Most styles of log homes experience settling, like Saddle Notched log homes, Scandinavian Chinkless log homes, log home kits and Appalachian or Dovetail style log homes. Therefore they all require 4 complicated steps during construction to compensate for settling.
Those extra steps add complexity and expense onto a project. They also increase the chance of problems and damage later if not done 100% correctly. This is a pass/fail situation and totally unforgiving.
If you build Skip style Butt and Pass log home, then your home will not settle, and you skip all that complicated stuff. It takes a huge load of stress and extra work off your plate, and makes the construction process surprisingly easy.
Here are all the things you skip, if you build a Butt and Pass log home:
- Keyways — a slot cut into the window and door bucks. The slots allow lag screws to slid down, as the log wall experiences settling. If there was no keyway, then as the log wall settled the the lag screw would damage the windows and doors in your log home. The diagram below shows how the lag screw can slide down in a keyway:
- Settling space — an area above the window or door frame (see Fig A below). It allows the log above the window frame to get lower (due to settling) without damaging the frame. Normally a slip-joint is created with lumber, in which the window is installed. Fig B shows a Butt and Pass log home, where the windows have zero settling space.
There are some real downsides to doing keyways and settling space. If the keyways and slipjoints are not done properly it could result in severe damage to your windows and doors. If your walls settle just a little bit more than expected… severe damage. Also, cutting keyways and making the slip joints is a bit complicated and time consuming (it slows the whole project up).
It would be a lot faster if you could simply cut an opening in the log wall that is just the right size for the window, and then slide the window into place.
- Slip joints for plumbing fixtures: If you don’t install expensive slip joints under your plumbing fixtures, of the appropriate length, then all your plumbing gets ruined as your log home settles.
- Screw jacks under columns: Most log homes have vertical log columns that support either the roof, or the second floor (or both). Under those columns you have to install expensive screw jacks and literally “lower” part of your house every 6 months or so. These are also called settling jacks or post jacks.
It’s not uncommon for the jacks to bend slightly, which makes adjusting the nuts impossible — which is GREAT news, because now you don’t have to belly crawl under your home all the time to adjust them! (just kidding, it sucks and is hard to fix).
A real example of how Butt and Pass makes construction easy:
Luckily there is one method of log home construction that does not settle at all: the Butt and Pass style. Build it right and you skip all 4 complicated steps that other homes require.
Below is a picture of the door on a Butt and Pass log home built by one of our students Notice there is no settling space above the frame. The 4×12 frame literally touches the log above. The vertical bucks don’t even have keyways cut into them.
Not having to accommodate for settling saved the builder a lot of time. Saving time was important, because this student had to build his home during a summer vacation. His desicion to build a butt and pass home enabled him to get his shell up in less than 30 days, working alone. We’ve had members get the shell of their homes up in less than a week with the help a a few friends or hired hands.
With a Butt and Pass log home, you literally just cut the opening to the same size as the frame. Slide the frame in, and lag screw it tight. There is no easier style of log home construction.
If you want the easiest possible experience building your log home, then you should check out the Association’s 2-day log home building class. It is absolutely the best way to jump start your log home building adventure.