Log Cabin Kits vs. Park Models

If you want to offer an authentic log cabin experience for your guests, don’t settle for a cheap imitation.  Log cabin kits allow flexibility in designing a log cabin that is perfect for your campground or camping resort.  Park models may appear to be cheaper up front, but there are other factors to consider.

Log Cabin Modular Homes?

Beware of Imitators

A park model is classified as a mobile home / recreational vehicle.  And like all vehicles, they start to depreciate in value immediately.  As a result they offer little to no added value to a property when appraised.  There is no practical difference in the use of park models than travel trailers or fifth-wheel trailers.  They are not ‘improvements’ to campgrounds any more than a travel trailer placed and used in a campground is.  A log cabin is a permanent structure and can go up in value just like a traditionally built house.

A log cabin kit is sturdier and will last longer than a park model.  Building materials of cabins are significantly higher grade than park models.  Log cabin kits must follow stricter building standards than park models. Park models abide by the lower standards of recreation vehicles.

Log cabin kits can be delivered to almost any build location because they are assembled on site.  Park models can only be installed where they can be driven to while in one piece. If there are any tight turns or the location is hard to reach, a park model may never reach the destination.

Once can finance a cabin with traditional lending and amortized over longer time periods.  It may be harder to finance a park model if it’s not on a permanent foundation. This is because they are considered personal property and not a fixed asset.

Park models are built on a chassis mounted on wheels.  They must remain on wheels, which limits the look of the exterior.   Added expenses are incurred when lattices, porches, and decks are used to camouflage the wheels.  In addition, park models have steps since they must remain on wheels, which forces park models to be above ground level.

A Few Other Things to Know About Log Cabin Kits

  • Log cabins can comply with all ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) requirements.
  • Log cabins can meet any energy code.
  • Cabins can meet any building code.
  • They can match other structural buildings on a property, such as a log multi-purpose building or log bathhouse.
  • Log cabins add property value.

A Few Other Things to Know About Log Cabin Modular Homes or Park Models

  • Park models have limited designs. They must be long and narrow and a maximum of 400 square feet.
  • Park models can be put in flood plains since they are technically movable.

Read on to learn more about log cabin kits vs. park model homes and contact us today for more details.

What Are Park Model Homes?

Park model homes are recreational vehicles (RVs) meant to look like a typical home.  Some seem as if they are log cabins, while others have wood siding.  Like an average home, park models have doors, windows and gabled roofs.

But that’s where the similarities between park models and standard homes or log cabins end.  While your typical house has a foundation and is firmly attached to the ground it stands on, a park model connects to a trailer.  In fact, park model homes need to comply with a national standard designed for recreational park trailers.

You won’t find park models in housing developments.  Instead, people use them for recreational purposes.  One place where you might see them is at a campground or in a park designed for RVs.  In those places, the park model is either owned by the campground or by a person who’s renting a space at the campground.

Another big difference between park models, log cabin kits and other types of homes is park models are relatively limited when it comes to size.  Since they are on trailers, most park models are less than 400 square feet.  They are usually single-wides and have just one or two bedrooms.

Typically, a park model is between 8 feet, 6 inches in width and about 13 feet in width.  The 8’6″ models can be attached to a car or truck and driven down the road without the need for a special permit.  The wider models do require a special permit for over sized loads.  Since they are transported in one piece to their permanent home, it can be challenging to get them to areas only accessible by small or twisty mountain roads.

One last difference between park models and log cabins – park models ar classified as vehicles, not real property.

Why a Park model is not a good investment

The manufacturers of park models often present them as an ideal investment or purchase for private use or commercial properties, such as campgrounds.  Those in favor of the mobile homes note they are usually affordable, starting at $20,000.

While those may be two arguments in favor of a park model, whether you own or manage a campground or are looking for a log cabin for private residential property, a park model is typically not an ideal investment, for a number of practical reasons.

No long-term value for park models

You’re most likely familiar with what happens the minute you drive a new car off of the dealer’s lot.  The value of the car takes a dive.  Even just a day after you bough it, a new car will never be worth as much as it was before you bought it.

log cabin modular homes

Sure, you can get years of use out of the car and enjoy it before trading it for a new model.  Depending on the age and condition of the car when you trade it in, you might get a few hundred or thousand dollars back.

But, with very few exceptions, you’ll never make money on a car.  The same is true with park model homes.  They aren’t classified as real estate, so they don’t appreciate or gain value over time.  You might be able to buy a park model home for $20,000 today, but in 5 years the market value will only be a few thousand dollars.

Limited Modular Home Design Options

Another significant drawback of park model homes is that they aren’t very customizable.  You must have a house no bigger than 400 square feet that needs to fit on a trailer that’s between 8’6″ and 13′ wide.

For that reason, you’re not going to be able to get very creative when it comes to designing the layout of the home.  You might be able to pick out one that has a porch or one with a sleeping loft, but beyond that, your choices are slim.

Since park models can only be single-wides, you don’t have the option of attaching two or more together to make a bigger home.  You also don’t have the possibility of creating a park model home with more than one bathroom or more than two bedrooms, since you are limited to just 400 square feet in most places.

With Park Models, You get What You Pay for

In many cases, the materials used to construct park model homes aren’t the best quality.  The lower quality of a park model home, compared to a log cabin kit or other house, is often reflected in the price of the home.  Because of the quality of material used for items such as flooring, windows, and doors, the maintenance will be much higher for a park model as well.

Spending $20,000 or $30,000 on a house might seem like a great bargain.  But if the quality isn’t there and certain parts of the house wear out quickly, you might end up spending more just to keep the building in working order compared to if you had invested in better materials in the first place.

What are log cabin kits?

Once upon a time, if a person wanted to build a log cabin, he or she had to head out into the woods and cut down or scavenge for logs, then cut and prepare those logs before assembling the house.  People had to find and gather any other materials for the cabin, such as window panes, separately.  The entire process was very time-consuming an laborious.  Those days are long gone, fortunately, and today, many log cabins are log houses come together with the help of a log cabin kit.

log cabin kits come with all materials

Log cabin kits come with everything you need to build a house or cabin.  There is no need to head into the forest yourself to cut down trees or to gather fallen logs.  You also don’t have to worry about working with many different vendors or trying to find companies to source materials such as windows, roofs, or sinks for the cabin.

Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes offers kits for cabins and houses of varying styles and sizes, including homes under 500 square feet.  Contact us to learn more about resort log cabin kits.

Why Log Cabin Kits are a good investment

Compared to park model homes, log cabin kits tend to be a good investment, both in terms of quality and value.

The high quality of log cabin kits

Materials matter when building a cabin or house.  The better quality of materials used, the more a kit might cost upfront, but the longer its life and the less you’ll have to pay to maintain and care for it.

The primary material Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes uses is Everlast™ logs.  These are carefully designed and engineered to look great and resist warping and settling.  The logs are also available in up to 28 foot lengths, which is the longest in the industry.  Cabins and homes built from Everlast™ logs are better insulated and better protected from water and air since there is never a log joint in a Conestoga Log Cabin.

Everlast™ logs are natural, traditional wood but are engineered and kiln dried.  They are laminated and precision-notched so that each connection is the perfect fit.  Walls constructed of these logs are incredibly weather-tight.

Another issue that faces traditional log cabins and houses made from a lower-quality material is water damage and mold growth.  Molds thrive in moist, humid conditions.  The kiln-dried logs are designed to have a moisture content below 19 percent at all times, which inhibits the growth of molds and other fungi.

Design options abound for log cabin kits

With a park model home, you have few choices when it comes to style and design choices, thanks to the size limitations.  If you want one feature, you usually have to give up another.

That’s not the case with a log cabin kit, as there are no limitations as to the size of the structure you build.  Although pre-set and designed kits are available for both residential and commercial use, you also have the option of designing your own custom log cabin.

If you decide not to go the custom-design route, you will generally find log cabin kits grouped into four categories:

  • Cabins under 500 square feet – you can find them as small as 169 square feet.  Talk about a tiny house!
  • Cabins between 500 and 1,100 square feet.
  • Log houses over 1,100 square feet.
  • Commercial kits such as bunkhouses, bathhouses and multi-purpose buildings.

Depending on your needs, a log cabin kit can produce a cabin or house with anywhere from one to four bedrooms and one to three bathrooms.  Some commercial cabins feature just a single bedroom and no bath and are ideal for campgrounds that offer a “rugged” camping experience.

Value of Log cabin kits over time

Log cabin kits don’t just offer value and prove to be a good investment when it comes to quality and design options.  They also provide financial value and prove to be a good long-term investment for both residential and commercial use.  Here’s why:

  • Improve Land Value.  Building log cabins or houses on your property helps to improve the value of the land.  Unlike park models, which is considered a type of vehicle and has no impact on the value of the land, a log cabin is real property.  The worth of the cabin can appreciate over time, making your initial investment worth a lot more.

park models - log cabin is valued higher

  • Low Maintenance.  The logs used by Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes mean the finished structures are considerable lower maintenance than cabins and home produced by other companies and lower maintenance than cheaper, lower-quality park model homes.
  • Long-Lasting.  Some log cabins first built hundreds of years ago are still standing and usable today.  They are a little rustic and lack many modern amenities, but you could still shelter inside one during a camping trip.  In Russia, there’s a log church that’s more than 1,700 years old, and there are plenty of log homes across Europe that are at least 800 years old.
  • Durable.  While you can hope your log home or cabin never faces a major storm or other natural disaster, you can rest easy that it will withstand whatever Mother Nature throws its way.  For example, one log home in Texas stayed standing even after a massive oak tree fell on it roof during Hurricane Rita.

Log Cabin Kits Can Be ADA Compliant

The rules and regulations surrounding park model homes make it very difficult for them to be ADA compliant. It’s also a struggle for you to design and build one that can accommodate people of all different disabilities.  For one thing, the structures must be elevated off of the ground, as they are on a wheeled trailer.  That means you need steps to get up to them. On the other hand, there are a variety of ADA-compliant log cabin kits available.  These kits can produce cabins and houses that are level with the ground and don’t require steps or stairs. Another option is to have a ramp connected to the cabin, leading to the doorway.

log cabin kits are an investment

The doors and bathrooms in an ADA-compliant cabin or house are also wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. This allows people to move about the interior of the cabin or house with ease.

Paying for log cabin kits

One final advantage log cabin kits have over park model homes is that you can finance them with traditional mortgage. This is because they are a type of real property.  Often, people apply for a construction loan to cover the cost of building a log cabin for residential purposes, then convert the loan to a mortgage once the house is built.

Want to build your own log cabin for yourself or a campground?  Learn more about our residential log cabin kits today.  If you own or manage a campground or commercial vacation property, check out our commercial cabin kits, which are perfect for resorts and camps.

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