True North Log Homes is a family owned business founded in 1986 by father Ronald Wrightman and son Robert. After 10 years, Ronald retired and Robert assumed control of the company and has now been joined by his sons Kyle & Mark Wrightman. Through an untiring dedication to excellence, along with their passion for the log home lifestyle, the Wrightmans have brought True North to the forefront of log home technology and design.
Log homes are not merely a building; they give security, comfort, warmth and a feeling that cannot be found anywhere else.
There is a growing interest in custom-designed log homes worldwide, and for good reasons. Log homes provide environmental sustainability, less waste than conventional builds and energy efficiency. In fact, compared to stick-frame construction, log homes are 2.5 percent to 15 percent more energy efficient, according to a study conducted by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).
There are a number of log home manufacturers in Canada, making it a very competitive industry. However, True North Log Homes, one of Canada’s largest log home manufacturers, headquartered in Bracebridge, Ontario, is managing to outshine the rest for its ingenuity and commitment to technological innovation that is garnering the company recognition from around the world.
“Clients always love to hear of a success story for a small family-owned-and-operated business. Now we’re working on our succession planning in order to move it to a third generation,” says Mark Wrightman, Marketing Manager.
This international log home manufacturer has seventeen dealerships worldwide. Aside from Canada and the United States, the company has dealers in the United Kingdom, China, and India.
There are forty-eight custom models available with photos and floor plans shown in the company’s 210 page plan book to provide ideas for its clients. True North custom designs for every client. “We have a full design department on staff. The working drawings, design drawings and technical drawings are all done in-house as part of the client’s package,” explains Mark.
The homes are built from solid timber certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. The company uses northeastern white pine, carefully selected from the forests of northern Ontario and Quebec. Western red cedar is also available from the forests of British Columbia, as well as Douglas fir for the timber frame floor and roof systems.
Mark says, regarding the choice of white pine and red cedar, that, “Both of these species are the premier to manufacture log homes. Logs are manufactured in various sizes. All of our logs are twelve inches tall and we offer 6”, 8”, 10”, & 12” in thickness.”
True North Log Homes drawings can be modified to accommodate local building codes and different jurisdictions. As an example, Mark refers to a 2012 commercial project in Derby, England, that is one of the largest log structures in the United Kingdom. This project was manufactured using the company’s ‘Alaskan’ model, an 8,000-square-foot lodge for a Christian children’s’ camp. This particular project required a heavier engineered truss floor system than would be required in Canada.
True North Log Homes is a company of firsts. It is the world’s first log home manufacturer to pre-finish logs in a controlled environment, providing the client with the most maintenance-free log home on the planet. “Our clients will be able to move in to their log home four to six weeks earlier with exceptional labour cost savings,” says Mark.
Any colour of stain can be selected. “We provide a variety of color choices for the interior and exterior of the home and can provide a custom colour match service as well,” he says.
True North Log Homes makes log homes that are virtually maintenance free. And how is this made possible? Through eighteen Canadian and United States patents.
True North Log Home’s new Log Lock Compression system is another industry first. Log Locks are installed in the center of the log at approximately 6’ intervals and 2’ back from the corners. The average size log home will require approximately 40 Log Locks, depending on the home design.
This compression technique is composed of a threaded rod running from the base of the log to the top of the log. At the top is placed a 2500 pound spring on top of the Log Lock, which is a locking mechanism that, when compressed, exerts a consistent downward force that keep the logs secured tightly together and doesn’t allow the logs to separate. This Log Lock automatically continues to self-tighten after initial installation and requires no adjustment for the life of the home. “It’s the only self-adjusting, self-tightening but positive locking mechanism in the log industry,” Mark says.
Another patent invented by his grandfather, Ronald, is the Keylock Air Seal Corner® that “gets us away from any nails, lags or screws in the corner system.” When corner logs shrink, they will shrink toward any nails, screws or bolts most often used in other log home construction, creating gaps between the logs. “So the Keylock system allows for the natural shrinkage of the wood, but it tightens as time goes on rather than opening up,” explains Mark.
“It is through our patented technology that True North is the only manufacturer in the world to offer a ZERO air infiltration warranty,” says Mark.
True North Log Homes has a sister company called Log Project Management (referred to as LPM). LPM can manage onsite building services or offer Technical Advisor assistance. LPM’s Technical Advisor is kind of like a walking, talking construction manual. “This advisor will assist assembling the log package to ensure it is constructed correctly,” confirms Mark.
True North Log Homes’ commitment to quality, ingenuity and innovation has not gone unrecognized. In 2017, the company was awarded the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) ‘Global Innovation Award Finalist’ and Building Systems Councils (BSC) ‘Manufacturer of the Year.’ Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the NAHB is one of the largest associations of home builders in the world. “We are very proud as a Canadian manufacturer to win these two prestigious awards,” says Mark. The company also recently won three design excellence awards from the NAHB – two first-place and one second-place award.
Another noteworthy accolade was a project completed in North Carolina which is, “one of the largest LEED-certified platinum log home in North America,” says Mark. He notes that the client wanted to achieve this particular certification which he, “couldn’t do with any other standard log package. He needed our package in order to get the air infiltration warranty on that system.”
True North Log Homes has plans to expand significantly into other markets. “Our goal is to be known globally as a brand,” says Mark. “For us, it’s always about continuous improvement to develop new techniques and patented processes.”