|Building in the Mountains | Design by Location
What's it take to build on a mountaintop? How about in the desert or at water's edge? Experts set the scene for perfect log home design, no matter what terrain you choose...
Design: In mountain environments, it’s all about the view. When people build on land that “slopes aggressively down toward that view, they often don’t realize their foundation costs can rise exponentially,” warns log home architect Rand Soellner, of Cashiers, North Carolina, an area famous for its mountain terrain.
A long and narrow floorplan can keep those expenses down. “The foundation materials will cost less, and you’ll have more of the rooms facing the views for you to enjoy.” Consider how to site the house with prevailing winds, suggests Dianne Collins, construction advisor at Real Log Homes in Hartland, Vermont.
“You’ll want to place your windows on the south side to maximize passive solar gain. Keep windows on the north side to as few as possible since it will receive little sun.” Think mountains, and snow comes to mind. A steep-pitched, standing-seam metal roof encourages snow to slide off and prevents ice dams and drainage issues. Properly designed overhangs and well-draining roofs are critical in keeping water off the log walls.
Log Species: Log species isn’t a major consideration when building in a mountainous region. Doug Mikkelsen, president of Old Style Log Works in Kalispell, Montana, prefers using species native to the area, but says engineering is more important than timber type.