For many people, log homes conjure feelings of peace, relaxation and nature. A residence constructed out of tree logs has a rustic quality with rugged imperfections. This natural-style living appeals to those who want a bit more character and are willing to take on the challenge of a DIY project.

Today, however, that DIY challenge is made a lot simpler for the everyday person. No longer is it necessary or required to venture out and source your own logs by cutting down trees, unless you choose to. Log cabin kits are the answer to today’s outdoor lifestyle-oriented and adventure-seeking home builders who want to build your own cabin kit.

Log cabin kits come in all kinds of styles to serve a wide range of home architecture tastes. Kits come with the materials needed to assemble your dream log cabin. This is why so many individuals and families today are opting for a log cabin kit to build either their primary or vacation residences.

Read on to learn more about the process of building a log cabin and how to choose the one that’s right for you.

Build Your Own Log Cabin from Cut Timbers

Building your own log cabin from cut timbers can be a very creative and rewarding experience. You can build and design your own log cabin as a hobby or with your friends and family. If you’re thinking of building your own log cabin from cut timbers, you’ll first have to determine where you’ll acquire your wood supply.

Many people utilize wood directly from their own property, by selecting dead standing trees, since they are a lighter weight than living trees. Other people prefer to order their logs from a supplier and have them brought to the construction site.

Another option is to pursue a log cabin home kit that supplies you with the pre-cut materials for you to assemble yourself to build your own log cabin. Regardless of which method you choose, there are many things to consider before you begin construction. Some of the factors to consider include:

How to Choose and Build a Log Cabin Kit
  • Types of wood species used to construct the home
  • Selection of cut timbers or pre-built logs
  • How you will join the logs together to build the cabin
  • If you will build it yourself or a hire a log cabin contractor
  • Any required permits and building codes for log cabin construction in your area
  • How you can finance the cost of construction and improve resale value

Types of Logs to Choose

There are dozens of species of wood to choose from when it comes to selecting the types of logs to use in building your cabin kit. There are other types of logs that are pre-engineered that are used to build log cabins. You may even use a mixture of wood types in constructing your cabin.

Deciding on the types of logs to use in your log cabin comes down to several factors. This includes your own personal preference as well as how you plan to use and construct the wood in building your log home. Here are some of the different types of wood species that can be used to construct log cabins:

  • White, yellow or red pine
  • Eastern white cedar or Western red cedar
  • Cypress
  • Oak
  • Poplar
  • Walnut
  • Spruce
  • Fir
  • Hemlock
  • Ponderosa

Determining which of these types of wood species to use is an important decision to make. When choosing the wood type for your log cabin kit, you’ll want to consider the following:

  • Your desired price range or budget for timber costs
  • Your cabin design preferences in function and aesthetic
  • The specific traits of the wood species for quality, climate conditions and more

For more information on the best types of logs to use for your dream log cabin, call Conestoga Log Cabins today at (717) 306-4490.

Price Range

The common types of wood species available in North American home construction are the most popular because of their availability. Their popularity also determines their price range, meaning certain types of wood are more affordable than others.

The region in which the wood naturally occurs will also determine price. For example, if an Eastern supplier supplies Western white cedar, they must incur shipping and freight costs to transport. This cost gets passed on to to the consumer, leading to more expensive manufacturing costs than if you were to use locally sourced wood.

Your Log Profile

Design preference is also a consideration when selecting the types of logs for your cabin. In terms of aesthetics, you can choose between squared logs or round logs. Round logs are typically considered the more traditional style of log cabin design.

Historically, builders used round logs as their primary design out of convenience, as hewing — or cutting into square shape — would require more work. Round logs require precise and secure dovetailing or other notching techniques to join the round logs together. Many people prefer this classic style for its authentic aesthetic appeal. It is also referred to as Traditional Timber design.

Advancements in mill working techniques today provide hewn timber, or square-cut logs for cabins. Hewn logs stack easily and are used in building the frame of the cabin by extending every other row of timber and adjoining them together at the attaching wall.

Another style of hewn log is the D-style cabin, which is square on three sides and remains round on the exposed outer side. This allows for the same look and feel of a round log cabin design, without requiring the same techniques.

Check out Conestoga Log Cabins’ different log cabin designs to find the perfect design for you.

Traits of the Wood Species

Wood from high altitude regions is considered the densest form of wood because its rings are much tighter. This can help prevent instances of the wood cracking or splitting over time as the cabin settles.

Another thing to consider when selecting your own timber is when the tree fell. Trees that fall in winter time have a lower sap level, which can also help minimize the amount of cracking and splitting that may ensue.

In choosing your wood type, you’ll also want to take into consideration your area’s climate conditions. Certain wood species, like the cedars, are much more tolerant to coarse winters given the areas they are native to.

Natural Timber Logs vs. Pre-engineered Logs

How to Choose and Build a Log Cabin Kit

When planning how to build your log cabin, you are faced with yet another choice. The choice between using natural logs or pre-engineered logs has another list of factors to consider.

Many people today are choosing the option of pre-engineered logs as part of a log cabin kit. Pre-engineered logs are able to offer precise cuts for notching, as well as pre-drilling for electrical wire and plumbing aspects.

While pre-engineered logs are more convenient, and are built to maintain integrity while resisting warping and shrinkage.

Joining Logs to Make a Cabin

In order to secure the logs together at the corners of the design, they must be joined together properly. Joining logs can be done using a few different techniques. The most traditional technique in log cabin or log home construction is dovetailing. Dovetailing is a technique that requires a high degree of finesse, precision and skill in order to make it appear authentic and well-done.

Another technique is the simple notching technique where joints are secured together through equally sized notches that have been cut out and placed on top of each other.

There are many things to consider when joining logs to make a cabin. This includes the portions of wood that will be cut out to allow for spaces for windows and doors. Considering that log homes settle within the first few years, builders must be careful to include contraction sleeves for the wood around the windows and doors that expands and shrinks.

Self-Log Cabin Building vs. Hiring a Log Cabin Builder

How to Choose and Build a Log Cabin Kit

When planning for the construction of your new log home, you’ll also need to consider how much of the work you’re ready and willing to do yourself. Some people love the idea of building their log cabin on their own. Investing your own sweat equity into your rustic retreat can be a great way to hone your skills, get creative and, of course, save on labor costs. Building a log cabin yourself can arguably help you to better enjoy the end product as you can take pride in your own handiwork.

Others feel they don’t have the experience or construction skills required to produce their desired final product. In this case, it’s possible to hire a log cabin building contractor to construct the home from scratch. Contractors can also assist in some of the other challenging parts of building a log cabin, such as sourcing supplies and installing all the internal elements such as plumbing and electrical. It’s possible they can even help design it.

Alternatively, if you feel you have a good base of skills, then a contractor can also work with you on part of the project. This allows you to put in your own effort but have the expertise of a professional as well.

If you’re thinking of going with a log cabin kit, then these are designed to be easy to assemble on your own. They include detailed instructions to ensure proper assembly. However, even log cabin kits can be assembled by a builder for support. The choice between building a log cabin yourself or hiring a log cabin builder ultimately comes down to your own skill sets, comfort level and budget.

Contact Conestoga Log Cabins today for expert advice on building the log cabin of your dreams.

How to Meet Required Codes for Log Cabins

An often-overlooked factor in choosing how to build a log cabin is the legal building requirements that must be adhered to. Many people get excited about their idea of having a place to escape to in the woods, and they forget to look into permits and building codes.

Each municipality will have its own unique and specific requirements about permits. These permits, and whether you need one or not, are usually based on several different factors. These factors can potentially determine how you will be allowed to construct your cabin kit. These factors may include:

  • Size of cabin — up to a certain size may not require a permit
  • Proximity to water or the distance from the high water mark
  • Environmental considerations like protection of riparian areas and other biodiversity
  • Zoning approval for your desired piece of land

Once you’ve investigated with your municipality or township administration, you can then determine if you’ll need a building permit or not. Once you’ve obtained a building permit, your home’s construction will be subject to an inspection. This will be to ensure your log cabin is meeting building code requirements and other municipal zoning requirements.

In terms of financial outcomes, you’ll need to prepare for the fact that you’ll likely face a property tax increase for your log cabin once you do acquire a building permit. If you’ll be pursuing utility hookups, this will come with an added monthly cost as well.

Above all else, always be sure to apply for a building permit once you have your cabin design finalized and before you begin building. This can save a lot of hassle and inconvenience in the long run.

Log Home Value: Financing and Resale Value

How to Choose and Build a Log Cabin Kit

From a financial standpoint, it’s possible to finance a log cabin home the same way you would any other home. Your banking institution knows your financial history already and can help set you up with a loan to build your dream log cabin. However, some institutions aren’t familiar with log cabin home building and may decide not to finance it. In this case, there are lenders that specialize in financing log cabin homes that may be an excellent option for you.

If you’re planning for the future and wondering about the potential resale value of your home, consider that log homes are a niche style of living. This means they will likely appeal to a small market of home buyers. Log homes last for generations, and this type of quality can help them increase in value over time to buyers who are looking for this type of lifestyle.

Be sure to have your log home professionally appraised and compared to other similar properties on the market. If you can demonstrate your log cabin has been well-maintained, constructed using high-quality materials, with proper a foundation and engineering, then it can help you to sell your home more quickly and for top dollar when the time comes.

Selecting Your Log Cabin Kit

If you’re thinking of building a log cabin and are looking into log home kits, then be sure to consider the different choices. Decide if this will be your primary residence or vacation residence and the desired size you’ll need to fit your family and lifestyle. Other options to consider are whether you are content with a pre-existing log cabin kit design or if you’d want a custom designed log home kit.

When looking at the different log home cabin kits for sale, also consider:

  • If the kit was designed for your particular climate
  • What type of wood the kit is made from
  • The wood’s overall durability

Finally, you’ll want to ensure the cabin kit comes with clear instructions and assembly support to ensure you get the most out of your log cabin kit building experience.

Conestoga Cabins offers a wide range of log cabin and log home kits that cover a range of sizes, features and price points. Whether you’re seeking a log cabin kit for residential or vacation, or you’re looking to design your own, contact Conestoga Cabins to schedule a tour.