As you gaze over your property appreciating all the beauty and wonder it has to offer you notice your abundance of trees. Although they are a beautiful site a more mesmerizing one would be your own log-built house sitting among them.
How would you do this? Can you use all these trees and are they the right type? Well, today is this article your questions will be answered.
Can you build a house with lumber using trees from your property? The answer is yes you can. Landowners with a lot of trees can cut down those trees and harvest their own wood. They can also contact a buyer and arrange for them to cut and remove the logs. If you are planning to harvest your own trees to build a house then you have certainly come to the right place.
What Type Of Wood Is Best For Building Houses?
Before we dive into cutting your trees down and building your house it is important to know what type of wood your working with. The type of wood will play an important factor when building a house and the lumber you use can vary a bit. Below we will outline the different types of wood there are and what they mean.
What Is Hardwood?
Prior to building your house, you will want to establish what kind of wood or lumbar you plan to use. You can do this by evaluating the trees around your land. There are many trees in this world but they will only fall into two categories, hardwood, and softwood.
Hardwood is very dense wood making it harder to work in most cases. This also makes it much sturdier and heavier as well though. Hardwood is easy to find because hardwood comes from deciduous trees.
Deciduous trees are ones that lose their leaves every year and look beautiful in the fall. Trees like elm, walnut ash, and maple, even birch are good solid hardwood trees. Any one of these options would make a great house.
Hardwood can be, well, hard so there is another option worth exploring. Softwoods are some of the nicest available and certainly worth learning about too. Continue reading for some information about these.
What Is Softwood?
As its name suggests softwood is really “soft”. Not in a pillowy way but in a way that is more workable. Softwood is easier to cut, and form in the ways you need it to lead to more flexibility. Some of the best woods to work with are considered softwoods.
Conifers and evergreen trees are what you will be looking for if you want softwood. These trees include white pine, fir, cedar, and spruce. These are some of the most popular woods to use when building a house.
Can You Use Rough Cut Lumber To Build A House?
This is an area left for much debate but we will touch on it a bit here. Rough cut lumber in a way could be used to build a home. In other ways, it may not be what you want to get mixed up in.
Using rough-cut lumber is a lot like the argument of whether you should buy a Chevy or a Ford. There are contractors and builders out there who have had a lot of success when using rough cut lumber. They report that it is stronger and overall just better.
Other builders believe it is too hard to work with and opt for a lumber mill or yard to source your wood. Not only will they usually cut you a better deal than “box stores” but their lumber is stamped. This is important because some codes require you to use “stamped lumber” in order to be within what is allowed.
Those who have used rough-cut lumber have found other ways to get around this, however. In most cases, an inspector can approve the work and assure that it is structurally safe eliminating the need for the lumber to be stamped.
Although you can use rough cut lumber to build a house a better question is whether or not you should. Doing in-depth research and seeing how this aligns with your plans and what you want from your house overall is the best route you can take. With everything in life there is a place for rough cut lumber as well as prepared lumber, just take your time and be sure.
What Type of Wood Is Best For Building Houses?
To round out this section here is a quick reference to the best woods to use when building houses. This breaks down both hardwoods and softwoods.
- White Pine
Depending on the route you go, whether softwood or hardwood, any one of these woods is a great choice.
How Do You Use Trees From Your Land To Build The House?
Alight now that we know what to use and what is best it’s time to outline what the process could look like. This is by all means not an all-inclusive list but it will provide a great overview of how building your house would look. Read on for our step-by-step guide.
To begin your first step will be to examine all of your trees. Depending on the type of wood you want to build your house with and our house’s building plans you’ll want to make sure you have both the trees, and the wood to do our project. The trees will have to be the right size prior to cutting them down as well.
Remember that there are two types of trees. Hardwood trees lose their leaves every year. These include maple, ash, birch, walnut, and elm. Any of these types of trees will be good for your harvest of lumber.
Softwoods consist of evergreen like trees. These are white pine, spruce, cedar, and fir. Softwoods are easier to work with but not as sturdy. Still, with the right wood, they make an excellent option to build with.
Now that you have identified your trees, and know what lumber will be used it is time to mark them for cutting down. If you are wanting logs then your best options will be from live trees that are standing straight. You will also want them to be tall as this will give you more options after they are cut down to match measurements and all those other small details.
Try to cut down what you need but don’t be afraid of going over so there is enough to complete the home. You can always revisit later and repurpose the wood. Also, avoid twisted trees or damaged ones as these may not hold up or be suitable for what you need them for.
Using something to mark the trees with such as tape, or non-toxic paint mark the ones you have chosen to be cut down. Anything will work as long as you know which trees and that it won’t damage the wood or become a danger to you as well.
Aim for trees that are three-foot or so around and at least twelve feet or longer. Mark all the trees that fit this description and once you are ready move on to step 3.
Now that your trees are marked and you have the amount you need it’s time for the more dangerous part. You could call a professional to do this but it will cost you. Depending on your comfort level and resources it may be safer to do so, just thoroughly weigh both the pro route and the DIY way.
Be sure to follow any and all safety guidelines as well as anything on the equipment you use. No one wants you losing a limb or life just a gorgeous house built. Be careful out there.
Once all that is taken care of you can harvest your trees. If cutting your trees your self start by cutting into the tree on the side you want it to fall, this will hopefully keep you safely away from the tree once it does fall. If possible try to cut the trees in the winter as this is when the sap hasn’t risen yet and will help once they are cut down.
On the opposite side of the tree you are cutting start another notch but this time continue straight through until the tree begins to fall. When the tree begins to fall, get away quickly. As the tree falls it can twist or “kickback” towards where you are sawing causing serious injury.
Continue this process for all the trees you have marked until you have brought them all down. Keep step 4 in mind too as you may decide to do it at the same time as you go. Just know that the more stuff you have nearby the greater chance something could happen.
Once the logs have been cut you need to paint the ends to avoid splitting or cracking as they dry out. A petroleum-based product or log preservative sealant will work. This stuff should be available at any lumber yard or other building store.
Use a rag or brush to coat the end of the logs as soon as possible after they are cut. This may be why you choose to do step 4 as you move along in step 3 just to help save time and keep your logs safe. If you plan to peel the logs by hand then you will want to definitely do this at the first cut.
After you are done it will be time to transport the logs to a sawmill if possible. This is where the final preparations will take place provided you are not doing them yourself.
Paint or cloak the ends of the logs as soon as possible after they are cut.
Either transport your wood yourself or contract and truck and trailer combination to move them for you. Another option is a portable sawmill which can be rented and then process the lumber on site. This could save you a lot of time and headaches depending on your situation.
Whichever method you choose this is where your logs will be cut into boards or dried as logs to be used in building your house. When all cut, and ready you’ll have all the wood needed to begin your house’s construction.
Now as you gaze over your property you can envision your house sitting amongst the landscape. A beautiful structure created from materials and supplies sitting on that very land. A great satisfaction knowing that you can build a house using lumber from your own property.