Sunday, May 25, 2008

Concrete logs for fire resistant house construction

A company in Missoula, Montana has developed "cultured logs", a fire resistant building material which looks very much like wood logs. Dick Morgenstern, Chairman of Cultured Log Systems, had experience in precasting concrete for bridges and sewer manholes.

After seeing houses threatened by wildland fires being wrapped in fire shelter material, he started experimenting in Missoula by making a rubber impression from real logs, then transferring that impression to concrete. The concrete is tinted and judging from the photos, looks very real, at least from a distance.

The logs have a polystyrene core encased by concrete and reinforced with metal rods. Wall sections weigh about 100 pounds per linear foot. The company, after accepting the plans for a house, will produce the logs, transport them to the building site, and erect the structure, all in 60-90 days.

The cost is about 10-20% higher than conventional wood frame construction and costs about the same as handcrafted logs, but the cultured logs are virtually maintenance free. The company claims this type of construction is much more air tight and provides more insulation than conventional wood frame or log construction.

Put a metal roof on one of these puppies and keep the vegetation around the house cleaned up, and your neighborhood firefighters will love you!

UPDATE January 21, 2009
The company has changed their name to EverLog Systems. Their web site is www.everlogs.com

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