A butt joint is where two logs in the same wall and in the same row meet each other. This interface has historically been one of the biggest detractions of log home building and ownership as butt joints that are improperly manufactured, installed or sealed can allow a tremendous amount of air infiltration through the gap in the joint. In fact, some manufacturers and customers are so intimidated by butt joints that they will design an entire home so that no logs need to be butted together. This method, though effective, does add to the cost of a home.
Those manufacturers that do use butt joints handle them in different ways. Some handcrafters will only make homes with walls short enough to be spanned by one log. This eliminates the butt joint entirely but also makes these homes less desirable for many buyers who want a larger home. Some manufacturers build their log homes with walls in what appears to be segments or panels. Between each segment there is a vertical post that logs from both sides butt up against. This is particularly apparent with manufacturers that use short timbers.
Many manufacturers will attempt to reduce the number of butt joints by selecting only wood species that are available in timbers of greater lengths.
RippleCraft deals with the butt joint in two ways. First of all, the selection of either white pine or western red cedar allows us to use timbers up to 16′ in the walls thereby reducing the number of butt joints in a home. Secondly, RippleCraft has designed its own joint that we call a bypass butt joint. In RippleCraft’s butt joint the logs extend past each other by 2″ where they meet. A channel is notched in the joint during manufacturing that is filled with expanding foam on the job site to eliminate any air infiltration. The usage of kiln dried logs also keeps the joints more stable.