Don’t be scared off by the uncertainties around the expense of building a cabin. There are two crucial steps before you begin planning your log cabin. First, make sure to learn about the common mistakes that lead to failure in this project. Secondly, look at log cabin plans to get some ideas of what you want to accomplish.
This article will cover the expenses of log cabin homes for you, including preparing the area of cabin foundations and groundwork to windows and doors to the insulation and roofing. Also, we will go through how much the cabin costs on average and how much we spend to build our cabin. So, let’s start!
How Much Does It Cost To Build A Log Cabin?
So How Much Does It Cost To Build A Log Cabin? Typically, building a log cabin ranges between $125 to $175 per square foot, while the lower cost is $100 per sq. ft. and it can go high as $300 per sq. ft. What affects that price range are materials, labor, and equipment. The average price for a 200 sq. ft. log cabin costs around $30,000.
Keep in mind that building a log cabin is not an easy task. This will require a lot of work and money.
Average Cost to Build a Log Cabin Per Square Foot
|Log Cabin Size||Average Price Range|
|200 sq. ft.||$25,000 – $35,000|
|500 sq. ft.||$62,500 – $87,500|
|1,000 sq. ft.||$125,000 – $175,000|
|1,500 sq. ft.||$187,500 – $262,500|
Many of you may know cabin building procedures, but this article will go through all the materials and prices involved in constructing a cabin house. So, if you’re interested in learning about the critical expenditures of building a log cabin home, keep reading.
For those who want to know more, be sure to read Does Log Cabin Add Value To Your Property? Expert Explain.
1. Log Cabin Foundations
So, you finally decided what type of plot you want for your cabin, the first step is to prepare the ground for your cabin foundation.
You will prepare the ground by doing the following:
- Get rid of pebbles and plants
- Remove topsoil and turf
- Level the site and stake the perimeter of the cabin.
Note! It is crucial to clear 5 feet extra in each direction. Eor example, if your cabin is 15 feet by 15 feet, you will need to prepare a site that would be 25 feet by 25 feet.
What you’re aiming for is a clean, level surface to work with while installing your foundation. Based on your cabin area, you may be able to transfer all of the debris to another location if there is a large enough area. If you cannot relocate, you’ll have to call the contractor to remove the debris from the site, which is what we did for our cabin.
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Average Cost Of Site Preparation
Clearing a property ranges from $1 to $43 per square foot. The variation is enormous since you may not find the ideal, flat, and somewhat clear location. Expect to spend more money if you need to demolish or eliminate old structures, level uneven or steep soil, or if you need to remove trees.
Actual Cost Of Site Preparation
We cut our expenses by spending a bit more time searching for an easy site. That is why we’ve paid $4,500 for the site to be cleared. Our site was cleaned by the contractor, who was responsible for removing all the surplus rubble, grass, and vegetation, for making our area clean. You may begin laying the footings and foundation for your cabin after the land has been leveled. Piles, concrete pads, and plinths are just a few foundation-building options that you can use for log cabins.
We took the advice of a structural engineer and a geographic surveyor, and we chose to go with concrete pads. The average cost of expert advice is roughly $500 per person. There was less trash flowing off-site since a pad required less excavation labor to excavate cavities for the foundation.
Note! Expect to spend more money if your soil is peat or clay because foundations may necessitate large piles to reach below the wet levels of the ground.
Total Cost Of Site Preparation
We spent $4600 on our cabin’s foundation. This price included advice from the engineer, surveyor, rebar, concrete, and hard-core that is used for the cabin’s base.
The total cost of site preparation and foundations are $9,100.
2. Utilities and Services: Drainage, Gas, Water
During cabin construction, utilities and services are often a heated topic!
Depending on whether you want your cabin to be on-grid or off-grid, the cost of installing utilities and services might drastically change the total cost. If you’re going to go for a more environmentally friendly option and utilize self-sustaining power sources like wind turbines and solar panels, don’t forget the factor in the expenses of battery banks to store the energy. To have a better understanding, we recommend that you inform yourself more about the complete costs of off-grid utilities.
Mike Holmes, a Montana log cabin builder, continues the cost breakdown for utilities and services, saying: “A fair estimate for the new installation of utilities and services for a cabin is $3,000 to $8,000.”
For our cabin’s utility and services, we spent $1200 on plumbing, $3600 on electrical, and $900 on water.
Speak with the prior owner if you’ve purchased an existing cabin that needs renovation or a piece of property with past occupants. He should provide you with the needed information, for example, if utilities and services have already been set up and you only need to pay a service connection charge. Service connection usually ranges from $500 to $1,000, depending on where you build your log cabin.
Because installing utilities and services requires a lot of groundwork, such as trenches to lay the pipe, it’s a good idea to bring in a builder and a surveyor early to assess the work that needs to be done. You can save money by installing utilities and services before; this way, you won’t be spending money on re-working foundations and re-hiring expensive plant gear that could have been done at the start of your cabin construction.
Total Cost Of Utilities and Services
These are our expenses for services and utilities:
- Plumbing is around $1,400
- Electrical cost is around $3,200
- Water cost is around $700
3. Log Cabin Roof
Timber and roof are the most expensive parts of your log cabin build. But it doesn’t have to cost anything if you have a natural supply that you can use. We weren’t that fortunate, so we had to purchase over $2,400 of road-side soft timber logs. They are in lengths of 32 feet, with most of the logs having a circumference of 14 inches or higher.
The Doyle scale is the industry norm for buying and selling hardwood lumber, and you can use it to calculate how many board feet are in a log. The majority of logs cost between $0.2 and $1 per board foot. You can take logs to a nearby sawmill to be prepared and cut to size, as we did. Calculate the expenses of bringing the logs back to your camp.
Note! You can save some money during insulation by using logs with a girth that is greater than 12”.
Weatherproofing is an essential step for your logs. There are various methods; for our log cabin, we chose Permachink. Look over tutorials on YouTube if you’re not sure how to caulk a log cabin. The Permachink will cost you $500, with another $550 for foam supporters.
Once the timber logs were brought to the job site, we treated them with Permagard. Treating timber logs took a long time, and it also cost us roughly $300. After you have completed the framework, you must choose a roof. Selecting the proper roof and color can bring your log cabin to life and make it appear fantastic.
Felt or cedar shingles, Thatch, EPDM rubber, tiles, tin, or slate are all roof options. We chose a tin roof since it had the perfect color; it was also long-lasting and simple to construct. You can use Bitumen Corrugated Sheets, as we did, and they were 2m x 950mm and cost slightly around $30 per each sheet.
Total Cost of Timber and Roof
Purchasing the timber logs, cutting them, and putting them together, cost us $6,600.
There are many options when it comes to insulating a log cabin. As a minimum, I recommend that you insulate your log home’s floor and roof. Maybe you don’t know, but a log cabin loses 65-70% of its heat through the floor or roof.
Note! It is better to install a dry-wall interior if you use smaller girth logs, which are less than 12 inches.
However, you may build two skins and add insulation or wool in the gap between them to help insulate the cabin. If you’re new to insulating, check out Steve Maxwell’s excellent beginner’s guide:
Insulation can work in two ways:
- Keeps the warm in the harsh winters
- Keeps cool in the hot summers
If you want to utilize your cabin throughout the year, insulation is REQUIRED! Following the installation of our concrete pad, we applied a damp-proof membrane and 50mm Kingspan floor insulation. You can find the Kingspan in your local builder’s shop, and the PIR insulation board from Kingspan or Celotex is both dependable and effective for floor insulation.
Roof insulation can be done in two ways:
- Insulate the inside of your roof
- Insulate the outside of your roof
In most cases, insulating your roof’s interior is faster and less expensive compared with insulating the outside of your roof. We chose a 100-millimeter Kingspan PIR board to insulate the log cabin from the inside since it is faster.
Total Cost of Insulation
The insulation process cost a little over $2,000 in total since we bought the waterproof membrane at the foundation phase.
5. Interior, Windows, Doors, and Fixings
When it comes to the floor, we hammered tongue and groove finish into the floor joists during the foundation and insulation stages. We didn’t want to conceal the massive timbers, so we left the interior of our cabin bare – except for the ceiling and floor.
The tongue and groove flooring cost us $1,290 to install.
We opted to repurpose the craigslist windows and doors to save some money when it comes to the windows and doors. There are four double double-glazed windows in our home, and there are two double-glazed glass windows at the entrance.
If you have more money, you can spend it on doors and windows. Make some research on R-values and U-values, as well as their thermal characteristics! Your cabin will be entirely waterproof after you’ve built the doors and windows.
All of the windows and doors cost $500 in total.
Interior, doors, and windows fixtures totaled $1,790.
One of the arguments we recommended for living in a log cabin was that you could build it yourself. So, in our view, labor should not cost you anything except for hard effort and sweat which will pay off when you see the final product!
Note! If you cannot build your cabin or you are thinking about hiring professionals to do it, it will cost you a lot!
The most costly thing is hiring external labor, such as architects, builders, and project managers. If you hire a project manager, he will charge 5-10% of the total cost of the cabin, from $5,000 to $50,000. Builders usually charge even more, from 15-20% of the total cost, between $15,000 and $100,000.
Total Cost of Labour
For our log cabin, the total labor cost was $5,500 because we pretty much completed most of the building, apart from site clearing, structural engineering, and surveyor tasks.
7. Tools and Equipment
It will be much easier and quicker to build a log home if you have the proper tools and equipment at hand. When it comes to the right equipment for our cabin, we opted to invest in high-quality tools that would serve us for years.
Each tool will offer several possibilities from size to brand, so make sure you thoroughly research everything you buy. Here are some of the most pricey tools you can use.
- Sawhorse (i.e., sawbuck)
- Cordless drill/screwdriver
- Sledge Hammer
- Handtools you can use:
- Hammer – 18oz
- 42″ Cant Hook – used to handle lumber
- Level – 40″
- Steel square
- Ripsaw – 22″ long and 5.5tpi
- Spikes and string
- Tape measure – 50FT
You can use these tools in this project, and you will have them for future projects, so it’s worth spending money on them.
Using a chainsaw for logging and chopping timber, rather than spending more money on a chainsaw only to log the wood and then a table saw just to cut the wood to size. Using a chainsaw is one example of reusing tools.
Total Cost of Tools and Equipment
Tools from the list above cost us around $1900.
If you opt to buy cheaper brands than you can save money and get it for around $900.
For the end, you can watch this great YouTube video about building a log cabin:
Be sure to also read Pros And Cons Of Log Cabin Homes.
We hope this article has inspired you to build a log cabin. Including the land and the interior, our project cost slightly over $27,000. Keep in mind that the cost of your cabin is mainly determined by its size and complexity. As the price is determined by these factors, you can build your log cabin for even less money if you choose a smaller and more simple option. If you have any questions or want to share your experience of building your cabin on a budget, let us know how you decreased your expenses.