Happy New Year From Wild River Log Homes

Wow! 2012 sure flew by in a hurry and hopefully everyone had a great Christmas with family and friends. 2012 was busy here for building log homes in both Minnesota and Wisconsin and thanks to everyone for a great year. The 2013 building season will be here before you know it and now is the time to start planning and going over budgets.

Happy New Year to everyone and don’t hesitate to call or email with questions regarding Wisconsin or Minnesota log homes.

Minnesota log homes

Windows for your log home

Hello! As usual, things are rolling right along. Our late summer starts are all buttoned up, the fall ones are soon to start or have just started and others are looking at next spring already. Fall and winter are great times to start researching log homes and windows are sometimes a secondary thought even though they are a very important component to your log home. Every log home company offers a “package” and are usually affiliated with a window manufacturer. Some will start out with a vinyl window as their “standard” offering. Thats fine for some but in my opinion, a basic vinyl window doesn’t belong in a custom wood home. If you are building a hunting/seasonal cabin that you won’t be using in the winter months then maybe a window like that is fine.

Windows range far and wide for price and quality.  We say stick with the name brands. They got their reputation for a reason and that is through good products and service. One of our popular window line that we use is the Marvin Integrity Wood-Ultrex window. It is a fiberglass exterior with a wood interior. The exterior cladding can be ordered to match your soffit, fascia and roofing and the interior can be stained to match the interior of your log home. Along with the windows they also supply your patio doors so the look is uniform throughout your home.  Marvin has a great reputation here in the upper midwest and the Integrity line of windows are great for Wisconsin or Minnesota log homes.

Another excellent brand of windows to consider for your log home is Pella. Our three most popular lines of Pella are the ProLine, Designer and Architect Series of windows.  Any of these lines of Pella windows will treat you right. All are wood interiors which fit your log home perfect and there are plenty of options that you will see when you are in their website. From between the glass blinds to triple pane efficiency you will see there is a Pella window to fit your needs and budget.

With rising energy costs an efficient window is very important and both of these brands are  efficient windows. Beyond looks, options and efficiency there is service to consider. We have had very few problems with these windows but their field service is outstanding. I know there are some lesser known window manufacturers here in Minnesota and Wisconsin but you really are better off sticking with name brand windows. They are a name brand for a reason. If you are shopping log home companies and haven’t heard of the window they offer I suggest getting familiar with their options and service. We have worked with other brands in the past and will install whichever brand you want however, we will offer our opinion based on past experiences.

For more information on windows, building or planning Minnesota or Wisconsin log homes feel free to call or email and don’t forget that the log home show season starts in Minneapolis this January!

Minnesota Log Home Planning

Hello! I’m finally getting some time to get a blog post up. I’m trying to figure out how we went from the fourth of July to just about Labor Day weekend in a blink of an eye! Even though it is 90 degrees today and feels like summer the calendar says fall isn’t all that far away.  Things have been busy here at Wild River Log Homes. We have log home construction projects underway in both Minnesota and Wisconsin. On top of that, we are in the process of finalizing plans for all of our fall starts. Fall is a great time to build. The temperatures are usually cooler and it usually trends drier than the spring time months. We do carry quite a few builds over through winter. The great thing about a fall start is you can enjoy your new log home or log cabin right away next spring. We do quite a few tear downs of older cabins, usually on lakes, where the cabin owners get one last summer out of the old place and then have us build over the winter. Maybe you aren’t thinking of a fall project but are considering a spring start. Well, now is the time to start sketching out ideas and bookmarking photos. Make lists of what you do and don’t like and then get online and search for log home dealers or companies in your area. After talking to a few of them set up some appointments to visit their models and get to know the companies and see the log products they offer. Winter brings us the show season and shows are another great way to research log homes. We are all there under one roof. Having the fall and winter to plan your project offers plenty of time to get things on track. For any questions on Minnesota log homes feel free to contact us.

Happy Fourth of July

Happy Fourth of July to everyone! Hopefully you all are having a great day with friends and family. How did it get to be July already? It seems like Memorial Day was just yesterday. I do know I’ve had enough of this heat though!

It looks like quite a few have taken the week off and are on vacation. It has been a busy week for myself with site visits and appointments with people at their lake lots or existing cabins. A few out there are spending their last holiday in the “old cabin” and will be preparing for demolition soon so they can have their new log home built and ready for next summer. Others will wait until after Labor Day to start the building process. For a fall start now is the time for plans to be finalized and loose ends tied up. Speaking of log home plans, we can help you out with plans for your log home or log cabin project. It is rare to find the “perfect” log home plan that is already drawn so we have a design team available and will help get your plan drawn to fit your land and your budget.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog and have a great Fourth of July. As always, give a call or email with any questions or just head over to my website for more information on log homes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.



Researching Your Log Home

Things have been crazy around here lately. Foundations are going in around rain storms, plans are being finalized on other Minnesota log homes and deliveries are underway so I haven’t had a lot of time to update this blog lately. This blog is going to be on researching for your log home. Here in Minnesota and Wisconsin there are quite a few log home companies to check out not to mention how many log home companies there are nationally to check out. I’m going to stay away construction options and from the confusion of log home packages in this blog being I have written about that subject plenty in the past.

Where do you start researching for your log home? Well, the first steps are usually reading about log homes online or in log home magazines. Both are great sources to get basic information on log homes and planning all the way to staining and decorating your log home.  At this point it isn’t a bad idea to start a list of questions as well as ideas you would like in your log home.  As you research further into log homes you will start to narrow your searches to the region you will be building in. It is important that the log home companies or dealers that you check out are familiar with where you are building.

Log home shows are another source of information and are a great way to meet log home companies in one location. They are seasonal and here in Minnesota the log home shows are usually held in January and February.

What is next after reading about log homes and spending time looking at log home websites? The next step is to email or call the ones that have stood out on your list. Ask if they know your area, if they offer builder support, custom design service as well as the questions that you listed earlier.

Now that you have spent time online, interviewed a few companies or log home dealers on the phone it is now time to set up some appointments and get in the car and visit some log home models. A model visit is the best way to “test drive” a log home and check out the company first hand. You can see the log profiles, peel styles and just as important, meet the people. Keep in mind it is a long term relationship that forms from planning to completion. Make sure you are comfortable with who you are working with. As a representative of Stevens Point Log Homes I use my own log home as my model. I show my model by appointment and am available just about anytime with enough notice. You will find quite a few log home dealers work out of their own log homes.

Now that you have talked to reps and visited models your list is now getting refined. The next step is to ask to see some homes that have been built previously. This is another way for getting the feel of their product and the quality of their builders.

From there it is time to get estimated build costs from two or three log home companies then on to getting plans drawn and then on to pricing and build costs. Some will go through the stages in a short period of time while others will go in stages over a period of two years or more. Planning and building a log home is an exciting and fun process and is best done at a pace that is comfortable to you.

In the 12 years I’ve been in the log home business it is always interesting to hear how people got the idea to look into building a log home or log cabin. Some spent time as a child in a log cabin on a lake somewhere and have wanted a log home ever since. Others have been to a friends log home and liked the warm atmosphere of the wood. While others may have just recently spent a weekend away at a resort that had log cabins and realized it was time for one of their own.

For more information on Minnesota log homes just give me a call or email and thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

Prefab Log Homes and Log Cabins

Lately we have had quite a few people ask about prefab log homes and log cabins and if we offer that service here in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Yes, we do offer prefab log homes in the form of panelization and half log construction. Quite a few people confuse panelized homes with modular homes. Panelized homes have the walls, floor and roof systems pre-assembled in panels inside a large construction facility, loaded on to a truck shipped to your site with the walls erected on the foundation at your site. Modular is the home is built in a plant and shipped constructed and in halves to the site. These are the homes you see pre-built and on a trailer going down the highway. That is a lot different than panelizing. We don’t get involved with modular, just custom built panelized log homes.

Panelized construction offers just as much plan customization and flexibility as a home that is “built in the field”. This method of home building is a very efficient form of construction for both labor and materials with the savings passed on to you. Keeping your project on budget and stretching your construction dollar is important and this is one great tool that is available to achieve that.

Why panelized construction?

– Panels are constructed in a controlled environment so no rain or snow on your materials

– Saves construction time. A weather-tight shell can be finished in days rather than weeks

– Saved construction time means saved costs to you

– A great way to build green. Short lengths and cut offs are recycled.

– High quality product custom designed for you!

Many of you have already been in a panelized log home and didn’t realize is. Our main model at Stevens Point Log Homes is panelized. Below are a few photos of the construction process of the modeI.

panelized log home Wisconsin
A wall panel being placed at the log home model
Wisconsin panelized log home
The prow wall panel being craned in
Log home panelized
The great room prow wall is set
Wisconsin panelized log home
The finished product!

As you can see, you can get an awesome looking log home or log cabin with panelization. While more people are learning about the cost savings and flexibility of prefab log homes, more are getting built this way each year. You really do need to consider it in your log home research.  Feel free to give us a call or email with any questions regarding any of our building methods. Just head to our main page for Minnesota log homes information.

Log Home Model Open House in Wisconsin

Log home open houses and model visits are a great tool in the log home researching and planning stages. It is a great way to meet the log home company and see their product first hand. It always helps to get a feel for room sizes, house square footage and locations of interior log, tongue and groove knotty pine and drywall if there is any in the home. On top planning ideas a log home open house will give you some excellent decorating and furnishing tips.

We are holding an open house at our main model at Stevens Point Log Homes in Stevens Point, WI on Saturday, April 28th 2012 and the hours are 10am to 2pm. Stop by and you will be able to see how rustic their true half logs look compared to other machine peeled logs offered by some of the other log home companies.

Wisconsin Log Home Open House

Other reps besides myself as Wild River Log Homes will be on hand. Lange Builders from southwest Wisconsin will be there as will Prairie States Log Homes from central Illinois. As most know, Wild River Log Homes offers planning and full service builder support for Minnesota log homes as well as northwestern Wisconsin.

Hopefully we see you at the log home open house. They are informative and enjoyable events.

Rustic Half Log in Minnesota and Wisconsin

The weather says spring is here and another indicator of spring for me is the fact the winter and spring log home show schedule has come to an end. It was a great few months of shows and it was a lot of fun meeting and talking with everyone. Thanks to all that stopped by. The log home planning stages are in full swing for quite a few now with spring to fall starts being scheduled.

It is easy to get confused between half log and full log options, packages and everything else offered in the log home world. While we build quite a few full log homes it seems the trend for log homes in Minnesota and Wisconsin is shifting towards half log more each year. So, for this blog I will be looking a half log options. Some offer just a log siding. Log siding is generally an 1″ to 1 1/2″ in thickness and doesn’t have much of a log profile to it. As the name says, it is just log siding. From there are the half log options. Half log will range from thicknesses of 3″ to 6″ depending on height of log. The half log we build with is supplied by Stevens Point Log Homes and truly is the most rustic half log out there. The heights are 7″, 8″, 10″ and 12″ and those are actual heights. Some log home companies will round up a half to three quarters of an inch.  As a log home enthusiast, you want a rustic hand hewned look and that is achieved with our log. We don’t run our logs through a machine for peeling so the repetitive pattern is avoided. Once our true half log is applied to your home and coupled up with our full log corner options no one will know that you went with rustic half log.

The photo below shows two half logs. The one on the right is the 8″ rustic half log that we offer and the one on the left is “their” eight inch half log option.

Rustic half log
Half log vs. Half Log

As they say, a picture is worth 1000 words! You can’t compare the two, ours on the right is truly a half log while the other is a machined siding. Trees don’t have repetitive patterns on them and neither should the logs on your log home or log cabin. As I have mentioned before, there is no “standard” for packages or logs in the industry so it is left up to you to learn the differences between the offerings of the log home companies. We are here to clear it up, simplify it for you and help you stay on budget. For more information on Minnesota log homes give us a call here at Wild River Log Homes. 651-674-0554

Lake Home and Cabin Show – Schaumburg, IL – March 16 through 19, 2012

It seems like yesterday the 2012 log home show season was just getting underway and already March is here and show season is soon to wrap up. It has been a great couple of months for shows and has been a lot of fun meeting everyone that is thinking of building new or doing a cabin remodel project. We’ll be in the Stevens Point Log Homes booth next weekend at the Lake Home and Cabin show in Schaumburg, IL next weekend. The Lake Home and Cabin show do a great job with their shows. The first one this year was in Madison, WI, last month saw the show in Minneapolis and the third of three is Schaumburg. Quite a few from that area have land in the lake areas of both Minnesota and Wisconsin and it is nice to get a chance to meet you all at the show and talk a bit about the project in person. Log home shows are one of the best ways for us log home companies to meet everyone that is interested in log homes. We have built for quite a few people over the years from Illinois and beyond. With our full service builder support we can run the project with you a state or more away. Everyone loves to be close to the project but with jobs and families it is hard to be there all the time so we update you with emailed photos and project reports so you can see what is going on even when you can’t be there. If you make it to the Lake Home and Cabin show in Schaumburg stop by the Stevens Point Log Homes booth and say hello. As always, feel free to call or email us with any questions about log homes in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Minnesota Log Homes

It is log home planning season here in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the rest of the upper midwest. February is rolling right along and the spring log home building season is getting closer by the day. I can’t believe it has been two weeks already since the Lake Home and Cabin show. It was great meeting everyone there and you could feel that spring was in the air already. I think the lack of a real winter is bringing spring fever a bit early! Quite a few had sketches and plans with them at the show while others have been emailing and faxing their plans. Keep in mind we offer our planning and log home builder services for both new construction and remodels. We can easily transform and existing cabin or home into a log home with the rustic hewn true half log that we offer.

I’ve blogged about log home packages quite a bit before but the topic needs to be repeated because it is one of the most confusing terms in researching log homes. No two companies offer the same inclusions so it is difficult to compare “package to package”. The best thing is to find the product you like from a local or regional log home company and work with their experienced builders to gather all building costs. Too many people get hung up on the materials side of the equation and forget about items such as driveways, permits, foundation and mechanicals.

Since the show I’ve been busy with site visits and model visits. Both are key parts of the log home planning process. Make sure to visit a model to truly get a feel for the product. This is a big decision you are making so you want to make sure all aspects feel right. And speaking of shows, Wild River Log Homes will be at the Lake Home and Cabin show in Schaumburg, IL next month. I’ll be in the Stevens Point Log Homes booth and will be available to answer questions regarding building a log home or log cabin in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the Dakotas. Feel free to check out our website with any questions you may have regarding Minnesota log homes.