Building with Landscape Timbersgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I am building a temporary living cabin. I wonder if anyone has built one or anything with landscape timbers. I am on a limited budget so I am looking to build a cabin within that. Any other ideas as I am living in Alaska///
-- John Fraley (email@example.com), November 23, 2001
What about a yurt? Cheaper, I would think.
-- Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
-- Rose (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
Landscaping timbers have always been expensive, low quality and usually impregnated with chemicals. None of these traits would make for a good home.
The yurts mentioned might work, An old mobile home or travel trailer
-- Gary (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
To calculate cost versus other building methods you can assume one foot of 3" x 5" landscape timber equals one board foot. That is, if you cut off one foot, cut it into three 1" sections lengthwise, it should produce about one board foot of lumber. Won't be precise, but close enough. One 8' long timber would produce roughly two square feet of wall (as if the timber was cut into 1' sections stacked four high). Thus, a 10'x 8' wall (80 square feet) would require 40 timbers. If $3 each, that would be $120, plus caulking, timber nails, etc. Compare that to a standard cold-weather wall of 2"x6"s, 6" insulation with exterior siding and whatever interior treatment is desired.
Not all landscape timbers are equal. Those coming from different mills can be different lengths, widths and thicknesses. I've even noticeable variations within the same pallet. Not all are the standard 3" flat on the top and bottom, 5" wide and 8' long.
They have been treated with a preservative, which many people consider harmful to human health. This may be a biggie issue.
They have not been kiln dried to my knowledge, thus subject to warpage as they age. At places which sell these, you will normally see a pile of rejects at the base of the pallet.
You will have to use timber spikes (also called barn pole spikes), which aren't cheap. They have ribs on the shanks and are made out of a high carbon metal to remain straight while being driven. Once in, you ain't going to get them out.
You would have to buy calking to put between the layers, say two beads of clear silicon caulk. This can get to be expensive also as a tube of caulk may not do more than three timbers. An alternative would be to cut slots on the top and bottom and use ribbons of hardboard, but there would still be some air leakage at the joints, including where the timbers would butt up against each other. If the timbers shrink lengthwise was they age, significant gaps may occur.
Your exterior walls would have a low R-factor, being solid wood on the average about 4 1/2" thick. I don't have a R-factor table handy for wood, but would expect it to be about six. If you have to put in an interior stud wall for insulation, you might was well go with standard construction.
As you build up, it would be difficult to keep the wall plumb. I've noticed this even with planters.
The wall would be H-E-A-V-Y, meaning a stronger foundation would be require.
Due to future settling, you would have to use the same door, window and wall top techniques as a log cabin to allow for it. Plus, the 5" thickness of the timbers wouldn't allow for standard window or door jams, etc.
You may have the option to order a truckload of untreated timbers from a mill through a local lumber yard. Should be a discount for not having gone through the preservation process, plus a bulk buy of say 10%. May depend on how friendly you are with your local lumber dealer.
When you consider all aspects, I doubt it would be a superior building method than the standard ones. If it were, you would see people doing it, and I certainly don't know of any.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
Hello John, There is an article with pictures of a family that build a small cabin out of landscaping ties. I am not sure which issue of Backwoods Home it was in but, I do know that I did see it. Check with their website and see if it is in the archives. Sincerely, Ernest
-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
We're looking into building as well, and have come across these links from other lists I'm on: www.jshow.com/y2k/ has house plans for a small cabin, and larger buildings that are inexpensive and can be done by you. www.shelter-kit.com offers complete kits made for inexperienced builders, though they are more expensi
-- Toni Rakestraw (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
The only problem is the chemicals the wood is treated with. When sawing the wood you are supposed to wear a mask and not breath the fumes or saw dust. Also the wood cannot be burned because of the fumes from the chemicals. People have been made seriously sick by burning pieces of treated wood in their fire places. Treated wood is not to be used inside a dwelling because of the health problems. Personally I would not expose me or mine to the risk.
-- David (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
JOHN...LANDSCAPE TIMBERS ARE TREATED WITH TOXIC MATERIALS.LIKE POWER POLES THEY MIGHT BE TREATED WITH PCB`S.I WOULDN`T ADVICE ANYONE TO LIVE IN A MATERIAL THAT WOULD BE REFUSED AT DUMPS.THERE ARE STARTING TO ATTACH HAZARDOUS WASTE TAGS TO TREATED WOOD IN CANADA NOW. IF YOU WANT TO GO CHEAP.TRY BUILDING WITH REGULAR 2"X6" STUDS. SHEATH THE OUT SIDE WITH SLAB WOOD FROM A MILL AND MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A FORTRESS ON THE OUTSIDE.YOU WOULD HAVE TO SQUARE OF THE EDGES TO LINE THEM UP AND CAULK THEM.SLAB WOOD IS ALMOST GIVEN AWAY.TAKE THE BARK OFF.INSULATE THE CAVITY AND PUT UP DRYWALL ON THE INSIDE WALL. YOU COULD EVEN DO THE FORTRESS LOOK INSIDE IF YOU WISHED BUT DRYWALL IS CHEAP. BUILD ON POSTS BECAUSE IF YOU HEAT THE GROUND UNDER YOUR HOUSE THEN YOU WILL GET DAMAGE FROM THE THAWING.INSULATE UNDER THE FLOOR VERY WELL.NAIL BOARDS UNDER THE FLOOR JOISTS THEN FILL WITH RECYCLED STYROFOAM.SHRED IT TO GET IT TO FILL THE VOIDS.TOP WITH A VAPOUR BARRIER THEN ADD THE SUB FLOOR.
-- CORDWOODGUY (email@example.com), November 23, 2001.
I have a friend that has a beautiful 1 and 1/2 story home built entirely of landscape timbers. Even the interior room walls. And so is his adjoining carport and recording studio. Don't be scared to try it. Anyway, all logs are treated as well as a great deal of lumber used in building any home.
-- Red Neck (Secesh@CSA.com), November 23, 2001.
Actually, Mr. Neck, the only treated wood used in common stick-built houses are the mud-sills and the exterior decks. It would be a waste of money to use pressure treated anywhere you don't need to. John, I also would advise that there must be an easier and cheaper way to build, and having worked with my fair share of PT I certainly wouldn't have it on the interior of my house...it smells as toxic as it is. If you do decide to go with pressure treated you would still need to seal the outside after the poisons finish leaching back out, in about six months.
-- gilly (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 23, 2001.
John if you have a lot full of timbers you should do it. I wouldn't do this with PT though. We are in the same situation as you, and are hoping to build a temporary "shed", on an inexpensive foundation, using building materials from outbuildings and an old, old farmhouse.
-- rick K (email@example.com), November 24, 2001.
Hmmm....I guess I should go to my friend and tell him and his wife that they are living in an expensive, stinking, chemically hazardous, pile of sticks that only obvious fools such as themselves and several tens of thousands of other people like them would dare live in. On second thought I guess not. I'd rather enjoy their company and the beauty of their lovely landscape timber home. Maybe the wolf won't blow on it too hard.
-- Red Neck (Secesh@CSA.com), November 25, 2001.
GILLY...YOU ARE RIGHT.
RED NECK...FIRST OF ALL I DON`T THINK YOU COULD VALIDATE[PROVE]YOUR CLAIM OF TENS OF THOUSANDS OF OTHER PEOPLE LIVING IN THEM.MOST PEOPLE UNDERSTAND THE HAZARDS REGARDING THE USE OF TOXIC MATERIAL.WHY WOULD AN INTELLEGENT PERSON LIVE IN SOMETHING THAT HAS BEEN PROVEN TO CAUSE HARM OR DEATH TO HUMANS.THERE ARE PEOPLE THAT USE OLD POWER POLES THAT USE PCB`S.ONE OF THE MOST DEADLY TOXINS IN THE WORLD.THAT DOESN`T MAKE THEIR USE SAFE.PLUS A BUILDING INSPECTOR WOULDN`T LET THEM BE USED KNOWINGLY.IF THERE IS SUCH DEMAND CAN YOU NAME SOME COMMERCIAL CONTRACTORS. THERE IS AN ENTIRE COMMUNITY THAT THEY ARE TRYING TO RELOCATE IN MY AREA.THEY HAVE TOXINS IN THE GROUND NOT IN THEIR HOMES. DON`T YOU THINK ITS ODD THAT THEY WILL NOT LET PRESSURE TREATED WOOD OR POLES INTO A LANDFILL.THERE ARE W.ARNINGS ABOUT BURNING THEM AS WELL YOUR FRIENDS SHOULD HAVE THEMSELVES CHECKED OUT.ESPECIALLY IF THEY HAVE KIDS.PLUS DEFORMATIES AND STILL BIRTHS ARE COMMON IN TOXIC AREAS.DIDN`T YOU HEAR OF LOVE CANAL....ALL THE PEOPLE WERE SICK. SOME TOXINS CAUSE CANCER OTHERS ATTACK SPECIFIC ORGANS LIKE YOUR LIVER.SOME BUILD UP IN THE BODY UNTIL THERE IS ENOUGH TO KILL YOU. AS FOR PEOPLE CONSIDERING THIS ..ITS NOT AN OPTION.ALWAYS THROW CAUTION TO SAFETY. BY THE WAY RED NECK LOGS AND LUMBER AREN`T TREATED WITH TOXIC MATERIALS UNLESS THEY ARE PRESSURE TREATED.THE MILLS ONLY PUT AN END SEAL TO LOGS AND LUMBER TO SLOW DOWN THE SEASONING OF THE WOOD. ITS A WAXY SUBSTANCE THATS SAFE AND SOME MILLS JUST USE LATEX PAINT. IT KEEPS THE LOGS FROM CHECKING. GO TO YOUR LOCAL LUMBER SUPPLY STORE AND ASK FOR THE MSDS SHEETS[SAFETY SHEETS] ON THE PRODUCTS USES TO TREAT LANDSCAPE LUMBER. THEN TELL ME YOU THINK ITS OK.BECAUSE LOGS BREATH THERE WOULD BE MOISTURE COMING OUT OF THE LOGS CONTAINING THE TOXINS.YOUR FRIENDS ARE BREATHING IT IN.IF SOMEONE KNEW WHO YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT.THEN WENT TO CHILDRENS AID / SAFETY SERVICE.I THINK YOU WOULD SEE THE CHILDREN REMOVED FROM THAT HOME. I FIND IT TOTALLY IRRESPONSABLE FOR SOMEONE TO RECOMMEND THE USE OF TOXIC MATERIALS.
CORDWOODGUY PS: I ONLY RECOMMEND THAT PEOPLE TREAT THEIR LOGS IN CORDWOOD HOUSING WITH BORATE TREATMENTS.THEY ARE LESS TOXIC THAN TABLE SALT.SOME ARE USED IN EYE TREATMENTS.THEY ARE SAFE!!!!!!
-- CORDWOODGUY (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2001.
Actually, Mr. Neck, the only treated wood used in common stick-built houses are the mud-sills and the exterior decks. It would be a waste of money to use pressure treated anywhere you don't need to. ........................................
No not really, here in the south most anything near the ground or in our case all framing was done with treated wood. Humidity, bugs and termites. Read the tags, no difference between landscape timbers and treated lumber here. The only problem I find is that a temporary shelter is never temporary. Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh (email@example.com), November 26, 2001.
Thank you Vicki. Yes. here in the South we do things a little different. And I wouldn't expect anyone who hasn't lived down here to understand. Besides, not everyone is alarmed by every threat of danger no matter how real or imagined. I can assure you if you build a "wood" house down here and you don't treat it, in a few years you'll have a pile of rotted lumber.
-- Red Neck (Secesh@CSA.com), November 26, 2001.
Vicki, did framing with pressure treated cost more or the same as framing with untreated? Can't get much hotter or wetter than the panhandle of Florida, and I never saw anyone use PT lumber for framing. Of course in FL most houses are on slabs, except the ones with axles underneath. Never seen it in Mississippi or Georgia or North Carolina or any of these other northern states I've been living in.;O)
-- gilly (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 26, 2001.
Gilly, 40 to 50 cents more a board, that is a 2 x 12 and a 4x4, on an invoice today, comparing treated to not. We didn't build on a slab because we went through the horrors of a cracked slab in our first purchased home in the burbs. We of course didn't buy everything new when building our home, in fact all the framing 2x4s were purchased at 1$ each, from a guy in Houston who had decided not to build his shop, a shop which was the same 40x40 that we intially built our home. We have seen no bug problems other than boring bettles that are drilling holes in the porch beams over head! Yes they are treated! Now if the treated wood was supposed to kill us, don't you at least think it would start with these bettles and spiders all over the porch :) Yikes! Vicki
-- Vicki McGaugh (email@example.com), November 26, 2001.