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Alaska Trappers Association

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#3016645 - 02/15/12 11:28 AM building cabin in Alaska.................Help!
Coyote Cuffer Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Lampasas,Texas
I will be building,(mostly myself), a small house/cabin in the Sterling area. I am thinking of putting in a full basement for a foundation. Is there anyone on here that would be willing to talk construction techniques/materials... with me? I am in the research and planning mode. I would like to have someone to call with questions as I begin learning the process. I have been involved with construction in the South,(Texas), but what we do will not be the best choice in Alaska. CC

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#3016681 - 02/15/12 11:42 AM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
yukon254 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/31/08
Posts: 445
Loc: Yukon
Coyote I have been building cabins for far to long it seems LOL. I would be willing to help anyway I can although Im in the bush during the summer. I do have internet there so you could email questions. I would highly reccomend you buy Tom Walkers book "Building the Alaskan Log Home" IMO it is the best most complete log building book ever written. If your building frame then there are lots of books out there that will help. You can check out our website at www.grizzlycreeklodge.com for some pictures of cabins we have built.

You can do it without spending a fortune too. My son just finished an 18x20 log cabin with loft. All told (not including his labour) it cost him just over 5K, and its very nice. Good luck to you I think your on the right track.
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do unto others as you would have them do unto you

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#3016986 - 02/15/12 01:54 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 14669
Loc: McGrath, AK
I could probably field a couple questions here online. Have built both log and frame for far too many years.
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Mean As Nails

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#3017010 - 02/15/12 02:04 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
Coyote Cuffer Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Lampasas,Texas
OK. The ground is or was mature spruce. I expect the soil to be the gravelly rocky stuff not the clay type soil. When you pour a foundation do you drill or dig pier holes, ditches, what to keep things stable. My observation is that the soil seems to have no bottom to it.

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#3017368 - 02/15/12 04:46 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
akcowboytraper Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/27/10
Posts: 3
Loc: wasilla, AK
You have to get below frost line (which I think is 40 inches) with you footer Just a footer is requires size depending on soil. . If your doing a basement you will be well below the frost line. What I did on my current house i am building is leave the foundation above ground about a foot and will backfill UP to it to create a slope away from the house the other thing is putting in a french drain around the foundation not required but I think is necessary to keep water away from the foundation.


Edited by akcowboytraper (02/15/12 04:48 PM)
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Member: AFTA, DU

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#3017442 - 02/15/12 05:14 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
akmac Offline
trapper

Registered: 11/21/08
Posts: 42
Loc: Kenai Alaska
CC,
I built a home in N. Kenai 3 years ago and found the best reference was the Internationl Building Code book. It was a little spendy but it had everything from proper preparation of the foundation to the roof cap. Best of all were the pictures and drawings. I had a friend who build in the Sterling area and he ran into nothing but peat and clay. He had to abandon the project when he ran out of money due to the cost of the gravel fill. Make ure the area you are building is white spruce and birch. If it is black spruce you will find it very wet with lots of clay. PM me if you want foundation information, we used Quadlock and would do it again without hesitation.

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#3017789 - 02/15/12 07:03 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
Coyote Cuffer Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Lampasas,Texas
Thanks for the info. keep it coming, I am listening! CC

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#3018561 - 02/16/12 12:00 AM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
white17 Offline

"General (Mr.Sunshine) Washington"

Registered: 03/17/07
Posts: 14669
Loc: McGrath, AK
X2 on the white spruce and birch. The soils there should be well drained. Also the Quadlock forms are easy to use and add warmth as well as saving some labor on the back end.

You may be surprised at concrete costs in Alaska compared to TX.
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Mean As Nails

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#3018616 - 02/16/12 01:00 AM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
Tradbow1 Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/15/11
Posts: 50
Loc: AK
same here cc...I'm wanting to build a 3 sided place, still tinkering with plans, I'll be watching this one!

Anyone in the interior know a good place to get 3 sided logs? Good contacts for the build process?

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#3020912 - 02/17/12 06:41 AM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: white17]
Pete in Frbks Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/28/06
Posts: 2097
Loc: Fairbanks, Alaska
Originally Posted By: white17
X2 on the white spruce and birch. The soils there should be well drained.


It is true that white spruce (and on the Kenai, Sitka and Lutz spruce) grow primarily on the better drained soils.

But the only time you can actually be POSITIVE that there is no permafrost from observing vegetation, is when there is a freaking PALM TREE growing on the site!

Pete

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#3021046 - 02/17/12 08:24 AM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
On a Call Online   happy
trapper

Registered: 01/23/10
Posts: 896
Loc: S/E Mich - N/W Ohio
Does planting a palm count ?

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#3021863 - 02/17/12 04:27 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
Mink Man Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 19
Loc: adirondack foothills, NY
I am building a 12 by 12 out of poplar this week. Its my first one but I am going to notch them and make them logs fit and hopefully it comes out somewhat decent. I am doing a flat roof and a dirt floor. NOthing fancy. MOre like something you would have seen a long time ago in the adirondacks. I just hope I dont run out of trees. It just happens that my grandpa is haveing the property logged at this time, but I have a week off from school, so now is the time. I
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save a tree, catch a beaver

http://johnsonnuisancetrapping.com/

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#3023582 - 02/18/12 12:06 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: akmac]
garyalaska Offline
trapper

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 1041
Loc: Alaska
Originally Posted By: akmac
CC,
I built a home in N. Kenai 3 years ago and found the best reference was the Internationl Building Code book. It was a little spendy but it had everything from proper preparation of the foundation to the roof cap. Best of all were the pictures and drawings. I had a friend who build in the Sterling area and he ran into nothing but peat and clay. He had to abandon the project when he ran out of money due to the cost of the gravel fill. Make ure the area you are building is white spruce and birch. If it is black spruce you will find it very wet with lots of clay. PM me if you want foundation information, we used Quadlock and would do it again without hesitation.


great advise not to mention when your house is built to ibc or irc code it is easier to sell if need be down the road....i seen some scarey houses going up in this state and it amazes me that banks give funding based on the crappy home inspector inspections that go on up here....
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#3023586 - 02/18/12 12:10 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
UgashikBob Offline
trapper

Registered: 09/30/08
Posts: 528
Loc: Alaska Bristol Bay
Build your house on a strong foundation. One of the challanges we have here in the land of no trees is the frost line and ground water line can be one in the same so most people literally float there foundation by various means. The best solution I've seen is the one used by my neighbor on his log cabin. The long screws are inserted to the clay line and the large u clamps support the beams. About twice a year you just dial in by adjustment whatever you have settled because you will. Has worked well for 5 years. 25 years ago I used the the old 6x6 wrapped in visqeen and that doesn't work. If anyone has any solutions to settled door and window frames I'm all ears.

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#3023695 - 02/18/12 01:05 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
piperniner Offline
trapper

Registered: 12/23/06
Posts: 1275
Loc: Alaska
I think in UB's situation , floating the foundation is the best you can do. As he stated, there are several types of adjustable systems - from the screw jack pictured, to tubular frame systems. If you are where there is sand and heavy equipment - you can lay town filter fabric and then dump a hundred loads or more of compacted sand . Then come up with post and pad, Simpson beam ties and saddles, glue lams, tji's, etc. This allows for leveling when needed.

In Tundra and muskeg, you can be bad off with piling, unless you are certain of the bearing - which is often difficult to determine . Only the government can afford core samples and even then you could be on an ice lens. A guy in Bethel was advised not to use piling, but went ahead anyway. Within a few years he watched his house shift and sink towards the ground. He finally cut off the pilings ( minimum 10,000 loss ) and went with post and pad.

Alaska housing and many/most other lending sources require the five home inspections. Without them, it's hard to get anyone to lend to you when you build, or to a buyer when you want to sell. So unless you have some remote cabin that you can sell for cash, you are smart to get the inspections. They can cost you a few grand but if you ever expect to sell your place - they are worth it. Don't know about the present, but they were always a lower interest rate in the past as well.

Before you buy land , you should get a feel for well depths in the area, as well as quality of water. Some real horror stories in Alaska regarding bad water and the expenses you will have in water treatment systems. In some areas the water treatment will cost over 5000.00 and in some areas the wells are 400 feet. You sure don't want to pay for that well. Septic perk is another big issue and can result in expensive systems. Bottom line - do you homework before you purchase.

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#3023901 - 02/18/12 03:48 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: Coyote Cuffer]
Coyote Cuffer Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/10/07
Posts: 485
Loc: Lampasas,Texas
Good stuff guys. I am all ears, any more advice is welcomed, CC

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#3033672 - 02/22/12 11:09 PM Re: building cabin in Alaska.................Help! [Re: white17]
Drookit Offline
trapper

Registered: 01/23/12
Posts: 0
Loc: Finger Lake
Originally Posted By: white17
X2 on the white spruce and birch. The soils there should be well drained. Also the Quadlock forms are easy to use and add warmth as well as saving some labor on the back end.

You may be surprised at concrete costs in Alaska compared to TX.


There's a plant in Meadow Lakes that makes ICF blocks.

Klondike Concrete in Eagle River would know who the distributor is.

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