Your Log House
The On-Site Manual For The Do-It-Yourselfer
What's the book about?

Illustrated Glossary of Terms

  1. Introduction
  2. Why a Log House?
  3. House Design
  4. Traditional Principles & Contemporary Design
  5. Log Acquisition
  6. Getting Started on the Building
  7. Organizing the Site and Equipment
  8. Foundations
  9. Timber Layout
  10. First Logs & Floor Joists
  11. The Chainsaw
  12. Setting Wall Logs
  13. Openings
  14. Framing Walls
  15. Building the Roof
  16. Round Log Piece-en-piece
  17. Stair Planning
  18. Thermal Resistivity of Wood

• Includes 15 House Plans!

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The Book: Your Log House

8. Foundations

There is a slight difference between log and frame house foundations. The idea that log house foundations and basement walls should be thickened and reinforced, far beyond the requirements of the building code, is mostly mythology and fear born of ignorance. I suggest 8-in. thick walls for crawl spaces as well as most basements — thickening to 10 in. only in those situations where back-fill exceeds 5 ft. above footings. Naturally, in those situations where foundation walls must also retain overburdened and unstable ground, special considerations need to be made, as they would with any type of building. Stay within the legal requirements and guidelines for such things as soil conditions and stability, hardpan levels, water tables, frost levels, and so forth. A typical building start is shown at left in Figure 12.

The squaring and leveling of foundations are done in the commonly accepted carpentry techniques and are written up in many sources. In its simplest elements, foundation squaring is shown below in Figure 13.

Establish 90° in any given corner by the simplified use of the Pythagorean theorem. If the two sides at the corner measure 3 ft. and 4 ft., and the diagonal or hypotenuse equals 5 ft., the corner is square or 90°. Multiples of these measurements can also be used if more convenient. For example: 9, 12, and 15 ft. and metrically: 3, 4, and 5m.

This step provides the beginnings of two adjacent sides of the proposed building.

After staking out the corners of this 40' 8" x 28' 8" rectangle, add approximately 3 ft. all around and excavate. Thus, the excavation becomes approximately 46' 8" x 34' 8", allowing room to work around the footings and walls.

After excavating the building spot, the process of establishing the square building to the outside corners may be repeated. Most books that deal with this subject suggest the use of batter boards and string, thereby making this second step or repetition unnecessary. It takes so little time to go through this process that I prefer to repeat it when putting in my footings or pilings.

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