Norse Log Homes
By Margaret Evans
The late John Dahle, founder of Norse Log Homes, began building log homes in 1975 when he and his wife Kathy lived in 100 Mile House, BC. In 1984, they moved to Nanaimo where he was convinced that Vancouver Island had the best Douglas fir house logs in the world. His father, Roald, assisted with some financial investment and, once repaid, John built him a cabin on Horne Lake which became the family’s go-to retreat for decades.
“John’s goal was to create a home that the average family could afford,” says Laura Kandall, office manager. “He had a huge passion for camping, fishing, and spending time with his family at the cabin and felt everybody (no matter what their income) should be able to share those family memories with their kids. He worked hard on behalf of all his customers to help advocate for lower pricing on home materials and government fees.”
The unique service provided by Norse Log Homes is that many of the log house projects are constructed at one of their two sites. Using either Douglas fir or western red or yellow cedar, the logs are hand-peeled using the traditional draw knife method. The home is built with door and window openings cut and the roof system erected. The building is then numerically tagged at every corner, disassembled, loaded onto a truck or into a container, and shipped to the client anywhere across Canada or around the world. It takes only a few days to reassemble the home on the customer’s prepared site.
“Most of our homes are built with a high grade second cut Douglas fir log, but a few of our homes are western red or yellow cedar,” says Kandall. “Douglas fir is a very tough wood that holds up great in our ‘wet west coast’ weather so it is usually the most popular choice for our customers.”
She adds that there is a growing interest in log homes as property buyers move toward more eco-friendly and energy-efficient buildings.
“We may be building with logs but we get them direct from the sort yards,” she says. “There are less fuel emissions in the transport and creation of a log home compared to a traditional framed home. There is also a lot less waste with a hand-crafted log home as we use every foot of material that comes into our yard. Our style of hand-crafted log homes is also much more energy efficient, making them ideal for mountain chalets. Logs have a thermal mass and naturally keep the home warm in winter and cool in summer. We had one customer have an energy audit done on her home and she had to open a door to prove the testing unit was working! Using our method of building, a 10-inch log is above and beyond the energy requirements for a framed home in the BC building code and we are building with an average 12-inch log, so are even more efficient than those requirements.
“On Vancouver Island we also offer a ‘locked up’ home which consists of the foundation, subfloor, decks, log package, roofing, windows, doors, soffits, siding, and interior shrinkage framing. All that is left is the interior finishing!”
She says that log homes typically go up faster than the average framed home as they start building the log package in their yard before getting the permit. Once the permit is issued they can start the foundation and deliver the log package as soon as the subfloor is ready.
In the four decades since starting the company, they have shipped hundreds of log homes all over the world. For more information on Norse Log Homes including styles, layout designs, and to obtain a quote, visit their website at www.NorseLogHomes.com.