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Log Grading

Logs are not alike, even those of the same wood species. Many variables – age, size, strength, etc. – determine the suitability of logs for different uses, including log home construction. Although you should be concerned about the quality of the logs that will be used in the construction of your home, you don’t have to become an expert in lumber.

B K Cypress Log Homes, Inc. has long recognized the problem of educating the public on the high quality of its product. Having cypress is not enough, in fact having the tidewater Red Cypress is not always enough for a company. You, the consumer, need to know if this particular species of wood is in fact of a certifiable strength level to withstand stress. It is one thing to be very appealing to the eye and another to know that this log, timber or beam will function as it is intended to do.

The American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) developed ADTM D3957 “Standard Methods for Establishing Stress Grades for Structural Members Used on Log building” in 1980 to provide uniform product evaluation criteria. It is this ASTM D3957 standard, which B K Cypress Log Homes, Inc. uses for grading its log, timbers, and beams under the supervision of the Timber Products Inspection (T.P.I), an independent inspection agency for wood products. This grading program is recognized by the three building code agencies:

What are the Grading Criteria?

First of all, it must be noted all wood inspectors at B K Cypress go through an intense training program directed by T.P.I., plus are subject to monthly-unannounced inspections done by a traveling agent of Timber Products Inspection. The criteria used to inspect the logs, timbers, and beams are the following:

1. Slope of Grain
2. Knots
3. Shakes, Checks, and Splits
4. Straightness
5. Scars and Wane
6. Holes
7. Organic Degradation

What are the benefits of Log Grading?

Design: Being able to determine the structural capacity of each log, timber or beam allows an engineer, architect, or drafts person to properly design the structure, based on a nation al ASTM standard for reliable continuity of strength, against typical types of structural failure.

Financing: By selecting graded logs, timber, and beams the home owner is telling the lender that they have selected a certified quality log manufacturer that assures quality and strength in the log home.

Building Permits: Again, the owner is telling their county permitting office that they selected a certified quality log manufacturer that supplies consistent quality and strength in the log, timber, and beam products. (NOTE: SOME COUNTIES MAY HAVE MANDATORY LAWS THAT REQUIRE GRADE MARK WOOD FOR LOAD-BEARING PURPOSES).