When choosing a wood species for your log home, you should consider these factors:
3. Ease of maintenance
4. Beauty or appearance
5. Energy efficiency
We believe oak is the best wood to use because it excels in all categories.
Gastineau Log Homes is unique in the log home industry for specializing in homes of solid oak. We offer our oak
logs in both full log and insulated log (half-log) options and in several sizes. Oak is considered a premium wood
species but because other log home companies do not offer oak, we are often asked, “What’s so special about
oak?” and “Wouldn’t an oak log home be much more expensive?” “Why don’t other log home companies offer
oak?” Let’s take a moment to answer those questions.
What’s so special about oak?
Do you like oak furniture? How about oak cabinetry? Flooring? Most people immediately answer “Yes!” Ask why
and they usually say, “because of the beautiful color and grain and the strength and durability of the oak.” Unlike
most of the woods used in the construction of log homes, oak is a hardwood. Its rich grain and distinct warm color
set it apart from the softwoods, like pine. Because of its beauty, people rarely want to stain the inside of their oak
As for durability, oak is legendary. The oldest wooden structure in the world is made from oak. The structural
beams and much of the woodwork in Europe’s finest and oldest remaining churches and castles are made from
oak. Before metals were widely used, the greatest wooden warships in the world had hulls of oak. For centuries,
oak barrels have carried everything from water to moonshine. In the timber frame industry, with its centuries old
building tradition, the durability and strength of oak is unquestioned.
Is oak affordable?
A visit to a local hardwood supplier to look at exquisite oak moldings and cabinetry makes this a reasonable
question. But you have to remember that such products represent the very premium that oak has to offer. The
knots and swirling grain that people find attractive in a log home aren’t suitable for fine trim and cabinetry, where
grain and color must be carefully matched and knots eliminated. We located our mill in Missouri to take advantage
of this amazing natural resource. We are located on the edge of the Missouri Ozarks, where oak is plentiful and
there is not a large furniture industry. Combined with our buying power from the large purchases we make, this is
how we can offer “The Beauty of Oak for the Price of Pine.” In fact, we can also manufacture and sell pine logs,
although no one takes us up on it when they learn they can have oak for the same price!
Why don’t more log home companies sell oak if it is so good?
First, because they cannot buy oak logs in their area at a reasonable price! Missouri is renowned for its oak
forests. As President of the Missouri Forest Products Association, Lynn Gastineau has been intimately involved in
monitoring and maintaining the quality and quantity of Missouri’s most precious natural resource. Her family has
been buying oak logs since 1954 and we have access to the best suppliers in the nation – and we know how to
negotiate and buy at the best prices.
In contrast, pine will grow almost anywhere and is the least expensive wood available for harvesting. Of course
there are varying degrees of quality in pine logs. When comparing wood species or even varieties in a single
species, it is most important to distinguish the different qualities found between the heartwood and the sapwood of
Another significant factor why a manufacturer does not offer oak logs is the machinery necessary to mill the oak
logs. Because of oak’s natural characteristics, it is necessary to design the manufacturing process specifically to
cut oak. Log home companies have machinery that is designed to mill a softwood such as pine. They cannot
manufacture an Oak home with their existing equipment and processes. That is why Gastineau has been able to
dominate the oak log home market since 1977.
Is oak heartwood better than the heartwood of other species?
The heartwood of oak is rated as being “Resistant or very resistant.” This is the same category as old growth bald
cypress, cedars, junipers and redwood. The oak logs provided by Gastineau Log Homes are solid oak heartwood.
It is virtually impossible in today’s market to find only heartwood logs of pine, cedar or cypress because trees of
sufficient size are not available or the cost is prohibitive.
Sapwood of any wood species does not exhibit the same qualities as the heartwood. “The sapwood of all native
species, even those in which the heartwood is highly durable, is susceptible to deterioration by biological agents,
because it lacks extractives. In fact, the presence of reserve foods in the parenchyma cells of sapwood may
increase its susceptibility to decay and particularly to bacteria and fungal staining… even in a tree species with
relatively durable heartwood, the serviceability of an untreated piece of the wood is determined by the amount of
sapwood present.” (Ref: Textbook of Wood Technology) Therefore, even a “Resistant or very resistant” species of
log with sapwood exposed to the outside of the log surface will not be resistant to decay and insects. At Gastineau
we use only the heartwood of the oak.
How is an oak log home easier to maintain?
Yes, in several different ways. First, the finish on the interior of the logs never has to be replaced. A polyurethane
finish has lasted on our homes for 30 years and not had to be replaced!
Second, oak logs do not require chemical treatment to maintain durability and prevent decay. Pine logs should be
treated with chemicals a minimum of every two years (for the life span of the home) to prevent decay.
Third, when you power wash the exterior of the home, the oak logs will hold up against the highest psi you want to
use! This makes the exterior cleaning easier and faster.
Last, it typically does not take as much sealant for oak logs because the cellular structure of the wood is denser,
meaning it will not absorb as much product.
Are Oak logs energy efficient?
The energy efficiency of a log wall is determined by the width of the log where the logs are joined, the sealant
system used between the logs, the R value of the wood and the Thermal Mass of the wall. Our 8” thick oak logs,
superior sealing system between the logs, the R rating and the thermal mass make our oak logs unmatched in
terms of energy efficiency compared to any other log in the industry.
And, our standard R40 minimum roof system is even more important when examining the energy efficiency of the
log home package you purchase. When comparing log home packages, the structural design of the roof will
determine the R-value of the roof you can achieve. This is a critical element in the cost of heating and cooling
How do we build the perfect log home?
We believe the perfect log home has yet to be built. While we strive for perfection we often have to settle for
excellent or outstanding. If excellent and outstanding will meet your expectations – then a Gastineau Oak Log
Home should be in your future.
|We offer oak because we believe it is the best wood for a log home.
|c. 2009 1st Choice Oak Log Homes All rights reserved.
Your 1st Choice for the home of your dreams.