Is it Hard to Build a Log Cabin by Yourself?

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is it hard to build a log cabin

When deciding to build our cabin we often wondered if it was possible for us to build it by ourselves. So the question often came up: is it hard to build a log cabin by yourself?

Is it hard building a log cabin by yourself? It is difficult building a log cabin by yourself. Especially if you are attempting to have a modern log cabin style to the house. The nature of log cabins is to use logs. Logs for modern log cabins are too large for one person to handle themselves. It is best to leave the setting of foundation and the framing of the logs to someone who is well acquainted with the process. Generally, it is better to hire someone to help with the building of a log cabin. 

While a very romantic concept building a modern log cabin is not something that can be easily handled by someone without help. If you are searching for creating a simple Abe Lincoln style log cabin, that may be a little more achievable but still difficult.

Keep in mind this form of cabin won’t have modern luxuries like plumbing, heating, and air conditioning. We’ll discuss more about what building a log cabin entails, the cost of building a log cabin, and finally the time it takes to construct a log cabin. 

Steps to Building a Log Cabin

If you want to build a log cabin you’ll need to understand all the steps involved before putting this plan into action. Once you see everything that’s is involved in creating the cabin you may decide you can’t construct the cabin on your own. Whatever you decide know that these steps are parts of the cabin making process that you’ll want to plan out and execute.

Step 1: Planning a Log Cabin

Building a log cabin is an intricate process which means lots and lots of planning. Planning comes in effect in three large areas. First, finding a plot of land/having a strong foundation. Second, having and keeping to a budget both of time and money. Third, search out and follow any building code laws, or residential based restrictions that may affect the construction of your log cabin.  

Site of construction:

If you are searching for a place to build a log cabin you’ll have a lot of freedom to pick a place that works perfectly for your personal log cabin needs. However, it is more likely that you are limited in the options that you have in regard to the land you have to build a house on. Luckily there are several ways that you can construct a log cabin on relatively unconventional seeming terrain.

Naturally the more difficult of a foundation that you are using the more likely you’ll need a professional’s help. For instance, you can build a log cabin on a sloped cliff through the use of a basement. However, I wouldn’t suggest attempting this without professional help.

Budgeting for building a log cabin:

This isn’t something that can be thought up later having a budget is a necessary step before you begin any form of construction on log cabins. I’ll talk about how to calculate the cost of your home a little later but know you’ll want to keep a budget and try sticking to it. When budgeting, try to have a budget of the cost, time, and resources involved in the process. This will hopefully keep yourself on task as well as within your cost budget throughout the project. 

Building laws:

It is enormously frustrating to have to rebuild or revamp part of your log cabin because of some building code that you weren’t aware of. Don’t cause this to be a problem for yourself simply go out there and find out what you need to know before this can become a problem. The following is a website that can start you on the path of learning about building codes/laws based on State in the U.S. Building code by state.

Step 2: The Internal Construction of a Log Cabin

Internal construction is the elements of construction that aren’t apparent from an outsiders view of the log cabin. for instance, this can include, flooring, sub-flooring, insulation, joists, and log silling. 

Sub-flooring and joist installation is the construction of what your house’s floor will be on. If your house is laying directly on the ground you will have very poor insulation and will generally have a colder house than what you are likely to want. To avoid this you use sub-flooring or a layer of this sub-floor to separate the floor of your house for the ground. 

Flooring and insulation are the more visible elements of your house just not from the outside. What do you want your house’s floor to look like? What do you plan on using to block out the frigid air of winter? These are elements that you will not be instituting yet but will need to have selected for the construction of the rest of your house.

You don’t want the walls of the house to abhorrently contrast the floor in color, nor do you want your house to not have enough space for insulation in the walls.

Step 3: The External Construction of a Log Cabin

Finally you get to lay down some logs. This process revolves around what blueprint you are using for your house. Everything that you have done up to this point lead up to this. How will the outside of the cabin look. What foundation did you original use and what do you plan on using to appeal to the natural setting that your cabin is in.

These choices are often much more fun to make as you are able to directly see the consequences of these actions. Have fun with this process but make sure that every part of this construction is happening as you want it to. 

Cost and Time of Building a Log Cabin

How Much Does it Cost to Build a Cabin?

The cost of a cabin can be broken down into a couple of areas, clearing the land, creating the foundation, utilities and services installation, timber, insulation, and labor. While this is a general summary it should get you a good estimate of what you will need for your cabin. While these prices will very with each cabin I’ll provide a general estimate for the cost of these on an average log cabin. 

  • Clearing the land $2,000-$3,000
  • Foundation $1,000-$1,500
  • Utilities and Services $3,000-$8,000
  • Timber $4,000-$8,000
  • Insulation $1,500-$2,000
  • Labor 10% to 35% of the total cost

Hopefully these estimations will be able to set yourself up for building your log cabin. Keep in mind that this is for the average log cabin and can change based on your circumstance and the site of the log cabin’s construction. 

How Long Does it Take to Build a Log Cabin?

The timing of a log cabin can be broken into the three steps above and how long they will take. 

Step one planning takes the longest a six months to a year in the planning process. 

Step two is from four months to eight months of prep time involved in resource acquistion as well as constructing the foundation of the cabin. 

Step three will then take about four to eight weeks.

So overall you are looking at about a year in the shortest scenario and about two years on the longer end of things. These times can be changed once again based on circumstance.

Related Reading: How Long Does it Take to Build a Medium-Sized Log Cabin?

Visit Our “Building a Cabin Page” for More Great Tips!

Where To Buy Logs When Building a Log Cabin?

The most important material you will need for your log cabin is, of course, logs. Where and how do you go about obtaining a sufficient amount of logs when you begin the construction phase of building your cabin?

You have a couple of different options when deciding where to buy logs. I would first check with any local sawmills as they are likely the most cost-effective. Another bonus to buying near you is that you are supporting local loggers, and the logs you purchase are going to be accustomed to the environment in which you want to use them. 

You can also purchase logs for your cabin online. Check out eloghomes for what they have to offer along with prices. Another helpful website is Wholesale Log Homes. They are located in North Carolina and are a great option if you live nearby. Remember, shipping massive logs will account for a chunk of the cost, so the closer to you, the better. 

More options are available to you if none of these spark your interest. To learn more about where to buy logs when building a cabin, click here!

What is Chinking a Log Cabin?

You may or may not heard of chinking. If you’ve already done quite a bit of research on building a log cabin, this term likely has come up as it is an essential step in building a cabin. Chinking is a substance, either synthetic or mortar, that seals the gap between the logs. It is a flexible sealant that protects the cabin from the weather elements. 

Rain, snow, and cold/warm air can easily enter your cabin without this protective chinking. Plus, it helps keep out unwanted critters! 

There are two different types, as mentioned previously. They are mortar and synthetic. 

Mortar chinking is more traditional and has an overall rustic look. This option is less expensive when compared to synthetic. 

Synthetic chinking is typically water-based but can also be oil-based. It is made from either petrochemical elastic substances or acrylic. Synthetic chinking is used more in log cabin kits as the logs are not accustomed to the climate. 

To learn more about how to chink a log cabin, click here!

Do You Need to Add Insulation When Building a Log Cabin?

Log cabins are not like a typical home where you need to add insulation in the walls in order to keep either the cold or heat out.

The logs, themselves are great insulators for the cabins. That being said, nowadays, log walls typically do not meet most building codes. As a result, when building log cabins, you will need to add extra insulation to the logs.

This can be done by injector foam insulation if you have drywall on the inside of your cabin. If you don’t have drywall on the interior of your cabin, open-cell foam is best to use. This will give your log cabin a more rustic feel and look.

Click the link to read more about adding insulation to your log cabin.

Related Questions to Building a Log Cabin

Are log cabins efficient? Log cabins are considered efficient for quite a few reasons. First, the logs serve as both an insulator and for the structure of the building. This allows for less of a need for insulation in the building. Second, the cabin can be built in generally any terrain as wood has the ability to survive in many environments.  

Good foundations for log cabins? Concrete is seen as the best foundation for a log cabin. You generally can change what you put in the log cabin’s foundation. So, since the concrete can have things mixed into it, is seen as the best option for the foundation of a log cabin. Look into concrete and then you can find what is best to mix into concrete to provide the best foundation for your log cabin.  

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