One of the oldest segments of pre-fabricated housing is the log cabin kit manufacturer.  It has allowed thousands to live out their boyhood dream, such as retired Lutheran pastor Paul Smeltz, who, along with his son, rolled up his sleeves to assemble a 1,500 square foot vacation log cabin on the 42-acre family plot in south central Pennsylvania. The 62 year old bought the precut home kit from Conestoga Log Cabins and Homes, whose factory was just a half-hour from Paul’s home in Lititz, PA.

The company has sold more than 3,000 log cabin kits since 1983. “All the logs are numbered, cut to fit and pre-drilled,” Paul says. “It took about three days to put all the logs up. It was pretty easy, and we just used an extension ladder. The logs were pretty easy to lift. But I hired a team to put the roof up though.  I wasn’t about to climb up that high.  To put the roof and walls up took one week.”

The kit cost Paul $82,000.  Throw in another $93,000 for subcontract work, such as the plumbing and foundation.

When it was done, he had a four-bedroom cabin for $175,000 – $100,000 less than what he would have paid for it if he had hired someone to build the cabin instead.

“I’m absolutely thrilled we did it,” says Paul, who now spends most of his weekends at the cabin.