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FAQ

How much do log home style houses cost per square foot (approximately)?

There is almost no other style of home with a more variable building cost. The cost per square foot for building your log home will depend on factors such as:

  • Land costs for log homes are extremely variable. A lot with a beautiful view in an isolated location that somehow has power and water connections will come at a premium price. Log home sites without road access are usually inexpensive, but that brings up the next variable.
  • The cost to transport workers and materials to your construction site can be a significant part of your building cost. Site excavators, carpenters, craftspeople, plumbers, and electricians may expect extra pay for the time it takes to reach your site.
  • About 90 percent of log homes are built with pre-milled lumber cut to meet the specifications of the owner’s building plan, hauled to the construction site. If logs have to be cut at the site, lumber costs may go down but labor costs may soar.
  • If you choose plans that work with the log and chink method, in which the builder notches the logs to fit together and corners and fills in any gaps with chinking (which in the twenty-first century is an acrylic glue, although in earlier times it was a mixture of sand, clay, and lime), you will spend a lot less than if you expect logs to fit together without chinking.
  • More often than not, log cabins are built on sloping land. This adds to the costs of building the foundation, but gives opportunities to add a basement. The catch is that you need to choose to build the basement before you choose your plans. You may want to erect a 10,000-gallon storage tank both for your personal use in drought years and fire protection, making sure you keep pumps and hoses for use in case of fire.
  • Log homes are at special risk for fire damage. Consider the costs of removing highly flammable vegetation (chestnuts in the eastern US, trees killed by drought in the West, junipers in Texas) within 100 yards of your home in calculating your building costs.

Even with all of these complications, Angie’s List tells us, log homes are usually built for $125 to $175 per square foot. The days of being able to build a log home for $50 a square foot are probably over, but log home designs can be made very simple for cabins used only in the summer or winter, at considerable cost savings.

As we will mention a little later in the answer to the question about exterior colors, maintenance of a log home can be quite expensive.

Are there log home style floor plans with a detached garage?  Is it possible?

It is easy to find a log home floor plan with a detached garage in the same style.

Does log home style house usually come with a garage?

The closer you are to town, the more likely you are to see log homes with garages. Log homes used for weekend or vacation usually don’t have a garage, although they are a good idea. A garage offers protection from rain, snow, bears, and theft.

Is log home style considered a grand or luxury style of home?  Is the style used for mansions or normally regular-sized homes?

There are log homes that sell for millions of dollars. It’s possible to build a grand log home with luxurious features. But this style is not usually used for mansions or high-end homes.

Is log home style ever built as a “small” home?  Can it be built economically?

The first American small homes were log homes. Plans for log homes of 300 square feet and even smaller footprints are easy to find.

Can log home style floor plans be open concept?

Log homes lend themselves to open concept living. There is no need for load-bearing beams or walls in the interior in most log home designs, although you may want to add walls for privacy and security.

What are popular log home style exterior colors?

The most popular log home exterior color is “log.” Log homes do not need stucco, brick, or stone veneers. They do not need to be painted, but about every three years they will need refinishing. The most common method of maintaining the look of a log home is with “corncob blasting.” It’s a process similar to sandblasting done with ground corn cobs, followed with a new coat of stain. This costs about $10,000 for a 2000-square foot log home. Replacing rotted exterior wood can be very expensive, because it can be hard to get wood that matches the rest of your house — unless you hold back some of the lumber you use to build your house and store it so it will not be attacked by beetles or termites, or mistaken for firewood.

Can you build log home style house on a narrow lot?  

It’s not hard to find plans for a log home on a narrow lot. Just look for plans for a two-story log home, or a two-story log home and a basement.

Can this style be built on a wide lot?

Log homes can be built as wide as you like. There are designs for log homes that are as much as 400 feet wide.

Can log home style homes be built on a sloping lot?

Log homes can be built on a sloping lop as long as the underlying soil is deep enough, or your contractor can blast away rock. Sloping lots are a great opportunity to add a basement with generous outside access.

How many floors/stories does log home style usually have?

The most popular floor plans for log homes are single-story or single-story with a basement, but there are plans for as many as four floors.

Do log home style houses have a basement?

Most log homes do not have a traditional basement, unless the basement is an accommodation for a sloping lot.

Does this style of house ever come with a bonus room?

It’s easy to find log home plans that include a bonus room. Or two.

Do log home style floor plans come with energy efficient options?

All log home floor plans include energy efficient options. If you are building on a lot that requires building permits, check out code requirements for energy efficiency before you buy your plans so you do not make a costly mistake.

Is a porch a common design feature with log home style houses?

Porches are a desirable, popular, and common feature in log home style houses. They make summer cooling easier and they offer protection from the elements while you are finding your keys and opening your door to get in. They also offer a protection from wind damage and lightning.

What types of roof does log home style house typically have?

Asphalt shingles are one of the least expensive options for a log home. They are easy to repair. Cedar shake roofs on log homes are beautiful, but they require maintenance every few years, and they are not fire-resistant.

Metal, especially galvanized steel, is a long-lasting option for a log home. Modern galvanizing standards predict a 100-year life for a galvanized steel roof in a rural setting. Galvanized steel is waterproof and impact-resistance, and can be painted any color you want.

Copper looks great on log homes, and ages to a beautiful green. Repairs can be done with solder. Copper roofs, however, are very expensive up front.

Does log home style work well with a rustic interior decor?  Or is it more suited to a contemporary interior?

Every log home works with rustic interior decor, unless you make the unfortunate choice of replacing interior walls with dry wall and plaster. Keep your log house natural, and careful selections in rustic decor can only add to its beauty.