Title:
Panelized Log Home Construction
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
The present invention relates to panelized log home construction. In a first embodiment, a wall panel comprises a plurality of logs of predetermined length stacked on top of each other. A tongue is machined into each log end such that when stacked a wall tongue is formed from the aligned log tongues. A rod channel runs through the stacked logs for receiving a tension/lifting rod. A first end of the tension/lifting rod comprises a rod lifting attachment for lifting and adjustment of the tensioning force. Optional protective coverings fixedly cover each wall tongue and optional wall utility channels receive wires and pipes, as required. A pair of posts fixedly attached to a foundation slidably receive the wall panels. Machined into each post is at least one wall receiving groove sized to slidably receive and cooperate with the wall tongue. An optional protective groove insert fixedly covers each wall receiving groove to lessen the possibility of post breakage upon wall panel insertion.



Inventors:
Garringer, Robert (Mifflinville, PA, US)
Application Number:
10/907644
Publication Date:
11/09/2006
Filing Date:
04/09/2005
Primary Class:
International Classes:
E04B1/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
HERRING, BRENT W
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
Mitchell, Smolow A. (720 HAMPTON ROAD, SHAVERTOWN, PA, 18708, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A wall panel comprising: a plurality of stacked logs of predetermined length, each log having a tongue at each end such that when stacked, a wall tongue is formed at each side of the plurality of stacked logs; a rod channel transversing the panelized wall from a first horizontal surface to a second horizontal surface; a tension/lifting rod within the rod channel; a first rod tensioning attachment received by a rod first end and a second rod tensioning attachment received by a rod second end; and a lifting attachment received by the rod first end positioned superior to the rod tensioning attachment.

2. The wall panel of claim 1 wherein each log first horizontal surface further comprises a horizontal tongue and the second horizontal surface further comprises a horizontal groove positioned such that when stacked, a first log horizontal groove cooperates with a second log horizontal tongue.

3. The wall panel of claim 2 further comprising an adhesive applied to each side surface of the horizontal tongue and a seal applied to a top surface of the horizontal tongue.

4. The wall panel of claim 1 wherein at least two rod channels are spaced equal distance from a log centerline.

5. The wall panel of claim 1 further comprising a utility channel fabricated in a predetermined location.

6. The wall panel of claim 1 further comprising a seal placed between each stacked log.

7. The wall panel of claim 1 wherein a first log is fixedly attached to a contiguous log.

8. The wall panel of claim 1 wherein the second rod tensioning attachment comprises a first nut fixedly attached to a plate for threadedly receiving the tension/lifting rod, the first rod tensioning attachment comprises a second nut threadedly attached to the tension/lifting rod, and the lifting attachment comprises an eye loop threadedly attached to the tension/lifting rod.

9. The wall panel of claim 1 further comprising a protective tongue covering shaped to intimately receive the wall tongue.

10. The wall panel of claim 9 wherein a seal is placed under the protective tongue covering.

11. A panelized wall system comprising: a wall panel having a plurality of stacked logs of predetermined length, each log having a tongue at each end such that when stacked, a wall tongue is formed at each side of the plurality of stacked logs; a rod channel transversing the panelized wall from a first horizontal surface to a second horizontal surface; a tension/lifting rod within the rod channel; a first rod tensioning attachment received by a rod first end and a second rod tensioning attachment received by a rod second end; and a lifting attachment received by the rod first end positioned superior to the rod tensioning attachment, wherein the panelized wall is slidably received within a groove in each of two fixed posts, the posts supported by a structure selected from the group consisting of the foundation and a sill plate.

12. The panelized wall system of claim 11 further comprising a protective groove insert shaped to intimately fit within the groove and a protective tongue covering shaped to intimately receive the wall tongue.

13. The panelized wall system of claim 12 wherein a seal is placed under the protective groove insert and the protective tongue covering.

14. The panelized wall system of claim 11 wherein the panelized wall sealably rests upon a structure selected from the group consisting of the foundation, a sill plate, and at least one base log, the at least one base log fixed to a structure selected from the group consisting of the foundation and the sill plate.

15. The panelized wall system of claim 11 wherein the first and second rod tensioning attachments are countersunk into a contiguous surface such that they do not prevent substantially flush contact of contiguous horizontal surfaces.

16. The panelized wall system of claim 11 further comprising a top plate fabricated for substantially flush contact with the wall panel and grooved posts.

17. The panelized wall system of claim 11 wherein a structure selected from the group consisting of a wall panel and a base log rests on a first portion of the sill plate so as to allow for construction of a floor joist, floor decking and insulation placement on a second portion of the sill plate after placement of the wall panel.

18. The panelized wall system of claim 11 further comprising a drip edge constructed between the sill plate and the foundation.

19. A method for constructing a panelized wall system comprising the steps of: fabricating the wall panel of claim 1; fixedly supporting a pair of grooved posts to a supporting structure selected from the group consisting of a sill plate and a foundation; lifting the wall panel, aligning the wall tongue with the pair of grooved posts and slidably inserting the wall panel within the pair of grooved posts such that the wall panel is supported by the pair of grooved posts and rests upon a supporting structure selected from the group consisting of a base log, a sill plate and a foundation; removing the lifting attachment; and attaching a top plate so that it is in substantially flush contact with the pair of grooved posts and the wall panel.

20. The method of claim 19 further including the step of fixedly stacking additional posts to slidably receive additional stacked wall panels.

21. The method of claim 19 further including the step of fabricating and sealing a panel opening within the wall panel.

22. The method of claim 19 further including the step of tightening the lifting/tensioning rod to an effective force to create an effective seal and minimize cracking of the stacked logs.

23. The method of claim 19 further comprising the step of fabricating a seal between the wall panel and the pair of grooved posts, top plate and supporting structure.

24. The building formed by the method of claim 19.

Description:

FIELD OF THE INVENTION

This invention relates generally to log home construction and in particular, to panelized log home construction.

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

Log cabins have been used as shelter for hundreds of years. The earliest methods of constructing these shelters utilized round logs notched near the corners to provide structural integrity to the completed building as the logs were stacked. Still used today, this method of construction is extremely labor intensive, difficult to fabricate, often drafty, and requires a high level of maintenance.

Stacking round logs results in a relatively small surface area of log to log contact. In order to produce a continuous wall with a reasonable level of thermal and structural integrity, an adhesive material is packed into the horizontal space between logs, a process know as chinking. These walls are referred to as “chinked walls”. Chinked walls require continuous maintenance as the chinking is lost over time and must be replaced.

To reduce or eliminate the necessity for chinking, improved methods of log cabin construction have been developed. One such method involves logs with flattened sides and square notches. When stacked, the flat sides are closer together than rounded sides, minimizing the need for chinking.

The next evolution in log cabin construction utilized a scribing of one log of a wall to approximately match the contour of the log upon which it rested, thereby bringing the logs into more intimate contact. This intimate contact required only minimal chinking, or alternatively, caulking.

Additional developments to create better structural integrity and increased thermal efficiency have included flattened tops and bottom log surfaces to further increase contact surface area, and the addition of one or more tongues in one of the log faces to cooperate with and fit within corresponding grooves in the flat face of an adjacent log.

While these improvements have contributed to more structurally sound, energy efficient structures, other problems still remain. For example, logs which comprise the log structure tend to shrink in width even if they have been kiln dried prior to placement. This shrinkage, reported to be as much as 1 inch per log, contributes to increased draftiness and water leakage. Additionally, stacked logs settle as they shrink, reducing the overall height of the wall and thereby affecting the position of any structures supported by the wall. Such structures may include doors and windows which become out of square and roof trusses which become uneven.

Still another problem inherent in log cabins built by the above identified construction methods is the difficulty to effectuate major repairs to a wall section damaged by, for example, a fire or flood. Cutting out and replacing a section of damaged wall with acceptable cosmetic results is both labor and time intensive, with resultant high repair costs.

One construction method used to overcome both the shrinkage and wall section replacement problems is to utilize a wall panel comprising horizontal sections of logs stacked between and held in place by two upright support elements. Such an arrangement provides a means for supporting a load above the upper edge of the wall panel regardless of vertical movement between the upper edge of the uppermost horizontal log and the load and allows for relatively easy replacement of a damaged wall panel section.

One example of such a wall panel is U.S. Pat. No. 5,265,390 to Tanner. Tanner's wall panel comprises a base plate, a plurality of horizontally placed wooden logs independently held between a pair of standards and at least one jack mounted on the upper edge of each wall panel. The logs mate with one another without being fixed together so that each log can move separately relative to the standards.

While Tanner's wall panel presents advantages over non-panelized construction methods, problems still remain. Chief among them are the requirement to assemble the wall panel onsite. Accordingly, there is still a continuing need for improved methods to construct log cabins. The present invention fulfills this need, and further provides related advantages.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The present invention relates to panelized log home construction. In a first embodiment, a wall panel comprises a plurality of logs of predetermined length stacked on top of each other. A tongue is machined into each log end such that when stacked a wall tongue is formed from the aligned log tongues. A rod channel runs through the stacked logs for receiving a tension/lifting rod. A first end of the tension/lifting rod comprises a rod lifting attachment for lifting and a second end permits adjustment of the tensioning force. Optional protective channels fixedly cover each wall tongue and optional wall utility channels receive wires and pipes, as required.

In a second embodiment, a pair of posts fixedly attached to a foundation slidably receive the wall panels. Machined into each post is at least one wall receiving groove sized to slidably receive and cooperate with the wall tongue. An optional protective groove covering fixedly covers each wall receiving groove to lessen the possibility of post breakage upon wall panel insertion.

According to a third embodiment, a method of constructing a wall panel comprises the steps of stacking a plurality of logs of predetermined length on top of each other; machining a tongue into each log end such that when stacked a wall tongue is formed from the aligned log tongues; fabricating a rod channel through each log such that when stacked a rod channel runs through the wall panel to receive a tension/lifting rod, a first end of the tension/lifting rod comprising a rod lifting attachment for lifting and a second end permitting adjustment of the tensioning force; and placing a predetermined tensioning force on the stacked walls. Optionally, a protective tongue covering is fixedly attached to each wall tongue and optionally a utility channel is machined into each log such that when stacked, a wall utility channel is formed for receiving wires and pipes, as required.

According to a fourth embodiment, a log home comprises a plurality of wall panels and posts in a predetermined arrangement.

According to a fifth embodiment, a method of repairing a damaged wall panel comprises the steps of removing an effective amount of wall panel cover structure to permit the damaged wall panel to be slidable removed; slidably inserting a replacement wall panel; and repairing the wall panel cover structure, wherein the wall panel comprises a plurality of logs of predetermined length stacked on top of each other; a tongue is machined into each log end such that when stacked a wall tongue is formed from the aligned log tongues; a rod channel runs through the stacked logs for receiving a tension/lifting rod, a first end of the tension/lifting rod comprising a rod lifting attachment for lifting and a second end permitting adjustment of the tensioning force; and a pair of posts fixedly attached to a foundation to slidably receive the wall panels, wherein each post includes at least one wall receiving groove sized to slidably receive and cooperate with the wall tongue.

One advantage of the panelized log home construction of the present invention is the ability to easily and relatively inexpensively remove a panel section to repair major damage caused by, for example, fire or flood.

Another advantage is that the wall panel may be constructed off-site under controlled climatic conditions and then easily transported to the construction site.

Still another advantage is the reduced on-site construction time with concomitant cost savings on labor.

Other features and advantages of the present invention will be apparent from the following more detailed description of the preferred embodiments, taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings which illustrate, by way of example, the principles of the invention.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is an oblique view of a panelized wall.

FIG. 2 is an oblique view of a log.

FIG. 3 is an oblique view of a panelized wall system.

FIG. 4 is a cross sectional view of a portion of a panelized wall.

FIG. 5 is a front view of a panelized wall system.

FIG. 6 is a top view of a post retaining two panelized walls.

FIG. 7 is a top view of a corner post.

FIG. 8 is a cross sectional view of ship lapped stacked posts.

FIG. 9 is a cross sectional view of a panelized wall system in place.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

The present invention will be described in relation to log homes. However, it should be appreciated that the materials described are not limited to wood. Any material suitable for construction may be substituted, for example, metal such as steel and aluminum, composites, extruded wood replacement materials and the like. Furthermore, the present invention is not limited to any particular wood shape or size, nor to any particular building shape. The dimensions described below are used merely as exemplars.

Turning now to the figures, and more specifically FIGS. 1-3, wall panel 2 of the present invention comprises a plurality of logs 4 cut to a finished face dimension plus the depth of wall receiving groove 52, cut into each of two posts 48, described in detail below. Tongue 6 is machined into each end of log 4 such that when stacked wall tongue 84 is formed from aligned log tongues 6. Optionally, but preferably, log 4 has a second tongue 10 machined into a first horizontal surface 12 and a cooperating groove 16 machined into a second horizontal surface 14, such that when logs 4 are stacked, second tongue 10 and groove 16 cooperate in a known manner.

At least one rod channel 20 is drilled into log 4 from first horizontal surface 12 to second horizontal surface 14 to receive tension/lifting rod 22 in stacked logs 4. Preferably two rod channels 20 are drilled at equal distance from the centerline of log 4. Optional utility channel 24 is drilled at a predetermined location so that when logs 4 are stacked, wall utility channel 26 is formed to receive, for example, electrical conduit, water pipe, gas pipe or combinations thereof. If required, utility slot 28, is cut into log 4 to receive, for example, an electrical box (not shown). Utility channel 24 may be cut horizontally into log 4, as required.

Turning to FIG. 4, logs 4 are assembled into a wall panel by stacking and fixing one log 4 on top of another. Seal 30 is placed between each fixedly stacked log 4. In a preferred embodiment, logs 4 are fixedly attached by running adhesive bead 32 along either side of second tongue 10, and seal 30 is created by running insulation bead 34 on top of second tongue 10 prior to stacking. Insulation bead 34 is formed of material that does not interfere with the adhesive process, for example, a high expansion insulation material, rubber gasket, or felt. To provide additional fixation, each log 4 is attached to the log 4 on which it rests with, for example, log screw 36, preferably, a 10″ log screw at 12″ centers. This stacking process is repeated until the design height of panel 2 is obtained.

Shown in FIG. 5, logs 4 may be stacked onto tension/lifting rod 22 as wall panel 2 is being assembled by inserting tension/lifting rod 22 into successive rod channels 20; tension/lifting rod 22 may be inserted into wall rod channel 38 formed by stacked rod channels 20 after wall panel 2 has been assembled; or wall panel 2 may be assembled partly with tension/lifting rod 22 inserted after log 4 stacking and partly with logs 4 stacked after tension/lifting rod 22 is in place, dependant on assembly physical space limitations. Tension/lifting rod 22 is, for example, a ½ inch to ⅝ inch diameter threaded high tensile steel rod. Rod lifting attachment 62, for example, eye loop 64 is threaded onto the lifting end 23.

To provide adjustable tension, tension/lifting rod non-lifting end 66 is, for example, threaded into nut 40 welded onto plate 68. Second nut 41 is threaded onto lifting end 23 and countersunk into uppermost log 4. Tension/lifting rod 22 is tightened to an effective force to create an effective seal and minimize cracking of logs 4. As required, electrical conduit, electrical wire, and/or pipe (not shown) is installed in wall utility channel 26, and electric box (not shown) installed in utility slot 28. Either bottom log 4 of wall panel 2 or base log 70 (FIG. 3) is countersunk to receive nut 40 and plate 68, thereby allowing panel 4 to rest flush upon base log 70. The interface of wall panel 2 and base log 70 also receives seal 30 and adhesive bead 32 in the manner described above.

Turning to FIG. 6, optionally, in a preferred embodiment protective tongue covering 42, for example, a steel channel, shaped to intimately receive wall tongue 84 is installed over wall tongues 84. Protective tongue covering 42 is installed by, for example, drilling holes to receive ¼″ by 4″ screws 50 at 8″ centers. Screws 50 have tapered heads to maintain a flush or smooth finish to protective tongue covering 42. Prior to installation, seal 30 is placed under protective tongue covering 42 in the manner described above.

Returning to FIG. 3, panel openings 44, for example, window and door openings, are cut and framed into wall panel 2 as wall panel 2 is assembled. Alternatively, panel openings 44 may be cut and framed after wall panel 2 has been assembled. Panel openings 44 are framed by installation of, for example, jacks 46, preferably 2×4 inch jacks, adjusted to the rough opening of the window or door unit (not shown) to be installed.

It should be appreciated that prefabricated wall panels 2 may be constructed off site under controlled climatic conditions, thereby providing better quality control, tighter tolerances, and reduction in on site labor costs. Tension/lifting rods 22 and optional protective tongue covering 42 also serve to keep wall panel 2 from bowing as it is raised from a horizontal storage or transport position.

Turning now to FIGS. 6 and 7, post 48 is fabricated with at least one wall receiving groove 52 machined along its length. Intermediate post 54 (FIG. 6) has two wall receiving grooves 52 machined into opposite sides, while corner post 56 (FIG. 7) has two wall receiving grooves machined into, for example, 90 degree sides. In a preferred embodiment, corner post 56 is fabricated from a minimum of 8″×8″ cut stock.

Optionally, but preferably, protective groove insert 58, for example, a steel covering shaped to intimately receive protective tongue covering 42 is installed within wall receiving groove 52. Groove insert 58 is installed by, for example, drilling holes to receive ¼″ by 4″ screws 50 at 8″ centers. Screws 50 have tapered heads to maintain a flush or smooth finish to receiving groove 52. Prior to installation, seal 30 is placed under groove insert 58, in the manner described above.

Turning again to FIG. 3, posts 48 are conventionally fastened to foundation 76, for example, with L lags (not shown), preferably, ¼″×6″ L lags or with dowels 74, or combinations thereof. Depending on local building codes, posts 48 may be fastened directly to foundation 76, or alternatively to sill plate 78 which has been fastened to foundation 76.

After installation of posts 48, wall panel 2 is raised by rod lifting attachments 62 and aligned such that tongue 6 (preferably protected by protective tongue covering 42) aligns with post groove 60 (preferably protected by post groove insert 58) and slidably lowered into place. Although wall panel 2 may rest directly upon foundation 76 or sill plate 78 (as required by local code), in a preferred embodiment, at least one base log 70, countersunk to receive tension/lifting rod nut 40, is mounted to foundation 76 or sill plate 78 (as required by local code) prior to placement of wall panel 2. Thereafter, wall panel 2 is slidably mounted as described above and rests upon base log 70.

Once wall panel 2 is in place, rod lifting attachment 62 is removed. If desired, tension/lifting rod 22 may be cut flush with counter sunk second nut 41. However, it is preferable to bore out the bottom log 4 of a second stacked wall panel 2, or the top plate 86, for example, a lentil log, as applicable, to accept the extended tension/lifting rod 22. In this manner, rod lifting attachment 62 may be reattached if wall panel 2 needs to be subsequently removed.

Maximum wall panel 2 dimensions are limited only by the ability to transport, lift and position wall panel 2. Wall panels 2 may be stacked utilizing, for example, dowels 74 or pins, and adhesive bead 32 with a through lag bolt or screw (not shown) from the opposite side of post 48 installed into stacked wall panel 2. Posts 48 may be likewise stacked using for example, dowels 74 or pins, and adhesive bead 32. As shown in FIG. 8, when staked, bracket 78 is mounted within and to span mating post wall receiving grooves 52, using, for example, screws. Optionally, posts may be mated using s shiplap joint 82. Once wall height has been established, top plate 86 (FIG. 3) is constructed using known construction methods, supported by posts 48.

Turning to FIG. 9, wall panel 2 or base log 70, as required by local code, rests on only a portion of sill plate 78. In a preferred embodiment, floor joist 90 is supported by at least a portion of remaining sill plate 78. In this manner, floor joists 90, floor decking 92, and insulation 94 may be constructed after wall panels 2 have been placed. Drip edge 88, is constructed between sill plate 78 and foundation 76.

A plurality of wall panels 2 and posts 48 placed in a predetermined pattern form the log home (not shown). By utilizing the panelized log home construction of the present invention, onsite framing time has been reduced from six to seven months down to five to ten days. Similarly, the time required to replace a damaged wall section has been dramatically reduced.

To repair a damaged wall section, the roof and overlying floor (if present) are cut away a sufficient amount to allow wall panel 2 to be lifted out after cutting the appropriate adhesive bead 32 and replaced with an undamaged or repaired wall panel 2. If a repaired wall panel 2 is used, a replacement tongue 6 is added, if required. Rafters and joists that have been cut away to provide lifting access are repaired using known “sistering” or similar construction techniques, followed by repair of the floor and roof.

Although the present invention has been described in connection with specific examples and embodiments, those skilled in the art will recognize that the present invention is capable of other variations and modifications within its scope. For example, in the exemplar, protective tongue covering 42 and protective groove covering 58 are utilized to prevent breakage of post 48 during installation of wall panel 2. However, depending on the strength of construction materials used, one or both could be omitted.

These examples and embodiments are intended as typical of, rather than in any way limiting on, the scope of the present invention as presented in the appended claims.