How Long Does It Take to Build A Log Home: A Complete Construction Schedule

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To many people, the thought of building their own log home is simply a dream.

Something that is so out of reach, either because it’s too expensive, or because they think they don’t have enough experience or time to build a log home.

We have helped hundreds of people to build a log home, some with very little or no experience in construction, some with very small budgets.

It IS possible to build a log home with your very own hands, to enjoy for years to come.

But where do you start and How long will it take you?

The average completion time for a traditional family home is 7 months, according to the 2015 Survey of Construction. The length of time it will take to build a log home ranges from 9 months to 22 months depending upon on a number of factors, including:

  • Experience
  • Weather
  • Man power
  • Tools
  • Availability of materials
  • The size and complexity of build

This article will take you through all the typical stages of building a custom log home, and will provide pointers along the way to determine how long each stage will take you. By the time you reach the end of this article, you will have a realistic time frame set out.

This article will mainly provide you with a construction schedule but it’s important not to forget to include time for your planning. Incase you don’t have the time to read the entire article we’ve provided a handy summary table detailing key stages and major activities:

Stage Duration Major Activities
Planning Six to Twelve Months Set Log Cabin Goals,
Find Land,
Set a Budget,
Log Home Design
Preparation Two to Eight Months Sourcing & Preparing Logs (2- 6 months),
Site Clearance  (1 – 2 weeks),
Foundations (1- 4 weeks)
Construction Four to Six Weeks Raising the Log Walls (2 – 4 weeks),
Roofing and Flooring (1 week),
Insulation,
Windows & Doors and Exterior Finish (1 week)

Planning Stage

We’ll only briefly touch on the planning stage as this article will focus on the construction time. Planning can be as quick as you like, but remember, the longer you spend in the planning stage, the more likely you are to cover every possibility, and the more successful your build will be.

You will also want to read the top floor plan mistakes you need to avoid.

The planning phase will also include applying for all the relevant permits. Allow at least 6 months for the planning stage.

Planning Stage: 6 months – 12 months

After the planning stage, there are two main stages to your log cabin build – the preparation stage and the assembly stage.

Let’s take a look at those now.

Log Home Designs

The Preparation Stage

The preparation stage including sourcing all your materials and getting the site ready.

Sourcing & Preparing your Logs

The amount of time this takes will mainly depend on where you source your logs.

If you cut your own logs, you will need to allow plenty of time to prepare them. This involves debarking them and storing them to dry. The debarking process varies depending on what time of year you cut your logs. It’s easier to debark them in the spring; on average it would take around an hour to peel a 20 foot log. In the winter, it could take up to two hours.

I see many projects where the logs are cut down and are being using within a few days or weeks. You will have a lot of problems with shrinkage if you do this.

Depending on the logs you choose, you should allow at least 6 months for your logs to dry, longer if possible. Some people choose to get their logs kiln dried, however if you have the time, I always recommend air drying logs.

Although kiln drying logs does speed up the process, it’s questionable as to whether the log is as stable as an air dried log.

If you are having your logs sawn to size at a lumber yard, I would recommend leaving 2 months for this. You will get a better idea by phoning local yards and asking for time estimates.

This stage also includes doing all the ground work on your site; clearing the area and laying your foundations.

Clearing the Site

Depending on how level your site is, and how much vegetation needs to be removed, this can be quite a straight forward job. If you have a flat site with only stones and small roots or shrubs to remove, this could be a simple day’s work.

It could take up to a week if you have to remove larger rocks, trees and existing structures from the land.

If the land is sloped, you may also need to grade or level the ground – this could take up to a few weeks.

Laying your Foundations

Log Home FoundationAgain, this will depend on the type of foundation you decide to use. Whichever foundation you decide on, your site will need to be staked out – this is quite a simple process and will only take an hour or two depending on how large your build is.

The three most commonly used foundations for log homes are the raft foundation (concrete base), strip foundation and the pad foundation (concrete piers).

  • Strip Foundation – the most time consuming and expensive of the three foundations but still a good choice for many cabins.
  • Raft Foundation – cheaper and quicker than the strip foundation.
  • Concrete Pier Foundation – the cheapest form of foundation, small but deeper sections of excavation.

It’s often the excavation parts that take the longest in laying your foundations, if you have straightforward flat land with good soil to work with, this stage could take a week. Allow up to 3 weeks to lay your foundations if your ground has a slope or the ground is more difficult to work with.

Preparation Stage: 2 – 6 weeks (excluding drying your logs)

The Construction Stage

Building A CabinThis stage is probably going to be the quickest stage in the process. Unlike a regular brick and mortar house, the wall for a log home is built in one go; logs act as the outside wall, the insulation, the inside wall, the plaster and the paint.

Depending on how many people you have helping, and your DIY experience, the cabin could take anywhere from a few days, to a couple of months to build.

It’s essential to think and weather/season during your construction period – you don’t want to start your build and have to stop mid-way through due to a storm/bad rain.

Raising the Log Walls

This stage includes notching the logs and laying them to form your walls. Most kit build cabins fly up at this stage because they have already been notched prior to construction.

With custom hand-built homes though, this will take slightly longer as you will have to notch each log on site. If you have a chainsaw, this process will be a lot quicker for you.

It takes this man around 5 minutes to make one notch.

Use the calculations in our log article to work out how many logs you will need and how long this process will take.

As a ballpark guide, this stage will take about 3 weeks to notch and raise the walls for a 20 x 24ft log cabin.

Fitting the Roof

Log Cabin Roof StructureThis stage involves building the gable walls and fitting the roof to your log cabin. The time period for this stage greatly depends on the materials you use. The most popular materials for log homes are:

  • Roofing felt
  • Felt shingles
  • Wood Shingles

Roofing felt is the quickest choice, and wood shingles the longest (if you make each of the shingles on site).

Allow anywhere from 1 day to a week to complete your log cabin roof.

Fitting the Floor

Laying your floor can be a very quick step.

Tongue and groove boards are a popular choice and can be laid within a day or two just by one person.

You’ll need to leave the staining and finishing until the cabin is complete.

Insulation

Insulation is normally done within the floor and roof section so you shouldn’t need to factor in any extra time for this.

An exception to this is if you want to insulate your log home walls. You can cut a v shaped groove into the top of each log and pad it with insulation which will obviously add time onto raising the logs.

You will also need to chink your log cabin, which can take a couple of days depending on the size.

Windows and Doors

You should allow a day to cut out your window and door openings, and a further couple of days to install them.

Allow longer for this if you are making your own windows and doors.

Exterior Finish

You’ll need to weatherproof and stain your log cabin to protect it from the elements.

Have a look at this post for a definitive cost guide to log cabin maintenance.

It is possible to stain your entire log home within a day – allow longer if the cabin is large.

Construction Stage Time: 3 – 6 weeks

Example Construction Schedule

Let’s take a look now, at how this would look in a real world example.

Planning Stage (6+ months)

  • Begin Research
  • Look for Land
  • Establish Budget
  • Buy Land
  • Interview/Find Team
  • Continue Research
  • Buy Tools
  • Contact relevant agencies
  • Site Plan
  • Design Stage
  • Floorplan
  • Elevations
  • Planning Application
  • Source & Dry Logs

Preparation & Construction Stage (3 – 4 months)

  • Week One: Clear Site
  • Week Two: Lay Foundations
  • Week Three – Five: Raise the Log Walls
  • Week Six: Install the Roof
  • Week Seven: Insulation & Floor
  • Week Eight: Windows & Doors
  • Week Nine: Exterior Finish

Summary

Stage Duration Major Activities
Planning Six to Twelve Months Set Log Cabin Goals,
Find Land,
Set a Budget,
Log Home Design
Preparation Two to Eight Months Sourcing & Preparing Logs (2- 6 months),
Site Clearance  (1 – 2 weeks),
Foundations (1- 4 weeks)
Construction Four to Six Weeks Raising the Log Walls (2 – 4 weeks),
Roofing and Flooring (1 week),
Insulation,
Windows & Doors and Exterior Finish (1 week)

Please bear in mind that all of these figures are guidelines and not to be followed strictly.

They will vary depending on so many factors as mentioned above; your experience, the size of your build, the weather, your materials and the amount of helpers you have.

I also recommend planning time into your build for unexpected things – they arise with even the most well thought out plans.

If you take only one thing away from this, it should be: make a comprehensive plan and stick to it!

How long are you expecting your log cabin build to take? If you’ve already built a cabin, how long did it take from conception to completion?

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