This article will explain how you can reduce the price of your chinking from $10,000 to $12,000 down to just a measly $500. First some basic information about chinking:
What is chinking?
Chinking is the material that fills the gap between logs in a log home.
A properly built Scandinavian Chinkless style of log home will have no chinking at all (thus the name ‘Scandinavian Chink-less’ rather than “Scandinavian Chinked”).
The Saddle Notch, Butt and Pass, and Dovetail (or Appalachian style) will all have chinking.
The most common chinking materials are:
- Synthetic, petrochemical based, log caulk
- Mortar chinking
Do all log homes get chinking?
Virtually all log homes are chinked.
Yes, even ‘chinkless’ log homes usually have some form of chinking. That’s because it’s hard to find a craftsman using the old tradition of real form-fitting notchwork. And rarely do commercial builders properly air season their logs due to time constraints. So it’s common for little gaps to develop over time that require chinking, and often they are just chinked from the start.
Most full scribe and kit log homes end up using a synthetic chinking product. It would be hard to use mortar on those styles of construction due to such things as chink zone height, log movement, and settling.
A trade saying
“Every chinkless log home, is a chinker waiting to happen!”
Translation: eventually you get gaps, so you have to chink anyways 🙁
Some styles of log construction were designed to accept chinking, such as a saddle notch, dovetail or Skip style Butt and Pass. Our log home building class focuses on Skip style Butt and Pass. Some LHBA students like to use synthetic chinking, but most use mortar.
Some reasons why mortar is so popular with the DIY crowd:
Mortar saves you thousands of dollars versus synthetic!
You can easily save up to $10,000 to $12,000 when building a family sized log home — just by using mortar rather than synthetic chinking. Here is a real life example:
One of our members recently posted in our forum that his neighbor spent $12,000 dollars on chinking a log cabin kit with a synthetic product. That same member is spent just $450 to chink his real Butt and Pass log home with mortar (no, that is not a typo). Our student saved about $11,550, simply by using the Association’s mortar chinking techniques.
Mortar is low maintenance!
There is a lot of erroneous information about mortar chinking. People claim it’s high maintenance, drafty, crumbles, etc. That is all false.
Just use a well tested mortar recipe, and well honed application instructions, and mortar chinking is the best performing, strongest most longest lasting option available. Here is a real example of what mortar chinking should look like after 50 years if the right recipe and application techniques were used (click to enlarge)
Essentially, it looks just like it did right after it was applied. There is no visible deterioration. There are no gaps, cracks, or drafts. This home went through several earthquakes (the highest being a 6.8) and the chinking wasn’t damaged at all. Clearly mortar is an affordable, viable chinking material.
Mortar is fire resistant!
Seriously, this is an important one. If you ever have a house fire remember that synthetic chinking is PETROchemical based. Petro is short for petroleum (aka: gas, oil). That means the fire can become larger, very quick. it also means the fire puts out noxious chemicals and thicker black smoke (compared to natural wood).
The above photo is of fire damage done to a log wall. Notice the chinking is virtually undamaged. The fire burned for over 60 minutes! All the homeowner needs to do was scrub the chinking (done), sand the logs and apply some stain. Now that’s a winning combo: FULL LOG CONSTRUCTION + TRADITIONAL MORTAR CHINKING. Those old timers may have known a thing or two 😉
If the builder had used synthetic chinking, derived from crude oil, then the damage could have been much more severe. .
Log homes are safer than stick frame homes when it comes to fire, but ONLY if you build them right.
Which is best, mortar or synthetic?
That’s hard to say — any answer to that question would only be an opinion. At our log home building class we share all the pros and cons of the different materials and really explain the differences. We also give our time tested mortar recipe and installation tips.
There are some concrete reasons why mortar will actually last longer than synthetic chinking (no pun intended). It’s easier to apply, minimizes potential water damage, requires no specialty tools to apply, et cetera. which makes it DIY friendly.
Warning about mortar chinking:
If you know what you are doing, then using traditional mortar chinking is extremely easy and can save you thousands of dollars.
If you don’t know what you’re doing, using mortar chinking can be a major headache that costs you tons of money and wasted time.
It’s really frustrating when you have to do work 2x to fix the mistakes you made the first time.
Learn how to do it right, before you start!
Don’t worry, our log home class shows you the best way to do mortar chinking. And the class will pay for itself many times over because it shows you how to save thousands on every phase of the construction project.
- Save 10k on chinking, just by using mortar. BAM! You just saved 12x more than the cost of your LHBA class!
- Save 13k on windows BAM! You saved over 16x the cost of the class.
- Get free houselogs BAM! You just saved over 10x the cost of the class (One student just purchased 300 logs for around $1 ea!)
- Get free labor The LHBA member ethic mirrors the Amish barn raising. LHBA students help their fellow students on builds
- Build your log home in just 9 weeks, no kit required!
- That’s how you build a mortgage free log home! Real examples of costs, which shows how the LHBA can help you save money on almost every phase of your log home project — from foundation to roof (and everything in between).
The LHBA has taught over 40,000 people how to build log homes since 1965 and this is the kind of feedback we always get from our students.
“The cost of the class will pay for itself MANY times over, along the entire process of your build! Even if you do NOT build LHBA/Butt-n-Pass, you will gain knowledge (wisdom), that will help you all along the way.” — LHBA student AKchas (forum name)
“The cost of the class is quickly recovered in savings on the job. Once you start thinking non-traditionally about acquiring materials, costs can really drop.
Of course, none of us can guaranty you can get your logs cheaper. That would really fall upon you. LHBA can show you the door, but you must walk through it yourself. The decision is yours.
I make no money or incentive to convince you to do so, but believe it would be in your best interest to attend the class.” — LHBA student Rreidnauer (forum name)
“Best class I’ve ever taken!
We hope to start building our second log home in the next year or two. Built #1, lived in it for 4 great years, & recently sold it.
Knowing what I know now about everything (class, forum, LHBA in general), the class is a steal.” — LHBA student Shark (forum name)
Historic fact: In pioneer times chinking people often used Oakum (hemp fiber) or sphagnum moss as chinking. Sometimes wood itself was used as chinking in a log home — either small saplings were nailed into the gap, or small trees were quartered and nailed so the wedge was pointed into the gap between the logs.
You can read more about log home chinking on our forums: