Frequently Asked Questions
Ward Cedar Log Homes has been around for more than 90 years, so we are experienced and ready to answer any questions you may have. Here you will find answers to our most commonly asked questions. Have a question that is not here? Get in touch and we will be happy to help you.
Very! Ward Cedar Log Homes offer superior energy efficiency. In fact, log homes surpass frame homes in energy efficiency. We employ the latest technology to engineer and build homes that meet the most rigid conservation standards for a year-round residence even in locations that endure harsh seasonal changes.
The National Bureau of Standards conducted independent tests on six buildings of identical size using various construction methods. While individual experience may vary, tests show that, overall, the log house is more energy efficient than a frame house. During the winter months, the log house performed as well as the frame house. During the spring and fall, the log house necessitated less energy usage than its frame-house counterpart, and during the summer the log home was more economical to cool.
Northern White Cedar has the highest insulating value-per-inch of any native construction wood species. This is a result of its unique cell structure, in which large, less dense cells trap pockets of air to create natural insulation. In fact, wood is one of the best natural insulators that has more thermal mass than fiberglass and most other products.
Absolutely! One thing that Ward has learned over the years is that log home enthusiasts have very different ideas of what they want in their log home! Most of the homes Ward provides are customer-designed for each family. Ward's materials packages can also be custom-designed to fit your needs.
Custom designs are expected at Ward and there is no extra fee for this service! The ideas for your log home can come from any source. You may want to modify a standard Ward design slightly or design your home completely from scratch. It doesn't matter which, there is no extra fee for custom designs at Ward Cedar Log Homes.
Read about Finding the Right Home Design For You and Criteria For Determining Design.
Your representative is factory trained to guide you and your crew through the unloading and construction process. He or she may be a professional builder or will be able to recommend competent contractors in your area.
Representatives can help you design a home that meets your specific requirements. Supported by our in-house design team in Maine, they will work closely with you throughout the finalization of the complete set of working plans, which includes floor plans; foundation dimensions; a floor, ceiling and roof framing plan; elevations; and related details.
Your Ward Sales Representative will be happy to provide you with a list of satisfied Ward homeowners to contact so you can talk with those who have experienced working with Ward.
And we also suggest that you check with your Better Business Bureau for information about both the log home manufacturer and the local sales representative and/or builder of any companies that you are considering. In more than 90 years in business, Ward has no complaints registered with any Better Business Bureau.
Check out some of our testimonials
Don't let sloped ceilings stop you from having the room you need. Add dormers to increase the height of the outside wall and create more second floor living space. Choose either shed or gable roof dormers to provide the exterior style you prefer.
No and here is why. Number 1 - You are interfering with how the logs store heat and exchange moisture with the indoor climate by covering up the log walls. Number 2 - In the event of a construction, design, or environment issue with the log wall system, it usually begins on the outside not inside. If the outside fails, the homeowner will not have an opportunity to see symptoms of water or air leakage on the inside surface before it is too late, causing costly repairs to the homeowner.
Protect your investment by sealing the outside of your home where mother nature begins. Insulating the inside can create long-term moisture issues that no homeowner wants to experience.
When it comes to the outside look of a Ward Cedar Log Home, there is a world of possibilities that guarantee eye-catching curb appeal. Our unique building system allows you to choose clapboards, stone, bricks or many other exterior options should you desire something different than the traditional exterior log home look. If you choose the traditional log look, leave logs natural and they'll acquire a silvery patina or apply a finish to achieve a specific color tone. Ward also offers a choice of corner styles. The standard package comes with full-log corners. If you'd like, you can also specify corner boards to coordinate with clapboard or log siding.
Check out Ward's Hybrid System
Absolutely. Ward Cedar Log Homes is very active in overseas markets. Ward Cedar Log Homes products have been shipped to Japan, South Korea, Thailand, Philippines, Germany, the Netherlands and the Dominion Republic.
The initial step is milling, where each log is cut into a "cant" a rough-sawn square timber consisting only of cedar's jewel — its heartwood. Air-drying ensures a more stable log that is less likely to warp, twist, crack or check(small cracks 1/8" or less) and then, once properly dried, planing gives each side its unique profile. When your home plans are finalized, each log undergoes final cutting and quality inspection. Because cedar is naturally insect and moisture resistant, treatment with harsh chemicals or preservatives is not necessary. Throughout the process, logs are inspected a total of three times by our independently certified log graders. Finally, Ward provides a delivery date that works with your schedule and timeline — typically within 30 to 90 days of the order being placed and final plans have been approved — and components are clearly labeled for easy identification upon delivery.
Many factors affect the completed cost of a Ward Cedar Log Home, including geographic area, special features and whether it is contractor or homeowner built. While the final cost may vary, you can estimate the completed cost of your home, excluding land, to be about the same as a stick-built home of equal quality and specifications. All Ward Sales Representatives are trained to help you determine the final completed cost of your home. Many of Ward's Representatives are actual builders themselves and are happy to provide you completed cost figures for your home. If our Representative is not a builder, he or she will provide names of competent builders in your area for you to work with. It is our job to make your home buying process as easy as possible for you!
Here is an article that list variables that can affect the Cost Per Square Foot of your log home.
The ability of a manufacturer to meet your local building codes is a very important issue. Ward Cedar Log Homes is a member of the International Code Council (ICC). Ward's homes are designed to meet criteria based on the International Residential Code (IRC). It is ultimately the responsibility of the purchaser to obtain building code approval in the form of a building permit being issued. As a purchaser, you may pass this obligation on to your builder, if he is agreeable. Ward and your Ward Sales Representative will work with you to make certain all building and energy codes are complied with and permits issued.
We want you to be completely satisfied, so you can depend on your representative to keep close track of your home-building project. Up to six different quality control reports will be completed and sent to our corporate office during the construction of your home. Your representative even checks in with you one full year after home completion — a valuable quality control feature built right in, even after delivery.
Ward's reputation in the log home industry for high quality materials and service is second to none! Ward realized many years ago that a satisfied homeowner is worth more than any amount of advertising. Ward works closely with each of its clients through every phase of the process to ensure that there are no surprises or problems. You will become good friends with your Ward Sales Representative!
Delivery typically takes 30 to 60 days after you place the order and final plans have been approved. Custom designed homes may take slightly longer, depending on the time of year. We will work together to schedule a date that is good for both you and Ward.
Ward is the first American log home manufacturer. Ward founded the pre-cut, pre-packaged log home industry in 1923. More than 90 years of experience will help to make your home a place of peace, joy and happiness.
Ward takes great pride in the fact that it has never missed a delivery date in its more than 90-year history. The private trucking company we use quotes very competitive prices, usually well below the rates of other log home companies and always below common carrier rates. Materials are carefully packaged and shipped on flatbed trucks to prevent damage during transit, and components are clearly labeled for easy identification upon delivery. Please note that the driver is not allowed to help with the unloading of the materials.
Your Ward Sales Representative will help to determine if there are any special considerations or possible problems in getting large tractor-trailers to your site. Ward home packages have been airlifted, barged, rafted, ferried and even driven across frozen lakes.
The log home materials package arrives on site with each log precision-cut and numbered for a perfect fit. We also pre-cut our own Northern White Cedar exterior and interior trim for all doors and windows, our log gables and even all porch, deck, loft and stair railings. We also cut and hand-peel our own round purlins. Because we cut, package and "care for" so much of the materials, we take full responsibility for every piece. Your Ward sales representative will thoroughly explain the unloading and inventory process so that the materials can be easily found during construction. The entire Ward materials package can be completely unloaded by a rough-terrain forklift or lull.
Read about Delivery Day - What is Needed.
Ward homes utilize a conventional flooring system and studded partitions, making the installation of wiring and plumbing just as easy as in a traditionally framed house. In addition, any type of heating, ventilation or air conditioning system can be used. Interior wall switches and outlets are also installed in a conventional manner. For exterior walls, wires may be run through holes drilled in the logs or in channels that will be covered by support posts and door trim. Outlets and switches are mortised into the exterior walls.
Sealant applied to the interior walls is all that's required to keep your Ward Cedar Log Home looking as new and beautiful as the day you moved in. A quality exterior stain will help maintain the beauty of your log home's exterior walls.
Ward's Purchase Agreement covers all aspects of your home purchase clearly and in simple language. We have spent more than 90 years perfecting our Purchase Agreement to make sure it considers the needs of both the customer and the company. Your Ward Sales Representative will be happy to provide a sample Purchase Agreement for your review. Our Purchase Agreement is probably the most clear and detailed in the industry. It plainly states every material and service you will receive.
The roof is the crown jewel of every home we build, adding elegance, strength and complete protection from the elements. We offer three roof systems to choose from: our uniquely designed exposed round purlin roof, traditional rafter construction or a manufactured truss system.
Ward was the first to use the pre-cut round purlin roof system, which gives structures tremendous strength while creating soaring cathedral ceilings, plenty of space for lofts and open, free-flowing floor plans — the trademark of a Ward Cedar Log Home. Pre-cut gabled ends are pre-erected at our manufacturing facility, then disassembled, to ensure that the angle of each log has been perfectly cut. Purlins may be round or square, depending upon your preference.
The Rafter Roof System is more conventional, designed with standard dimensional lumber. Should you want to make a stronger architectural statement, specify our larger rafter option to create vaulted ceilings in which the rafters are exposed.
Ward offers a manufactured truss roof system that allows you to combine both flat and vaulted ceilings. An attic truss system is also available should you need additional second floor living space at an economical price.
Interior walls can be finished just like any traditional interior wall — tongue-and-groove paneling, available in either pine or cedar, comes standard for a solid log wall look. Another popular choice is drywall, which gives you the flexibility to paint or wallpaper areas of your choice. Some of the most beautiful Ward Cedar Log Homes use a variety of interior finishes to achieve an attractive and balanced combination of color and texture.
Ward was the first company to offer the classic "D"-shaped log, giving our customers the perfect blend of the traditional log home look on the exterior, with a smooth, more finished look inside. Logs are available in both 6" and 8" profiles. Or, you can choose a milled exterior clapboard-style log if you prefer a more conventional exterior look. Our traditional interlocking corners give a look that's reminiscent of yesteryears. Or you can choose to square off the corners and finish them with cedar trim for a more modern look.
Each log of Northern White Cedar is its own masterpiece, with its natural light honey color, fine grain, beautiful smooth sheen and unique arrangement of small brown knots.
Ward, as a manufacturer of log homes, does not finance homes. But financing a log home is very easy today. Ward will either directly or through your Sales Representative provide assistance in obtaining local financing. Your representative will be familiar with the lenders in your area or national lenders that can help you obtain financing if necessary, saving you much time shopping. Your Ward Sales Representative knows the lender's requirements to qualify for both construction loans and final mortgages and can help you to qualify. Some of our Representatives are also builders who may also finance the construction of your home themselves, simplifying the process even further.
When the days are long and the weather warm, you'll want to spend more time outside, entertaining friends, relaxing with family or simply enjoying a lovely view on a quiet Saturday afternoon. With Ward, you can easily extend your living space outdoors by adding a screened-in porch, wraparound deck or gracious veranda. Or add an attached or detached garage — even a barn — matching your home's exterior appearance.
Ward representatives will provide personal construction seminars as needed and, of course, unlimited technical assistance should any special construction concern arise. Ward also has a toll-free number (1-800-341-1566) so you or your contractor can speak directly to our expert customer service representatives.
If a Ward sales representative is not available in your area, Ward's Corporate Sales Representative, Ron Silliboy, is available to consult with you. From design to construction, you can expect to receive a high level of personalized assistance. In fact, Ward's outstanding service is considered the "standard" of the log home industry.
Our five point Comfort System-5™ log system is what makes Ward homes air tight, waterproof and energy efficient. Evolved over 90-plus years, the Comfort System-5 has been perfected into a technically superior system that prevents air and water from infiltrating the structure. The system includes milled tongue-and-groove logs, overlapping interlocking corner joints, and an exclusive sealing system. Our five point Comfort System-5™ lets us take full advantage of the energy-efficient cedar walls, ensuring a tight and lasting fit.
Read more about the Comfort System 5.
Our 20-year warranty covers all log components against structural defects for 20 years and warrants that all items manufactured by Ward are free from defects in workmanship or design. Our component suppliers also extend their individual product warranties to you as a Ward customer. Ward has had long term relationships with all of its quality-oriented suppliers (Andersen, Schlage, CertainTeed, Perma-Chink Sealants, and any finishes) and insists that each look after any warranty claims promptly and fairly. Ward will assist you in any claims with these companies.
For extreme climate conditions or when you're building in areas with prescriptive energy codes, Ward Cedar Log Homes offers a Hybrid home. The 2x6 framed and insulated walls look exactly like traditional solid log walls. When you're building in areas where energy codes are dictated. Ward's Hybrid log home is the ideal choice, delivering an R-value of more than 30.
The Hybrid log home offers insulated log walls that mimic stick-built construction, but look exactly like a traditional solid log wall, giving you the look of a full log wall home. In addition to all the benefits of using Northern White Cedar, the system features superior energy efficiency, exterior look flexibility (choose clapboards, stone, bricks or many other exterior options should you desire something different than the traditional exterior log home look), interior choice, a variety of corner styles and easy-to-understand construction.
The Ward's Hybrid Log Home gives you the look of a full log wall home while providing an excellent way to reduce costs. (And since only the walls are constructed differently than other Ward log homes, the rest of the log home package remains the same). Read more about the Hybrid System.
No part of our Northern White Cedar is wasted. After cutting, logs first pass through our state-of-the-art sawmill, which has been designed specifically to handle Northern White Cedar. Each log is cut into a "cant," a rough-sawn square timber consisting only of cedar's jewel -- its heartwood. Since Ward only supplies the heartwood of cedar logs, pressure treatment is not required — cedar is preferred in place of pressure-treated lumber in many areas. Remaining wood is recovered and used for exterior and interior door and window trim; porch, deck, loft and stair railings; tongue-and-groove paneling; and decking. Any wood not meeting our grade is chipped and sold as mulch.
Quality materials are a way of life at Ward Cedar Log Homes. As America's first manufacturer, the quality lesson was learned early on. Today you can look at Ward homes that are more than 90 years old and the quality of the construction and materials still shine through. High quality components add expected value to your Ward Cedar Log Home. With every item, product quality, maintenance requirements and company services have been considered. We want your Ward Cedar Log Home to provide you with many years of trouble-free service value you can count on!
Andersen 400 Series Tilt-Wash Windows and Doors
Choose from a wide range of sizes, shapes, styles and colors to achieve the custom look you desire. With Andersen High-Performance, Low-E glazing, the 400 Series tilt-wash windows insulate up to 41% better than ordinary dual-pane glass. In addition, an exclusive Perma-Shield exterior vinyl cladding allows windows to endure the toughest elements. Your package may also include Andersen 400 Series Frenchwood hinged and gliding patio doors, complete with screens, hardware and locksets.
Interior and Exterior Pre-Hung Doors
Pre-hung 6-panel solid Pine wood doors offer the quality and durability of premium wood doors, with the quick, trouble-free installation of a pre-hung door. Ready-to-install, these doors come with the hinges mortised and pre-installed. The Thurma-Tru Energy Saver exterior door is stabilized for shrinkage and swelling. It also comes weather-stripped and includes Low-E glazing to ensure a tight seal and superior energy efficiency.
The quality, precision and design of Schlage locksets are standard in every Ward Cedar Log Home. Built to the highest standards of accuracy, all Schlage materials are designed to deliver easy operation for life. Both lever and knob designs are offered in a brass finish designed to last a lifetime or chose another color.
CertainTeed Roof Shingles
CertainTeed shingles combine consistent quality with long-lasting beauty and maximum protection. All styles offer these key features: Fiberglass mat for weather protection, greater fire resistance and longer life; water-resistant asphalt, which protects the roof from water; colorful mineral granules that help reflect the sun's rays; and a heat-activated adhesive strip that bonds shingles into a single, watertight unit. Many styles also carry a Wind Resistance Rating for winds and gusts up to 130 mph, and all have a Class A Fire Rating, the highest available for residential applications. Ward's standard shingle is CertainTeed Landmark Architectural.
Here is a full list of Materials in our log home package.
Ward was the inventor of the interlocking "butt-and-pass" corner and log joinery system. Instead of the square log ends butting against the face of each other, logs alternately extend past one another. Each log fits together in a tongue-and-groove fashion, with the foam sealant, backer rod and caulking providing superior protection.
White Cedar is an extra cost option with many companies, which usually sell the local-type pine in their package. It is Ward's only species offered and, if you compare accurately, Ward's package prices are competitive with theirs. You can have the quality and durability of cedar from Ward and still have it price comparably to other lower-cost woods.
Northern White Cedar has several characteristics that make it the best wood species to use for log home construction, including:
- high natural resistance to rot or decay
- the most natural resistance to insects
- the best insulation value per inch
- more dimensionally stable than most woods
- doesn't warp, crack and twist as much as other woods
- easy to work, cut, plane and nail
- a beautiful light color, with small brown knots
Cedar's characteristics are widely known. In fact, one of the three model building codes in the United States allows the use of cedar anywhere the use of pressure treated lumber is required.
Don't just take our word about all of the reasons to use Northern White Cedar. Do some research yourself. Look at cedar and pine log homes that are three to five years old. Talk to the owners about each. Visit the library and study the wood technology books. And reputable sources such as Log Home Living Magazine state that cedar is "Highly resistant to decay" and is "A finer grade of wood." You'll quickly decide on the value of cedar for your home too!
Here is a Breakdown of Wood Species Used in Log Homes.
Moisture content, wood species and log joinery systems are all important factors that affect the amount of shrinkage and settlement a homeowner will deal with. Using dry cedar is the major factor that Ward uses to control shrinkage and settlement. Dry cedar logs produce the tightest log homes. In fact, Ward's air-dried Northern White Cedar log homes experience virtually no settling, so there are no specially engineered slip-joints or bolts to tighten. The lack of movement also ensures that the seal placed between the logs remains relatively undisturbed for a tighter, more energy-efficient and stable log wall, yielding greater energy savings and comfort for our clients.
Ward addresses settling and shrinkage issues long before construction begins:
- Ward uses Northern White Cedar exclusively, which is known for its dimensional stability.
- Careful, slow air-drying helps prevent logs from warping, twisting, cracking or checking.
- Throughout the structure, vertical wood posts are used to bolt the log rows along with vertical jambs of rough buck and minimize downward log movement.
- Every interior partition has a 4'x4' post against the log wall, bolted solidly to prevent settling.
- Every vertical window and door frame is fastened to each log row to prevent downward log movement.
Visit homes three to five years old to see how the total system reacts to this process. You will see for yourself how dry cedar logs produce the tightest log homes.
Ward is the industry leader in "educating" the customer in this regard. We firmly believe that the more you know about our material and services, the more likely you are to buy Ward. This process begins right in our Planning Guide and continues through our Purchase Agreement, both of which provide a complete list of materials and specifications. Our materials and specifications list in the Planning Guide also clearly lists all materials that must be supplied by the customer or the builder. We suggest that you compare the two lists so that you understand exactly what you are buying and what additional materials you will need to supply. We are proud of our completeness, quality and flexibility.
Here is a full list of what Ward includes and does not include for your log home.
We make our homes so that the construction of your home, no matter where you build it, is easy-to-understand. Builders and contractors everywhere — even in areas where log homes are uncommon — will quickly understand how the Ward home is constructed. Ward provides detailed construction plans and a 100-page Construction Instruction Manual. No log cutting is required on-site in the normal Ward home package. Ward's unique tongue and groove configuration and dado end cuts are completely pre-cut. The logs for many models can be erected by a three-person crew in less than a week!
Because of its larger cells, cedar can be air-dried, which allows moisture to migrate out of the wood, minimizing twists, cracks or checks (small cracks 1/8" or less). Far more dimensionally stable than most other wood species, cedar exhibits minimal shrinkage and the ability to stand up to nature's toughest elements.
The dryness issue is a very important consideration in selecting your log home supplier. It is important to understand that this issue is the moisture content and not the method of drying or the amount of time dried. Many people believe that the slower, more natural process of air drying is better than kiln drying, which tends to create more stress (cracking and warping) in the wood. Ward's cedar logs are slowly air-dried to an average moisture content upon delivery of 15 percent to 18 percent in the center of the log.
Checking (small cracks 1/8" or less) in a white cedar log is very minimal. The porous nature of cedar allows it to dry without the ill effects of the process. And, Ward uses only white cedar heartwood for wall logs as the heartwood is the most stable and resistant to decay with any species. The heart is also a natural checking control feature: when checks do occur, they always stop at the heart. When you stand outside of a Ward Cedar Log Home and look at the crisscrossing logs at the corner, you will see the heart in every log. Most pine home manufacturers cannot guarantee a heart in every log; therefore, cracks may develop clear through the log.