If you’re lucky enough to live in an area that hosts a log home show, you’ll want to make the most of this short-time event. We’ve been to quite a few of them, so we thought we’d provide some tips for navigating your way and getting the answers you need.

Check out the show website. Many times, the exhibit company that is presenting the log home show provides a lot of information on their website for attendees, as well as exhibitors. Google the show’s location and date to find the show website. (Katahdin generally provides links to the events where we’re exhibiting on our website’s Events page, as well as in this newsletter.) Some things to look for include directions to the event location, companies that will be exhibiting, seminars, open houses and special speakers.

Identify your top three choices.
There’s a lot going on at log home shows and it’s easy to get swept up in the buzz. If you walk in with your short list of companies to investigate, you’ll leave the show with a sense of accomplishment rather than a bag of brochures.

Bring a list of questions and a notebook. You’ll want to direct the conversation to questions and areas you need to know more about. If you ask the same questions of each company you’ll be better able to compare them after you leave the show. Katahdin Cedar Log Homes provides a checklist called the Katahdin Challenge that you can download here. It provides a detailed list of areas for comparison, so that you can select the company that best suits your needs.

Take stock of the sales representative or dealer. Even though these log home shows are busy, the person you are talking to should be focused on you and your questions. If he or she is not paying attention to you now, it may be difficult to work with them building your home.

Ask about energy efficiency. State and local building codes have changed with respect to energy efficiency and new home construction. Find out how the company accomplishes meeting these new codes. These energy codes are designed to reduce fuel consumption and save you money over the life of your home. Bypassing the energy efficiency upgrades may save a few dollars in the short term, but will increase the bottom line over the long term.

Understand exactly what is included. Many companies offer packages that include the outer building envelope, but may not include stringers for stairs, roof systems, and/or interior finish details. Ask about the types of windows and doors included in the package to make sure they are the type and quality you need. Also, many of the flat rate packages do not allow for any changes whatsoever, and may cost considerably more for small changes. If you’re going with a design that’s a combination of models, make sure you understand how many revisions you’re provided with before a redesign charge is applied.

Whole log walls, siding or something else? Take some time to discuss the composition of the log home. Are the walls full logs or are the walls traditionally framed then completed with log siding? Or, are the logs a hybrid design manufactured from a combination of log siding and pressurized foam insulation?

It’s a great idea to approach these log home shows as an opportunity to educate yourself about the options. They can be a lot of fun and you’re sure to meet some great people and experience log home lifestyle up close.