Log cabins are one of the oldest forms of hand-built homes, and they have also made their mark in our culture as symbols in literature (Uncle Tom’s Cabin), politics (from Abraham Lincoln to Adlai “I wasn’t born in a log cabin” Stevenson) and even toys (Lincoln Logs).
Log homes remain popular, although they have evolved significantly over the past century. In fact, some of today’s most durable and energy-efficient “log” homes feature wood-like steel siding such as TruLog™.
Log Cabins: The Roots
Log structures have provided people with shelters for thousands of years.
Based on archaeological finds, log cabins are thought to have originated in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe around B.C. 3500. The earliest known written description of construction with logs is by Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, a Roman architect and civil engineer who authored the multivolume De Architectura (On Architecture) around B.C. 15.
By the time settlers arrived in North America, log homes were widespread throughout Europe, Scandinavia and Russia. The Finns had a particular affinity for crafting log structures and are believed to have developed the basis for the log cabin as we know it today, a structure that uses interlocking notch joints to hold the overlapping logs in place.
Log Homes in America
The first log cabins in America were actually constructed by emigrants from Finland and Sweden in the mid-1600s in the Delaware and Brandywine River valleys of the East Coast.
Although early English settlers in North America tended to build the types of wood-slat homes they were more familiar with, a National Park Service overview of log cabins in the United States indicates that log homes became increasingly popular as settlements expanded and began to move west.
Log cabins were ideal homes for early settlers and westward pioneers because they could be built quickly, with few tools and little in the way of human resources; one man could fell trees, trim the timber and build a log home within a couple weeks. Most American log cabins through the end of the 19th century were one-room structures, often with a stone fireplace, although some featured lofts.
Modern Log Homes
Log homes, of course, are not without their drawbacks. And while today’s log homes offer advancements in sealing and overall construction, they are still vulnerable to the elements, insects and fungus, and they require ongoing maintenance.
An increasingly popular alternative to timber-based log homes is vinyl log siding or steel-based log cabin siding panels like TruLog™. TruLog™ is maintenance-free siding that is designed to resemble the texture, grain and contours of natural wood.
TruLog™ siding allows you to enjoy the look and feel of an authentic log home without the associated worries about wood rot, breaks in the chinking, resealing and pest infestation. TruLog™ offers superior protection and energy efficiency, and it is available in different colors to suit your taste and your home’s design.
To learn more about the benefits of TruLog™ siding, please contact TruLog™ online or call us at 970-646-4490. TruLog™ is based in Loveland, Colorado, but we ship nationwide and work with installers in multiple states, including Colorado, Wyoming and Missouri.