Are Log Cabins Cheaper to Build Than Houses?


Houses are expensive to build. You may wonder if log cabins are cheaper to build because they are generally smaller. I have always wondered this myself. since my family built our cabin I’ve been able to compare the price of building a log cabin over the cost of building a house.

Which one is cheaper? A log cabin or a house? Houses generally cost significantly more than small log cabins because log cabins are usually smaller in size. The average cost of building a log cabin versus building a house is only slightly different. The average cost of building a home is about $290,000. The average cost of a log cabin is about $175,000 to about $350,000. It really depends on how big your cabin is going to be, and where you are going to build. 

That being said, what factors into the cost of building a log cabin and house? What about future maintenance? Insurance? How are they different and which is the better choice? (Just so you know I prefer the log cabin)

What Goes Into Log Cabin Building Costs?

There is a lot more to building log cabin than you might think. It takes time, money, and a lot of energy. You have to find the right place to build it and make sure you have all the materials and resources. 

There are several factors which play a more significant part in building a log cabin than others. You probably shouldn’t be worrying about what you are going to decorate your cabin with.

You should be more worried about where you will build, how big your cabin is going to be, and how much money you are willing to put into the protection of your log cabin. 

Land

You aren’t just going to go and build a log cabin in the desert. You will probably want to build your cabin in a nice forested or picturesque area. A good example of this would the log cabin my family owns in Southern Idaho. It is a beautiful location. There are a lot of trees, not too many bears and pests, and there is a nearby water source. 

So, think about this question; are you going to have to clear away some brush? Are you going to do it on your own? Are you going to hire someone? That’s something to think about. 

What state are thinking of building your cabin in? What are the laws in those states about building. For example, Yellowstone Wyoming is a beautiful place, but you can’t build wherever you want to over there. You have to have done the research about that area to find out what places are allowed and which are not. 

One more thing, it will cost you a little bit more if you want to build on a ridge or an outcropped area. Many people desire to have their cabin built in an area that gets a great view.

It will be a whole lot cheaper to build on flat land than on an outcrop. It \would be easier for the builders to build the cabin on flat land. An outcrop is beautiful, (and totally worth the extra dollars) but it will affect the cost of building your cabin significantly. 

Size

How big do you want your cabin? If it’s a small cabin that means less materials. If it’s a big one, it will be the opposite. Bigger means more money. 

It is important to know how big you are wanting to build your cabin. My family is small so our cabin does not have to be really big. All of us fit in nicely and it is cozy. 

Note: How big is your family? Is this a small hunting cabin? Or, is it a vacation getaway?

However, I have a friend who comes from a family of ten children who also have their own children. If they were thinking of building a cabin, they would have to consider how much space they would be taking up. That factors into the cost whether you want it to or not. 

Insurance

I never thought about insurance costs for a log cabin before we started building our family cabin. When you are building a log cabin, you need insurance during the building process and a

The type of insurance protection is similar to building a home, but there are things which happen in the mountains that aren’t as common to you know, your city home. You have things like forest fires, bears, and landslides which need to be considered.

Construction/Labor

Along with the cost of land, size, and the cost of insurance to protect your cabin comes the cost of hiring someone to build it. It costs about $80,000 dollars for labor. (This is factored into the entire cost to build mentioned at the beginning of this article.)

Labor and construction will vary depending on how much you are planning on doing yourself in the building process, if at all. My advice would be to plan what you are going to do before you start looking for people to do the construction of your cabin. 

If you already have an idea of what you are going to do, it will be a lot easier to figure out what the total construction/labor cost is going to come out to. 

There’s a great website which can help you calculate how much to spend on labor based on what you have and/or are willing to spend. This website will only calculate the cost of labor based on how much you are willing to spend on the entire project itself. 

It will not being completely accurate, but it will give you a good idea of what your future expenses will be. 

How do I Build an Inexpensive Cabin?

If you have decided that you would like to build a log cabin, you’ll want to know how you can get the most for your buck. I can help you out with some simple ideas to make things a little less expensive. 

If you are not worried about your cabin taking a long time, you can do a lot of the building yourself. Some of the building and landscaping is fairly simple. The only reason most people don’t do it is because of the time it takes to do these things on their own. 

When you hire someone it takes a lot less time to build. However, we are not talking about hiring anyone, we’re talking about doing as much as you can do on your own.

Besides, it could be a really fun experience for your kids to help you out; a great family bonding experience. (Unless, of course, your kids are really small, then you should probably just do it yourself or hire someone.)

Note:  If you don’t know what you are doing, leave the complicated and vital pieces of building the cabin to the professionals.

A great and wise person on a website mentioned (Click here for that site) that there were four “P’s” to building a successfully inexpensive log cabin. 

  • Number 1: Ponder- Remember at the beginning when I mentioned that it was important to take into account all the aspects of building a cabin? (okay, so I didn’t use those exact words, but you get the idea.) Part of the ‘pondering’ process is gathering information about building a cabin. We’re talking about how big you want it, where you want it, all of that stuff mentioned earlier. That’s “pondering”.
  • Number 2: Prioritize- Once you know all building entails, you need to organize each piece of information by how important it is. You’re not going to worry about how to build the cabin before you have discovered where you want to build it. 
  • Number 3: Plan- Now that you’ve prioritized everything, make a plan about how you’re going to get it accomplished. Planning and prioritizing can happen at the same time. They are almost synonymous to one another. If you are prioritizing, then you will most likely be making a plan while you prioritize. 
  • Number 4: Process- Once you have a plan in place, you can begin calling people and making arrangements. Be meticulous through the building process. Do some of it yourself and make sure you are not accepting lower quality because it costs less.

Keep in mind that the key component of building an inexpensive log cabin is work. I’m not talking about just physical labor. The more you plan and prepare, the better chance you have of getting the best deal from your cabin. 

There are plenty of log cabin tutorials on YouTube done well enough that they are great tools for assisting you in building a log cabin on your own. 

My best advice if you are going to be inexpensive in building your log cabin would be to keep it simple and do as much of the work on your own as you can. 

How Much Does a Log Cabin Kit Cost?

A popular option when building a log cabin inexpensively is  to purchase a kit. Someone has done all the four “P’s” for you so you don’t have to worry about it. You have the option of assembling it yourself or hiring someone to do it. 

A kit tends to cost around $107,000. (That does not include the cost of labor and is based on about a 2,000 square foot floor plan.) Again, pricing is greatly dependent on how big you want your cabin and how many rooms etc. 

Kits are a good option because they are put together by people who generally have good experience in building log cabins. It’s just like those houses that are pre-designed for you instead of custom. Whenever you make something that is custom-made, it will usually cost more. 

However, most professionals/experienced cabin owners would advise that you do not buy a kit unless you know what you are looking for. If you do know what you are looking for than don’t worry about it. 

The best way to utilize the cost effectiveness of buying a kit would be to buy a small simple one that you could build and put together on your own. When it comes to cabins, building it yourself (or doing as much of the work on your own as possible) is the best way to keep down the cost of building. 

What is the Comparison Cost of Log Cabin Maintenance to Home Maintenance?

You might be surprised to find out that house maintenance is more than log cabin maintenance. Log cabins are beautiful homes. They seem like they would be extra work to keep up because of how unique they are. However, the upkeep of a log cabin is less than your average home. 

Your average home maintenance will cost you about 1% of your purchase price. For a home that costs $300,000 to purchase, you should be paying about $3,000 a year for maintenance. (Click here for article.) 

While a house’s maintenance cost can be a bit inconsistent, a log cabin is more steady. (When we set aside natural disasters and things like that) A log cabin will cost you about $1350 per year to maintain. (This is based on a cabin that is about 2,000 square feet.)  

You have to take into account what you are maintaining in each home. With a regular home that is not situated in the woods, you will have different dangers which can damage your home. 

For both a house and a log cabin you have to worry about falling trees and natural disasters. You also have to worry about aging and the general ware and tear of time. 

For both a house and a cabin, your building materials are different. They will age differently than each other, which makes maintenance a little bit different. 

With a log cabin, you have to worry about things like keeping the stain and protective covering as recent as possible. You have to ihibit the growth of rot from water and cracks caused by the drying wood. 

In your townhouse, you don’t have to worry about that sort of thing. They are naturally more resistant when it comes to rot and wood-related issues. I can’t say that one or the other is more durable because I’m talking really generally here about houses- there are a lot of materials you can use to build a house. 

However, both have their pros and cons. I would have to write a whole other article to talk about the pros and cons of building a log cabin over a house or visa versa. The cost of maintenance will greatly vary. 

If you’ve been exhausted by this explanation and no longer want to build a log cabin, but you would like to still have that log cabin feel in your home, this next section is for you. 

You don’t have to own a log cabin, or build one to enjoy the sensation of living in one. Sometimes, it’s just better to wait to build one so you can do it the right way than to get too excited about it. 

How Can I Give My House That Log Cabin Feel Without the Cost of Building One?

Have you ever been in a home that feels like you’re in a log cabin but it’s actually a house? I certainly have. I have a friend in Utah who owns a home in the woods. It’s not a cabin, but it has that cabin feeling. 

You may want the log cabin feel, but you don’t want your log cabin to be literally in the woods. In which case, it all comes down to interior design. If you want that log cabin feel, you might want to put in a fireplace you can actually put logs in. 

Decorate your home with a country feel and do your best to make it as cozy as possible. 

Another suggestion would be to furnish your home with wood furniture and wood flooring. If you haven’t built your home and are thinking of giving it that log cabin feeling, you have many options.

  • Knit Rugs (you can even make these yourself)
  • Cabin scented candles
  • Wooden Coasters
  • Wooden beds
  • Big windows with a great vista
  • A Porch the makes its way all the way around your home
  • A firepit in the back
  • Lots of plants

These are only a few things you could do to give your house a cabin feel without actually building a log cabin. Even looking up pictures on the internet just now has given me a lot of ideas of what I can do to make a house look more like a log cabin.  

Related Questions

What is the biggest log cabin ever built and how much did it cost? The largest cabin in the world is Michigan’s (the state) Granot Loma. It is about 26,000 square feet and cost about $70 million dollars to build. (The cabin cost $5 million to build in 1923.)

What is a good company to go through to help me build my log cabin? There are several different companies which offer log home building services. Companies like Highlands Log Structures, Real Log Homes, Jeremiah Johnson Log Homes, and many others are great companies with varying styles in log home building. 

What are the best places to live that would be an ideal spot for a log cabin? Anywhere that is deep in the mountains is an ideal spot for a log cabin. If you want some specific ideas, you can go to this website and look at their small list of suggested cabin building sites. It may also give you come ideas of what kinds of places people prefer to build their cabins. 

Recent Content

outdoortroop-21 outdoortoop-20