What’s the actual building process like on a typical log home for you and your team – and the client? RE: Our process begins here. We do all the construction here at our own worksite in Nova Scotia. We fit all the logs, we build the shell, we do all the finished cuts, we do whatever sanding of the knots that we have to do and we apply the finish. Then we dismantle the whole thing and we ship it wherever in Eastern Canada or the Eastern United States it’s going and re-assemble it on the foundation. We’re not spending a lot of time and having to move in a lot of equipment to someone’s building lot. We come in and typically we are there for two or three days and we have the whole thing all put together. As long as we can get a boom truck or crane in close to the foundation and we have lots of reach, we’ll take-on any project. That usually means having a driveway or a road that we can get a tractor-trailer in on because that’s how we transport your new log home. The house we are doing right now will be just off seven kilometres of private road. We get some of that; we have had challenges but that is part of the deal. When I’m building here at the worksite, I like to take lots of pictures and keep the owners up to date on what we’re doing and how things are coming along. Our whole design process is client-focused, too. We have sample plans on our website and we try to maintain a good range of sizes and styles. That 4,700 square foot house I mentioned earlier is on there, so is the smallest one we’ve done. We tell people those are templates: You can take and change around to make it work for you or make it a little bigger or a little smaller. We don’t want to be doing cookie cutter houses. Every person has different needs and every site has different needs. We’ve had people sketch out their dream log home on a napkin and that was the beginning of their house plan – and we managed to get it figured all out for them. And your business relationship with your clients doesn’t end there, does it Roger? RE: That’s right. We do repairs and maintenance on log homes. The maintenance of a log house is important. The maintenance begins with the design and construction of the house because a log house needs big overhangs to protect it from the weather, so our designs all have large overhangs. The other thing is when we are building we are using a borax-based wood preservative; all the joinery is treated with this and borax is a very safe and very effec- tive wood preservative. We have seen some problems on log houses and a lot of the problems that we’ve seen are because people are using the wrong kind of a stain on the house. They are using a stain that is film-forming and it is almost like paint. That seals moisture into the wood, which is not good. We have often had to strip these houses that have this paint on them and put a proper stain on and it makes a huge difference in how well the logs hold up. We
have a glass blaster, basically a sand blaster, and we use a crushed glass medium that does a really good job of strip- ping finish off. Then we use a breathable, penetrating stain. We have a house that we built right on the Bay of Fundy and when the tide is in you can throw a rock from his deck into the water. When the tide is out, forget it. We built that in 1995 or six. This year the new owner wanted us to come down to check it out and redo the stain, so we did. It was in beautiful condition because it was looked after over the years.
MARCH 2018 • SPOTLIGHT ON BUSINESS MAGAZINE
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