When I was growing up, it was my parents dream to live in a log home they built themselves. They wanted a big piece of property with a great view to call home.
Years later, they found their dream home on a small lot in a normal suburban neighborhood. Funny how dreams change.
The good news is that, you don’t have to suffer this same fate. Today, it’s easier to design and build a log home than it was 10 or 20 years ago.
In fact, you can buy complete log cabin kits with all the materials you need already included. All you need to do is find a great piece of property and put it together.
It doesn’t get any easier than that, does it?
Well, judging by the amount of emails I get from my readers with questions about purchasing a log home kit, it’s not as straight forward as it seems.
In this guide I’ll walk you through basic log home costs, types of floor plans, finishes and other common questions.
How Much Does It Cost to Build a Log Home?
Of course, the first question everyone wants to know is: how much does a turn-key log cabin kit cost?
While this is a great place to start, there are a few hidden costs you’ll run into along the way. When shopping for a kit online, the prices you see are usually just for the logs and main components of the home.
Generally speaking, the cost to build a complete log home is three times the cost of the “turn-key” kit.
When deciding how much house you can afford, you should start with your total budget and work backwards.
For example, if your construction budget (not including land costs) is $360,000 you should be looking at log cabin kits in the $120,000 range.
Of course you can look at cheaper ones, too. But keep this in mind if you find yourself dreaming about the $250,000 kits.
Where do all of the additional costs come from?
Well, about 25% is for construction labor costs and another 14% is dedicated to site work and building a foundation.
You’ll also need to pay for insulation, plumbing, electrical, heating and flooring.
If this is going to be your dream home, you’ll probably want a dream kitchen, too. Another 5% of your budget will go into your kitchen and appliances.
Below is an example cost breakdown based on a $360,000 construction budget.
Total Budget: $360,000
Total Log Home Construction Cost Breakdown:
- Log Cabin Kit Retail Price: $118,800 (33%)
- Site Work: $28,800 (8%)
- Foundation: $21,600 (6%)
- Labor: $82,800 (23%)
- Insulation: $10,800 (3%)
- Plumbing: $21,600 (6%)
- Electrical: $18,000 (5%)
- Heating: $14,400 (4%)
- Kitchen: $14,400 (4%)
- Flooring: $14,400 (4%)
- Appliances: $3,600 (1%)
- Staining: $3,600 (1%)
- Miscellaneous: $7,200 (2%)
- Shipping Costs: Included
As you can see, your budget gets spent quickly even after you buy a “turn-key” kit. Most log home companies market their kits as turn-key, which can be deceptive if you’re unfamiliar with home construction costs.
Yes, the kits come with everything you need to build a complete log home. However, you still have to factor in labor costs, site work and the foundation, among other things.
Want to save money and build it yourself? The general consensus is that it will still cost you about three times the cost of the kit to build.
That’s due to the fact that you’ll need to rent heavy-duty equipment to unload and position the logs. Not to mention hiring the additional laborers needed to help you get the logs into place and safely secured to each other.
What’s Included in a Turn-Key Log Cabin Kit?
So when you’re ready to buy a kit, it helps to know what’s included. As you can expect, your log cabin kit will include a bunch of dried logs. They will be specially cut, numbered and notched to fit together in a specific order.
You will also get a roof with shingles, exterior windows and doors, as well as a complete flooring system. Most log home kits include a special pine floor for the main floor of the house.
Any special or custom flooring in any other rooms will add to your construction costs.
If the floor plan you selected includes a porch or deck, these will be included as well.
Finally, you will also receive fasteners, caulk, wood stain and proprietary building instructions to help you put all the pieces together.
Curious to learn how a log home is built? Good luck getting your hands on a copy of the building instructions without placing an order.
Most log home companies are very protective of their building instructions. They include very specific tips and tricks that have been refined over many years.
This is another reason to choose a log home manufacturer that has many years of experience. With any luck, they will help make the construction process go smoothly and error free.
Items included in a log home kit:
- Interior and Exterior Log Walls
- Roof System and Shingles
- Exterior Windows and Doors
- Interior Framed Walls
- First Floor Pine Flooring
- Porches and Decks
- Fasteners, Caulk and Stain
- 3 Sets of Construction Plans
- Detailed Construction Manual!
As you can see, just about everything you need to build your dream log cabin is included in the kit. However, don’t forget that you’ll need to purchase and install any other custom finishes yourself.
These include flooring such as carpet, hardwood floors and bathroom or kitchen tile. Although the plywood subfloor is included, but you’ll need to install all other flooring on top of it.
In addition, you will need to select light fixtures and outlets if you want to finish out the space with modern amenities.
So, far I’ve given you a great place to start when shopping for log cabin kits online.
In the next few weeks, I’ll be posting more tips and articles on log home design. If you want to know when these are published, be sure to sign up for my newsletter to get instant access.
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