Nobody likes to vacuum, but we all have to do it from time to time. However, most homeowners would agree that vacuuming is child’s play compared to dealing with a broken appliance, a drafty window, or a stained countertop.
While the vacuuming may be a fact of life, the other chores on this list don’t have to be—at least when it comes to your new log home. The secret is keeping an eye out for easy maintenance when planning and designing many of the home’s interior features.
To help with that effort, we spoke to several top log home designers and architects about what they recommend for minimizing interior maintenance. They even suggested a few environmentally friendly options. Who knows? These tips might even help you vacuum less … or at least make vacuuming easier. Read on to see how.
1. Consider Flat Walls
Carrying the rounded logs onto the interior walls is a traditional log home look, but it’s one that you might want to do away with if you’re looking to eliminate maintenance, says Mark Feder, vice president of sales for Appalachian Log Structures in Ripley, West Virginia. “Generally, flat wall surfaces are easier to care for than round log profiles,” he says. “My customers say that round logs are dust collectors.”
2. Keep Wood Smooth
If you opt for interior wood walls, make sure they are as sanded and smooth as possible to minimize the upkeep they’ll require. “The species of wood doesn’t play much of a role in maintenance, but the style of finish, such as a rough-sawn log versus a milled or smooth-sanded surface, does,” says Matthew Franklin, lead architect for Mountain Architects in Boise, Idaho. “The milled, smooth-sanded logs will catch less dust and make cleaning much easier.”
3. Don’t Skimp on Windows & Doors
If there’s one place where you want to make sure to spend for quality in your new log home, it’s with the windows and doors, advises Mark Feder. “Install the best quality doors and windows that your budget allows. Low-E glass should be the minimum since it helps lower energy costs, minimizes fading of interior furnishings, and helps to reduce condensation.”
4. Choose Tile or Hardwood Floors
If you want ease of cleaning, tile and hardwood will become your new best friends. John Ricketson, project manager for Hearthstone, Inc., in Macon, Georgia, recommends a combination of the two. “Tile in the foyer and at entry points will take some of the abuse before dirty feet get to the wood and cause abrasion,” he says. “Hardwood floors will last forever and can be refinished in a day or two.”
5. Go with Granite Counters
There are all kinds of countertop options available, but for the ultimate in a maintenance-free surface, Michael Gingras, president of Seven North Log Homes in New Haven, Vermont, recommends granite. “For the least maintenance, I suggest granite countertops,” he says. “Other stones, like soapstone and marble, are very porous and require regular treatments. Laminates are fairly durable but will normally need to be replaced in 15 years or so. Solid surface tops work very well but will scratch.”
6. Buy Brushed Fixtures
Like with windows, doors, and appliances, quality is paramount in your hardware and plumbing fixture selections, as well. But John Ricketson has another suggestion that will further minimize maintenance: brushed metal. “The brushed plumbing fixture finishes don’t show water spots and stains like brass or chrome do,” he says. “The newer brushed stainless steel appliances don’t show fingerprints like the original brushed surfaces did when they first came out.”
7. Look for a Softener Solution
Another “hidden” home issue that can cause a maintenance nightmare down the road is hard water. “Hard water can cause premature failure of plumbing lines and fixtures,” says Feder. “Test your water ‘hardness,’ and consider adding a water softener if the water hardness is at an unacceptable level.”
8. Read Up on Radiant Heating
A conventional forced-air heating system may be the norm, but it also requires a lot more maintenance than the other, newer options that are available today. That’s why Matthew Franklin suggests looking into radiant in-floor heating for your new home. “The biggest maintenance issue with HVAC systems is dust,” he says. “Conventional forced-air systems carry more dust throughout the house. A radiant system isn’t based on moving air through the home, so that might be a consideration to keep in mind.”
9. Make Vacuuming Easier
Finally, you can make the little bit of maintenance that you will have to do for your home even easier by installing a central vacuum system, advises John Ricketson. “This will draw the dust from cleaning to a collection point in the basement or crawl space, not into a bag inside the house or back into the air you breathe,” he says.