The Art of Log Home Construction; From Humble Beginnings to Modern – Day Big Business

Log Home Construction is Nothing New

Canadian log home construction is something that has been going on for centuries. Contemporary log home builders have been spoiled; coddled by the onset of modern hand tools and mass-production techniques.

The last generation of original log cabin homebuilders faded from existence during the 70s. Fortunately, a few publications recorded the knowledge and techniques used by these old timers on how to build a hand crafted log home.

Using nothing more than a few basic hand tools – such as an axe, saw, drill, and hammer – the original log cabin home was crafted from hewn logs, stone, and mud. The only cost being that of patience, hard work, and sweat. Modern fasteners such as high-tech lag screws and bolts were not available. Instead, hand-fashioned wooden pegs were driven through hand-drilled holes to hold each component in place.

Foundations were often nothing more than large rocks to support sill plates. Some old timers crafted a 36-inch high rock masonry foundation under the belief that termites and other insects would not climb beyond that height to reach wood components.

Modern-day Log Home Builders

Today, log homes are still available; ranging from a simple, relatively low priced, DIY log home kit (complete with instructional videos on how to build a log cabin), to the sophisticated multi-million dollar luxury log home plan. Elaborate homes offered by a log home design and construction firm, with an army of craftsmen to undertake each project.

Financial Considerations

Many log home builders and log home kit marketers have resources for obtaining a log home construction loan.

Log home prices are at a premium for completed homes. Just a basic design in a wooded setting can fetch prices ranging from $160,000 and up.

Log home kits for the DIY builder range from $20 to $30 per square foot; most come with extensive information on how to build a log cabin. If you are considering purchasing a kit, be sure to establish what is included in the kit, and what is not.

Many kits available do not include critical components and materials; including the foundation, doors, windows, roofing material, plumbing and electrical fixtures and system components, HVAC, and standard materials such as plywood and dimensional lumber. Acquiring and installing these necessary materials and components can add considerably to the overall cost of the home.

Structural Considerations

Structural options such as a stone fireplace and chimney, dramatically adds to the aesthetic charm and beauty of any log home. However, to insure fire hazard safety and a properly engineered fireplace, stone fireplace construction is best left in the hands of a qualified stone mason or fireplace contractor. Even if you’ve constructed the log home yourself using a kit.

DIY log home builders should also become knowledgeable about structural log grading requirements for wall logs and roof beam logs that will have to carry heavy snow loads. Some logs may not be suitable for meeting such requirements. This is especially true if the DIY builder will be cutting and hewing his own logs.

Note: most commercially available kits include structural logs that have been graded and meet load-bearing requirements.