Log homes can be costly to build but many homeowners choose to save money by building the home by themselves. Serving as the general contractor as well as doing some of the labor, or all of it, themselves maximizes savings. Also it gives an intense sense of personal involvement in every aspect of the home.
One of the best plans to built for a homeowner who chooses to do it themselves is a ranch plan. This limits how high on the walls and roof people have to go. Also the lifting of beams and logs high over head is limited to a twelve or fourteen foot peak instead of a twenty-two or higher peak.
The log home companies which produce the best packages for do-it-yourself builders are the ones with a fully pre-cut and pre-numbered log package. A fully computerized CNC mill for the machine cut log homes can mill within two to three millimeters of accuracy. The log shell is fully precut and prenumbered. The end joints where one log ends and the next begins is cut with finger joinery, so the logs just slide together and a tight joint is formed. Pitch cutting the top wall logs for the roof so that it is angled is a huge help. Another very helpful feature is if all outlet boxes and wire holes are precut and predrilled into the logs. Log home plans can be finished with either a square beam roof system or round logs over the great room and standard trusses over the wings. This is a more cost effective way of building.
For ball park costs, log home packages that are very complete basically include everything to dry the home in. One log company I priced recently had milled log home packages ranging between $60 and $70 per square foot. Included with the package was the fully precut log walls, the roof system, porches, decks, roofing, first floor subfloor, exterior doors, windows, 1×6 pine tongue and groove for ceilings and soffits, interior framing lumber, exterior door and window trim, if there was a second floor or open loft in the plan the the log or timber staircase for first floor to upper, and the log railing for stairs and loft edge was also included.
For building costs, if you were to hire a contractor, dryin costs in the Northwestern United States are estimated at:
~Foundation work including excavation for a full basement are about $16 – $18 per square foot.
~Dryin labor ranges is about $25 per square foot
For a full turn key the with a general contractor on a full basement, including the price of the package, is about $150 per square foot.
With everything totally precut and prenumbered we have had many clients build the log homes themselves. The logs shell should stack in a matter of days, between about five to seven days for a 2000 square foot ranch log home. The only thing that has to be done to the logs when they are stacked is the lag bolt holes for the 10″x1/2″ lags have to be drilled and lags installed. Building it yourself is a great way to save a lot. One of the biggest assets with fully precut packages is they go together so easily. There is not cutting on site except for the lag holes. Fully precut on a home this size can save three or four months of time. We have built fully precut packages and random length log homes in the past and the same size home in the random length literally took us that much longer.
Things that are not included that are still needed to finish the home are materials such as interior doors, cabinets, finish flooring, basement and foundation work, plumbing, electrical, heating, lighting and plumbing fixtures, etc.
For for the garage one option is to place it in the basement if you are able to put a daylight basement under the home. Another option is to attach it to the house or build a detached garage. If you want a log garage to match the house the material can be purchased at the same time as the log home package, from the same company. One option is to order the log walls and place standard flat bottom trusses over it. Another option is to just log side the garage with matching log siding that is used on the gable ends of the house. For log cabins or luxury log homes they are both offered by Cowboy Log Homes; who was interviewed for this article.