5 Common Questions About End-Matched Wood, Answered

End-matched log siding, paneling and flooring has been available for decades. Yet, many log home builders forgo this easier and more efficient wood building product in favor of traditional non-end-matched products they are more familiar with.

What’s holding home builders back from using these convenient pieces of lumber that have been double-end trimmed and precision milled with tongue-and-groove fittings for simple installation? It’s been our experience that many builders have a specific set of questions about how these products will affect the building process — and we’re happy to answer them.

FAQs About End-Matched Wood Building Products

1.  Why does end-matched wood come in random lengths?

If you’re like most builders, you’re probably used to working with 12- to 16-foot boards when building log homes. So, it’s understandable why you might be surprised by the composition of our bunks, which are made up of varying lengths that run anywhere from 2 to 8 feet. Having this variety is important for a number of reasons. Not only does it help speed up the building process, but it also reduces waste.

2.  How will end-matched wood products impact installation? Will I, or my team, have to drastically alter our process?

Using end-matched wood only impacts your installation process in positive ways. In fact, rather than spending hours teaching and learning a new technique, using end-matched wood will likely save you time thanks to fewer measurements and cuts. Here’s how:

  1. Because you’re working with shorter lengths of wood, you won’t have to square off long boards in order to fall on a stud. End-matched log siding and paneling doesn’t need to butt to a stud at all and can be nailed in place anywhere. Each piece simply fits together with a tongue-and-groove. Just continue installing the next piece right where you left off.
  2. You’ll also save time cutting boards down to special lengths around windows, doors, eaves, and other shorter, tighter-fitting areas around the home. This is where those smaller pieces are especially handy.
  3. You won’t have to spend time cutting boards to remove defects such as cracks, checks and warping. Heartwood Mills defects all of our end-matched wood products at our mill before they arrive at your building site.

 3.  Will using end-matched wood products really save me that much time and labor?

Yes! And don’t forget about cost savings that can be deferred to the homeowner. Because end-matched wood can be installed faster and with fewer cuts, you can anticipate reducing onsite labor by 15 – 20 percent.

4.  But will I need to purchase more end-matched wood to complete the job, especially since I’m working with shorter lengths?

One of the biggest perks of working with end-matched wood is that you get almost 100 percent usable material. The shorter, varying board lengths require fewer cuts, which translates to less waste. At Heartwood Mills, we advise builders to account for a 5 percent material waste margin when working with end-matched products. Some builders have reported back that end-matching reduced their material waste by as much as 20 percent!

5.  Will I sacrifice craftsmanship and quality for the sake of savings?

Absolutely not. Many builders are concerned about the visibility of the seams of shorter end-matched wood pieces. However, once you get log siding or paneling on a home, those seams are nearly non-existent. And in applications such as hardwood flooring, end-matching actually creates a more consistent color and grain appearance.

You definitely don’t have to worry about durability when working with end-matched wood — it only adds to the natural strength of wood building products crafted from species like Northern White Cedar. The tongue-and-groove ends form tight seals that block moisture and other harmful weather elements. End-matched log siding also doesn’t require face nailing, which reduces the risk that nails will bleed through the wood over time, creating unsightly discoloring.

Interested in saving time and money by reducing waste and labor costs associated with building log and timber frame homes? Make the switch to end-matched wood building products. Learn even more about the benefits of end-matching here and here. Or, contact the experts at Heartwood Mills. We’ll help you weigh your decision whether or not to use end-matched wood for your next building project.