the sauna ritual.

This solution is a real classic and creates an idyllic setting. If it’s important that the log sauna wouldn’t cost a fortune and not leave a dent in your family’s budget, then this type of sauna is much cheaper to build as we don’t need to worry about creating a wet room solution.

You would be right to assume that a modern sauna, where hot and cold water come from the tap, will need a wet room. What does it mean? It means that it is necessary to think about where the water comes from, where it is heated, and where it flows after use.

In addition, you’ll definitely need to think about how to keep the wet room temperature above the freezing point throughout the entire year. Because…

Although at the moment, you might be certain that you will let all the water out of the sauna before winter arrives, but experience shows that even if you would try to do that, water tends to stay in some places, and this will lead to the sauna creating a huge headache instead of enjoyment. Some places, where water can stay and create trouble are for example, faucets, toilet pots, closed water tanks attached to the stove (if hot water comes from heating the stove), and drain traps.

There is another monkey-wrench that can sabotage even the best of plans. Namely, freezing temperatures may arrive unexpectedly, and you might simply not have time to get to the log sauna at the countryside in time and will end up with a huge hassle thanks to the frozen pipes.

But this is a worst-case scenario, and I’m sure it won’t happen to you. Nevertheless, it is extremely enjoyable to have water from the tap and when there is no washing going on in the sauna room, so the choice is yours.

First choice made? Let’s move on.

Log sauna in Finland


Next, you need to think about three important technical solutions and to decide on a heating source.


In particular, how will the foundation, floor, and the general heat insulation of the sauna look like? Before we move on to these solutions, let’s take some time to talk about the heating source.

The choice for the heater will again depend on your wishes and preferences. Let us give you an idea by explaining various options and solutions.

The first type of heater is the one where you heat up a large mass of stones. The heat stored in stones can then be used for bathing in steam. A well-known truth holds here – the larger the mass of the stones, the more steam can be created by splashing water on heated rocks.

Of course, heating a larger mass will take more time and firewood. Our experience shows that the time heating the sauna will be roughly equal to the time you can spend bathing in hot steam. So, if you spend 4 hours heating the sauna, you will be able to enjoy the sauna for 4 hours as well.

Log sauna with heat-storage stove

There are two solutions for this type of stove. The first is that the fire passes through the stones, but the smoke is directed to the chimney. Soot deposited on the stones disappears with the first splashing of water, after which it is the right time to go to the sauna.

Smoke sauna in Kuru

The second option is for smoke sauna fans. In this case, smoke is not directed to the chimney but it exits through a hole in the sauna room. As a bonus, you get the opportunity to prepare smoked meat! It’s worth considering or what? But smoke sauna is really hard-core and is definitely not for everyone. If you are a guy, then try telling your wife that you are going to build a smoke sauna with soot-covered walls! The smoke sauna may also look like this

Finally, there are stoves, where the rock mass is placed around the stove and is heated up by the shell of the stove. In this case, the rock mass is much smaller meaning that although the sauna gets hot faster, the fire must be maintained during bathing; otherwise you will be throwing water on cold stones.

The stove type determines the size of the sauna steam room and the shape of the benches. For larger rock masses, you will also need a larger and higher sauna room.

Reason? Such a stove extends higher; therefore, the benches need to be higher as well so that the steam from the rocks will reach the bathers.

So, the stove and the heart of the sauna are now in place.

Next, we need to think about where we will get hot and cold water from.


Let’s talk again about the water.


To begin with, the solution developed by our ancestors – a hot water vessel installed to the stove. You heat up the stove and with that the water to rinse yourself with afterwards. The same role will be played by a cauldron on the stove, if there happens to be a stove in the washroom.

Log sauna with a furnace with a cauldron

In that case the cauldron is heated till the water is warm. In a smoke sauna, the cauldron is placed on the stones and the washing takes place in the same room. This is made possible by the high ceiling of the smoke sauna (it is pleasant and cool to wash standing on the floor).

Smoke sauna heater with a cauldron

The correct height of the benches in a smoke sauna

The modern solution is to bring cold water into the log sauna with the utility line. Hot water can then be obtained directly from the utility line, or by using an on-site boiler or a solar thermal collector. Everyone can choose the solution that suits their needs. What we do not recommend is a closed boiler in the sauna room, which is heated with pipes placed in the sauna stove.

Why is this not a good option?

You may get to know your sauna well enough to work out the right balance between heating the stove and the temperature of the water in the boiler, but if a friend makes the fire he might end up with all the water evaporating in the boiler, and if the discharge valve malfunctions, it can lead to disaster.


Once you’ve poured water over yourself. Where will it run next?


If you run water from the tap, you will need to build a proper sewage system. In the wetrooms, which are both the sauna room and the washroom, suitable slopes can be created with a concrete floor.

In an old school sauna, it is enough to have a thick wooden floor with a slope on one side that drains the water into a gutter below that leads into the soil. Depending on the soil, it is also necessary to choose the distance between the water outlet and the sauna.

For example, gravel soil drains water better and the drain does not have to be as far as with clay soils. It is definitely important to avoid moisture remaining near the foundation as it can start damaging it.

And of course, the type of foundation also depends on water drainage. If it is a smoke sauna for example, there is no need for solid foundation; it is sufficient to build it on bearing stones or posts.

But in this case, the floor is not insulated, and during the winter, it is also necessary to take into account that the floor may be cooler, because it is only made of boarding. But cooler does not necessarily mean that it’s cold. One of Tender’s owners has a smoke sauna and it can be safely said that feet don’t get cold in there.

Other types of saunas require a proper foundation. And what kind of foundation, is dependent on the type of soil. But you don’t have to worry about that as the designer will make his own recommendations.


Now you need to think about the sauna’s thermal insulation and internal lining.


Log sauna is excellent, but let’s bring out some of the things that need to be considered so you can enjoy your sauna for a long time and to its full value. These circumstances will occur if inside the sauna, you decide to leave the beautiful logs uncovered.

Sauna room walls made of logs cracks more than we would like. Why? This is because the logs are affected by a very high temperature range. Cool on the outside, but on the inside, we are heating the room to very high temperatures.

If you use the log sauna rarely, the wall heats up slowly due to high thermal capacity. Which means that it takes more time and firewood to get the right sauna temperature.

The third thing you need to take into account is that logs of coniferous wood release resin, and when sitting on the seats and against the wall, your back can stick to the wall.

The good news is that there is a solution to all of these problems.

If it is not a smoke sauna, then the option would be to board the logs using hardwood. Such a solution creates the possibility to install both an additional heat insulation and a vapor barrier to protect the logs. The latter also helps to make the sauna room more airtight and reduces heat loss. The same logic applies to the washroom.

The inner lining in the sauna and wash room create opportunities for good solutions for the floor and wall joints. A so-called bath is created on the floor. Hydro insulation has to rise to the walls and it is good to put it behind the lining. This way the whole solution looks more beautiful and will be technically more secure.

However, if you still do not want to give up and want to see natural logs as the internal walls, then you should know that the outer walls should be made of thicker logs, which will provide a more heat-resistant solution. The partitioning walls should be made out of stone and the washing area should be near stone walls, so that the logs would get less moisture.


We are almost done with decisions now.


Lastly, it would be necessary to think about the needs the log sauna has to meet and how many people would go to the sauna together.

Do you want to go to the sauna alone and quickly or would you like relax with friends and family for longer? Would you like your visiting friends to be able to sleep in the sauna house? And whether you would like to heat the sauna and feel comfortable even when it is very cold outside?

Log sauna near Tudu

In the case of guest accommodation, it should be taken into account that if you bathe in steam in the summer, the entire sauna house will remain hot for a long time and you should consider cooling.

For example, you can build a window into the sauna room, insulate the inserted ceiling, or create a separate entrance to the second floor. It might be nice in the summer, but what happens with the same solution if heat does not travel upstairs?

For this, you should design a heat hatch into the inserted ceiling. In this case, however, it is necessary to consider that, in addition to the warmth, a lot of humidity will also travel upstairs.


Since you’ve made it almost to the end of the article, we also have a very good tip for you as a bonus.


You are very likely to go to the sauna in the evening rather than in the morning. In this case, we also recommend planning a terrace for the sauna that overlooks the sunset.

Believe me, you will enjoy it as much as the bathing. Only the thought of sitting in the evening sun after bathing in the steam sounds amazing and personal experience only confirms it.

The terrace could also be covered with a roof, as this will give you a large extra space for cheap, and if desired, you can make it more windproof with lightweight wall panels.

Log sauna in Lemmak

Summary of the decisions you need to make when ordering a log sauna:

  • Traditional or modern solution?
  • What kind of a stove would you like?
  • Where does hot and cold water come from?
  • Where does the water go?
  • Interior lining – yes or no?
  • What other expectations besides good steam bathing do you have for the sauna?
  • Is the sauna going to have a terrace? (Yes, of course!)

What we did not touch on above, but what you should emphasize to the designer is that air exchange must be very good, as it is also one of the important factors that make the sauna enjoyable. Fresh air and a hot stove, what more can you want!



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