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#155985 03/05/05 07:05 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 48
Have any of you had any experience in wiring a log home? If so how did you deal with the wiring? Did you run it along the baseboard and then drill up through the logs?
I have some plans to do a log home and the exterior walls will be full round logs, about 7 inches in diameter, there is not going to be any chinking inbetween the logs. The house will be on a slab, basements are very rare here in Texas, so no access from below. Also, in order to install the outlet and switch boxes, I was going to recess them back into the log so that the plate would fit flush on the face of the log and bevel the sides of the log back towards the plate at a 45 degree angle. What words of wisdom do ya'll have regarding biding the time to do this type of install?????

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#155986 03/05/05 09:07 PM
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 697
Do a search on this site for log homes, WhiteRook. There is some detailed information from guys that have done it before.


#155987 03/05/05 11:48 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 48
Thanks Dave, I did the search and it seems like I was right in my thinking on "how" to do it and the pricing was cost-plus or T&M. Does anyone else have any suggestions or ideas????

#155988 03/06/05 09:51 AM
Joined: Jun 2001
Posts: 642
Did one once before NEVER again.
Bid high you will be drilling for days and will have to be there drilling when each log goes in.
If you are there when the logs are installed the I hope you are very good with a chain saw. You will need some fancy cutting to get the boxes in and a lot of time drilling wiring chases.

#155989 03/06/05 01:34 PM
Joined: Jan 2004
Posts: 615
I would consider trying to keep as much wiring as possible out of the logs. Can you run most of your conduit in the slab? concrete floor boxes for wall recpts. and possible work your switches into door jams? maybe even door jamb switches where possible?

I haven't done log homes, but have done timber frame with foam walls. The key is to have good carpenters that are willing to assist you in problem solving by adding decorative features that will help conceal. Try to build concensous with the builder and other trades that the challenges you face are "our" problems, not the electricians problems.

[This message has been edited by Jps1006 (edited 03-06-2005).]

#155990 03/06/05 03:17 PM
Joined: Jan 2005
Posts: 5,445
Likes: 3
Cat Servant
"Backwoods Home," a magazine that has addressed log home issues, has a simple answer:
"Everything in (exposed) pipe. With thoughtful planning, it's not that visible, and ads to the 'rustic' look. It can also be painted, if you want."

#155991 03/06/05 04:18 PM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 1,064
My pop looked into a log home a couple of years ago. He was going to have one built.

We went to Baltimore Md one weekend to see an expo on Log homes. Some Manufacturers will "pre-drill" holes in logs at the plant for plumbing and electrical.

Having said that, He is now leaning towards a stick frame home with the cut logs on the inside and outside of the home. A little more expensive but alot easier to work with with the same look.


#155992 03/06/05 07:53 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 48
I am fortunate because the owner of the home is a friend of mine and we have talked alot about the difficulty in making this look good. I guess I am also fortunate (time will tell) in the fact that I will be helping him stack the logs. The log package that he got does have channels running length wise if I needed to use them. My suggestion was to use a large baseboard and I could drill the log at an angle to reach the baseboard area. As the logs are stacked I will have to make sure that my holes line up vertically but I do not forsee a problem with that...just time. Cutting the holes for the receptacle and switch boxes is going to be the killer as far as time goes. I really want to make this a neat job. I guess I need to really sharpen my chisels for this one. So, I guess I will have my hands full on this one.

#155993 03/17/05 10:57 AM
Joined: Dec 2004
Posts: 52
kd Offline
I have wired a cedar log home. It had manufactured logs with a white foam interior for each log. It was a wood floor with crawl space but an open beam ceiling with no attic for half the house. The GC routed the wood for the boxes but the job was still a tough one. I suggest a commercial baseboard/raceway with channels for power and phone, cable. Plastic or metal, take your pick. That will handle all the receptacles. For switching I say go with remote control 24 volt system. Then you can run doorbell wire in the doorjams to feed the switches which are surface mount momentary contact sw, like a doorbell. The 120 volt switching is done with soleniods (contactors) located in a panel in the garage or utility. Spend on parts in order to save labor.

#155994 03/17/05 12:03 PM
Joined: Feb 2004
Posts: 494
I have wired and I am currently wiring several log homes as they are very popular in my area.

The modern log home is easy to wire. The builder will drill the raceways in the exterior walls as they go up or after depending on the height. The problem with that is that sometimes the holes will be out of alignment or full of debris so a fish tape will be useful in clearing or pulling in when you can do it simply by pushing.

The interior walls are just like a frame house and not a problem.

The ones I am doing are all 2 story so most everything will run under the 1st level..i always put a sub panel upstairs to handle the large loads on the top level..this will save you some headache...the problem though is WHERE to place the panel...the smallest bedroom is the best location.

The outside walls are not a problem either...just use pancake boxes for the lights and have the builder make a backplate for them. The same goes for exteiror outlets...the builder will cut them in and should provide a backplate (beatuy ring) to make a flat surface for the cover to bear upon.

Now...the real issues to watch for...make sure that the builder is responsible for doing ALL the drilling in the exteriror walls. The ones he misses are going to be a problem...I havent seen one yet where they got it all right.

One I am doing they failed to drill for the wall sconces in the guess who had to do it? right..

I charged for doing ANY work that was supposed to be done by him.

Another build drilled all the holes, then covered them with a nail plate for the sheetrock...blocking over half of them...his reply when asked why he did this? he said "you can just drill down in the top plate to open the hole..

I told him I would do it for a $100 each hole.

They came back and tried to open them and had one hell of a time and finally ended up pulling the plates or busting them in half! What an IDIOT!

Most of these builders are a** holes and can not keep a good electrician so they come pre programmed to be a jerk so watch out....get your money up front if possible..

other than that no real big deal.

in the old days when the logs were not pre drilled I would not even do them...stringing the romes along the walls and trying to drill or running in baseboards is not worth the effort and it looks like crap.

if this is the type of house you are doing you have your work cut out for you. I havent seen that kind of log home in at least 15 years....not saying they arent available but nowadays they are predrilled.

one other thing...the builder set all the switches at 32 inches...too low in my opinion but he cut them in that way and i had to follow that patter on the first level. second levels are usually framed.

The builder also tried to pawn off venting on me and i told him he was dreaming! I dont do venting! so the day before sheetrock..he showed up with some metal vent pipe and spent two days venting the baths and the dryer! watch for that.

be sure to charge twice what you would for regular construction!

i get about $20K for a 4000SQF log home with no frills..anything above required is very extra!

thats advice.

good luck


[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 03-17-2005).]

[This message has been edited by mustangelectric (edited 03-17-2005).]

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