Log cabins provide incredible insulation. If well-maintained, they will keep the inside of your home cool in summer and warm in winter.
Some builders routinely construct log homes to meet Energy Star standards, saving you some serious cash. However, this type of building requires special research and construction. Here’s what you need to know before you buy.
Log cabins offer a connection to nature and a cozy feel. However, they require more maintenance than traditional homes. This is due to their thick walls and natural insulation. In addition, their thick walls can withstand weathering over the years, making them a cost-effective choice for those who want to live off the grid. These homes are also highly energy efficient and use less power than their non-log counterparts.
The price of a log home depends on the construction method. Full scribe homes, the most expensive option, feature vertical logs with notches that are stacked on top of each other to form the interior and exterior walls. Post and beam cabins, which are less expensive, feature round log posts that support large horizontal logs, saving money. Timber frame cabins, which are a hybrid of the two styles, are another option that is less expensive than full scribe or post and beam options.
In addition to the type of construction, you’ll need to consider additional costs like roofing materials. For example, shingles cost between $5,750 and $12,200, while metal roofs cost $12,000 to $30,000. You should also include the cost of installing utilities for your cabin. This includes plumbing, a septic tank, water well and electricity.
The best way to save on the build cost of your log cabin is to choose a contractor who has experience building these types of houses. Look for a company with a strong portfolio of completed projects and a good reputation. In addition, make sure the contractor has insurance and a license to work in your state. Finally, be sure to hire a team that can accommodate your specific needs and preferences. For instance, if you want a wood stove, make sure that the builders can install it properly.
Many styles of log cabins exist, and each has its own benefits and drawbacks. Some are more traditional in their appearance, while others are more modern and sleek. The style you choose will depend on your preferences and the environment where you plan to live. A traditional cabin has a cozy feel, and is usually located in a remote location. They’re also smaller and tend to be less expensive than modern log homes.
One of the most popular types of log homes is the corner post cabin. This type of construction is very affordable and requires little maintenance, making it an excellent choice for vacation homes. It’s easy to find log home kits for this type of home, and the logs are hewn rather than hand-peeled, which saves time and money.
Another type of log cabin is the full scribe, which is a more refined style that’s perfect for larger homes. Full scribed logs are cut and processed off-site, so they’re ready to be fitted on the foundation as soon as they arrive. These logs have a “notched” pattern and are fixed together with mortise and tenon joints. They’re more durable than hewn logs, and are also more fire resistant.
While full scribed cabins are more expensive, they’re also easier to maintain than other types of log houses. In addition, they’re more comfortable than hewn logs, as they have a smoother finish and are carved by machine. They’re also more stable and less prone to movement, so they’re an excellent option for permanent homes.
Log cabins have natural insulating properties, which save homeowners money on energy bills. They also make for a more sustainable building option. The wood is typically sourced locally, which cuts down on costs and emissions. In addition, the thick logs are fire resistant and protect the structure of the home.
When designing a log cabin, it’s important to create a seamless transition between indoor and outdoor spaces. The design team at M.T.N Design can help achieve this goal with a design like Coldwater, which incorporates a beautiful two-story living space and a natural stone fireplace.
Another benefit of log cabins is that they can be made to feel warm and cozy despite being well-insulated. The logs’ thick structure helps them retain heat and reduce heating costs, especially during the winter. In fact, log homes are up to 20 percent more energy efficient than traditional houses.
As with any type of home, it’s important to keep up with regular maintenance and repairs on your cabin. This is especially true if you live in an area with heavy rain or snowfall. The logs can absorb lots of water, causing them to rot and bow over time if they’re not properly sealed. It’s also important to check for insect infestations in your log cabin, as they can be a serious problem. Insects, such as carpenter ants, love to nest in log cabins and can cause significant damage if they’re not treated correctly.
If you’re concerned about the energy efficiency of your log cabin, consider replacing some or all of the wood with Everlogs. This alternative to logs offers the same rustic look with superior insulation. It also comes in a variety of finishes and is made to last for generations.
Whether your cozy log cabin is a weekend getaway or the home you plan on transitioning into retirement with, it’s important to design it to meet your long term needs. Veteran log and timber designers with the Log and Timber Homes Council recommend several strategies for making your home more comfortable and practical.
The most important of these strategies is adding below-grade insulation, which protects the cabin’s foundation from moisture damage and helps retain heat during cold winter months. In addition, a roof with a larger-than-normal overhang helps ensure that melting snow and rain doesn’t directly puddle against the cabin or soak into its wood.
Another way to make your cabin more functional is to install built in storage systems. These can accommodate twice as many items as standard closet rods and shelves. They also use less space than bi-fold doors. Finally, designers suggest increasing wall height to eight or ten feet, instead of the standard seven foot six inch walls found in older cabins. This gives the cabin an appearance of greater spaciousness, as well as more light because logs reflect light differently than drywall does. Additionally, a more expansive ceiling can increase your square footage and reduce heating costs.
Log cabins require a little more maintenance than traditional homes but this isn’t hard work. The key to maintaining your log cabin is to be proactive and stay on top of small issues before they become bigger ones.
A good rule of thumb is to wash your log home every spring and fall using a wood-friendly cleaner and a soft brush. This removes any dirt, mold and mildew that have built up. You should start washing at the bottom of the house and move upwards to avoid splashback and ensure that you clean all areas thoroughly. Once you’ve cleaned your cabin, allow it to dry for three or four days before performing any further maintenance. This is also a good opportunity to re-stain your logs if needed.
Moisture is the biggest natural hazard to log homes and the most common reason for damage. Keeping moisture away from your log cabin will help it last longer and prevent costly repairs. To do this, make sure to keep gutters and downspouts clear of debris so they can properly funnel water away from the log walls. Also, keep landscaping at least 18 inches away from the logs to allow for air circulation.
You’ll also want to make sure that you re-stain your log cabin at least every 3-4 years to protect it from the sun’s UV rays. The stains available today are far more durable and long-lasting than the older mortar-based varieties. Check the chinking and caulk to make sure it is still sealing well, especially around doors, windows and roof connections. If the chinking or caulk is cracked, worn or loose it should be repaired immediately to prevent water and wind infiltration.