THE TOUCH OF TECHNOLOGY
Technology affects every aspect of our lives today. We begin our mornings by checking our mobile phones for tasks and events and rely on the Internet for news and information. It shapes our work and play, hobbies and education, health and fitness … and it has also wielded its profound influence on the way we build our houses.
For instance, the log cabin— an icon of the pioneer lifestyle—has evolved in design and engineering to become a popular contemporary housing choice, particularly in cottage country, where an affinity to nature is a key priority. From mortar-chinked hand-hewn timbers to factory-cut interlocking tongue-and-groove to increasingly specialized techniques, the modern log home bears little resemblance to its early predecessors.
True North Log Homes conceives and develops groundbreaking patented techniques that allow their clients to enjoy the lifestyle without worrying about the maintenance. Their passion for discovering different ways to modernize construction has generated some creative solutions to age-old problems.
“We hold more patents than any other log home manufacturer,” says CEO Rob Wrightman. “And it is through these patents that we improve the technology we offer our clients.” As an example, he explains how they resolved the issue of air leakage in log homes. “Our patented log lock compression system continually locks the logs together through the settlement period,” he says. “This eliminates the need for adjustments, caulking, and chinking.”
A family of entrepreneurs
Headquartered in Muskoka, but shipping internationally, True North Log Homes is a third-generation company, started over 30 years ago by father and son team, Ronald and Robert Wrightman. Now Rob and his sons, Kyle and Mark, are carrying on the tradition and bringing modern technological advances to the process. They are especially enthusiastic about their latest innovation. “Our goal is to produce the most maintenance-free log home on the planet,” says Mark, “and our new pre-finishing process is a real revolution.” The custom-made equipment clear-coats the interior and applies colour to the exterior, all in one pass. This has several advantages. For example, stain is better applied in a climate-controlled environment; the factory process beats the stain into the wood more effectively than hand-staining; and pre-finishing eliminates an extra step, allowing people to move in to their home or cottage much sooner.
True North’s rustication technique is another advancement in log home construction. “We prepare the logs by planing them smooth and then roughening them for an authentic weathered appearance,” Rob says. Rustication removes the soft part of the grain so the stain adhesion is significantly improved, which extends the stain life. “The log surface still appears to be rough,” adds Mark, “but if you rub your hand along it, you can feel that it’s smooth.”
Respect for the environment
True North holds high respect for energy conservation and the delicate balance that protects the ecosystem. “We want to build homes that are healthy for the occupants and good for the environment,” says Rob, “and we are the only log home company that offers a 25-year Zero Air Infiltration Warranty.”
This zero air infiltration warranty recently caught the eye of a client whose priorities focused on low energy consumption and environmental soundness. He was seeking a LEED-certified firm to build a large log home to accommodate visits from his extended family. Virtually unheard of in log home construction, LEED certification—Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—involves a rating system for environmental responsibility and the efficient use of resources in the design and construction of green buildings. “Criteria include the type of products used, such as low-volatile organic compounds,” Rob explains. “With our ecological philosophy and commitment, we met the stringent requirements, and we were awarded the contract for the home.” In fact, the completed home meets and exceeds basic requirements for LEED certification and is LEED certified to a platinum level.