Trees growing in a Finnish Forest

What is a laminated log?

In most of our log home kits, we use laminated logs to form the structure of the building. But what is a laminated log and why is it important?

Laminated logs were developed in Finland several decades ago as a method of making logs more stable and strong. Solid tree trunks have a tendency to warp, twist and split as they dry out, which is not ideal in an energy efficient log home.

To start with, the timber used in our log home kits all comes from northern Finnish or Scandinavian forests – usually around the Arctic Circle. The relatively low temperature means that they have grown very slowly over the years, making the timber surprisingly dense. It can often be hard to count the ‘tree rings’ once felled, to see how old the trees were, but typically they are well over 50 years old (and often nearer to 100 years old).

Once the tree trunks have been cut, they are kiln dried to remove excess moisture (and the kilns are fuelled using offcuts and sawdust – nothing is wasted!). Then they are cut, planed and glued together so that the heartwood – the most dense part of the log – is on the outside of the resulting log. This makes the laminated log much more stable and strong than a simple single log. Laminated logs withstand all types of weather conditions, and are far less likely to split or twist over time.

Corner of a log building
An example of a dovetail corner showing laminated logs with the heartwood on the outside

Depending on the log wall thickness that you require, the logs may be glued together in two or four sections. The resulting log is then used to create the structure of your house, with an insulation framework on the inside. In the UK we suggest using logs of at least 95mm thickness, up to around 134mm thick depending on the size of the house and the appearance you’re looking for. We don’t tend to use thicker logs here, because this combination of log and insulation frame provides you with excellent insulation values at an optimal cost.

Example profile of a laminated log 112 x 260mm from our supplier Finnlamelli

By using laminated logs, you can be sure that your log home won’t warp or twist – yes, it will settle slightly over time, but the whole log system is designed to allow for this and you won’t get draughts. The oldest log house that is still standing in Finland was built in the 1400s. In the same way, a log home built today could easily be around in 500 years time.

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