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Frequent questions

What is a RUSTICASA?

A Rusticasa® is a house totally conceived of solid logs of Japanese Cedar or Himalayan Cedar with thickness options between 8 and 16cm, depending on technical and aesthetics needs. A Rusticasa® is built in individual logs trimmed to the right measurements and shaped at our factory. Each part is cut and numbered for later assembly at the building site. There, in accordance with the project layout, the carpenter assembles the house like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The interior walls are assembled at the same time as the exterior ones, so that the structure becomes solid. The structural elements of the roof made of Japanese Cedar or Oregon Pine, allows for a quick assembly and will accept any type of covering, for example, conventional ceramic tile, soil with vegetation, slate, asphalted tile, among others. Each Rusticasa® is fitted with insulated double glazing aluminium window/ door framing, guarantying high levels of acoustic and thermal insulation. The main attraction of a Rusticasa® is the wood it is built of, a noble material that creates particularly comfortable, relaxing and healthy environments. A Rusticasa® is not a readymade house. A readymade house is made of readymade panels, like walls and modules that are later assembled. They are normally made of light materials, easy to transport and assemble, thus, not very resistant, that are not more than assembled at the building site.

Which are the advantages of the construction in wood Rusticasa®?

1) Ecological construction because:

a) material extracted of the nature that suffers little transformation, or either, the material that the nature supplies practically remains unbroken in the end item.

b) renewable raw material - subject developed in the following point.

c) very low consumption of energy during the productive process – contrary to the cement and the metals which processes of production are highly consuming of energy (oil, coal or natural gas), the industrial transformation of wood consumes lowermost energy. By the way the most developed countries of Europe already have had discovered that national politics which stimulate the intensive use of wood in the constructions reduce the energy dependence of the nation. In Germany and France, nobody makes a roof with cement plate, you can only see roofs with wooden structure, currently in Portugal it’s exactly the opposite, a roof of a habitation that does not have plate of roof in cement is not a good roof! 50 years ago, things were different, this can also explain that in our country we lost the art to construct in wood, nor we are simply speaking of houses but of roofs. One more curious thing, a tree is a natural Co2 warehouse (by the photosynthesis), one of the forms foreseen in the protocol of Kyoto to compensate the emission of gases is to plant trees (the most known is to buy quotes of pollution to the poor countries), to plant trees it’s necessary to cut so that it is an income-producing but always sustainable economic activity, this means serious forest politics. In the utopian limit of if constructing only in wood we would have minor energy consumption (in the production and the use of the houses) and more forests… the utopian exactly because of the preconceptions relatively to wood and to the economic interests (just imagine that half of the cement factories had to close).

2) Fast construction - the Rusticasa® soon leaves to inhabit a house with 100m2 in about 1 month, being existed a relationship of proportionality between the area and the time of the workmanship; or either 200m2 house is ready in about 2 months. However months is not certainly the unit of time that we are accustomed to use when we speak of the time of construction of a house.

3) Thermal insulation - providing a low consumption of heating energy, a simple salamander can be enough to keep the interior temperature of a house above of 20ºC in the Winter in any part of the country. A Rusticasa® is not cold in winter nor heat in summer; and this with wooden walls of 120 mm of thickness. To get an insulation equivalent in cement we would need 30 cm, which is more expensive and becomes the house smaller. The intrinsic characteristics of wood allow this excellent thermal insulation but the other materials must correspond. Thus, in Rusticasa® the windows and doors are wooden bulk of 60 mm of thickness (all with latch of 3 points and some joints), double glazing with air chamber of 12 mm at least, the roof insulation is complex and highly efficient and under the wooden floor it even has insulation materials. The main material of insulation is the rock wool. One more time, environmental concerns had led to choose this material, or either, we excluded materials derived from oil as polyurethanes and polystyrenes. The rock wool neither is the ideal, because even if the raw material is natural - rock - the productive process of transformation of the rock into rock wool consumes a lot of energy. The material of ideal insulation would be sheep wool. It exists for sale for the construction in Germany but it’s very expensive.

4) Acoustic insulation – one more intrinsic characteristic of the wood, even so this advantage is relative because of our constructions being habitually situated in quiet places. Anyway, a log house is quieter in its interior than another cement one.

5) Healthy because the wood breathes filtering air and regulates the level of surrounding moistness. A Rusticasa®  is not wet, because when surrounding air is wet the wood absorbs some of this moistness, when surrounding air is dry, the wood frees some moistness. The effect is a certain regulation of the air moistness. In a log house there never is a misted window. It is excellent for people who have problems of joints or asthma.

6) Massive wood resists fires better than ferroconcrete structures or metallic structures – developed ahead.

7) Moreover our constructions have a naturally anti-seismic structure. All the parts encase ones in the others, so a wall can’t crack. All the structure forms a solid block. The Japanese also build a lot in wood for this reason.

8) Without treatment the lifetime can exceed a century, with regular maintenance it will exceed century and a half. How much does the maintenance cost? Less than a condominium. A Rusticasa® is cheap.

9) The budget does not vary during the assembly. A turn-key construction agreement is signed and the value is fixed, does not have budgetary sideslips.

10) As any another construction, you can register it, you can ask for mortgage and financing - is developed ahead.

11) Other more difficult advantages to describe: aesthetic beauty, comfort (only seen), it constantly smells wood, easy to decorate.

Which are the 3 wooden species used by RUSTICASA®?

a) Nordic pine, Latin scientific name: Pinus sylvestris, known in Portugal as "casquinha" e in Spain as bolt rojo (red pine).

b) Nordic fir, Latin scientific name: Picea abies, known in Portugal as "casquinha or Flanders pine", in English is called "spruce"

c)Cedar of Japan, Latin scientific name: Japonica Cryptomeria, known in Portugal as criptomeria, much little known internationally. The botanical origin is the only thing from Japan, where the Criptomeria, - named Sugi - is a species venerated and used to build religious temples.

-Origin of wood: The wild pine and fir are proceeding from Finland and Sweden. These countries have made this raw material a renewable and ecological natural resource. All the companies to whom RUSTICASA® purchase wood have environmental certification ISO 14000 and at least one of the internationally recognized forest certifications: PEFC and/or FSC (see www.pefc.org and www.fsc.org). The criptomeria proceeds from the Azores, essentially from the island of S. Miguel. They are small sawyers who actually have nor ISO 14000 neither forest certification. However, the wooden acquisition in the Azores is compatible with the environment defence politics followed by Rusticasa® because we know and we evidence that these companies respect the legislation in vigour that imposes that for each cut tree two are being planted. It is easy to confirm it in the eastern forests of the island of S.Miguel.

How long does it last?

A Rusticasa® is built on the basis of a system that has been used for centuries in North-eastern European countries (such as Scandinavia, Russia and others), where there is a long tradition in log homes and where some are still standing since the XIIth century. Nowadays, in central and northern Europe, in the United States and Canada, as well as Japan and Australasia, about 85% of family homes are built of wood.

The life expectancy of a Rusticasa® varies depending on the thickness of the beams used (the thicker the beams are, the longer the duration), its location, how exposed to the elements it will be, the rigour used in the compliance of maintenance procedures. To give some idea, a Rusticasa® built with 120mm beams has a life expectancy of over 150 years.

How much is it and what affects the price?

A Rusticasa® is an exquisite product and its characteristics are adjustable to the Client’s needs. The calculation of the cost of a Rusticasa® involves a highly complex formula consisting of many factors, such as:

a.   Model chosen (standard or personalised)

b.   Type and number of floors.

c.   Thickness of the walls (there are 3 different thicknesses available)

d.   Profile of the structure (2 diferent types available)

e.   Level of finishing and equipment required.

f.    Type of assembly chosen (just structure-built or totally-built).

g.   Location of assembly.

h.   Additional services required.

We would be grateful if after consulting the site and with base on your requirements, you would contact our Client Support Department in order to obtain a closer estimate.

Is a Rusticasa an ecological product?

Yes, indeed. Among all building materials, wood is the only natural and renewable. A wooden house originates in the woodlands, the earth’s lungs which creates oxygen, absorbs carbon dioxide and reduces the greenhouse effect.

Ecology and atmosphere preservation concern today an increasing number of citizens. But, on the contrary to some radical ecologists, the forest needs to be maintained and trimmed in an orderly fashion, so as to keep its natural cycle. In an abandoned forest, the trees die of old age from competition with younger ones or, victims of parasite attacks, they decompose. The forest stops producing oxygen, halting its ecological balance. In a well looked after forest, trees have a constant, or increasing activity and their number is not reduced. The rule to follow is simple: only cut the number of trees that the forest was able to produce in a year. The woods used by Rusticasa® are exclusively from supported forests, therefore promoting the renovation of the forest.

Each Rusticasa® only uses 100% natural materials. Its rustic and ecological character favours the creation of areas where there is a real concern about the atmosphere preservation and where the aim for quality is high.

Is a RUSTICASA compatible with other building materials?

Yes, Rusticasa® log houses can be built incorporating other materials:

-  Walls: It is possible to combine stone walls, glass or concrete with wood. The most frequent cases are fireplaces or old stone façades that need to be incorporated in the home.

- Floors: The covering of the floors too can be of brick, slate, cork,etc. The combination of materials is also possible attending to the utility of each room, for example, floorboards in the sitting room and bedrooms and terracotta tiles in the kitchen and bathrooms.

- Roofs: To combine the building with the local architecture, it is possible to use different types of roof covering such as conventional ceramic tilling, soil with vegetation (eco-roof), slate, asphalted tiles or even thatch.

How efficient is the isolation?

To start, a log house breathes, absorbs and expels humidity, filters and purifies the air, regenerating the internal atmosphere, which helps to avoid rheumatic and lung diseases.

The thermal insulation factor of wood is 6 times more efficient than that of brick, 15 times more than concrete, 400 times more than steel and 1770 times more than aluminium. Therefore, it is possible to maintain the internal atmosphere of a Rusticasa® warm in winter and cool in summer, with energy savings that can exceed 50% if compared to ordinary concrete or stone constructions. A wooden wall 11cm thick is equivalent to a 30cm one made of concrete, meaning that, for the same thermal insulation, a log home represents a considerable saving in living area.

On the other hand, the acoustic properties of wood are well-known: It absorbs a high proportion of sound waves that it receives, with the obvious gain in sound pollution prevention. A log home is a silent home and reduces the stress of those living there.

How resistant is it to earthquakes?

Due to the mechanical properties of wood and the assembly method, the horizontal beams interlaced with each other, work as a solid structure, robust and consistent. The interior walls are assembled at the same time as the exterior ones, making the construction resistant to earth movements and high winds.

Is it possible to alter standard models or make a personalized one?

Rusticasa® has no standard models. We have total flexibility to produce houses in accordance with specific requirements of each of our Clients, placing at your disposal a highly qualified team with sole aim of totally satisfying your wishes. About 75% of all Rusticasa® buildings are personalised or Rusticasa’ suggestions which have been altered. So as to offer you an estimate, we need the following information from the Client:

a.   Layout made to scale.

b.   Indication of height from floor to ceiling and from floor to rooftop.

c.   Desired thickness for the external walls.

d.   Any other information thought to be relevant for a complete analysis.

Any type of construction can be made, including special models for hotels, kindergardens and schools, to name but a few.

Is it possible to build a fireplace or install a central heating system?

Many of our Clients believe that a fireplace is fundamental in a Rusticasa®, so great is its contribution to a rustic and cosy atmosphere. In fact, any Rusticasa® can have its own fireplace or chimney or else a stove or a salamander. Additionally, any Rusticasa® can be equipped with a central heating system or radial canvas, the choice is yours!

How does it resist to fire?

Wood burns at relatively low temperatures. However, the causes of house fires are normally not associated to the structural materials used (wood included), but to the elements of décor, revetments or furnishings that are not as reliable. In case of fire, the superficial carbonization, not only retains gases (which are non-toxic), but also makes the penetration of heat more difficult, as it has an inferior thermal conductive capacity than that of wood. The propagation of fire is therefore very slow. Most of the structure is not combustible; nevertheless, it is not fireproof. In a fire, metallic structures expand and become twisted, rapidly loosing its mechanical resistance with the increase of temperature. In the case of wood, as its dilatation is minimal, there is no danger of elements deformation. Therefore, there is more time for evacuation of the house.

How many years of experience does Rusticasa® have?

The first Rusticasa® was built in 1978, which means that it was more than 30 years ago. This first construction is placed in Caminha, still it exists and it fulfils in complete its functions being in perfect state of conservation. Since then, they had been more than 25 years of constant development and improvement.

How long does it take for delivery and assembly?

The manufacturing of the various parts/ elements of a Rusticasa® could take less than a week. The assembly time at the building site is about 1 month for every 100m2. Additionally, thanks to its speed and the method used for execution with no need for addition of water (therefore, no drying time is needed), a log home can be occupied much faster than a conventional house (as soon as its assembly is concluded). This way, it is possible to save time and money, allowing you to take full benefit of tour bank loan or incoming rent.

Is it possible to apply for a bank loan?

At Rusticasa® we have a privileged relationship with some banks and insurance companies, where the Client might have the loan process accelerated. For more details, we recommend that you contact our Client Support Department.

What is needed for its construction?

Licensing for the construction of a Rusticasa® log home does not require any specific legal consideration therefore being subject only to the general laws pertaining to building constructions in general. However, each local authority has its own norms so we strongly advise you to contact the local authority in the area where you plan to build your new Rusticasa®, in order to obtain a list of all the necessary documents.

The licensing process can be carried out directly by the Client or through the Projects Office at RUSTICASA, or if it is of your preference, a local official agent.

What maintenance does it need?

To accomplish perfect conservation of a Rusticasa® and keep it that way for many years to come, it will be necessary to paint it with a sealant that will:

a.     Highlight the beauty of the wood.

b.     Economize on maintenance by reducing cycles.

c.     Keep the wood healthy.

Additionally, the sealant constitutes the most convenient product for outdoor use, because:

a.     It incorporates an ultraviolet filter (UV).

b.     It has an open-pore finish, with no splitting pellicles nor wood dust.

c.     It is water-repellent.

d.     Provides protection against insects (Acting as insecticide and fungicide).

Taking in consideration how easy and quick it is to paint the house; maintenance cost is considerably lower than that of an ordinary house.

What form of guarantee does Rusticasa give?

Despite Portuguese legislation imposing a 5-year guarantee, we at Rusticasa® offer a 10-year standard guarantee for the structure of the home. Additionally, all Rusticasa® are protected by a civil and product risk insurance.

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