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Gastineau Log Homes

A Candid Interview with Lynn Gastineau

Lynn Gastineau is celebrating her 35th year in the log home business and she was gracious enough to give us this interview and share her thoughts on her business, the economy and some tips for people considering building a log home.  Gastineau Log Homes has been unique in featuring log homes of solid oak since 1977.  Enjoy and please share your comments below.

Tell us about Gastineau Log Homes; where it has been and what do you see for the future?

Gastineau Log Homes was started in 1977 in central Missouri because people kept coming to Gastineau Lumber Co. and asking them to cut them a log home!  My parents, Carl and Shirley Gastineau, had been in the sawmill and pallet business since 1955.  There were no log home companies in the Midwest at that time and nobody was offering Oak logs.   This baffled us, as Oak has traditionally been the “wood of choice” for log homes whenever it was available because of its natural resistance to decay and insects.  The pioneers always used Oak if they could because they knew the logs would last over time, even sitting on a rudimentary rock foundation.  From that humble beginning, we have become the worlds largest producer of Oak log homes and have shipped homes to all 50 states and 10 foreign countries.

The log home industry has evolved significantly in the past 35 years. I think the industry will continue to improve both structurally and in energy efficiency. We think people will always have the desire to live in a log home.   The comfort and feeling of security that come from being inside a log home cannot be achieved through any other type of construction.  As one of my customers told me, “After you live in a log home, you don’t want to live in anything else.”

Lynn Gastineau, President/Sales Manager of Gastineau Log Homes

Lynn Gastineau, President/Sales Manager of Gastineau Log Homes

Which wood species do you offer and why is it popular with your buyers?

We can offer any wood species but most of our sales are of Oak logs.  Since we can buy our raw Oak logs at a lower price than any other wood species, it is both an excellent choice for durability and strength but also an easy choice as it is affordable.  Our manufacturing process is designed for cutting hardwoods, so we can also offer cypress, cedar or Pine.  Most log home manufacturing plants are designed only for cutting softwoods, and they cannot offer Oak logs.

The Oak is popular with our buyers because it is beautiful, it is easier to maintain than other wood species, and because it does not require pretreating prior to construction.  This means that there are no chemicals on the interior of the home.  Another reason Oak is popular is the unique grain and knots that you find from one log to the next.   The oldest wood buildings in the world are made from Oak.  The natural longevity of Oak in buildings, ships and bridges is legendary.

Regarding floor plans, people can choose one of your plans or provide drawings or photos.  Is there an additional charge for creating custom floor plans?

No, the blueprints are included in the package.  We are very proud of our blueprints and the level of detail and engineering that we provide.  We far exceed simply the design of the home.  We have a licensed engineer on staff that oversees the preparation of the blueprints.  They are checked structurally from the initial design through the completion of the working drawings.  We use a true 3D CAD system and we actually draw the home in 3D.   This means that we cannot draw something that cannot be built.  It also allows us to provide as much detail as you may want about the construction.  For example, our program puts the sheathing on the roof in 4’ X 8’ pieces vs as a solid plane.  We can actually print out a roof sheathing plan if you wish.  We can show the framing for each wall in the home if you wish.  It is quite an amazing program.

What log profiles and corner styles does your company offer?

We offer all your basic profiles for the same price.  We have round, flat with bevel and flat without bevels for your interior or exterior.   Our standard log is 8” wide, but we offer either a 6” tall or an 8” tall log.

We offer butt and pass, saddle notched or dovetailed corners.  Our manufacturing of the saddle notch is unique in that each log has two cuts:  one on the top and one on the bottom.  By doing this, we can keep our rows aligned.  By this, I mean that row 4 of the front wall and row 4 of the side wall are at the same height.  Most companies only notch the bottom of the log and you have to start with a half log on some of the walls.  With this type of saddle notch corner, they are ½ a row off at the inside corner.  To me, this does not look good on the interior of the home.  So we go the extra step and double notch the logs.

We also have a flat/flat log with chinking between the logs.  This style, combined with the dovetailed corners, gives a true “Appalachian log” appearance to the home.  Normally this is done with our 8 x 8 logs but we can also provide walls using 6 X 11 Oak logs.

We also offer a half log wall system that can duplicate the look of a solid log home.  We offer all of our corner styles in our Therma Log packages too.  The Therma Log siding can be either round or flat with bevels as per the customers wish.  Our interior siding looks exactly like our solid logs and can be used in all or just part of the interior of the home.

The log home building process is confusing to many people. How does your company address the process as it relates to design, manufacturing, building, financing and other related buyer issues?

Communication is the most essential component of a smooth building process, both written and verbal.  We do this in many ways.  First, our package materials are explicitly provided in writing. (Our typical materials quote for a package is 3 pages.) Second, we pride ourselves on providing honest and prompt information and service to our customers.  Not just from the “salesmen” but from everyone in the company.  Our staff is thorough, knowledgeable, courteous, and caring.  We consistently receive ratings of “Excellent “ about the staff in our buyer’s surveys.  Third, we have a very complete and easy to read/understand construction manual.  Fourth, we find that each customer has different needs.   We try to help each customer in the way and manner that they require.  No two buyers are exactly alike.  We try to customize the experience as needed.  Fifth, we provide a Quality Assurance Visit and a Customer Satisfaction Visit with each home that we sell.  The QA Visit is done during construction.  We send an expert from our office to each job site to inspect the home to make sure it is built as per our construction manual.  This provides peace of mind to both the homeowner and the builder.  A construction expert also does the Customer Satisfaction Visit from our office who visits the home about six months after move in.  It is just another step to making sure our customers are 100% happy with their home.

Log Home Directory - Gastineau Log Homes

What’s the best advice you would give to a new log home buyer?

Buying logs for a log home is not like buying 2 X 4’s from a lumber yard.  You cannot ever change your decision about the logs that you use or the system used to seal between the logs.  Do business with people that are committed to this industry and have the experience and knowledge gained from providing log homes for many years.   They should approach their log wall as a system, with a goal of how that wall is to perform over the years.  And last, but not least, if they tell you that their logs will not settle, turn and walk away.  All log walls settle and a reputable log home company will provide the engineering to allow for it in their package.

Financing is much more difficult today than it was a few years ago. How is your company addressing this problem?

We work with any financing company or appraiser as needed for each customer.  For example, we have examined appraisals for customers and provided them with the information to go back to the appraiser to have the appraisal adjusted.  We have found financing for customers through local banks when they have not been able to locate a bank.  Each customer and situation presents a unique challenge and we address each one individually.  We are also in the process of putting together an appraisal “packet” for our customers to give to the appraiser prior to him preparing the appraisal.

Has your company won any awards or been recognized for an outstanding product or service?

In 1992, we were awarded the Small Business Export Award from the State of MO by John Ashcroft, who was then the Governor of Missouri.  Lynn Gastineau was awarded the SA Walters Award in 2001, which is the most prestigious award in the Systems Building Council of NAHB.  GLH has had several awards for both marketing materials and home designs through out the years.

The project that we are most proud of, however, was a home that was built inside of the Mall of America in conjunction with the Greater Twin Cities Children’s Cancer Research Assn.  We provided a home that was raffled off and raised over $300,000 for children’s cancer research.

What would you tell someone who is planning to build, but wants to wait until the economy improves?

If it is financially possible for you to build, this is  by far the best time for you to move forward.  Building cost are only going to increase as the housing industry recovers and when that happens, there are going to be shortages in both materials and available labor.  Also, the building codes on the horizon are going to add a tremendous cost to construction.  Even without the low interest rates that are currently available, you should not delay construction.  Do it now before it costs more and you have to spend extra money to meet the upcoming code requirements.

What is the reason that you feel customers should consider your company for their project?

You can trust the information that we provide as we can offer you any wood species you wish.  We have a proven, successful wall system.  We can design anything that you need and make sure that it is properly engineered. We will provide you as little or as much as you wish.  We will sell you “just your logs” if you want all the way to a deluxe package that even includes the trim.  We are committed to continually improving our product and our services.  And we will be here 25 years from now when you are selling your home and would like a copy of your blueprints to show to the buyer!  (Yes, that happens!)

Contact

Gastineau Log Homes
10423 Old Hwy 54
New Bloomfield, MO 63063

Phone (800) 654-9253
(573) 896-5122
sales@oakloghome.com

Gastineau Log Home

6 comments to Gastineau Log Homes

  • Linda Dye

    This had a lot of information, and I enjoyed seeing the pictures. Ms. Gastineau, you should always be in promotional material for your company. You look like a good neighbor and the homes are beautiful.

  • Henry K.

    We looked at manufacturers for 2 years before we settled on Gastineau. I think it was a combination of the great people, package options and being able to use oak for our logs. From our first conversation until the building crew packed up and went home, everything just seemed to work as we were told. Good company to do business with.

  • I have heard a lot of good things about Gastineau too and do believe that they will be still be here in 25 years too just like the oak that they mostly use they are a trusted company and will be around for a long time. Thanks for a great article

  • Peggy Z

    We built our Gastineau home in 1996. Fabulous experience. Over the years Gastineau Homes have been great to work with. After losing my husband in 2000 I have had many question about caring for the home which Lynn and her staff have always been right there to help me out with solutions. For anyone considering building a log home I would highly recommend it from it’s economy and efficency stand point alone. Secondly I would highly recommend that Lynn and company is the only log home company to deal with, especially when I hear the horror stories that I have from fellow log home owners in my area. Thank you to all of the great folks at Gastineau.

  • Mark H.

    I have talked to this company. They are marvelous. We are still saving for our home and will soon be listing ours for sale. When we are ready Gastineau will be our first and only call. Great people & great product.

  • Mike G

    I had the pleasure of meeting Lynn and her staff at a construction seminar held at the model home center in Missouri. What a great experience! It was very very informative and pretty much answered everything one needs to know about Gastineau Log Homes and the industry itself. I strongly urge anyone considering a log home purchase to attend these seminars before you go forward. The education you gain is worth it even if you decide to buy from someone else (not likely however).

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